Finance and Business

How This Company Saved Thousands Of Flowers During The Pandemic

[Music] when people ask like how are things going how’s the business how are you like you know your first thing is to be like fine but then we’re like no we’re bad bad things are bad lauren and rachel run the flower design company sweet root village in alexandria virginia at the beginning of 2020 they were expecting their most successful year yet it was our 10-year anniversary in business we were at our highest booking level we had ever been for events and literally within a week it was gone then kobe 19 and stay-at-home orders canceled weddings across the country and crippled the wedding industry lauren and rachel lost 80 percent of their business and had to furlough their staff including themselves we’re like congratulations to us we made it ten years unemployment unemployed from our own business file from unemployment this is our warehouse slash studio workspace and we produce all of the flowers for weddings and events out of in a typical year they work upwards of a hundred events some weekends we’re employing like up to 100 people we pull in big teams of people to work two three four five events on any given saturday but when covet 19 was named a pandemic their weekly event count dropped to zero literally within the span of two days mid-march i think all of our events canceled we just had a cooler full of flowers we could not stop the shipments i think once we started seeing our fall events dropping off the calendar we had to have a really intense week or two of self-reflection and uh looking at the numbers we realized like okay even if this is going to be really hard and this could take us years to dig out of this couldn’t see ourselves doing anything else this is worth fighting for and knowing that we are supporting several families and livelihoods and salaries we just had to put one foot in front of the other what are some new ways we can come up with interesting revenue that still maybe feels like us remember that load of flowers they were stuck with the pair decided to run a drive-through flower sale we just set it up as a drive-through and we blasted it all over social media and had an amazing turnout people drove up and they popped their trunks we came with gloves and everything and put the flowers in their trunk we had a goal i think to we were like well let’s see if we sell this many arrangements maybe we make like fifteen hundred dollars and donate that i think over two days how much did we raise around thirteen thousand thirteen thousand dollars was amazing but lauren and rachel still had months of cancelled events and a business to keep afloat so next they relaunched their online a la carte shop over here i’m finishing up a centerpiece from our simply sweet root collection an order placed online to to go out as a delivery and these are all pre-made designs that’s what’s fun about our a la carte shop is we’re able to experiment think outside the box of our our typical designs but not everything they tried worked the peony sale that we did over the summer we had some sales that was great but not very much we were like maybe 50 people will buy a peony bundle we had like 10. most recently they hosted a pop-up farmers market in alexandria complete with a flower installation these are just all the flowers from our local farm here is our food brothers installation hoping that people will take pictures share about hunger action month and fight to end world hunger today we actually chose just to do a plant sale um and so we have lots of plants various candles pots people can pair with local artists ceramicists bakers and fellow florists also sold their products from socially distant booths invited pretty much just everyone we know it’s a thing to go to right now when we’re not able to go to a lot of places i got some dry flowers something we probably would love to do ordinarily but i’ve never really had the time for it so i mean we have the time for it we wanted to make it happen the team has also started hosting floral arrangement classes and making bouquets for micro weddings over here we’re working on some center pieces for a wedding more classic white and green but hints of blue and blush that’s really pretty use a mirror so i can kind of see what it looks like to someone viewing despite all these efforts sweeper village is still facing huge losses we are still at an 80 revenue deficit and don’t expect to recoup much of that luckily for lauren and rachel 96 of couples are planning on postponing not canceling their weddings we’re hopeful that our spring season can move forward as planned um but we’re just kind of taking it one day at a time we’ve scaled our business to be the size we are now stay small to weather the the storm that’s my advice considering ways that you can fool proof yourself diversifying is great do it i think it’s also okay to allow yourself to know if this is a good time to change course i think that if you want it and you want it to continue you just gotta fight harder it’s promoting resilience i think our team’s gonna be stronger coming out of this um i think we’re gonna be like hey we can get through 2020 we can get through anything right
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