Photo: Shonda Cunningham AIFDFuneral spending is trending down. Funeral home profit margins are down 43 percent since 1999. The floral industry is feeling the pinch with increases in memorials, graveside services, cremations, shortened visitations, please omit and life celebrations, just to name a few. How can you save, maintain or grow your sympathy flower business in the face of the changing traditional market for sympathy flowers? Here are seven ways.
There is good news
Photo: Shonda Cunningham AIFDFor many retail shops, sympathy flowers remain a viable part of daily business. Retail florists capture about a third of sympathy floral purchases but 70 percent of the dollars, dominating the high-end market. And nearly half of all florists are optimistic about overall business this year, according to the Society of American Florists. Flowers still speak when words fail, offering visible emotional support for grieving family and friends. A memorial service without sympathy flowers? It feels sadly bleak and incomplete.
1. Remember to comfort the living with flowers
Photo: Shonda Cunningham AIFDEffective sympathy flowers connect with the emotions of viewers. Too often, we think of sympathy flowers as funeral flowers and lose our creative edge. Flowers help families celebrate the life of a loved one. These expressions of love and respect bring comfort and uplifting spirits by adding beauty and fragrance to a room. Sympathy flowers become a safe conversation for those who are at a loss for words. Sympathy designs are seen by more people than flowers delivered to homes. Take a hard look at the menu of styles you offer. Are your designs changing with the times?
2. Offer traditional designs with a flairWhen it comes to floral trends, the more things change, the more they stay the same. “Sympathy designs today are very similar to the designs sold 30 to 40 years ago,” says Randy Wooten AIFD, PFCI of Douglas, Georgia. “I see designs from the past—gates ajar, Jesus called, broken wheel, empty chair—experiencing a resurgence, though often in an interpretative or updated version.” “I find that design preference depends on age,” says Shonda Cunningham AIFD of Silver Cricket Floral Atelier in Park City, Utah. “Older customers prefer more traditional designs and younger clients are more open to customized or unique designs.”
Photo: Shonda Cunningham AIFD, Design: Thaddeus Servantez AIFDTo grow a successful sympathy business, floral designers must have the ability to express a customer’s love, comfort and grief in innovative and eye-catching ways that are professionally priced. Even in a traditional market, you must offer designs with a creative flair to encourage customers to invest in sympathy flowers. “This is where I think demographics come into play,” says Thaddeus Servantez AIFD of Westminster Flowers in Westminster, Colorado, echoing Shonda’s comments. “My older clients prefer traditional designs with a creative edge. Younger consumers offer us the opportunity to create designs with more artistic flair.”
3. Create a collection for visual impactThe goal of any creative florist is to have their sympathy work noticed first in the long line of floral designs often found in a funeral home setting. Today, viewing hours have decreased to a day followed the next day by the funeral. Sometimes viewing hours and funeral service are the same day. One way to draw attention to your arrangements? Use the same flowers and colors to create a collection positioned together for greater visual impact. The collection in the photo above includes casket spray, an easel-mounted wreath and two table arrangements. The elements can be easily re-arranged and moved to other locations. Flowers in these designs include snapdragons, larkspur, roses and alstroemeria, swordfern and foxtail fern. Sympathy flowers must offer high visual impact to get noticed quickly. Collections help consumers feel funeral flowers are worth the expense.
4. Choose mechanics for speed and ease of designOne long-standing American tradition for funerals is placing flowers on the casket. Fresh flowers stay fresher in a reservoir of water and stability is important since flowers are often transported between services. A casket saddle is a good sturdy mechanic. Along with shorter viewing times, you often have less time for order-taking, design and delivery. Mechanics that make the job faster, easier and more stable in transport are more important than ever. Apply these design tips to your various designs. Attach a floracage or other floral foam cage to an easel or bamboo easel by hanging it from the easel hook and then wiring it into place with a bind wire, florist wire wrapped in floral tape, cable tie or waterproof floral tape. Run a florist wire through the floral foam and around the easel for extra security. [rev_slider alias="sympathy7-1"]
Wire flowers only when necessaryThe old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” applies to flowers. It’s best not to wire flowers unnecessarily because puncturing the flower diminishes its lifespan. If the extra strength of a wire is necessary, our previous blog about How to Wire and Tape Flowers offers some helpful tips.
5. Personalize designs[rev_slider alias="sympathy7-2"] Pink sympathy design: Thaddeus Servantez AIFD Designs that inspire a special memory or life event are emotionally powerful. The retail trend of personalizing funeral flowers continues to grow. Individualized designs can tell a story, share a favorite color or inspire a memory or conversation. These emotionally connect grieving family and friends and remind others of what was special about the person. “Number one, I just feel grateful to get to use my flowers to help these families through this time of transition,” says Thaddeus. Incorporating items that reflect the favorite flowers and colors, hobbies, or occupation of the deceased is a great way to personalize your sympathy flowers.
6. Suggest other options than ‘Please Omit’
Photo: Shonda Cunningham AIFDIn recent years the funeral flower business has diminished in some areas due to ‘please omit,’ changing lifestyles, loss of traditions and donations to charities. The ever-rising number of cremations continues to present a challenge. Often, when consumers feel uncertain about what is appropriate to send to a service, they simply opt out of sending flowers. Suggest instead that flowers be sent to the home or office is often as an alternative. Develop marketing materials that educate your customer on the benefits and guidelines for using flowers to comfort those who have lost loved ones. Visit our sympathy resources page for free photos and information you can use in promotional materials for your floral business.
7. Network with funeral directorsNetwork with funeral directors and take the time to truly listen to their needs, objections and suggestions regarding flowers. “Open communication with local funeral directors is the best resource,” says Thaddeus, “because this allows them to see you as a partner in helping the same customers. This creates better working relationships.” Meet with local morticians regularly to discuss services and gain insight as to how you can better work with them to make flowers an integral part of their funeral services. Be open to their ideas for using flowers to comfort families. Provide funeral directors with the presentation materials they’ll need to inform their customers about your products and services. Create your own consultation book for the funeral director and the bereaved with photos of the variety of personalized arrangements you can create.
A transitional time“As a floral artist, it’s an honor and a privilege to help our customers through this transitional time of grieving and closure by expressing their emotions with flowers,” says Shonda. 57 percent of mortuary science majors are now women in what was once a heavily male-dominated industry. Do you think this will this change that industry’s view on the relevance of sympathy flowers? What suggestions do you have for meeting the challenges of a changing sympathy flower market?
5 outstanding China Adoption Picture Books
Why Books Are ImportantSoon after we adopted our boy Mollie from China, I began to look for books at the library that were about China and also about adoption. Other the lovely book the story plot about Ping, a couple of duck on the Yangtze river who gets lost, I am not able to find much. It worried me that my daughter might grow up without positive books showing adoption, far east, And Chinese culture. So I have been getting a quest which has led me to many wonderful books, probably the most picture books I review here.
These books would be a wonderful gift for any adopted child and are worth purchasing for a home or school library too. your truth is, I think one must always for adoptive parents to be pro active in making sure that their school libraries have good books about China for all children to read. The more all children read books that have positive views of China and Chinese characters and culture, The better the earth will be for our children. So if you buy a copy yourself, You may need one for a school or classroom library too. each of them is useful not only for adopted children but for any classroom studying Chinese culture and history.
Daisy Comes HomeLike all of Jan Brett’s display hottest Chinese women books, This tale is filled with lovely pictures of people, creatures, And web sites. Daisy comes home after work tells the story of a hen named Daisy who is picked on by the other chickens in the henhouse. When she settles outside one night by herself in a basket, She has swept away on an adventure reminiscent of the story of Ping, my duck. en route, Daisy learns to care for herself against monkeys, A water buffalo grass, And people who would like to eat her. finally, She returns home with the ability to make her own place in the henhouse.
not only is this a wonderful story about how to gain self confidence against bullies, But the lovely scenery of the market industry, Rural farmyard and nice-looking Guilin River (Which Brett visited when penning this book) Makes this story a valuable. I like the fact that this is a Chinese story presents a lot of details about living in China, Such as because people ride bicycles, Raise animals and sell in open air markets, Without making those facts what the book will be about. When my children visited China on a historical trip, We saw many facets of life there which made us talk about this book and recall how details of rural Chinese life that are integrated into the story in a natural way were exactly what we saw on our journey. Lovely story and drawings make this one of my favorites to read to classes of younger kids.
I do not have Your EyesI don’t get Your Eyes by Carrie A. Kitze, Is a simple picture book which explains that looking the same as your parents is not what makes a family. This book is specially helpful for parents who have children who are being questioned by other children.
believe it or not, Since the pictures in the book don’t focus only on adopted Chinese children but show families with members of a number of races, This book takes the discussion even to another level. It is concerning the fact that we can be the same inside, And choose to act as a family even if our biology is different. Since even birth children don’t invariably physically resemble both of their parents, I think this book has a wider utilisation than adoption alone. This book is a very nice gift book and also befitting a classroom or school library.
Ruby’s WishRuby’s Wish by Sophie Blackall is an excellent true story of a very forthright, naturally smart and independent Chinese girl named Ruby, Who truly wears red. The grandfather and his children and grand kids all live together in a large family compound, an actual hutong. back when we visited China, We stayed in a hutong in Beijing akin to the one in the story.
attending ten, My child Mollie adored this story, And even as a teenager, She still counts it among her best picture books. The book has beautiful drawings of Ruby and her growing up. I think she loves it because Ruby is such a unique character. Although she feels stretched by the Chinese culture of her time, Which doesn’t generally value bright women, Ruby uses hard work and persistency rather than complaining or rebellion to get her wish. just like a wonderful depiction of Ruby’s loving grandfather, Who sees her wish and watches her grow and encourages her grant.
regardless of the fact she is a girl, Ruby is allowed by her grandfather to attend the teachings taught by the teacher who comes to the house. The grand daddy watches as Ruby progresses better than her brothers and cousins. He notices her awesome poem, And he listens when she explains that she wants to go to the University rather than get married. On New ages Day, Her whole family watches as she opens her red envelope to find a letter from a school which states they are accepting her as one of their first female students. The book ends with a picture of the real Ruby and a observe that "So that is certainly how Ruby got her wish. the true story. And how does someone know this? in fact, Ruby is my granny, And each and every she still wears a little red,
The Story About PingThe Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack and shown by Kurt Wiese is one I remember from my childhood. When my family took a boat down the Li River two in years past, We saw fishermen with cormorants, Houseboats, And ducks just like the ones in this book. however the our Chinese guide taught English to Chinese children, She was not really acquainted with this book, So I sent it to her and also copy of Daisy (Her recognize was Daisy) When we got in.
The Story About Ping was published in 1933 and has marvelous colored pencil drawings of Ping, A duck who lives together with “Mother and his father and sisters and inlaws and aunts and uncles and his forty two cousins” which has a "Boat with two wise eyes upon Yangtze river, The story of Ping getting all but abandoned and living on his own for a day is an enchanting adventure. Every child imagines the liberty of running away and coming home again safely.
while solving the mission, the story shows some beautiful parts of Chinese river history, the actual cormorants with rings on their necks who dive for fish for their master, And a family which lives on a houseboat and catches Ping for supper.
Ping escapes when the limited boy who caught him sets him free, And the various readers feels happy and satisfied for him to find his own boat and run toward it, Willing to take the spank on his back for being the last duck up the boat ramp so that you can back again, Safe in the family.
My children have loved the story of Ping and it has allowed us to talk about the history of China and the approaches people have lived there. It has also let us discuss how important the rivers of China have been to the people and how China developed so early into a world power because of its excellent river system. Ping is a satisfying bedtime story which is beautifully written and lovingly illustrated. It also makes a unique comparison to Daisy, Which i believe Jan Brett had in mind when she was writing her book.
We See the MoonWe See the Moon by Carrie Kitze was written specifically for Chinese adoptive parents and children. The object of the book is to open up a dialog when young between parents and children, Allowing the children to ask questions about their birthparents such as: What do you are similar to? Where are you? And do you think of me? It uses the moon as a tool to help children connect with the family that they think of.
The back of the book has the lowdown and resources for adoptive parents to look as, As well as some recommendations about creating a Lifebook for your child. The cases are Jinshan Peasant Paintings created by Chinese peasants near Shanghai. to heart, I love these folk prints and bought many similar ones when I was in China. My girls love to just consider paintings in the book and discuss them. could possibly be one very poignant one of a wrapped up Chinese baby in a basket with just these words, "Why did you me,
We See the Moon is not an easy book to share, But it can help adoptive parents tackle several of the hardest thoughts, ambiances, And issues.Gloshei, Thanks for stopping by. as well as Sweetie pie are right. I am a firm advocate for building families through adoption whenever possible. I grew up only hearing negative stories about adoption and am so happy to know that the young young people I teach feel much more positively. most of them plan to have adoption in their future.7 long ago from France
It’s lovely to think you are occupied with your daughters future. I am sure if you keep looking there are it, Although you’ve not done a bad job so far.
I go along with, We must not forget about the older children. They will be hard work at first but before long they will know they are wanted.
find your profile noticed
Online dating can inspire a whole host of emotions, From trepidation to experience. Once you’ve signed up on the web become impatient and want to start messaging people immediately but it’s essential you put time into crafting your www.plentyoffish.com profile first, automobile in your 20s or dating as an older woman.
Having a space to display what you’re really like, As well as what thinking of in a partner, Makes finding love online greatly subjected.
If product,for the air conditioning spend time on anything, replies Kate, Make it the photos. "If you devote a weekend to making a profile, Spend most of it getting friends to take photos of you and only 20 minutes to half an hour writing the words.
There’s no need to use your profile to say absolutely everything about yourself. Basic life markings like your age and irrespective of whether you have children should be correct, But an individual mention anything you wouldn’t talk abouton the first date.
Kate develops: "I met my husband online and my profile was really short. I listed some good points and bad points; on the list of good was my long red hair, And then as a bad point I admitted that I’m too scared to drive on the motorway. And it worked men began messaging me saying they’d give me a training lesson,
When mentioning your interests, Put a companionable spin with them. "Leave the door open regarding to imagine themselves going out on a date with you, signifies Kate. "for anyone a film buff, Say you love browsing cinema and talk about your favourite films, Not that you work on a Sunday andbinge watch Netflix.
“Saying something similar to ‘I have no hopes for this but thought I’d give it a whirl’ just alienates your audience, Who are obviously online daters themselves.
“They should also look for any mentions of your ex just referencing them is putting another person into the situation who shouldn’t be there and make sure you haven’t included any info,
do not your profile go stale
once you’ve uploaded your profile, Don’t just let it sit there, statements Kate. "Some people create a really good profile and then think it’s set in stone or that going back to it suggests they have too much time available,
But adding in season updates like changing photos, going over the weather, Saying a certain picture was taken a week ago gives people a better, More accurate idea of what your life is like.
So you utilize long your profile’s been up there from minutes to months click that ‘edit’ button and make sure it represents how you really talk, peek, And spend your time.