Months before V-Day
When the rest of the world is beginning to plan for Christmas, florists everywhere are starting their Valentine's Day planning. The Christmas season can also be a busy time for florists, although not nearly as hectic as Valentine's Day. It's important to start getting ready now to make sure our suppliers are able to make shipments to us in time. It's also a good time to take stock of our equipment and make sure anything that may need repairs or replacement is taken care of in advance so it doesn't interfere with Valentine's Day preparations.
Planning begins months in advance. In late November, we start ordering the teddy bears, balloons, boxes and accessories that are offered as part of Valentine's Day packages. It's important there are enough of these special add-ons for everyone who would like them. It is not always easy to quickly find those special little additions without advance notice. Since they're non-perishable, it's ok for use to store those items for some time, should the shipments come quickly from our suppliers.
Only Weeks to Go!
As most people are still riding their post-Christmas buzz, we start to get serious about Valentine's Day. You might just be taking your tree down, but we are getting out Cupid and getting everything in order to make your Valentine's Day one to remember.
Although there's still almost a month left until Valentine's Day, a few weeks beforehand is when everything really kicks off. There's no room for error as we make reservations, place additional orders, hire temporary staff and rent additional equipment and vehicles.
A few weeks before Valentine's Day, sometime in early to mid-January, we start reserving the cool rooms that are needed for preparing and storing fresh blooms. These rooms serve as extensions of the main shop, giving florists and their helpers the space they need to prepare the plethora of flowers for Valentine's Day orders. We also hire additional delivery vans and drivers, to make sure we can promptly deliver everything on the one day. Extra florists and helpers also come on board and give the extra help we need to get everything done.
Flowers are ordered weeks in advance. This ensures we will receive them a few days before Valentine's Day. Some florists wait to order flowers until closer to V-Day, but we believe it's too important to ensure we'll have everything we need. Warehouses and suppliers often run out of flowers before Valentine's Day, and we are unwilling to risk that. Red roses are the most popular flower on Valentine's Day, so we make sure to order plenty of those well in advance from our suppliers.
Less than a Week until Valentine's Day!
The week before Valentine's Day gets a bit hectic. With many, many orders coming in via the website and by phone, everyone is busy talking to customers as well as starting to prepare stock and get ready to create floral arrangements. Everywhere you look, there are red roses waiting to be prepared.
The roses arrive around February 10th. We start preparing them by removing thorns and unwanted leaves, so they'll be ready to place into arrangements. Everyone starts working double work days, usually around 18 hours each day. That continues right up through Valentine's Day.
Mere Days to go!
On February 12, everyone goes into overdrive. There seems to be an unending pile or orders waiting to be filled that can finally start being worked on. We can't make arrangements too far in advance, because that would risk ruining their freshness.
Once we do get to work on the Valentine's Day orders, we're going nonstop. We have to fill existing orders quickly, because new ones are constantly coming in. We also know there are going to be last-minute shoppers on the day of, so we really need to get everything possible done in advance. Finished arrangements are stored in refrigerated rooms to preserve the flowers as much as possible. The ordered flowers are usually stored in the rented rooms, and the refrigerator in the main shop is reserved for arrangements that we'll be selling to people who have not planned ahead and are buying flowers that day.
It's important for all you procrastinators to know that oftentimes we cannot do custom orders for walk-in customers. Particularly when it's later in the day, stock is used up and there are not enough flowers, or the right types of flowers, to create your custom bouquets. If you want something really special or unique, it's best to order a week or so in advance. You can cross it off your list, and put it on ours!
We also bring the rented vehicles and delivery vans to the main store at this time. Any necessary conversions are made to ensure an easy time for the drivers on V-day.
Valentine's Day Eve
On the night before Valentine's Day, we feel much like how we imagine Santa's elves must feel in the day's right before Christmas. There has been so much planning, and so much work, and although there's still so much left to do, the end is so close! There are flowers everywhere we look, covering every surface and filling every shelf. Filler plants and roses dominate the scene, with the occasional lilies, gerberas or orchid arrangement blending in with the sea of petals. The day before Valentine's Day, every refrigerated room is full to brimming. Thankfully, we get to start counting down the hours until those arrangements are going to be loaded into the delivery vans, and off to their new homes.
Most florists and the rest of the staff at Spearwood Florist work through the night the day before Valentine's Day. Florists create the arrangements and orders, and helpers prepare the finished product for delivery.
In the wee hours of the morning on Valentine's Day, sometimes things get a little strange. No one has gotten much sleep, or been home for more than a few hours. We start to wonder how we'll ever get back to normal life after the chaos of the past week.
V-Day: Early Morning
The drivers start coming in around 6 AM. They work to load their vehicles and plan out their routes. Route planning is done meticulously to ensure all deliveries are made in a timely manner, within a specified time window.
As the arrangements begin to leave the rooms and are loaded on to the vans, we feel ourselves relax a bit. It's like we've crossed the threshold, back into normalcy and a life without a few thousand roses filling every corner of every room. Then it's time for more coffee. Just one more day long day is still ahead of us.
After coffee and maybe a quick breakfast, we open the shop. Around 8:30, we start taking orders and selling arrangements and bouquets to people who stop in the store. Many, many people choose to purchase their flowers in this way. The shop stays open, and we keep filling orders, until closing time.
When the drivers finish their routes, the will return to the shop to make same-day Valentine's Day flower deliveries. Orders are still being placed online and over the phone, and we give those to the drivers as they come up.
Sometimes, we completely sell out of flowers on Valentines' Day. Although it's unfortunate, there's really nothing we can do, as our suppliers are usually sold out as well. There are only a limited number of flowers, and you can only stockpile so many. Space is often an issue, even with the additional work space we rent during Valentine's Day time.
For the Love of a Day
We love Valentine's Day. Although it is a lot of work, it's almost magical. The surreal feeling of working those long days, surrounded by thousands of flowers is perhaps the reason we will all be here again next year. It's passion for what we do, and the passion of the day that keeps us in love with our work.
It's also incredibly rewarding to have that accomplished feeling at closing time, knowing we made the day special for perhaps thousands of couples throughout Australia. Valentine's Day is a great day to be a florist.
It's never too early to order your Valentine's Day flower arrangement. Now you know we're thinking about V-Day months in advance. You should, too!