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10 Ways to Increase Sales with Silk Flowers – Part 1

Marketing a florist shop is a challenge.  There is tons of competition from small boutiques, with a few corporate giants thrown in, crowding out many florists. Successful florist shops have active SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for global presence as well as print ads, coupon mailers and local association connections to create local interest.  The question is: When everyone has access to the same flowers, candy, fruit, plants and gift baskets, how do you set yourself apart?

Expand your line, reduce waste and increase profits with silk flowers!  In the first installment of this two part countdown, we explore using artificial flowers to improve your window displays and appeal to new audiences.  Here is what we learned…

Natural looking silk flowers are an easy way to design better window displays and Realtors love them for home staging.

Natural looking silk flower arrangements are an easy way to design better window displays and Realtors love them for home staging.

 

 10.   Window Display Optimization

Location is still the #1 way a florist shop is recognized and your window displays is the first, and often last, impression your store gets to make.  Many florists spend months or years coming up with their featured designs; some even go as far as to hire specialized floral designers.  This is an awful lot of work and expense for a product that withers in a matter of days.  Try using artificial silk flowers for these displays and prototypes.  Not only are the stems reusable if you don’t like the design, but customers will be able to see a physical sample of the arrangement you spent so much to produce, months or years after the live floral version would have been trashed.

Less talked about, but every bit as important, is how much silk flowers and plants can add to a window display.  When flowers last months or years, spending time designing off-the-wall, eye-catching displays is less daunting and more affordable. Even if you do not plan on selling artificial flowers or arrangements to your clients, faux silks have a huge upside for front window displays and bouquet design samples.

9.       Expand your shipping area

Appealing to a local audience is extremely important, but at the same time there is no reason to limit yourself to customers in driving distance of your shop.  The larger e-florist chains contract out to local florists for most jobs because it is easier to pay someone else to put together arrangements than to work out how to get fresh flowers to long distance customers.

Artificial flowers are a great way to push your local business to a national or international stage.  Marketing avenues that were previously closed to you now become a major income stream.  Websites like Etsy, Ebay, Amazon and Overstock are geared toward smaller vendors with items that keep and ship well.  The more artistic and unique an item is, the better it generally sells.  Plus, the photos you upload are only design templates, you can easily arrange more as orders arrive.

Being in the floral industry, we have all seen clients try to put together bouquets on their own.  While customers may know what they like, they have no idea how to make it.  You have the expertise, design eye and market knowledge to know what is attractive to your clients.  Why waste skills you have developed over the years by limiting yourself to fresh cut flowers?

A bountiful offering in your floral showroom is the way to go - showcase your selection of silk sprays in an organized manner.

Showcase your florals and selection of silk sprays in an organized manner.

8.       Silk Flower Sprays

In the same way that you accompany cut flower bouquets with individual flowers or flower bunches, silk flowers are a great adder product to artificial arrangements.  There can be a significantly higher perceived value to individual flowers.  The stems are generally longer, with retail pricing usually around $4-$10 each and dozens retailing for $25-$60. Using vertical racks to show the silk sprays helps to improve the perception that your shop stocks high volumes of flowers and improves the perception of freshness.

Silk stems and sprays attract a DIY clientele that often lacks the design sense to put together items they are happy with.  The most popular styles are Gerber Daisies, Roses, Iris and Lilies; All items where a bunch of 12 can be thrown into a vase and still look attractive.  Because of the lower individual price points of stems and sprays, you will find customers have a tendency to over purchase to ensure they have enough to finish the job.

7.       “How To” Videos and Clinics

Getting involved in community and being recognized is a critical factor in local marketing.  Community Centers, Big Box Stores and Trade Associations are always looking for exciting new products to feature, drawing attention to their own organization.  Faux Silk Flower “How To” videos and seminars are a great way to get your foot in the door and your face in the community, teaching potential clients about your company and your products while avoiding the negativity and cost of sales driven trade show booths.

Watching the creation and design of a silk flower arrangement is very popular, especially with the higher end demographics florists’ target market.  These shows and videos also have the positive impact of getting your clients interested in purchasing components instead of completed arrangements.  While television and print continue to shrink, free online resources like youtube gain clout.  With creativity and a little personality, “how to” videos put a name and face on your floral shop.

Visit our local floral showroom in Solana Beach!

Make yourself available to the local public. Set up a showroom to welcome them!

6.       Overcoming the Silk Stigma

No matter the quality of the silk flower stems and arrangements, the terms “silk flowers” or “artificial plants” have a black eye that shuts down sales before the client gets a chance to look at your designs. When marketing silk florals, it is better to use terms like “Replica Flowers” or “Fabricated Arrangements”, emphasizing the extreme realism, longevity and care free nature of the silks.

The stigma behind silk flowers disappears almost immediately when clients set eyes on a good design.  The manufacturing materials and techniques available today allow the creation of faux flowers that don’t just mimic real stems, but replicate them.  Many of the currently available silks seem real to the eye and even to the touch.  The key here is to get the product in front of the customer and let the flowers sell themselves.

Keep an eye out for the second half of our list, coming soon!

-Hooks and Lattice has been a family owned and operated silk flower manufacturer and importer since 1969.  If you have any questions or are interested in getting an estimate for your project, give us a call at 888-320-0626, visit us online at www.artificialplantsunlimited.com or visit our showroom space at 6056 Corte Del Cedro, carlsbad, CA 92011

How to Add Curb Appeal with Outdoor Planters

Group outdoor planters together for a welcoming burst of color on the deck or patio.

Group outdoor planters together for a welcoming burst of color on the deck or patio.

Admit it: your house might not be the dumpiest on the street, but it could probably use a little pick-me-up. It doesn’t take much to spruce up your house and add a little extra curb appeal, especially through container gardening. Outdoor planters are a fantastic and easy way to add a little extra oomph and increase your home’s curb appeal.

Flank front entrances symmetrically with vinyl planters for a curb appeal knockout!

Flank front entrances symmetrically with vinyl planters for a curb appeal knockout!

Entryway

The front door can speak volumes about a house – it’s where visitors get their first impression of your home and the people inside. Outdoor planters can add a touch of life to the entryway to make your home more inviting and warm. When decorating around the front door, symmetry is key. Add a tall planter box, like the Doral Terra Cotta Half Round Planter, to either side of your front door with bright flowers or tall leafy plants. Line the walkway to your front door with smaller planter boxes in coordinating plants and flowers. A great option is the neutral but stylish Palo Alto Redwood Planter. Choose plants that fit with the overall style and feel of your home, such as papyrus for a modern home or impatiens for a more traditional style.

Driveway

An often forgotten part of the home, the driveway and garage doors have a huge impact on curb appeal. Not only is the driveway one of the largest parts of a home’s outdoor space, but it is virtually a blank canvas full of possibility. To spice up an often bland area, place outdoor planters between the garage doors. Tall planters, such as this Tall Tapered Patio Planter, can add height to a space and break up the monotony of multiple garage doors. Add plants such as verbena or alyssum for a pop of energy-just make sure the planters are far enough away from the garage door that you won’t hit them with your car! To define the driveway with more than just concrete, place large planter pots along the edges. For these planters, it is better to opt for lower plants like coleus or white licorice that will define the space but still allow you to see into the front yard and entryway.

entrance-planters

Deck

Just because a deck might be on the backside of the house doesn’t mean it can escape a curb appeal improvement. Instead of allowing your deck to turn into a yard furniture wasteland, add some large planter boxes. The color and life will work wonders on the space and create a more defined outdoor entertaining area. A grouping of large planter pots full of coordinating plants is an easy way to add a sense of style and personality to your deck.

Low planter boxes around the edge of the deck set off the area but still allow view into the backyard and surrounding areas. A great option is the versatile Hampton deck planter, which looks great on its own or lined with others.

Ready to start your own container garden?

Shop outdoor planters now for the best selection of the season!

Photo Courtesy Brenda B.

Hanging Year Round Containers

Photo Courtesy Brenda B.

Year-Round Gardening Tip: Rotate flowers throughout seasons for uninterrupted splashes of color!
Photo: Brenda B.

There is something about a hanging basket that is simply magical – the overflowing branches, the bright flowers, and the charming containers make for a perfect combination and a great addition to a yard or garden oasis. Add some height and pizazz to your home with beautiful hanging baskets in year round containers. You don’t need a lot of space to instantly increase your curb appeal and green thumb credentials.

Find the Best Basket

Photo Courtesy Brian W.

12 inch Hanging Baskets are the perfect size for this small shed. The decorative wall brackets are a nice touch!
Photo: Brian W.

Start at the beginning by picking the right basket. Outdoor hanging baskets come in lots of styles. An important factor is the size. A too-small basket means watering more often and a too-big basket can get heavy. For beginners, opt for a medium sized basket that will allow room for your plants to grow and also retain moisture. The biggest piece of the basket puzzle is picking the right liner. This English Garden Flat Steel Hanging Basket comes with a coconut coir liner to keep plants moist and promote lush growth. Other liner options include burlap or moss. For a truly unique look, combine the liner with the basket for a show stopping moss planter, like this Ashton Moss Vine Hanging Basket.

Pick the Perfect Plants

Now that you have your year round containers, what should you put in them? Hanging baskets can be used year round with a variety of plants. For a longer lasting look, go for hardy classics like pansies or cyclamen. Otherwise, you can rotate through flowers with the seasons or choose plants that will bloom during your favorite part of the year. Popular spring and summer options are fuchsias, geraniums, and trailing lobelia. In the fall and winter, viola ochre and other solanum plants are great choices. For a colorful look year round, go for an evergreen plant like buxus or ivy.

Photo: Darrell N

This lamppost and 22-inch hanging flower basket combination are truly a curb appeal home run! Brackets are custom-made for the perfect fit!
Photo: Darrell N

A typical outdoor hanging basket features trailing plants, mid-level plants, and tall plants. Pick a few blooms for each section so you don’t overwhelm yourself or your planter. Match the look of your plants to the style of your hanging basket. Earthy colors and textures are a great compliment to a moss planter.

Put It All Together

Dressing up a boring wall is easy with a decorative scroll bracket and a hanging basket with trailing vines.

Dressing up a boring wall is easy with a decorative scroll bracket and a hanging basket with trailing vines!

Once everything is in place, you are ready to plant your hanging basket. Fill your basket half full of potting soil and mix in a quarter cup fertilizer. This ensures your plants have nutrients even after the water drips out. Press the base layer of soil to create a solid foundation for your plants. If using a deeper basket like the classic Scalloped French Wire Basket, make sure your plants have enough room to grow roots. To maximize space, place hanging plants around the outside of the container, then work your way towards the middle with the taller plants. After the quick and simple process is complete, your outdoor hanging basket is ready to be hung anywhere around the yard and enjoyed all year long!

Upgrade Window Boxes with Decorative Corbels

XL Hampton Premier PVC Window Box

XL Hampton Premier PVC Window Box with Elegant Faux Brackets attached. Note: Decorative faux brackets are attached using PVC adhesive.

Window boxes bring a burst of color and personality to any home or garden. They are a great feature on their own, but to kick it up a notch, why not add a decorative corbel or two? Corbels are faux brackets placed underneath the window box to create the look of a more supportive planter. They don’t necessarily serve an architectural purpose, but they add something special to your window planter. Here are the top 3 reasons to upgrade your window boxes with decorative brackets.

Corbels Add Style

Decorative Corbel

Decorative corbels are lightweight, so there’s no need to worry or account for that when adding them to your window boxes.

Corbels give window planters an extra boost of style. They can transform something ordinary into something extraordinary with just a little bit of wood. The Elegant Standard Faux Bracket adds an extra dose of class and sophistication and will instantly increase your curb appeal. Decorative corbels come in styles to match virtually any window box, such as the versatile Classic Bracket. Use two corbels for smaller window boxes and up to three or four for larger boxes-corbels are easy to customize and create a unique look to match your home or garden.

Corbels Increase Property Value

Aside from aesthetic qualities, corbels can add money to your home as well. The completed window planter look attracts homebuyers and adds desirable architectural detail to your home, both of which can add to your bottom line. Corbels also add a little something extra to your home and make your window box look like it was built for the house, instead of being a recent addition. They bring together classic details in a modern style for the best of both worlds.

Coronado Composite Window Box

Elegant faux brackets transform this traditional Coronado Composite Window Box into smooth and sophisticated.

 Corbels are Easy to Install

A corbel may look like a complicated piece, but they are very simple to install. The Laguna Premier Window Box comes with an “easy up” mounting system that makes installation a breeze through an integrated mounting system. The Solera Simple Flower Box features a direct mount system, so all it takes is a few simple screws for window box success. Corbels can connect directly to a window box, making for seamless installation and ease in removing the window box for replanting. All it takes is just a few more minutes for an entirely new look on your window box and home facade.

This small piece may seem like a small addition to your window box, but the results are definitely noticeable and worthwhile. For an extra boost of style, value, and sophistication, you can’t go wrong with window box corbels.

Decorate your Home with Beautiful Spring Wreaths

Spring is just around the corner and after a long, cold winter, there is nothing that sounds or feels better than welcoming its warmth and cheerfulness into our homes and hearts. That is particularly true in the beginning of the season, when pretty much everything around us looks dull and still reminds us of winter, as under or above the muddy ground, most plants are just waking up from their lengthy sleep.

But, How?

The Rustic Rose Wreath is a favorite for kitchen doors and Mother's Day gifts.

The Rustic Rose Wreath is a favorite for kitchen doors and Mother’s Day gifts.

If you are wondering what could help you make your home look warmer and full of life, part of the answer is spring wreaths. There is hardly anything as cute and lively as a beautiful wreath embellishing the walls or front door of your home in spring. Flower wreaths evoke this season, and remind us in the cloudiest of afternoons that sunnier days are just around the corner.

Wreaths are often overlooked when it comes to decorating our homes, one of the reasons being that people sometimes think that they will last for only a few days and that afterwards they will need to get rid of them and replace them. Well, for those of you that think so, you should know that many types of wreaths, including dried floral wreaths can last for years – and therefore be reused. You can keep them up for as long as you like and, after taking them down, you can simply store them somewhere dry until next year, or whenever you feel like using them again.

Transport yourself to Provincial France with a dried lavender wreath. Breath deeply and relax into the sweet scent of lavender fields every time your front door opens.

Transport yourself to Provincial France with a dried lavender wreath. Breath deeply and relax into the sweet scent of lavender fields every time your front door opens (also repels insects).

Styles

Traditionally, wreaths were made of plants – herbs and flowers, delighting us with their colors and smell. Nowadays, people also make them from fabrics, plastic, or anything else that looks colorful and cheerful enough. There are countless styles of wreaths that you can get or make for your home – all you need to do is choose one of the designs that you like best, and go for it.

Placement

Although usually used as outdoor décor, wreaths are becoming more and more used as indoor décor as well. Their freshness, as well as their expressive combinations of colors makes them easy to like and an increasingly preferred method of filling empty spaces in houses everywhere. These year-round wreaths can be used anywhere, from terrace to kitchen or even living room.

For a modern spring wreath, try this succulent garden decoration. Remember - Echeveria can be transplanted and are drought tolerant plants.

For a modern spring wreath, try this succulent garden decoration. Remember – Echeveria can be transplanted and are drought tolerant plants.

Instant Curb Appeal with Spring Wreaths

Spring wreaths look delightful in a variety of settings and are an easy way to add curb appeal without breaking the bank. They are inexpensive, and their apparent simplicity combined with their beauty probably explains why they are liked the way they are by people everywhere.   So, next time you’re thinking about making a small change to your home, consider using spring wreaths.

Our Favorite Plants for Terrariums

The venus fly trap grows well in terrariums, like this Crosswinds tabletop terrarium. Image from Exotic Plants.

The venus fly trap grows well in a tabletop terrarium. Image from Exotic Plants.

Terrariums are all the rage. Pinterest is full of the most popular and clever combinations in an endless assortment of clear glass containers, ranging from re-purposed jars to the newest in commercially-available designs. Big or small, everybody loves a terrarium! Choosing the best plants for terrariums can be tricky for a first time indoor gardener, but those species that thrive in containers have a few common features, narrowing your choices a little.

Small Size: Selecting miniature plants for terrariums may seem like a no-brainer, but because many greenhouse plants flower or appear fully grown long before they’ve reached their full potential, it’s important to understand the size of that plant you’re considering before purchasing it. Terrariums can last many years if properly sized plants are chosen, but if the second-season growth of one of your plants is explosive, a small terrarium will be overwhelmed.

Humidity Tolerance: Terrariums are often very humid places because air circulation is poor in these mostly-closed vessels. Although a variety of semi-aquatic and rainforest plants prefer these conditions, other plants, like desert cacti, can’t handle this weather inside a terrarium over the long-term. Before you take that new plant home, make sure it loves humidity, or else start a dish garden for it and some friends that need a more arid environment.

Air plants are popular choices for hanging terrariums.

Air plants are popular choices for hanging terrariums.

Thermostat-Friendly: Even though most plants will grow at room temperature, not all will be at their best. Many species require very cold or very hot spells to induce dormancy or flowering. Without completing their natural cycles, these plants will slowly decline, forcing you to tear your terrarium apart to replace them sooner than their companions. If your initial selections can’t flower or rest at room temperature, you should keep shopping.

Shade Lovers: Unless you intend to artificially light your new terrarium with very bright florescent bulbs, the chances are that your plants will have to manage under low lighting conditions. Terrariums don’t do well directly in windows, all that glass can magnify ultraviolet rays and cook your plants! Lots of plants thrive in lower lighting conditions, just make sure to purposefully choose the ones that don’t need a daily sun bath.

Low Care: Some plants are prima donnas, demanding extra special care and purified water in small doses each day. One of the best things about terrariums is their ability to be somewhat self-sufficient – adding needy plants is right out. Forget the mini roses, the tiny orchids or anything else that needs to be pampered and stick with hardy, tough plants that complement your terrarium’s overall design.

With these factors in mind, here are some of our favorite terrarium plants:

Plants for Terrariums
Common Name Scientific Name
Rosary Vine Ceropegia woodii
Spider Plant Chlorophytum comosum
Earth Star Cryptanthus bivittatus
Venus Flytrap Dionaea muscipula
Gold Dust Dracaena Dracaena godseffiana
Sundew Drosera spp.
Creeping Fig Ficus pumila
Hawthornia Hawthornia spp.
Shamrock Oxalis spp.
Watermelon Peperomia Peperomia sandersii
Dwarf Pomegranate Punica granatum nana
African Violet Saintpaulia ionatha
Strawberry Begonia Saxifraga stolonifera
Irish Moss Selaginella spp.
Airplant Tillandsia stricta