I got the greatest email from Mimi @ Fly Me to the Moon in Yonkers, NY in response to my post yesterday. I want to share it with you because I think we can learn so much from one another…and I’m so thankful she took the time to sit down and write such a detailed response to my questions….
“We do not have a cooler on the "floor" of our boutique flower shop. We keep the flowers in silver French buckets on display. There are about 20 of them. We have a walk-in cooler in the back.
The #1 most important thing is that we buy the freshest and best quality flowers possible! They last longer, look better and perform as expected. I go to the NYC flower district 2-3 times per week at the crack of dawn to select my own flowers. If the flower is not up to par, I don't buy it.
When flowers begin to show their age we sell them at a discount. When roses are wide open I mark them down and suggest people use them for a dinner party or something. Had a customer who always came in on Monday looking for a few old roses to put on her desk.She said many of our old roses lasted 2 weeks.
We put the flowers in the walk-in cooler at night. It's a pain in the neck, but crucial for maintaining vase life. We take extremely good care of our flowers and we teach customers how to care for them as well. People are always telling us our flowers last longer than those they've purchased elsewhere.
We make all of our arrangements custom. People often want to just grab something and run, but once they realize they can select the flowers themselves they sort of like the idea.
We have a nice ambiance in the shop. Cozy. Nice jazz always playing. Vintage pictures to look at and places to sit. Most people don't want to leave.
I make arrangements to place in the window and others from broken or left over flowers just for display. The flowers we make for one of our weekly contracts come back looking so good that I often put them on display for a while so people can see our work.
If I have a ton of left over flowers that I know I won't use, I donate them to a daycare center in the neighborhood for the families to take home. I also give these flowers to kids who come into the shop. The kids feel happy and the parents remember the kind gesture.
Each flower bucket may hold only half the amount of flowers we have. The rest are kept in the cooler. If we feel a flower looks a little sad because it's been out of the cooler for a while we'll often offer to give them a fresh one from the cooler. Only half the people we ask take us up on it.
Climate control is a big issue if you don't have a cooler on the floor. I try to keep the temp in the 60s during the summer. When it was 103 degrees in NY I could only get it down to 79. Left a lot more flowers in the cooler that week.
In the winter we keep it cooler than I would like. Usually at 59-62 degrees in the shop. That's cold! But I layer up and try not to complain.
I visited 30 flower shops in NYC before we designed ours. I hated the cooler on the floor look. Spruce has theirs way in the back filled with cool looking vases of flowers. Doro's Annex, had something similar. In our next shop, I would have a small cooler on the floor for more delicate flowers. Perhaps one of the vintage types with the wooden doors.
Certain flowers we keep in the cooler all the time. Cymbidium orchids, hydrangea, peonies, amaryllis with maybe one on display.”
image via Fly Me to the Moon
Thank you so much, Mimi! If anyone else has advice to offer, please feel free to share!