Originally formed in 2011, Real Local Florists began under a different name—Florists for Change. Members were looking for a way to deal with concerns over floral wire services and how they affect the way orders are taken and filled locally. Their goal was to increase exposure and give relevance to the local retail florist. Not long after, they realized that corporate-run wire services weren’t the entire problem. Instead, a voice was needed for the entire floral industry. As a result, in 2014, Florists for Change became Real Local Florists (RLF). Now, this not-for-profit organization works to help local flower shops take control of their market and promote themselves.
Unpaid volunteer florists do the work for RLF. Among their tasks—eliminating and discouraging deceptive order gathering, creating non-brand specific marketing to encourage the use of Real Local Florists members, and providing business education on issues like taxes and financial and legal matters that affect the floral industry. They also share information on trademarks, business entity structure, and florist finances.
One of the main goals of RLF is to improve the value of floral purchases and increase customer confidence in local shops. Advertisements created and paid for by the group show the local florist as the flower expert. In fact, the organization is in the early phases of creating a marketing campaign with its own persona. Through posters, email, and advertisements, “Flora Lee Smart” (florally smart) is designed to help customers make the connection between flowers and local florists. The hope is to expand the concept and create commercials featuring Flora Lee for holidays and special occasions.
Since RLF is about florists helping florists, the organization wants to improve the economics of wire orders, so they are more fair to filling florists as well as sending florists. It also runs a low-cost florist-to-florist direct order system and has created the Sell My Products (SMP) Network that helps florists get website orders from around the country.
Here at Hortica, we’re excited to call Real Local Florists a key partner. In fact, we’re attending the group’s convention and annual meeting from July 31-August 3 in Las Vegas. Our Ken Von Forell is one of the presenters. He’ll share with you some tips on how to protect and enhance your business investment.
For more information about Real Local Florists or to become a member, check out their website at http://florists.reallocalflorists.com. You can also find them on Facebook.