Flower shops: Buy existing or start from scratch?
The dream of having your own flower shop is an amazing one to have! I wish I would get a quarter for every time someone has said to me, “I’ve always wanted to own a shop.” So, if this is something that you want and can’t stop thinking about — go for it, but test it out first. I’m here to give you a few helpful steps to make this process a little less overwhelming for you!
There are SO many different steps and directions you can go with making this dream a reality! For me, it was buying an already existing shop. You don’t have to go this route, though, you can start one from the ground up. Next are my thoughts on both.
If you are a fairly new floral designer or do not have any experience in this area (like me), buying would be very beneficial. The lady I bought Accents (that's the name of my flower shop) from taught me everything at first and stayed on with me a year to help. She owned Accents for 29 years before me, so there it was a nice established shop. We do flowers for all occasions with funerals being one of the most profitable events. If you decide to buy a shop and your shop is known for doing funerals then be prepared to do funeral flowers. Buying something already established makes it easier in the sense that many choices have been made for you because what the shop has always offered can continue. You need to decide if that works for you, though. If you can’t stand doing funeral work or whatever it might be, then you might want to look into the option of starting up a shop so that it’s custom to you and what you want to offer. This is where having a well thought out business model comes into play! Take the time to think about your shop's business model and stick to that. It will help you not be a stressed out mess! When you are dealing with the public, it’s a whole new ball game where saying ‘yes’ to everything will exhaust you and make you want to run away. I do not want that for you because it can be so rewarding owning a shop!
Starting from scratch
To me, this is the way to go if you already know your way around the flower world (you know where to order your flowers from, how to care for them and arrange them, etc.). Doing wedding florals is a great background to have to make a smooth transition into owning a shop. Also, if you already have a really strong business brand, that will help you even more when starting a shop from scratch. Transitioning from the brand that was formerly Accents before I bought it to the current Accents was something I wouldn’t want any of you to have to go through. If you go the route of starting from scratch, you can set it up the way you want and won’t have that confusing transition I did. There will be some really tough times at first — starting up anything is tricky. But going through that hard season will be a complete blessing in disguise. If you can just keep going back to that ‘why’ when you first had the thought of owning your own shop, you will make it! It’s going to be a crazy, amazing ride but would you want it any other way?
A few other little tips
- Try it out first: Job shadowing, interning or even renting a space at first to test it out before you jump fully in can provide great insights.
- Think of your location: Who are the people living around your shop and what do they want to spend their money on? This will help determine what you sell.
- Be overly organized & prepared: With a detailed business plan, your goals list on a timeline, and a financial breakdown (monthly if possible), you'll be off to a great start.
- Hire a financial advisor: A financial advisor, accountant, and attorney will all help if you can afford them. Don’t try to do it all yourself.
- Find a friend: Connect with one person that understands what you will be going through. It helps to have someone to solve problems, bounce ideas off, and just be there for you to celebrate alongside.