Brad Parker: Hi! My name is Brad Parker and my company is MyFlorist and we are in McLean, Virginia. In this segment what we want to explore is, how do you go about and find the right retail florist. Today, it is become increasingly popular to go to the Internet and the Internet of course is best and wonderful resource and you can use it to get a good result, but you really do have to be careful. In our industry, if you go to the Internet the majority of the florist on the Internet are, what we call cyber florist. In other words, they don't actually do anything more than take your order; they don't actually have a store; they don't actually touch the flowers; they don't arrange the flowers. What they do is they take your order, they take a sizeable amount of the money, and then they send it downline to a florist that will fill it for them.
In our experience, it's not a great value for the consumer. What I would suggest you do if you go to the Internet, my favorite thing to do is to go to Google or you can use one of the other search engines, but if you go to Google and you just type in florist and next to it your zip code or the zip code where you want to send flowers, what would immediately popup on the top and to the right are all the paper click adds. The majority of these florists are the cyber florist. If you are interested then drill down into their site and see if you can find a local address. You might not be able to find one at all and if you do you might find that it's thousands of miles away.
Now, on the lower left hand side you have the organic listings. Many of these florists are listed. They are your local florist and it is a pretty good source to go to; but the absolute best place to look is in the middle left. Google will provide for you the names and addresses with maps of the local florist in the town or zip code that you just put your search for, so start there because there you are going to find a real florist that you can deal with directly.
Now, once you have selected a florist, you found a local florist or a florist that's near where you want to have flowers delivered, the next challenge is to find out whether it is a established florist with a good reputation. There are many florists in our industry that are more like hobbies and they are like serious businesses. The problem in these instances are that they just don't have enough size and volume to carry enough inventory of fresh flowers and they also often are not able to employ fulltime designers, who are truly talented and skilled in the filed. So one thing that I would recommend, if you find a local florist and you talk to them; try to find out and see if they have at least six to ten fulltime employees and a couple of delivery vans. That will tell you that they have a certain size; they have a certain critical mass, so that they can have a good inventory of fresh flowers on hand at all-time and they can afford to employee one or more fulltime skilled designers.
So these are some of the tips if you just have to go out there on your own and find a florist. My number one recommendation for finding a good florist is to get a referral. Talk to a co-worker, talk to a neighbor, talk to a family member, someone who has an established relationship with the florist and they have been getting a good result. This is the best single way to find the right florist to serve your needs on Valentine's Day or any day.
In the next segment, we are going to look at how you can choose the perfect arrangement for Valentine's Day.