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Boost Your Mother's Day Floristry Sales

Boost Your Mother’s Day Floristry Sales: Strategies for Success

Mother’s Day is a time-honored tradition to celebrate the special women in our lives, and what better way to convey love and appreciation than with fresh cut flowers? As a florist gearing up for this significant occasion, it’s essential to strategize and optimize your sales tactics to capitalize on the demand for floral gifts. In this guide, we’ll explore actionable tips to help you maximize sales and delight customers with stunning floral designs.

 

Stock Up on Fresh Cut Flowers: Start by ensuring you have an ample supply of fresh cut flowers, including classics like roses alongside focal and filler flowers to accentuate your Mother’s Day floral arrangements. Partner with reliable floral suppliers to guarantee the freshness and quality of your inventory.

fresh cut flowers

Curate Captivating Floral Designs: Capture the essence of Mother’s Day with enchanting floral designs that resonate with your customers. Consider incorporating pastel hues, delicate blossoms, and elegant arrangements that evoke feelings of love and appreciation. Showcase your creativity by offering a diverse selection of bouquets, centerpieces, and custom arrangements tailored to different preferences and budgets. Think about the person giving the arrangement as a gift: Is it from a significant other, a child or grandkid, a friend, a coworker?

floral arrangement

Optimize Your Online Presence: In today’s digital age, a strong online presence is crucial for reaching and engaging customers. Enhance your website with captivating images of your floral creations, compelling product descriptions, and seamless online ordering options. Leverage search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to ensure your website ranks well for relevant keywords. Tools to help you plan for high search volume keywords include Google Keyword Planner.

Promote Early and Often: Start promoting your Mother’s Day offerings well in advance to capture the attention of customers planning their gift purchases. Utilize email marketing campaigns, social media platforms, and targeted advertising to showcase your floral arrangements and special promotions. Highlight the beauty and significance of fresh flowers as the perfect Mother’s Day gift, emphasizing their ability to convey love and appreciation in a meaningful way. Jump on trending audio and video edits on Instagram and TikTok—your content will join the ranks of the Explore and For You feed on both platforms.

Promote your flower shop on social media

Offer Special Deals and Packages: Entice customers with irresistible deals and packages designed to add value to their Mother’s Day purchases. Consider offering complimentary upgrades, free delivery options, or exclusive discounts for early bird orders. Create bundled packages that combine fresh flowers with complementary gifts such as chocolates, greeting cards, or scented candles to enhance the gifting experience.

Gift basket Mothers Day

Provide Exceptional Customer Service: Stand out from the competition by delivering exceptional customer service at every touchpoint. Offer personalized recommendations, assist customers in selecting the perfect floral arrangements, and ensure timely delivery of their orders. Go the extra mile to exceed customer expectations and leave a lasting impression that encourages repeat business and referrals.

Provide excellent customer service at your flower shop

Collect and Showcase Customer Testimonials: Build trust and credibility with potential customers by showcasing positive reviews and testimonials from satisfied clients. Encourage happy customers to share their experiences and feedback on your website, social media channels, and review platforms. Authentic testimonials serve as powerful endorsements of your florist business and help reassure hesitant buyers.

Customer reviews are valuable to business

By implementing these strategies, you can elevate your Mother’s Day florist sales and create memorable experiences for customers seeking the perfect floral gifts to honor the special women in their lives. With fresh cut flowers, captivating floral designs, and a commitment to exceptional service, you’ll make this Mother’s Day truly unforgettable for your valued customers.

Low Key Photography Cremone

Low-Key Flower Photography

Low-Key Flower Photography Tips

If you have visited our website, you will notice our varieties are photographed on a black background. The purpose is to draw focus to the variety and its floral characteristics. Low-key photography is the art of being creative with light to expose the subject while concealing the background with shadows.

Materials Needed

  • Camera
  • Strobe Lights
  • Tripod
  • White Balance Card
  • Black Backdrop
  • Vase
  • Flowers

Setting Up Your Studio

You don’t need a fancy setup. A dark black cloth or matte black poster paper will work perfectly as a backdrop. Be sure that it is a thick cloth, otherwise, the flash will permeate through the cloth. What you want is the light to bounce off of your backdrop.

Place your camera on a tripod and place your flowers in a vase. Use a table or pedestal to give some height. You will need 1 or 2 strobe lights. Set them a few feet away from where you have your flowers set up. Pointing toward the flower in the vase on opposing sides.

Adjust your flower by positioning it the way you would like it to be photographed. Think about the purpose of this photo: Is it a product photo for your website? For Virgin Farms we use low-key photos for our website’s product catalog. A 45-degree angle works best to show the flower’s characteristics including colors, petals, size, and aperture.

Equipment Setup

Set your strobe lights to activate in sync with your camera’s built-in flash. Turn your camera to manual mode and make sure the flash is on. In your camera settings, adjust the flash compensation to negative. To capture just the flower and all its details, zoom in your lens—210 mm is a good focal length. Place your camera and tripod a few feet away from your flower. Also, be sure to separate your flower from the backdrop at least 12 inches away, otherwise, the flash from the strobe lights and camera will cast a shadow on your backdrop and you will not achieve the low-key lighting effect. Your subject should look like it is drowned in darkness.

Before Photographing

In settings, turn your camera’s color mode to neutral and change the white balance preset to custom. Hold the white balance card up in front of your camera. Take a photo of the gray card side, and that will set your custom color balance. Next, hold the color card side up to your flower (you may need an assistant) and take a photo. The purpose of this preparation is to edit in post-production. When working with artificial light the color of flowers may be altered and the hue may not be truly represented. Always shoot your images in RAW format to allow editing in software such as Lightroom or Photoshop.

Camera settings

To achieve a low-key photo, your settings must harmonize to produce the light and shade effect.

  • ISO: Use a low ISO to prevent grainy photos. Try about 250 to 350, but experiment as needed to brighten or darken your photo.
  • F-Stop: Use a mid-point f-stop. The higher the number, the less light enters the lens. At F7 or F9 you’ll let just enough light in while keeping your subject in focus and blurring the background.
  • Shutter Speed: The shutter speed determines how fast your lens stays open, freezing your frame. Since we are using strobe lights and camera flash, you want a quick shutter speed just enough to allow light but produce a shadow to surround the subject. Try 160, but again experiment with the settings as you see fit.

Tip:

Try to underexpose when photographing. In post-production editing, you can always adjust the exposure. It is always more difficult to correct overexposed photos than to brighten up an image. Similarly, a photograph that is too underexposed will be too dark to adjust. Your photo should be in the middle ground as far as exposure goes, giving you room to make minor adjustments.

The Low Key Effect

Cremone Salmon Pink – Virgin Farms

If you have followed these steps, your result should be a well-lit subject engulfed in shadow. The synchronization of light and your camera’s settings all perform in unison to produce a scientific masterpiece. After you have taken your photos, import your files into editing software such as Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop. Choose which photos make the cut and flag those as keepers. Make adjustments to your photos such as exposure, highlights, and shadows.

Composition

Choose your flower based on your goals for your photo. Select one that is nicely formed and has little to no blemishes. Trim the stem if necessary and place it in a vase leaning slightly at a 45-degree angle. Take a test shot and adjust the flower until you’re happy with the composition. Tilt or rotate your flower, and remove any flawed or bruised petals. Take multiple shots—you will probably discard most of them, but that is the beauty of digital photography. Later in post-production, you can choose the best photo and edit it.

Tip:

When editing your images, don’t apply filters or unrealistic color adjustments. If your images are used for product showcasing, you want the photos to be a representation of the actual flowers. Unless you’re going for a creative effect, then you can experiment with unusual alterations.

Flower Sales Booming for Valentine’s Day

Our long-time customer and friend, Jerry from Extra Touch was featured on the Today Show.

 

The segment “Business is blooming for Valentine’s Day flowers amid pandemic” covers the incredible logistical process of transporting flowers from the farms in South America to Miami International Airport, the largest receiving hub of fresh-cut flowers.

 

The story covers how the flower industry is booming despite the pandemic. Reports from UPS Airlines indicate that there is a 48% increase in flower boxes from 2020 to 2021. Around 73 flights were added to accommodate the 21 million extra stems being shipped to the U.S. than before the pandemic began. That’s 850,000 more boxes than the last year (2020).

 

The spike in flowers is due to people skipping outings and gatherings, and spending more on floral arrangements to send to their loved ones.

 

Jerry from Extra Touch located in Palm Beach, Florida has been our client since 2007. To meet the demand this year he had to hire 21 new employees.

 

Watch the entire segment. (Jerry’s interview minute 1:20)

 

Source: https://www.today.com/video/business-is-blooming-for-valentine-s-day-flowers-amid-pandemic-100853318000

Dutch Box Floral Arrangement

Now more than ever sustainability is imperative for the health of our environment. Moving toward habits and methods that improve and reduce the carbon footprint is a continuous goal for which we must keep striving. We reached out to Maria Alejandra, floral boutique owner of Flower Fanatic (@flowerfanaticmiami) in Doral, Florida, who has come up with ways to create eco-conscious floral arrangements without sacrificing the beauty and allure of her designs.
 
In an effort to help her share her tips and practices with fellow florists we collaborated on a project. We provided fresh flowers, and she hosted a live workshop on Saturday, November 7th via Instagram. Flowers included premium varieties from our Dutch Box. This combo is available every week from our Dutch Specials, and what’s unique is that it’s a surprise mix each week. It has about 8 to 10 varieties in the box. Our flowers are freshly imported from the Aalsmeer Flower Auction.
 
Recipe:

    • Yellow & Orange Calla Lilies
    • Burgundy & Yellow Kangaroo Paws
    • Gardenia Peonies
    • Apricot Hyacinths
    • Hydrangea Classic
    • Astilbe Light Pink
    • Yellow Garden Roses

 

Maria Alejandra began the workshop by introducing each variety and how to process each flower. She suggests not to remove guard petals from garden roses because it weakens the flower at the base, and it will fall apart. Calla lilies should be cut straight as opposed to an angle because they have soft stems, as is the case with most bulbous flowers. Other tips included how to decide on the type of arrangement you will create. Based on the stem types, she decides on the materials she will need and how to construct her base. For this tutorial, she used a large reusable plastic vase lined with chicken wire and filled the water halfway. Foam-free designs allow flowers to perform better, and as a result, the client can enjoy them for an extended period of time.
 
chicken wire vase
 
She suggests starting with larger varieties as a base then fill the spaces in between. Cut the stems according to the variations in height and the artistic lines you want to achieve. If you encounter flowers that have not bloomed or a stem with an unusual curvature, work with its natural beauty. After creating the foundation with the classic hydrangeas, she began incorporating the “star of the show”: Gardenia peonies. This was the focal point of the design which determined where the rest of the filler flowers would be placed: kangaroo paws, calla lilies, garden roses, and sprigs of hyacinths for fragrance. Her tip is to cluster flowers in a way that ties the colors together into a harmonious pattern.
 
Maria Alejandra says that floral design is like art–to make extraordinary designs you have to break the rules of conventional structures. Play with colors, varieties, and textures to make your floral arrangements stand out. She said it is also important to listen to your clients’ preferences: some prefer roses partially opened, while others may like bouquets that are extremely fragrant.
 
One of the most important details after delivering a floral arrangement to the client is informing your customers about the care and maintenance of the flowers at home. Flower Fanatic includes an instructional card with every arrangement so that the customers know how often to change the water, how much water to refill, and how much to trim from the stem. Maria Alejandra also advises removing flowers that have perished so that other varieties are not affected by the ethylene or bacteria from the decay.
 
Stay tuned for a full video of the workshop!
 
Follow us on Instagram @virginfarms for updates. If you are interested in collaborating with Virgin Farms or you would like to contribute your floral knowledge, reach out to us. We would love to build our floral community to share with everyone in the industry.
 

Rose farm post production

How the Coronavirus has Impacted the Rose Industry in Ecuador

This global pandemic has impacted everyone around the world from health to the economy. In an effort to curve the increase of cases of the coronavirus we have all been adhering to social distancing and sanitation practices.

 

Businesses have been struggling to stay afloat while others have had to close their doors. The floral industry has been affected by the low demand for flowers and worldwide shutdown—and the Dutch floral sector is one of many examples of the unfortunate dump of thousands and thousands of flowers that have perished.

 

In Ecuador, roses are one of the top exports and contributor to its economy. This pandemic however has decreased the production and exportation of roses to countries around the globe. We interviewed Esteban Chiriboga, President of Ecoroses, our top rose provider located in Machachi, Ecuador. We asked some questions to get a firsthand perspective of the staggering effect the situation has had on the rose industry.

 

How has the situation concerning the coronavirus affected your business?

 

We first began experiencing the impact of the coronavirus from some of the European and Chinese markets where the effects of the virus have been dramatic. Our exports to those markets reached zero and slowly but surely other European countries have followed suit. Some states in the USA, and later others, and finally the Russian market also shut down, making our current exportations practically zero. There are flights available to ship flowers, but there are internal restrictions in each country that impede operations.

 

The emergence of the virus in Ecuador and its dissemination has also affected us, given that we have restrictions on operations for personnel and supplies.

 

We have decided to carry out certain tasks by working from home, some of the administrative, and we have let 50 percent of our field personnel go home to remain in quarantine. The other half of our employees are carrying out minimal work such as caring for the plants and processing a small quantity of roses. We are working 6 hours and 4 days per week. The effect and loss are enormous, but we are following strict guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus.

 

In percentage, how much has the demand for roses decreased for your company?

 

The first week it reduced 30 percent, the second week 70 percent, and this week we ended with 90 percent of decreased sales. Additionally, the payments from some clients have been delayed and our obligations must continue.

 

How many stems per day are being processed?

 

At this moment, we are processing almost below the order requests for some clients, an average of 8,000 stems per day from the average of 80,000 stems we harvest per day. The flowers that are not processed go directly to be destroyed and transformed into compost, an organic fertilizer.

 

What is being done to care for the plants while the demand for roses is low?

 

The most basic—we are irrigating and fertilizing daily but at minimal dosage. We are trying to minimize the diseases and plagues by removing the flowers that are overdue for cutting so that it does not rot the plants, and harvest roses that are left to sell.

 

What precautions and protocols are you practicing during this pandemic?

 

We have implemented a very strict protocol that begins with allowing the people most vulnerable or high risk to remain at home, provision of the security team, training our employees on sanitation and precautions to carry out in the workplace and at home to stay healthy, disinfecting all vehicles of transportation for personnel, as well as disinfection of every person that enters or leaves the farm property. Additionally, by having half of our employees stay home, we minimize the density of persons in each area of the farm property and departments.

 

What problems have you encountered as a result of limitations or regulations, and how have you resolved or adapted to these challenges to come through for your clients?

 

The authorities have allowed us to work and consider us a priority sector because our exportations help sustain Ecuador’s economy. They have granted us safe passageways to transit through and reach the airport. We have been able to do all this, but unfortunately some flights have been canceled or product has not been able to be exported because the country of destination has been shut down; in this case, nothing can be done, and we understand and accept if our client must cancel. We remain operational and we are ready to react and attend to any of our clients’ requirements.

 

What inspirational message would you like to share with the world? What can flowers contribute during these challenging times?

 

A message of hope on one hand, given that this eventually will be over, and we will have to adjust to the new reality and resume our lives and businesses. On the other hand, I would like to share a message of reflection to everyone that yes, flowers are not an indispensable article for the body or for life, but they are for the soul and for the spirit. We unite with the campaign: Buy Flowers Not Toilet Paper.

How to Sell Flowers during the Coronavirus

Coronavirus has changed the world. People have been at home social distancing, and the flower market has been one of the most affected. In the news, we have seen flowers being discarded due to the declining demand and limited commercial flights. However, we must bear in mind that this is something transitory that will soon end and that we will return to normal.

 

At Virgin Farms we are committed to our community, to the progress of our clients’ businesses and to all those who are part of our company. For this reason, in this article, we share some ideas that will help you improve your online flower sales. In addition, you will find some tips that will be very useful during this challenging time.

 

We want to invite you to take advantage of this time to create a solid sales strategy through your website and social networks. Keep in mind that in times of crisis we use our ingenuity and creativity more to get ahead.

 

Create Content

Content is essential to make your consumers fall in love. If you create interesting content, you will gain organic followers, and with the appropriate strategy will become your consumers.

 

The purpose of creating quality content aims to attract as much traffic as possible to your website, your blog or landing page. To achieve entertaining content, help yourself with the different tools and apps available on the market, which are mostly free or inexpensive, but above all, easy to use.

 

You can do it with the means you have within reach. For example, you can produce an impressive video with your cell phone. The consumer is not looking for perfect videos, but instead quality content and topics of interest. Try filming a short video of about 20 seconds to capture your audience’s attention, followed by a longer segment to achieve loyalty and viewer retention.

 

Make a calendar planning all the content that you are going to produce and the channels you will use to distribute. Take advantage of your knowledge and your expertise, to make content according to your client.

 

Here we suggest some topics:

 

• How to preserve flowers or extend the vase life

• How to make simple but lovely arrangements

• Show a before and after of a home space without flowers and how it can brighten up space with flowers

• How to turn any type of object into a floral vessel

• How to decorate a home with flowers

• Host a webinar on how to make flower arrangements

• Take advantage of special dates, with the upcoming Easter holiday, and create content according to this important date

• Benefits of having flowers in the house

 

With this type of content, you will achieve engagement and generate sales or traffic to your social sites, such as YouTube (another way to generate revenue from ad sales in your videos).

 

An important factor that you should take into account is that the content you generate must be unique to you. Try to set yourself apart from other content creators to avoid being categorized in the lower ranks or similar topics. The goal is to promote your business in a way that interests and retains your audience and more importantly, satisfies the need of your client for interesting resources.

 

Define your strategy

Update your e-commerce channels and your social networks to sell. This can be a good time to create a professional blog and become a content generator.

 

Online stores. Right now your online store must be fully optimized because it is going to be your the face of your business while your brick and mortar location is inaccessible for the time being. Check prices and inventory. If you do not have a product available to sell, it is better to withdraw it from your online storefront until you have the necessary inventory. If you have any affiliations such as delivery couriers, make adjustments on your website to clarify if those services are still available to your consumers.

 

A professional blog. Using a blog with a hosting and domain as a platform to reach your audience is the most recommended method. Create impressive articles with topics of interest to your users. This will help you gain followers, who will, in turn, read your posts. Be sure to share posts on social media linking back to your blog post to drive traffic to your website. Additionally, seek an SEO professional that can help you optimize your keywords to increase your search engine ranking score on Google and other search engines. The goal is to get your page to show up in the top 10 search results.

 

Social networks. If you want to promote yourself through these channels, you must first focus on having a considerable number of followers and that they are of quality. You can achieve this with giveaways, and invite your followers to post their photos with the arrangements they have bought from you for social word-of-mouth.

 

Make a publication and content calendar, propose to put at least three posts per week. It can be a video or photos. Lean on all the technology at your fingertips. On Canva, for example, you can use free templates to create your posts for Instagram and other social networks. There are pre-made templates, or you can create your own from scratch, complete with visually appealing typography and free or paid stock images.

Later, if you have really become an expert content creator, you can start a YouTube channel. But if you are just starting or you do not have all the resources, focus exclusively on your social networks such as Instagram and Facebook.

 

Take advantage of social networks because they provide visibility to your posts. It allows the facility to effectively share content and reach your users of interest. Soon your followers will ask you for content on topics that interest them.

 

SEO Strategies. It is very important that you work on SEO strategies so that you can position yourself in the first places of search, with the correct use of the local keywords the consumer will find you easily and navigate your website or blog.

 

Take advantage of the marketing and CRM tools to continue building customer loyalty. If you do not currently have a CRM tool, this may be the time to implement it. You can use an easy and simple tool such as Mailchimp, where you will enter data such as emails or phone numbers so that you can offer personalized offers or discounts. For example, offer a discount for birthdays or customer loyalty rewards for repeat purchases.

 

Product delivery

Create an alliance with a courier service to personally send your customers the tracking number, always stay in touch until the product reaches the final destination. Review your financial calculations so shipping is free or relatively low-cost right now.

 

Tell your consumer that floral arrangements are a perfect way to show affection or gratitude since we are not able to personally visit our loved ones at the moment.

 

Take advantage of social distancing and quarantine to devise differential strategies for your flower shop. It is the perfect opportunity to gain followers and turn them into consumers.

 

We are going through difficult times, but we must be aware that this is something temporary and just as flowers bloom even in the most adverse environments, we will flourish, and it will be a better future for everyone. Stay strong, stay safe, and let’s spread joy with flowers.

The Role of Greenhouses in Rose Production

 

Nature has given us beautiful flowers in different shapes, sizes, and colors, but without a doubt the ones that stand out the most for the multitude of color variations are roses. At Virgin Farms we are known for offering the highest quality of every flower type imaginable. We have top-grade roses in every shade and style to satisfy the tastes of our customers.

 

We had the pleasure of interviewing two of our most important suppliers from the farms Ecoroses and Flowerfest in Ecuador. Wilfrido Cazar from Ecoroses, and Santiago Santillán from Flowerfest, shared their knowledge on the interesting process of maintaining the striking colors of roses.

 

In previous visits, we have seen the entire production process, but this time we wanted to get up close to the technology that exists to retain the extraordinary colors of roses throughout the production stage. We discovered that there are three fundamental factors to obtain a flower with perfect petals and flashy colors.

 

The first is the climatic conditions of the area. Roses grow in temperate climates in regions with moderate temperatures and are located at least 2,400 meters above sea level. Farms are usually in zones with low humidity, very little wind, or cloud cover, and where there is plenty of sunlight.

 

The second contributing factor is the type of plastic used in greenhouses. Its function is to filter the sunlight properly within the nursery. Too much sun can burn the petals, and some colors such as red roses are more sensitive to sunlight.

 

Lastly, the control of temperature and humidity within the greenhouse is key to color preservation. As we walked through large hectares of plantations with Wilfredo Cazár of Ecoroses, we conversed about the three types of greenhouse plastics that exist, which are arranged according to the color of the rose. The process begins by selecting the variety of the rose to be planted. Once this is determined the corresponding greenhouse plastic is placed, which, according to its specific characteristics, will allow sufficient light through to nourish the rose.

 

The three types of plastic material for the nurseries have varying concentrations to allow the sun’s rays to filter ultraviolet.

 

For solid-colored roses, such as white and red, plastic with a 100% UV filter is used. This type of greenhouse plastic aims to prevent the flower from tanning because if this happens the petals begin to burn; a term in the floriculture industry referred to as blackening.

 

For bi-color roses in shades, such as yellows and oranges, another type of plastic allowing 50% of ultraviolet light is used. These colors do not need as much UV protection as the white and the red varieties. The objective of allowing a specific percentage of ultraviolet light allows the color of the rose to intensify.

 

For color-edged roses, which are those that have a different color on the edge of the petal-like Paloma or Deep Purple, a plastic with zero filters is placed for the greenhouse, allowing sunlight to pass through completely. As a result, the colors of the roses are accentuated, especially the upper part of the petals. The red-edged roses become more blazing and the yellow-edged roses more vivid.

 

Greenhouse plastic is normally changed for red and white roses after a period of two years and plastics for the other types of shades after a period of three years. This is because the filter starts losing its effect due to the UV rays.

 

Temperature stability guarantees the production of roses in the greenhouse

 

For rose cultivation, depending on the area, high-tech greenhouses are often used with heating systems, as well as humidity and temperature control.

 

The climate in Ecuador throughout the year is temperate; however, in the months of June to September it is hotter and in the months from January to April it is the rainy season. Therefore, the temperature inside the greenhouses must always be monitored, so that it is not affected by heat or rain.

 

Inside the covers, there is a constant balance of temperature and humidity. In case the temperature rises, the side curtains of the greenhouse are opened so that the air circulates to prevent diseases from developing and affecting the roses.

 

In the rainy season, greenhouses are kept at a higher temperature so as not to affect the coloring of the rose. With more rain, the humidity increases, and this can cause fungus on the flower. Therefore, when the temperature is increased, the humidity decreases the cycle of the fungus and eliminates it, preventing the flower from being damaged.

 

Similarly, if the ambient temperature drops or there is frost, heaters are placed in the greenhouses to keep the flowers in optimal terms. When the temperature drops significantly, the rose goes into dormancy and stops producing blooms. Temperature stability guarantees the quality of production.

 

The altitude above sea level guarantees a flower with a more intense coloration 

 

The climatic conditions in Ecuador are extremely favorable because the plants are at 3,200 meters above sea level and the climate is constant. The temperature throughout the year fluctuates between 64°F to 71°F. Roses may be grown at 2,400 meters high, but higher altitude increases the robustness of roses resulting in bigger, thicker stems and intense colors.

 

Ecuadorian roses are world-famous because of these climatic conditions. They stand out for their dazzling colors, their button size, and the length of the stem. The roses produced at higher altitudes are the best because although the production and growth time of the flower is slower, the quality is much superior. Farms in areas where the altitude is lower, productivity increases but the rose does not achieve the same characteristics of a rose grown highest above sea level. Therein lies their difference. In lower height more production, but smaller stems and buds.

 

Fertilization is also important to maintain the color of the rose. From Monday to Sunday the crops are watered using a fertilization formula that provides the rose with specific nutrients that help the stem grow and intensify the rose button’s color.

 

Roses for all styles

 

Rafael Santillán from Flowerfest elaborated on another type of rose which are tinted or dyed. In addition to roses in natural colors, you can create flowers of any color. Any variety can be transformed into a tinted flower, but white is normally used. The process consists of selecting the variety to be dyed. It is harvested, processed, and dehydrated for 10 to 13 hours, depending on the type of rose and the weather.

 

To make the rainbow roses, five cuts are made at the base of the stem and hydrated in a container of colored water, which is left to absorb the dye for an average of 9 to 10 hours.

 

Painted roses are created by spraying the petals using a special technique. With vegetable dyes, the flower can be given any type of coloration. This technique also is used to spray paint just the edges of the rose, such as the Purple Intrigue and Blue Intrigue roses. This depends on the style requests and needs of each market, Santillán commented.

 

Being able to visit the farms and delve into the process, while strengthening ties with our strategic partners is of great importance to Virgin Farms. Having the opportunity to learn about the materials used for greenhouses and immersing ourselves in the world of color that rose bushes offer us is truly fascinating.

 

The use of greenhouses at farms makes it possible to cultivate flowers. Large hectares of land are planted with the most beautiful varieties, which the world then gets to enjoy. Thanks to the climatic conditions of the region, the altitude above sea level, and the strict production operations, roses are obtained in different color ranges.

 

The Journey of Our Fresh Cut Flowers to Florists

 

Flowers travel a long way from their place of origin —in the most remote places in the world—until they reach the United States. Discover our process of receiving and shipping the best flowers, and how we guarantee their durability until they reach our customers.

 

At Virgin Farms we take daily measures to provide the highest quality of fresh-cut flowers to our clients. We maintain alliances with farms that guarantee top grade flowers that have been harvested under certified and sustainable processes.

 

Our flowers go through many operational stages, and for this reason, it is vital to handle a standard process during this path because this guarantees that the flowers remain fresh and therefore have a lengthy vase duration.

 

However, this path of travel does not end when the flowers arrive in the United States. They go through a process of customs and pest control in order to maintain the biodiversity of our country and avoid the introduction of any type of pests or insects that could ruin an entire flower lot or harm local species.

 

We have compiled the most frequent questions that our clients ask us so that you can learn firsthand about our operation and distribution process.

 

Q: How is the process of receiving flowers, once they arrive from their place of origin to the United States?

Holland, Colombia, and Ecuador are our main suppliers of flowers.

 

The flowers we receive at Virgin Farms make their journey from many parts of the world. Our tulips, ranunculus, cymbidiums, hyacinths and some hydrangeas, among other flowers, are imported from Dutch growers in Holland. Garden roses come from our top farm provider in Colombia, Alexandra Farms. Virgin Farms is known for its high-quality roses, which are exported from Ecuador via UPS Air Cargo to Miami International Airport. Once the cargo arrives the product is then transported to our facility.

 

Q:  What are the most common problems you have when receiving flowers and how do you solve them?

We have a strict customs and inspection process to ensure that there is no pest that could affect the flowers.

 

At times we may face issues that are out of our control. When the shipment arrives in Miami the flowers must go through clearance and pass inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for pests and diseases. During this process, boxes are randomly selected and inspected. If the flowers do not pass the inspection they are held (PQ) by the department or the product selected may be damaged in the inspection process.

 

At our facility, our Quality Control team inspects each bunch upon arrival. We may encounter flowers with botrytis (fungus) for instance, in which case the flower is deemed non-shippable and discarded. Any other defects that we check for include falling heads or petals, moldy petals, and damaged stems. These defective flowers are also discarded.

 

Q: How long does your process of receiving flowers take to deliver to your customers?

It takes between 48 and 72 hours for the flowers to reach our customers.

 

The process of receiving the flowers at our facility and shipping the order to a customer takes 48 to 72 hours. For instance, the farm will ship roses from Ecuador and it arrives in Miami. Then we ship the custom packed box via FedEx Priority Overnight and it arrives to our client the next day.

 

Q: How much volume of floral shipments is handled at Virgin Farms?

We handle an average of 2,000 weekly boxes of flowers to supply the great demand that exists in our country.

 

The volume varies depending on the week; it can be as little as 700 boxes to as much as 2,000 boxes. This includes all the different types of products we distribute: roses, fillers, Dutch flowers, garden roses, and others. Throughout the two weeks of Valentine’s Day shipments, we will move between 4,000 and 4,500 boxes.

 

Q: How is your quality control process when you receive the flowers?

All flower bunches are inspected to ensure quality and verify that the variety is correct.

 

When the flowers arrive at our facility, Quality Control Managers check the product before receiving it into the inventory management system. Each box of flowers we receive from the farms is placed on a conveyor inside the cooler which is maintained at 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Using the documentation from the farms and our receivers, we check that the quantities and varieties shipped are correct. Then each bunch is inspected for quality assurance making sure there is no mold or damage. If the product meets our standards, then we receive the flowers in our inventory system. Each box is labeled with a barcode listing the expiration date, the quantity, the variety, and the farm lot. This allows us to track our daily floral inventory.

 

Q: What is your flower distribution process once these are already in the cooler?

From its origin, until the flower reaches our customers, we guarantee the cold chain.

 

Once the flowers are in the inventory, the product is available to our customers. When a customer places an order with our sales managers, a pick list is received in the shipping department. The picklist indicates the customer, the shipping address, the floral varieties, the quantities for each flower listed by lot number, and the total item quantity and total cubic weight. Our employees in the cooler use the picklist to pack the order. The varieties are picked by the bunch in our inventory cooler and taken to the adjacent packing cooler. Depending on the size of the order (in weight) the flowers are packed into one of our four box sizes. Each box is precooled and insulated to maintain the temperature of the ice packs within the box. Each bunch is strategically packed into the box to ensure the flowers are snug and protected during transit.

 

Q:  How can an order be placed with Virgin Farms?

We adapt to the needs of our customers; we have products to supply the wholesale and retail market.

 

Professional florists and event planners may order from Virgin Farms by calling our toll-free number 1-888-548-ROSE to speak to a sales representative. We like to call them our floral experts. Each account manager is trained on all products and is highly experienced in the floral industry. Although some companies may offer eCommerce, we prefer to speak to our customers when they place an order because our inventory is live, and our flowers are fresh from the farms. We do not carry over products. Customers may order varieties and quantities by the bunch. We accommodate the customer’s needs and custom pack the order whether it is for a small flower shop or a large wedding or event.

 

At Virgin Farms we have an established process to deliver variety and quality in flowers, we manage strategic alliances with the best floral farms in the world with whom we have exclusivity and direct representation. We also have the best suppliers of couriers and transport of flowers. We have all the technology and adequate facilities to keep the flowers in perfect condition. The most important factor is that we have a committed and trained sales staff to meet the demanding needs of our customers.