Ever wonder why Pro Flowers, 1800 Flowers,  and FTD.com are so much cheaper than ordering from your local florist like Beautiful Blooms by Jen? Floristdetective.com does a great job explaining the difference below.

 

What is Order Gathering?

 

 

 

The term ‘order gatherer’ was coined several years ago to describe floral service marketers, both real and virtual, that aggressively promote the sale of flower arrangements and related gifts which they intend to broker to local florists for fulfillment, primarily via affiliations with national florist wire services.

 

 

 

Why Local Florists Oppose Most Forms of Order Gathering

 

 

 

Real local florists’ concerns about some of the order gatherers’ commonly used advertising practices occur on several counts including:

 

  • the use of misleading ad titles and text that confuse consumers by featuring specific city names – when the order gatherers do not operate local flower shops that directly service the locations and where their sites or print ads fail to clearly inform consumers as to how these orders are ‘serviced.’
  • the use of city-specific website pages with text crafted to confuse consumers by targeting city names – when the order gatherers do not operate local flower shops in the vicinity and fail to clearly explain how they ‘service’ these areas.
  • the use of the phrase ‘we delivery to’ when the brokers only ‘relay to’ or ‘forward to’ local florists for fulfillment, implying a service which they do not provide.
  • the failure to itemize and explain all fees to consumers, making price comparisons difficult.
  • the fraudulent claiming of ‘free delivery.’
  • the failure to inform consumers that delivery charges will be deducted from the value of dollars sent to local florists.

 

 

 

Once consumers have placed their orders, additional internal network issues come into play, including:

 

  • the failure of some affiliates to properly forward all required fees, especially those labeled ”delivery charges’, to the actual florists that deliver the products.
  • the cloaking of transferred orders to local florists behind real florist business names and/or master accounts of national wire services. The Florist Detectives believe that cloaking the origination of orders has helped hide deceptive marketing practices, the use of false location information and the skimming of order values; which in turn has prevented the information from being exposed to consumers, state and federal regulatory agencies, and the wire services themselves.
  • the wire services’ payment of bounties – rebates – in dollar amounts that exceed their commissions earned from these orders, to subsidize the affiliate marketing schemes on a grand scale. These rebates, rumored to be as high as $8.00 USD per order, provide additional funds for order gatherers to increase their range and saturation of marketing; overshadowing the efforts of local florists that play by the wire services’ own rules to member florists.

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Believe Consumers Are Not Well Served

 

 

 

When a gatherer/broker accepts your order over the web or via a Yellow Page ad, the company can provide little guarantee that your selection will be filled exactly ‘as sold’ if it is being transferred to a local florist for fulfillment. Many sites feature licensed wire service images and only hope that they can find a local affiliate that has the item, or something close to it, in current inventory.

 

 

 

The gatherers don’t truly know if the amount charged the consumer is adequate to meet the customary price of the local flower shop – including delivery charges – since they are simply brokering the order.

 

 

 

Consumer may have chosen a flower arrangement based on the vase displayed or a specific flower type featured, yet many orders are transferred to local florists with vague descriptions and/or instructions stating ‘fill as similar as possible’ – leaving both a disappointed sender and recipient.

 

 

 

The average ‘service fee’ of $11.00 USD, a privilege fee charged just for forwarding orders to local florists, boosts the cost to consumers, giving the appearance that florist-delivered flowers are higher priced than they need be.

 

 

 

We spotted an interesting blog entry about a Valentine’s Day flower shopping experience that highlighted some common misunderstandings by consumers regarding the level of control of inventory and price charged by national order gatherers, in this case FTD.com. A wise Butler, PA florist offered what is in our opinion a great explanation as to why consumers are better off with a local florist and the likely reasons why the order could not be fulfilled by FTD.com via its affiliate florist network.

 

 

 

To further make the point, we also recommend reading this consumer’s comparisson between 1-800-Flowers.com and his local florist as well as an explanation of how FTD.Com For Flowers Ruined My Weekend by Jupiter Media CEO, Alan Meckler.

 

Call 419-517-8821 to order your flowers directly from Beautiful Blooms by Jen so you know exactly what you’re getting! Or feel free to order online at Beautifulbloomsbyjen.com where everything is itemized so you know exactly how much everything costs and everything you spend goes right into your flower arrangement.

 

Don’t get caught by this-  When googling florist in Detroit this is what came up:

These are the reactions that make our job amazing! Michelle started crying because she was so happy when I walked in with her flowers!

She was so excited she had Sarah take a picture of us together!

They turned out so fabulous! By far one of my favorite weddings of the year!

Check out more pictures of this gorgeous wedding at our wedding website!

Flowers by Beautiful Blooms by Jen
Photography by Sarah J Photography
Ceremony Location: Toledo Botanical Gardens
Reception Location: Central Park West

Orange alstro and roses.

Orange dahlias and orchids.

Orange pin-cushion protea.

Blue delphinium, red roses and orange orchids.

Aren’t these red orchids super fun?

Orange miniature calla lilies and spray roses.

Loving the all orange wedding and the blue, red and orange weddings this weekend! Totally have me thinking fall! Can’t wait to show everyone our designs!

      So this is my first blog with BBBJ and I thought I’d address something that I’ve heard a lot of stories about over the past year.  We’re all aware that almost everyone has been affected by the struggling economy and having been in the floral industry for the last 8 years I have witnessed the swing from high-priced fantasy weddings to more conservative, budget-friendly weddings.  The one aspect of this turn of events that really frightens me though is this horror stories I hear from Brides and friends….
     Recently a friend of mine from Pennsylvania told me that she, like many Brides, was extremely conscious of her wedding budget throughout the planning process.  She and her fiancé were responsible for the entire wedding budget and although she wanted to have her dream wedding, she also had to keep in mind how much she could afford to spend.  She tried to keep costs down wherever she could, and that included flowers.  She met with several florists in her hometown for consultations and called me for some advice, she was torn because one florist would provide her with her “dream” wedding but would be outside of her $2000.00 budget.  However, another florist claimed to be able to pull off the same look of hydrangeas, roses and calla lilies for almost half the cost.  I warned her that the cut in cost of flowers would most likely result in a cut in the end product.  She decided to go with the “budget-friendly” florist as opposed to the florist who could guarantee her the wedding she wanted.  The day of the wedding arrived and so did the bouquets that had no hydrangeas but carnations and centerpieces that were not the grand show the Bride expected.  She told me later that she was so let down when she walked into the reception and found that it wasn’t at all what she had been envisioning.
    I hear these stories quite frequently and its always disheartening.  I want to shake these brides and explain that you deserve better than that on your wedding day!  I know how much other people’s advice is worth but for you budget-conscious brides out there, you might find something here to think about:
    
      1. Clearly state your budget for flowers to your florist at the very first consultation, preferably the minute you sit down with them, so that they have a marker for your bottom-line.  Don’t be ashamed if you can only afford $500 for flowers, a good florist should be able to create your vision, even if it’s not an exact replica.
             

      2. Decide if there is any leeway in your budget, if the difference between your dream wedding and your perfect budget is a couple hundred dollars, decided whether or not the impact of a beautiful ceremony, reception, etc. is important to you.  Some brides realize that all it costs to achieve beautiful wedding flowers is $200-$300 more and they are willing to spend it, so be open to that possibility. 
           3.  Have options!  Yes, peonies, calla lilies, and gardenias are your favorite.  They’re also expensive.  Do some research of flowers (www.sierraflowerfinder.com is a great resource for flower varieties) so that you can offer your florist a variety of flowers to choose from and stay within your budget easier.  For example, you’re a fan of peonies; well dahlias are a good substitute as well as some new versions of roses.  Flower growers have come a long way and are offering a number of flowers in new breeds and colors. 
           4. Keep your florist informed.  When Jen and I send out quotes, we frequently give the bride some options for bouquets as far as pricing and what goes into the bouquet.  If you like option 1 for the bouquet but prefer the price of option 3, let us know, we’ll figure out a way to make it work.  The worst is when a bride calls and says “I’m going with someone else because you were too expensive.”  If a bride just tells us that the initial quote was too much, we can usually find a way to bring things down.
       
      5. Be careful when comparing apples to apples.  Many times brides will take a quote from one florist to another florist and ask for a comparison.  Frankly, most florists should run about the same for the same flowers seeing as how we all buy from the same wholesalers and growers.  Unless the shop is a “big-box” store who buys flowers by the thousands, then price comparisons should be the same.  Unfortunately, these “second shop” florists will take the estimate from the original florist and the bride’s budget and find a way to come in under the original quote.  Like my friend from the story above, this usually means substituting a pricier flower for a cheap one.  They may also cut the size of arrangements to stay within your budget.  Just make sure that what you’re getting is exactly what you want.  If your quote from the original florist is for hydrangea, roses and calla lilies, make sure that the new “budget-friendly” quote is also for hydrangeas, roses and calla lilies, and not carnations, daisies, and spray roses.
      6. Choose the florist that’s right for you.  Yes, all this advice can help but in the end it all comes down to your gut-feeling.  They tell you when you try on the right dress, “you’ll just know.”  The same should apply to every other aspect of your wedding.  If florist A is the one you just know you have to have, but florist B gave you a cheaper quote.  Call florist A and explain, hopefully they’ll work with you and provide you with the gorgeous day you’ve been dreaming of.
      

Looking forward to helping create your perfect wedding in your perfect budget Call 419-367-0588 or email beautifulbloomsbyjen@yahoo.com to schedule your free consultation!

                                                                     -Meghan
 

So it is totally weird being in the same shoes as my brides now! You’d think after designing flowers for so many years I would know exactly what I would want to have for my own wedding! The truth is I have been dreaming for years but I change my mind practically ever weekend as I design weddings for my brides!  I had no idea this was so difficult and I am totally understanding what my brides have gone through and are going through during their wedding planning process. I am excited because I think this is going to make me an even better wedding designer!

I believe I have finally chosen a color scheme because my fiance’s one request was that blue be somewhere in the wedding.  We’re going to go with royal blue bridesmaid’s dresses with all white and shades of pink flowers. I have kind of started the shopping process…

Here are some floral pictures that are inspiring me. For as modern and fun as I like to get with weddings that I am hired for, I was very surprised at how traditional the things I’m picking out for my wedding are. Kinda crazy huh? I love the fun textures though! Let me know what you think.

Loving our new clarinet vases and those pin cushion protea!

One of our tables.

Fun boutonnieres, corsages and hairpieces!

A fun flower girl basket.

Whites and light pinks.

We had so much fun today at the Wedding Dreams Bridal Show. So many of our friends were there too! I hope all the brides and grooms had fun wandering around and meeting everyone. Please email me at beautifulbloomsbyjen@yahoo.com or call 419-367-0588 to schedule a free consultation.

Visit Beautifulbloomsbyjen.com for more information!