Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: Session 5

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image via Just Bloomed

The Question:

"I am thinking about doing wedding flowers full time. I want to purchase flowers from my local wholesaler with a resale #. On the application they want to talk to your bank and have you open a credit account. Is this really necessary?  I really have no need to have credit with them. I will be purchasing the flowers with my debit card when I receive all of the money from the couple and not any earlier. I do not wish to be a regular retail florist with a weekly account. They also want industry references. How would I have those at this point? Anyone else had this kind of problem just starting out?" (submitted by a designer in Baltimore, Maryland)

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The Answers:

“In my experience, when I first started my floral business, opening a credit account wasn't an option until I became a regular customer with the wholesaler. Even when it became an option I chose to pay each order on delivery--flowers add up quickly and it can be scary to get a big floral bill at the end of the month especially when you are still figuring out pricing and expenses. Also, in my experience the industry references weren't necessary if you weren't opening a store credit account, but I'm sure if you explained to them that you are just starting your business and would like to pay each order with your debit card they will be more than happy to take you on as customer! Good luck!

-Elisabeth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)

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“I ran into that a few times when I was starting out. At a couple of places I just left that part of the application blank and they never asked any questions. At other places I just gave them a card to keep on file and it seemed fine. As far as references go, once you’ve set up a wholesale account with one person, you can use them as a reference for all the others.  I would also just try explaining to them that you are new to the industry. You can give them personal references, but tell them you do not have any industry references yet.”

-Sarah Winward (Honey of a Thousand Flowers)

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“My wholesalers allow 3 different payment options, COD cash on delivery, a line of credit or automated billing on a corporate card. All of these methods do require establishing an account. But this is something you will want to do because establishing credit is an absolute must for a successful business. Just think if you had that already established filling out these forms would be a simple matter, in essence this will just make it easier the next time you find another wholesaler or resource you want to have an account with. Having an account or line of credit is much simpler and you may want to take advantage of this option. Each wedding usually takes several shipments or orders to get all the product safely to your design space. I can't remember a single order that we have ever received that was perfect. Therefore every invoice from the wholesaler needs to be adjusted as we are always sending things back for credit or ordering more. I think it’s cleaner on the books to rectify the weeks purchasing and then pay off the bills. One of my wholesalers is terrible about giving credits so I never let them bill my card until I verify that the final total on the invoices is approved by me. In the past I paid them via credit card prior to the flowers arriving at my door, and when I needed my credits it was much harder to get my money back, and it was always a situation of who owed who at the end of the week. Therefore I would not encourage you to pay in advance of receiving your shipment as there will most certainly be returns or substitutions.  Once the adjustments have been made, you can pay the invoice off in full.

It has been 20 years since I applied for my first account but I am certain my personal credit was used to establish the account. 20 years later when I open a new account I still have to give them my banking information. I certainly can’t expect them to give me an account or credit without them verifying my credit. It truly is a simple matter once you make the leap. I guess its just that first time that feels a bit scary!!!”

-Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

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Thanks Holly, Sarah and Elisabeth…love you guys for being so generous with your thoughts!

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On a personal note (because I like you to know my heart), I’m moving into a new season of life…my first child moves to college today. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord for the privilege of parenting a child who grew into a man I respect so deeply.

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landon at the palace june 2012 601744_10150958029338130_687318261_n

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So go on
Just go on
There's still so many things
I want to say to you
But go on
Just go on
We're bound by blood and love
From the moment that we start

-Jack Johnson

Love you, Landon!

5 comments:

Kelly @ 3 Leaf said...

Hang in there Amy! I can't imagine the emotions you are experiencing this week. I can tell what an awesome mom you are through your blog and how much you love your boys. Prayers for strength and peace in your new chapter...

Laurie (Fleurie) said...

Amy, congratulations on this new chapter of your life. I'm sure you are so proud of him.

Katie Pollard said...

This is great advice for young designers like me who hardly know where to start with the business end of things. Thanks!

Jenny N said...

Best of luck to Landon!! And to you;)

Mimi said...

Congratulations Amy! I'm sure you gave Landon a great foundation which he'll never forget. I nearly cried everyday the year before my son went off to college. Must have been the hormones. In the same year I had one going off to college, one starting high school and a 9 month old. I kept thinking there was so much more I wanted to teach him. But I believe that they have to figure out somethings on their own. But when in doubt, they tend to call momma if there's a strong bound there. Don't worry, God has him.