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Advice When Sending Flowers

Sending flowers can be very confusing in todays online world.

When I first started in the floristry business over 25 years ago there was no internet or websites to tempt you, if you wanted to buy a floral gift you simply visited your local florist and trusted them to either execute your order themselves or, if the recipient wasn't local, to relay your order to a trusted fellow florist on your behalf.

Today things are very different! The internet is over run with what are known in the trade as "order gatherers". Their business is to tempt the flower buying public to place orders with them through their websites by displaying "too good to be true" offers or unrealistic product images. It is worth noting that many of these order gathering sites have absolutely no flowers in stock, they have little or no product knowledge and are there simply to gather your order and collect your money at any cost. Sometimes these orders will be passed to a real florist, usually by the time the florist gets it the order gatherer has deducted a huge commission and the product received appears very poor value for money. Sometimes the flowers will be sent from a factory outlet and delivered by post or courier. Generally these flowers are of below average quality and poor value. By the time the recipient gets them they have not suprisingly poorly survived their postal journey. The worst of these order gatherers are those that take your money with no intention of delivering anything. Be very wary of websites that do not show a postal address and be particular dubious if there are no telephone contact details on their website. The internet is swamped with stories about people who have lost their money to these order gatherers and have no means of recourse.

Sadly even some of the recognised brand names in the industry like Interflora are not what they used to be. They are no longer organisations that are run by the florists and work for both the florist and the consumer to offer a quality relay network but are simply there to gather orders and deduct huge commissions before passing the order to a real florist at a discounted price. Some of these brands will take as much as 35% of the order value before a single stem is selected for your order. Most of these websites show unrealistic, studio enhance product images which bear little or no resemblance to the flowers you receive and you are very likely to be disappointed with your purchase. It is always a good idea to insist on seeing examples of a florists own work, it is not advisable to rely on studio enhanced, stock product images as a true representation of what is offered for sale at the price shown.

As a skilled and experienced florist all these practices sadden me! Flower sending to me is as much about the personal gesture as it is about the product itself. Flowers should be selected to portray an emotion or occasion they should not be box packed by a machine in a factory and delivered by post. The delivery process is a very important factor and should in my opinion be done personally by someone who has a product knowledge and who is capable of conveying that knowledge to the recipient on delivery.

If you want to send flowers and ensure a quality product and service my advice would be to deal directly with a local, real, independent, bricks and mortar florist. If you know a florist in the area you want to send flowers to you will get far better value for money and quality of service if you deal with them directly. If you've never used that florist before or you've found them online give them a call before placing your order. Any reputable florist will be pleased to offer suitable advice on stock availability for the occasion you'd like to send for. Don't be fooled by a website that appears to be a real florist by it's name, the order gatherers have been known to give themselves very intimate names, "Auntie Mauds Country Florist" could turn out to be anyone sitting at a computer taking orders for products they have no knowledge of, a nonexistent stock of flowers and uncrupulously charging huge commissions for a poor service.

For quality flowers by real florists remember the simple rules:

ALWAYS DEAL DIRECTLY WITH A BRICKS AND MORTAR FLORIST IN THE AREA YOU WANT TO SEND TO.

IF YOU’VE NEVER USED THE FLORIST BEFORE - GIVE THEM A CALL FIRST - IF THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT FLOWERS THEY ARE NOT A REAL FLORIST. 

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