How to Get Your Flower Shop Involved in Your Community – Episode 17: Flower Shop Secrets

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How can your flower shop be an active part of your community?

Cameron Peters of Cameron Peters Floral Design has worked in the floral industry for 27 years. Today, she enjoys creating custom arrangements that express true sentiment at her shop in Phoenixville, PA. To attract and nurture her local customers, Cameron shares the importance of engaging with your community. Check it out on this episode of Flower Shop Secrets.

Quick Summary

Key Takeaways

  • Supporting Others as an Active Member in Your Community
  • Creative Freedom in Floral Design – Unique Creations for Everyone
  • Why You Should Order Flowers from Passionate, Local Florists

More About Our Guest

The pink haired floral designer of Phoenixville, PA, Cameron Peters.

There are many reasons to shop local, but supporting florists may ultimately support other aspects of a community, including other small businesses. Cameron does this by shopping small at other businesses in her area. She also participates in community events to build her relationships with other community members. 

To further engage with the people in her town, Cameron Peters advertises on social media and decorates her display windows with festive and fun themes per season that stand out and attract passersby.

Full Episode Transcript

“You need to support small. You’re supporting your community and I will be the first one to tell you that our hard-earned dollars at the shop are worth turning around and spending them in the community, you know, to help support other businesses…” Cameron Peters

Cameron Peters  0:00  

You need to support small. You’re supporting your community and I will be the first one to tell you that our hard earned dollars at the shop are worth turning around and spending them in the community, you know, to help support other businesses.

 

Joe Vega  0:14  

So the big question is this. How can small business owners like us in the flow industry overcome the greed of order gatherers and bypass that the sefa games played by wire services? How do we market sell and deliver flowers online? So we may break free from these antiquated practices and earn our freedom? Those are some of the questions we will answer on this podcast. I’m Joe Vega. Welcome to flower shop secrets streaming now on Spotify, Apple podcast, Google and more. 

What’s up everybody? This is Joe Vega and welcome to another flower shop secret podcast and today we have Cameron Peters from Cameron Peters floor design in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. How you doing Cameron?

 

Cameron Peters  0:59  

Good, how are you? Joe?

 

Joe Vega  1:00  

I’m doing fantastic. So the first question I have for you is how much revenue did your shop make last year?

 

Cameron Peters  1:08  

We did just over 80,000 last year.

 

Joe Vega  1:11  

Wow. And you’re you’re at that $1,000 last year and your shop is located in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Is that correct? What’s the population of that?

 

Cameron Peters  1:21  

We’re probably about 14,000. So this is higher. But then within the zip code, there’s a whole lot more 19460 is a huge zip code.

 

Joe Vega  1:32  

That’s fantastic. And are you the only shop in Phoenixville or?

 

Cameron Peters  1:35  

Oh, no, no, within the zip code? There’s five of us.

 

Joe Vega  1:40  

Wow for 14 Okay, that’s so that’s a good number then that’s a good revenue number. Congrats.

 

Cameron Peters  1:46  

Yeah, especially we’re we’re getting we’re coming up to our fourth anniversary of May. So yeah. keep on keepin on.

 

Joe Vega  1:55  

Tell me how did you get started in the floor industry.

 

Cameron Peters  1:58  

Um, it was completely by accident. Literally, I was in a car accident. And I had broken my foot and could no longer do what I was doing. And I was able to get a job answering a phone in a flower shop of all things. So I said, Okay, we’ll do that for a while and, and see if I like it. And here I am.

 

Joe Vega  2:22  

So you just walked into this shop 27 years ago, and you started and you fell in love with it.

 

Cameron Peters  2:29  

I did. Um, I, you know, from speaking to the customers and starting to learn about the different varieties of flowers and how to take care of them. And then eventually transitioning during my first 1818 months with them, being able to take out some deliveries and just seeing the reactions on people’s faces when they got the flowers was the most amazing feeling in the whole wide world. So I think that’s really when I got bitten by that bug to see how happy just getting this random gift was for people.

 

Joe Vega  3:08  

So your favorite part, I mean, especially in the beginning, was watching people’s reactions, once you deliver those flowers.

 

Cameron Peters  3:17  

And I have to be honest, it’s still my favorite part. Because now I’m making them. So when you can take the order and make the order and then deliver the order and you see it full circle. That is the best feeling in the whole wide world.

 

Joe Vega  3:33  

I had a few opportunities to when I was visiting shops to deliver flowers. And I agree with you it’s it’s a wonderful feeling that you get and everyone’s always happy to see you. If you have flowers in your hands. Right?

 

Cameron Peters  3:48  

Well you can see it in their eyes. Right? If you pay attention you see it and and you’re absolutely correct it’s it’s it’s pure joy. It’s not just a smile.

 

Joe Vega  3:58  

Yeah, so would you say that the delivery drivers in the flower shops have the best job.

 

Cameron Peters  4:05  

Yeah, even if it includes sweeping the floor, they still have the best job.

 

Joe Vega  4:08  

Yeah, that’s fantastic. So so that’s delivering flowers but what about floral design itself? Like what do you love about the floral design process.

 

Cameron Peters  4:19  

I love the fact that every time I put together an arrangement it’s something different. There’s I try very hard not to mass produce anything going out of my shop I try to make everything unique to the situation or the the sender relationship to the to the recipient. So you know getting to use all these fun different flowers to create something different and unique for absolutely everybody. as best I can is is really great. I mean, honestly around the holidays I you know was told years ago you make one you make two So I will duplicate around the holidays. But on a day to day basis, I really tried my hardest to send out unique creations for everybody just so that way, they do feel one of a kind, and they do feel special in that regard.

 

Joe Vega  5:16  

So you love the creative freedom. That sounds like you love the creative freedom. I do. It sounds like your favorite product is the florist choice product is an absolutely

 

Cameron Peters  5:31  

designer’s choice florist choice, the marketplace orders those are those are the best because they really let you let you do what what you do best, which is create,

 

Joe Vega  5:42  

right? I mean, you guys are creative. After all, you’re in business, and you have to make a profit. You know, you have to do everything that a business needs to do in order to not only survive, but to thrive by the end of the day. You’re an artist, and you want to create your art, and that art is floral arrangements, arrangement. So the more you get a chance to actually continue to do that and exercise that the happier you’ll be. Yeah, absolutely. What advice and tips would you have for aspiring or seasoned designers,

 

Cameron Peters  6:18  

probably one of the one of the things I would just, if you have the opportunity to learn anything, take that opportunity, be it from another designer, if it’s, you know, reading, if it’s taking a class, whatever it might be. You know, there’s some, there’s some great YouTube videos out there. Just absorb everything you can from whoever you can. And as often as you can just make sure that you’re staying on top of what’s trending and the colors and the flowers that are most popular right now. And the look in the field that everybody’s trending towards, because that’s going to help you stay relevant and up to date versus getting stuck in a rut that you’re continually doing the same thing day in and day out.

 

Joe Vega  7:16  

So if I was just, you know, I’m 22 just graduated college, went to school for creative arts, and I really want to get into floral design. What advice would you have for me, if I’m just starting out, and one day, I would like to own my own shop.

 

Cameron Peters  7:34  

Get a job in a flower shop however you can, and see if you like it. And continue to work until you feel confident in your ability and your capabilities. Because you’re going to gain so much experience by being submersed in it every day. And bonuses that somebody’s paying you to learn. So you can’t go wrong with that. That’s a no brainer to me.

 

Joe Vega  8:10  

It sounds like you got to put the work in. Alright. Oh, yeah.

 

Cameron Peters  8:13  

Oh, yeah, I you know, I started years ago, I literally worked myself up from the from answering the phones and sweeping the floors and helping to take out the trash and cutting down boxes to learning all the names of flowers and flower care to delivering to eventually making my first arrangement, which I still remember. And then, you know, slowly, slowly working, working my way up and becoming more confident in what I was able to do. And really waking up every morning, knowing that I wanted to go to work was so important to me. floral design is perfect. I need to pay attention to it for a specific amount of time. And then I’m done. And I can move on to the next next project. So I think that floral design and I are actually quite a match made in heaven.

 

Joe Vega  9:09  

Hey, I think we may have some things in common there. So when you were starting out or even in the middle of it, like you must have dreaded coming in whether you work for a florist and other florists or in business yourself if you had like a whole bunch of orders and they were literally all the same arrangement or cookie cutter arrangements.

 

Cameron Peters  9:33  

Um, well no, because I knew I was going to be able to intermix what I really have a passion for in between. Not all of my arrangements are necessarily cookie cutter. But even then I I still end up mixing them up just a little bit.

 

Joe Vega  9:55  

So

 

Cameron Peters  9:57  

I put my own spin on it.

 

Joe Vega  9:59  

So the Cookie Cutter part comes from the web or whoever is sending you the order, you know they want to fruit of the bloom, it’ll be the the seventh one you, you get today. So cookie cutter from the standpoint of that’s what the customer seen. But what you’re saying is, even if it’s that what you do is like you make it unique enough so that it doesn’t feel like it’s the same.

 

Cameron Peters  10:20  

Yes. And I’m with by lovingly website, I figured out when we when we were able to reopen after the after the shutdown. And in the end of April, I pretty much locked our website down to designers choice. I was finding that a lot of different varieties of flowers were difficult to get. So having to call everybody and and let them know, I’m sorry, I don’t have hot pink Gerber’s in today or delphinium wasn’t available, but I can replace it with this and then have them turn around and be told, oh, it’s okay. Just do what you want. I only picked the picture because it looked pretty. Like. Okay, so being told that I was like, Oh, well, hey, maybe I can, you know, work a little bit more off of off of designers choice. I don’t necessarily suggested we do have other selections on, you know, on our site for for SEO and that type of thing. And I absolutely do them. But I do try to push that designers choice as much as I possibly can.

 

Joe Vega  11:28  

us to. We sort of nudge it’s always like the first search is always the first item in a search results is always the first item in a category. And doesn’t matter what category you go into Florida’s choices probably like, you know, just little nudge, yes, by this one. Yep. So you like having that flexibility on your website where you can just turn your entire website into a a theme in which just sells the florist or the designers choice product you like the flexibility

 

Cameron Peters  11:57  

and love the flexibility. That was something that was important to us, when we did decide to gain a web presence, and I was looking at all of the options out there. I knew that we wanted to stay my my entire goal is to stay as independent as possible. But we can’t financially feed, you know, create this gorgeous website on our own. And I appreciated loving Lee’s stance, their, you know, their their need to and their desire to help the local florist and I thought, Okay, I think this is a good fit. This seems like a good fit for me. So that’s why we that’s why we got our website. And it’s been the best decision we’ve ever we’ve ever made. Honestly,

 

Joe Vega  12:55  

that’s music to my ears.

 

Cameron Peters  12:58  

We’ve gained a couple regular regular customers from it, we’ve gained a couple subscription orders from it where they’re ordering. You know, like, for Christmas, we had a couple gentlemen who decided they were going to get flowers for their wife for the year as a Christmas gift because they so enjoyed the arrangement that they got from us, because they ordered off of our website. So that’s a great, great compliment all the way around.

 

Joe Vega  13:25  

That sounds great. So you mentioned your wire service free?

 

Cameron Peters  13:28  

Yes. Yes. I’ve worked in plenty of shops that had the had the wire services. And over my, my years in the business, I’ve seen how it’s how it’s changed. I’ve seen how the industry has changed. And I knew that I did not want to be part of that segment.

 

Joe Vega  13:51  

How have you noticed the industry has changed.

 

Cameron Peters  13:53  

Um, when I first started, flowers seemed to be a very important part of life. You would, we would get tons of orders for massages for Easter Mother’s Day that has sort of dwindled off they would you know, order order flowers for any occasion. And when the grocery store seemed to be carrying a little bit more and they got a little bit more advanced in what their offerings were that buying seemed to shift over to the grocery store or the other outlets that that were available to them. The pricing was a little bit better, obviously, you know, they’re they’re bulk buying where regular small brick and mortar shop can’t buy it that at that quantity. Um, but it’s been really interesting to watch over the past I would say a year and a half, two years. It’s just started to shift back where people are going back to their local florist because they appreciate fact that there are dedicated professionals out there who really put their heart and soul into what they do, which you’re just not going to get anywhere else, I don’t feel. So you might pay a little bit in a flower shop. But there’s so much more behind that. That cost, you know, there’s, there’s somebody who really cares about what they’re doing. They’re, you know, supporting themselves or their family behind that. I’m not just somebody who is, and I have nothing against it. I did it for a while myself, so I don’t know. But it’s it’s not just people who are working in a floral department. It’s somebody who really has that has that passion.

 

Joe Vega  15:46  

Cool. So let’s talk about your shop here and what you do for advertising, like what are some of the advertising and promotion ideas you’ve implemented in your shop?

 

Cameron Peters  15:56  

We I rely heavily on social media. When we first opened, we opened out of savings. So by the time we got the shop, up and running, got the got the lease got some of the fixtures and that type of thing. There was no room in the budget if I if I wanted to survive. So I became very, I taught myself very quickly how to be on social media. But we also jumped feet first into the community, which is hugely important here in Phoenixville to be part of to be part of the community and to support your community. And so we joined the chamber, we joined the Small Business Association, we participated in, in so many activities, just so that way people knew that we were, we were there. And so really, as far as advertising goes, we haven’t done a whole lot of paid advertising. Just a whole lot of face advertising. Just being out and about and people knowing that you’re that you’re there.

 

Joe Vega  17:11  

Great. Which social media platforms are you using?

 

Cameron Peters  17:15  

I’m using Facebook and Instagram. I do have a Twitter account, but I’m not active on there at all. Because I forget I have it. And I’m not if you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m not exactly the most abbreviated in my words. So Twitter, when it tells you you can only do 130 Yeah, I’m like, Oh, I can’t do that. Like, that’s not enough space. So I am, you know, I really took to Instagram and Facebook and and have actually been calm, complimented on and asked who does our social media marketing and I’m like, Oh, well, that would be me. Like, Oh, I love it or, or, you know, you’ve got such a great a great view when Michael Thank you. I take that as a compliment. I’m like, it’s just me being me. I’m not gonna put something out there that that doesn’t reflect back to, to my personality and who we are. So

 

Joe Vega  18:17  

yeah, well, that’s what most people are drawn to, you know, you have to be authentic. Yeah, that’s the only way it works. Absolutely. Awesome. So as far as you mentioned community, so how are you an active member of your community?

 

Cameron Peters  18:31  

And well, we will be we donate to the to the Phoenixville chamber when they do events, because we are active active members with them. We participate in events at the senior center. They have some some great things going on up there. But you know, we’ll we’ll either do something for for a raffle or, you know, I’ve had the opportunity several times to just randomly go up there with with flowers, then let them give them out. Which means the world to us. I actually, next week I’d like to I’d like to take some stuff up to them because we haven’t done it in a while. But they do because of the pandemic in the in the in the seniors. They’ve been doing a meal pickup once a week. And I think it would be fun. I didn’t have the opportunity last week because it was so busy, but I wanted to give them Valentine’s but we’ll do a we’ll do it just because to make them smile. But yeah, we we also participate with the Jaycees. They do a dogwood festival every year. So we participate in the in the parade. You know, anything that we can anything that we can do to to do our part we were very big also and supporting small you know and these are our Friends, so we want to, we want to see them do well. So we turn around and it’s it’s just what all those all those posters and all those things say is that you know, you need to support you need to support small you’re supporting your community and I will be the first one to tell you that our hard earned dollars at the shop are worth turning around and spending them in the community to help, you know to help support other businesses. So yeah, that’s it’s huge to us. That’s, that’s

 

Joe Vega  20:33  

beautiful. Actually, you mentioned senior centers there. How do people in the senior centers feel about you coming over?

 

Cameron Peters  20:43  

They love it. They love it. They’ve they even assisted with putting together goodie bags. Not this past year, but the year before for the Halloween trunk or treat from the and they had the most amazing time doing it. They had so much fun. And they got them done in a day and a half that would have taken me over a week to do 500 gift bags to hand out but they it makes them smile. You know, it’s um it’s a wonderful. Again, it just goes back to delivering it. It’s a wonderful feeling to make somebody smile. So when they see you walk in with flowers, or they see you walk in with an arrangement. They’re all talking about it. You know, it’s it’s, it’s an event.

 

Joe Vega  21:30  

Yeah, the, you know, I just have to share this story I spent. I spent five years of my career going to two senior centers a day in New York City. And I learned a lot. There’s a whole world of knowledge and senior centers. Oh, yeah. And, and they have interesting stories. And I usually was quick about doing what I had to do in terms of I used to just fix a computer or update a program or something. But I always used to hang out afterwards. And there are some characters. Oh, yeah. In senior centers. And what you learn a ton, you learned a ton. So they’re, they’re one of my favorite people to hang out with.

 

Cameron Peters  22:12  

Oh, yeah. It’s awesome. They have they have amazing stories. Yeah. And they want to share them. Right. They want to tell you, you know, I had for one of the chamber events, the senior center was actually the beneficiary of all the all the money that was raised. So we took I took all the flowers up there, and the ladies and gentlemen, at the senior center actually helped we put the centerpieces together for that event. They had so much fun, and just the chit chat that was going on. I remember doing this and you know, I one of them actually worked in a flower shop at one point and she misses it. And, you know, then I had them all laughing because I said, well, you don’t know this, but you’re all hired for Mother’s Day. And they just they just thought that was that was great. So yeah, they’re it’s it’s a it’s a wonderful, wonderful segment to be involved with. Absolutely.

 

Joe Vega  23:07  

Yes, absolutely. In terms of your flower shop, I know the pandemic is sort of slow the traffic, the walk in traffic by a lot. But pre pandemic, how do you decorate your display window? And how does this help join people from your community?

 

Cameron Peters  23:29  

Well, everybody loves our windows. So that’s, that’s, that’s amazing. Um, we have we have two fairly small windows, but we try to do it seasonally. And we we try to mix it up as much as we as we can, even if we are reusing the same, the same items from the year before. We’ve collected a few things over the last couple years that definitely are showstoppers, one of them being our Nightmare Before Christmas window, which goes up two weeks before Halloween. And stays up until right after right after Halloween, generally the beginning of November and then we’ll switch it we’ll switch it to the holidays. We have bunnies that go in the window. We have dogs that go in the window. Anything to capture attention and really for us, we’re a very walkable town. And there’s tons of families out there. So we figured out within the first six months, I would say that if we capture the attention of the kids, we’ve got the parents so we try to put kid friendly you know something that’s going to attract the the attention of the kids. And it’s actually kind of funny the dog that we have that we put in the window. There’s a couple dogs that walk, get walked past our shop and the one was very confused and his owner said he’s very confused. He doesn’t know where the dog went. Cuz he would look in the window and see this, this little dog and I’m like, okay, I didn’t know we were affecting him that much. But that’s awesome. So

 

Joe Vega  25:11  

that’s brilliant. You What is it about the What do you do to the windows that attracts the kids.

 

Cameron Peters  25:20  

So for Christmas, we had a six foot Santa in the one window and we had a couple reindeer and Santa had a bag that said reindeer food on it. So it made it look like Santa was feeding the reindeer standing outside of his front door. And then we had a mailbox hanging on the wall that had some letters to Santa spilling out. Like I said, a lot of the kids surprisingly enough are not scared by The Nightmare Before Christmas window. They know jack and Sally, as much as they would know Mickey and Minnie, which surprised me. We’ve done things with with smaller sized items. So because of the size of our window necessarily, but because kids are attracted to smaller stuff. So we have a little tricycle In the window that has a like a wagon behind it. We have a pull wagon that has our logo on it. Just stuff that like little little ladybugs will put in the window in the springtime after the bunnies come out because they’re the kids like the little ladybugs, they like you know the creepy crawly stuff do so, you know by including that we’re going to catch their attention because it’s also at their eye level. When they’re when they’re walking so yeah, and bright colors too. Yeah. That really, that really captures the attention is putting something bright.

 

Joe Vega  26:49  

That’s one of my favorite parts about doing these podcasts these these interviews is I love to learn, like what you just said about the kids there. That’s That’s brilliant idea. That’s awesome.

 

Cameron Peters  27:02  

Yeah, you got the kids, you got the parents, and if the doors open more, the merrier. They’ll just wander on it. I only see the flowers and then they come and you know, the whole family’s following after them and all of a sudden it’s um, I didn’t even know you were here. Oh, this is beautiful. And so it starts a whole new conversation and somebody new just came in your door which is which is amazing.

 

Joe Vega  27:23  

Right? But just the scent, right? It’s just like the scent of the flowers. Like you know what, maybe we should get some flowers.

 

Cameron Peters  27:28  

Yeah, yeah, this smells like a flower shop. I hate to admit it, but I don’t think I smell them as much anymore. Just being around them all day. I kind of lost that. And when the shop finally got stocked back up when we were able to go back in. After the shutdown. I was like, Oh, I can smell the flowers. Again. This is awesome. like

 

Joe Vega  27:49  

wow, that’s interesting. So you become immune a little bit to smell

 

Cameron Peters  27:52  

or the science of the idea.

 

Joe Vega  27:55  

Yeah. Well, you got it back, right.

 

Cameron Peters  27:58  

I did. I didn’t I didn’t become immune to the beauty just the smell.

 

Joe Vega  28:04  

Awesome. So Cameron Peters from Cameron Peters floor design in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Thank you so much for joining me today, Cameron.

 

Cameron Peters  28:12  

Thank you for having me. Joe. It was my pleasure. This was fun. It was fun. Could you

 

Joe Vega  28:18  

tell everyone where to find you on social media?

 

Cameron Peters  28:20  

Yeah, we are on Cameron Peters floral design on both Facebook and Instagram or at CP floral design. Perfect. Cool. But yeah, yeah. If you ever hear anybody struggling with their you know what their window displays? Definitely, if they’ve got a walkable town, tell them to try and put something in there to attract the kids. Awesome.

 

Joe Vega  28:42  

All right, Cameron. Thanks so much for everything and we’ll talk again very soon.

 

Cameron Peters  28:46  

Sounds good. Thank you Have a great day.

 

Joe Vega  28:49  

We want to help your business bloom. Follow for more episodes of flower shop secrets streaming now on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google and more.

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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