Improving Your Business to Maintain Customers – Episode 19: Flower Shop Secrets

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How can you improve your current business practices to enhance your floral business?

In this episode of Flower Shop Secrets, AIFD and PFCI accredited florist and educator, Ruben Consa, shares his knowledge and over 40 years of experience in the industry. He offers advice for providing exceptional customer service and staying up to date with technology as a means to elevate your floral business.

Quick Summary

Key Takeaways

  • Importance of Maintaining and Continuing Your Floral Education 
  • Advantages of Staying Up to Date with Technology
  • Exceptional Customer Service as a Marketing Tactic

More About Our Guest

In college, Ruben Consa studied fine arts and inevitably discovered that he could express his creativity and make a living through floral design. Knowing nothing about the floral industry before his venturers, Ruben took to the books and educated himself.

Though he has a passion for art and design, Ruben also insists on staying up to date with current industry practices. Today, he continues to prioritize floral education while operating the Yola Guz School of Floral Design with his wife, Yola. They also run several shops in the Miami, Florida area, including Aventura Blooming Petals, Brickell Ave Florist, and Anthurium Gardens Florist

Full Episode Transcript

After two months, I realized I didn’t know nothing about flowers and I opened up a flower shop imagine and very quickly understood that I needed to educate myself to become a real professional. And since then I’ve been educating myself all the time…

Ruben Consa  0:00  

After two months, I realized I didn’t know nothing about flowers and I opened up a flower shop imagine and very quickly understood that I needed to educate myself to become a real professional. And since then I’ve been educating myself all the time.

 

Joe Vega  0:17  

So the big question is this. How can small business owners like us in the flow industry, overcome the greed of order gathers and bypass the CFO 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. Watch now on YouTube, like, subscribe and ring the bell for new episodes. What’s up everybody? This is Joe Vega, and welcome to another flower shop secret podcast. And today, we have Ruben concept from Miami, Florida. How are you?

 

Ruben Consa  0:58  

I’m doing good. Joe, How about yourself?

 

Joe Vega  1:00  

I’m doing great. Thank you. So can you tell us a little bit of your backstory? What like what has your journey been? How did you get and where you are today, running multiple shops in Miami and the other areas and design school?

 

Unknown Speaker  1:12  

Yeah, well, it’s not easy, Joe. I wear different hats in my business, and but my experience allows me to do it. I’ve been in this business for over 40 years. And originally I started back in the 70s 80s. You could do the math and you know my age. But I started my first humble flower shop in Brooklyn, New York. And from there, my vision was to be in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue. And after five years of being in a small neighborhood in Brooklyn, I was able to move my business and grow into the Big Apple Manhattan in the Rockefeller Plaza area, where I stay in business for more than 25 years. And I did very well together. While that was happening, I became an AIFD member in 1989. And that gave me the platform for the growth I have experienced over the last 2030 years. It’s been a journey. It hasn’t been easy. And but because I love flowers, and I love the art of flowers, creating art with flowers I produce and I was resilient. And but it hasn’t been easy. There has been valleys and mountains during my time in while I was in New York I did very very well I was able to get accounts like Italian fashion houses like Giorgio Armani, Valentino Ungaro Elizabeth Arden salon, those were my clients in New York high end completely. And they wanted the best of the best so that I did very, very well there. And at the same time with my development with AI D, I started traveling around the country and overseas as well teaching floral design, with the AI of the flag, but sponsored by companies is Mrs. oasiz, the sign master and so on. So that gave me a pretty good experience in teaching and commentary and many times in Spanish because it’s my first language and doing that in 1996. I met my beautiful wife y’all are in the Dominican Republic because she was one of the persons in the audience and that’s how I met her. He was already a florist. So beautiful long story that I’m going to go into it. Another day. I will give you that that background but we married and we have joined forces and that’s what we’re doing today. Since then, I moved out of New York. I moved to Miami and Mary Yola, and we created a very powerful educational team because she is a good instructor and educator and very talented and we joined forces and created our design, the Yola School of floral design in Miami. Together with that we I went back to retail, because after being in New York was in retail for so many years, I was tired and I sold my business and they went moved to Miami. I didn’t want to be in the retail business anymore. And Yola convinced me that we should be in the retail business that she she wanted to save her that because she was an immigrant to the US, or her experience was in VR. It wanted to savor the the retail experience that I already had accomplished in Neagle. So we opened up our first shop, our second shop, our third shop For short on today we are 60, flowers, retail outlets in Miami, close to school. Wow,

 

Joe Vega  5:07  

that’s a lot of businesses. How do you manage? The how do you how do you balance the business side of the flower shops and the design work and the school all together,

 

Unknown Speaker  5:16  

we are under the same roof that makes it really easy our production facility for the flower shop, it’s in in this under the same roof with the school. So that gives us the ability to be in one place and manage it all the retail outlets around the city, our production facility, we employed a former students from our school people that we have trained with our recipe and our know how. And that’s how we are able to do it. Also technology allow us to do it as well. For example, I could be at home at night, and I’m watching my phone seeing all the orders coming in while we’re not at the shop. So that allow us to do that. The school is very busy as well. The school pulled us in different directions. Because we train people not only to be professional florists but we develop the we create a path for them to become aiV members in the future. Our school is certify We are an educational partner with AI FP. So our school is a pass for individuals that want to get to that accreditation of AIP. And that it’s another monster. So with technology and hard work and passion, we are able to do it. I understand we are a unique face, I’m sure you don’t, you know you don’t find people like what we are doing. Because you trace a lot of Gods a lot of desire, a lot of ambition. And I’m going to hell absolutely during the pandemic and we were hesitant to have the school open. But we have been able to continue to teach in small groups. And, of course, keeping all the safe conditions like taking temperature, everybody wearing a mask keeping the distance. And thank God I everything is been going really good.

 

Joe Vega  7:24  

That’s fantastic. It sounds like the technology you always been connected as always helped you sort of run everything at once. Right?

 

Unknown Speaker  7:31  

Absolutely. And luckily, and I don’t mean to patronize or advertise lovingly, but lovingly, with the technological capability that you have, and that the platform that you have provided us has given us the opportunity to create what we are doing today. Of course, there’s always room for improvement. And I know you guys are working together and doing that. But definitely technology makes it easy. I feel sorry, sometimes when I hear that are florists out there, from the old school, that are behind in technology, and they cannot keep up with the trends, they cannot keep up with the demands of the consumer today, because they don’t have the knowledge of computers and technology. And, you know, for those people is, it’s really hard to get in the bandwagon and learn at this stage of the life very often I will tell them, Listen, sell your business and get out and you know, and retire. Because if you’re not willing or able to be up to speed on what’s going on in today in today’s market, you won’t be able to stay in business.

 

Joe Vega  8:47  

Right? Well, you know, the consumer behavior has changed, right? Everything now is online, right? So you either know to know the technology and the marketing in the online world, or you need to partner with someone or a company that knows this that is able to help you achieve your goals. So it sounds like that’s a big challenge challenging the industry overall. So in your opinion, what are some of the big other big changes in the industry that you have seen that have presented unique challenges?

 

Unknown Speaker  9:15  

Well, you know, this is a changing industry. And I’ve been in it over 40 years. And I seen it since the time that supermarkets were not selling flowers. So florists it was the only place to go. And that’s where people are about flowers. But then supermarkets came to the picture. And they created a whole scenario for for florists and gave consumers the ability to buy flowers or very low, low low prices that create a problem that’s that’s that was a tremendous change in the industry. Even today. I see a lot of changes because here in Miami, we have relationships with all importers of flour. Where’s all the flowers that come from South America, coming through Miami. And this is the poor of importation. And there’s a lot of importers that market their products here, not only to our segment of the industry, but also to the supermarkets. And it’s very challenging for them. And that makes a difference for us. Because it for example, for Valentine’s Day, they have to bring tremendous amount of flowers within a week. And, of course, the freight charges, charges fees go sky high, and they’ve been bringing the flowers by boat, you know, in refrigerated containers. And that is good if you’re going to move the flowers very quickly. But the flowers have been in cold storage for three or four weeks. And in the long run, the freshness of the flowers in the long run is not going to be the same when they try them by plane. So it works for for a holiday like that, because you move the flowers fast. But if you have to keep those flowers for a week, in your core, they will last. So you have to adjust to those things. And when you buy for Valentine’s Day or for Mother’s Day, you need to know that the lifespan of the flowers will not be the same. So those changes are occurring. Because of the time you know, the amount of a volume that they move are ObiWan overwhelming. And so they are trying to catch up and find ways of adjusting. And if we don’t mind just with them, then they will lose the boat. You know what I mean? Has your has having a school? A floral school helped your flower shop business? Yes, it has. Because in our website and our school website, when people logging into in there, whether they looking for school or for flowers, they land to our school, and we have a link that says if you want to buy flowers and deliver them today, click here. And that takes us to the lonely web site. And then the customers, people that land in our school page. Even though they know looking for classes, they see that link and they go straight to our website. Lovely website.

 

Joe Vega  12:25  

Sounds like everything is connected. Everything is working nicely together.

 

Unknown Speaker  12:29  

Sorry. It’s like a very, it’s a machine that works like a Ferrari. I will say I like I mean, there’s always room for improvement. Joe, you know, we try. We want to think that we are working like a Ferrari. So yeah,

 

Joe Vega  12:48  

I’m more of a Lambo fan, but Ferrari would do that. You can’t go wrong with either one of those,

 

Unknown Speaker  12:55  

of course.

 

Joe Vega  12:57  

So Ruben, how has your experience changed with customers in recent years, since things are so different? Now?

 

Unknown Speaker  13:03  

I tell you something, that that is a good subject. You have to take every customer’s job, no matter what, in the past, when they were no Google reviews, and customer will complain. And you will say well, if you didn’t like it, it’s too bad. You already pay for it. You know, don’t call me Don’t bother me. In today’s world, you cannot afford to do that. Because there is Google who’s overseeing everything. And when a customer is not happy with your service, for whatever reason it is they might not be right. It might not be a solid complaint. But if they have a complaint, and they do a bad review, and people are looking at those reviews all the time, and that’s going to maintain you in business. So what do we do? If a customer cancels with a complaint, it doesn’t matter whether they are right or wrong, we give him 100% satisfaction. If they complain, we say we give you three options, we will refund you your money 100% we will send another arrangement as a second option, replacing the first one and you can you can keep the first one, we’re going to send a second one to make it even better for you. Or we’ll leave it the way it is and next time you order your it will be free.

 

Joe Vega  14:31  

Wow, that I’ve never heard those three options before. So by providing those three options to the customer, what what is the How did they react? Which one is more popular?

 

Unknown Speaker  14:39  

They love it. They said Wow, man, you are amazing. They will some of them will say give me the refund. But I can assure you that next time I order flowers. I’m gonna go

 

Joe Vega  14:50  

through you. Wow. So it’s like it’s basically a marketing opportunity, right? You’re turning you’re turning a bad experience into a great experience

 

Unknown Speaker  14:59  

and consumers loves that. And sometimes Listen, they’re their completions are realistic Joe, between you and me, they will say, oh, a little pedal broke from the flower, you know, maybe that happened to in transportation? Well, who cares? You know, give him even the benefit of the doubt, maintain that the customer, then when you when they are happy, you could come out and say, listen, since you are happy with the resolution, why don’t you do a good review for us? You know what, they go into Google, and they do a beautiful review for you. And that’s pushing you up all the time. So never refuse to give a customer their money back or replace your arrangement?

 

Joe Vega  15:41  

That’s excellent advice. What would you say to florists who, who basically take it personal when because we all know, some customers are just simply unreasonable, right? You could do everything perfect. And like you said, sometimes, you know, it’s not good enough. You can’t, you can only please some of the people some of the time, right? So some floors would take a personal and then do you just either reply with like, No, I’m right, you’re wrong. But you know, yada, yada, yada. But like, what would you say to some of those shops who are still under this impression that it’s better to be right than to just simply just make the customer happy again,

 

Unknown Speaker  16:16  

not even go there. Not even try not even say that a doodle no UI with them, you have to give them you have to tell them you are right. 100% I’m here to please you, no matter what, you cannot take it personal. Because there are consumers out there that they are realistic, you know, their requests are not realistic. So you don’t argue with that, because you’re never going to win. But let me tell you, we we Yola takes care of our quality control. And after Keith does that, it goes through my hands as well. So our quality control is so such, such such a perfection, that out over 100 orders, maybe we get one complaint,

 

Joe Vega  17:03  

that’s an excellent ratio.

 

Unknown Speaker  17:07  

cost me anything to replace that arrangement if we was $100 arrangement, because we 20 $25 to create it. So at the end of the day, I’m not losing $100, I’m losing only 25 when you come to see, so it’s not enough, make me rich poor, what I want to be able to do is maintain my credibility, and especially with the reviews on Google. That’s the name of the game today. Service service service, and the consumers is always right.

 

Joe Vega  17:38  

It sounds like you’re always your number one goal is to please the user Oh, please, to customer?

 

Unknown Speaker  17:45  

Absolutely. The recipient as well, I mean, the sender and the recipient, because the recipient is going to get the flowers. And sometimes the recipient is the one calling to complain. You know, it’s not the sender. So either way doesn’t matter to us, we will give them 100 fully satisfaction. Wow. So

 

Joe Vega  18:05  

you give the recipient the same options, then?

 

Unknown Speaker  18:08  

Of course, absolutely. That’s, that’s our secret job. That’s why we are successful.

 

Joe Vega  18:15  

And and after you do this, do these customers come back and buy from you again? Do you say? Yeah,

 

Unknown Speaker  18:21  

yes, they do.

 

Joe Vega  18:24  

Well, there you go. It’s, it’s, it’s marketing, customer support, roll into one, right? Like, I’ve never heard of that, that’s, I’m really impressed with those three options. Because it’s, it’s a win win win situation for them. Right? Like, it’s just, they don’t, they don’t have any other choice but to like you and to like, use you again for the future. They’re going to tell their friends about that. That’s an amazing strategy. I really appreciate that. What do you enjoy most about being a florist?

 

Unknown Speaker  18:54  

I enjoy the most of course, the creation of the design, because that’s the artistic part. But I also enjoy it when I get a phone call. And the person will say something like, I have never received an arrangement like the one I just got from your shop. Those words are very give you the reassurance and confidence that what you’re doing is correct. And it makes you feel like a Superman. And when when a customer or a sender calls you to tell you that was such a great job you did. like they’ve never seen anything like it. That’s what makes the day for us. Let me add something else. Our average sale is between 151 75 wow $75 our average sale we get called for 500 to $600 arrangement and the smallest one is a designer’s choice that we keep it at $99 and in some location that $89 Customers are not calling those are 4050 6075. Our arrangement,

 

Joe Vega  20:05  

right? Is that the same for all of your locations?

 

Unknown Speaker  20:09  

Ah, well, five of them are like that one of them is in a middle class lower class economical ratio. And there we have price ranges a little lower, but still, they are ordering high ticket items in there, our designers choice in that area $79 the same.

 

Joe Vega  20:35  

So, with the with the other shops is your average is your average price, probably 75 is that you think that’s due to be to the location.

 

Unknown Speaker  20:46  

that’s to do with the location and the type of quality and, and trendy designs that we’re creating. But we get people from other areas that don’t live in those locations or work in that location that happened to go into our website and they are ordering as well go consumers are willing to pay for what they want. And remember, buying flowers is something exclusive, when people are getting out of their way to send flowers to show affection to show their emotion they want to send the best. And my experiences is that the more expensive it is, the more they will buy because they know it is exclusive. If you sell a non exclusive design beautiful, like your competition, you know, in their websites, you see arrangements for $60 $50 that no way you can produce and make a profit on that arrangement. Consumers at that high end level and are looking there and buying those exceed those arrangement for 5070. Now, because they know they’re going to get tricked somehow somewhere. Because they know it’s not realistic to pay $50 for a beautiful arrangement of calories and orchids. Okay, just to give you an example. So they don’t look at those sites. There’s a lot of people that look at those sites, but people that are serious, I want quality they the the more they pay for the product, the better they feel. That’s it. That’s my opinion.

 

Joe Vega  22:25  

That’s right. I’ve met many florists who are afraid of charging what they believe it’s worth for some reason. They just feel bad about it. They don’t they don’t believe or I’m not exactly sure what the reason is, but they they cut themselves shorts. What would you have to say to those floors?

 

Unknown Speaker  22:41  

Don’t be afraid, you know, don’t cut yourself short. Pete the keeper you sell is not the best solution. The keeper to sell is making you go to the ground, little by little. You got to take the different direction you got to go off charge more for you work. I’m so quality.

 

Joe Vega  23:02  

Right? That’s right. So you’re independent. You have five flower shops, you have a school you’re doing you guys are doing amazing, right? What is next? What are the next steps for your business?

 

Unknown Speaker  23:13  

That is a good question. I want to retire yo. I want to retire and Yola says I’m gonna support you when you retire. No, I’m just kidding. Now the next step is continue to what we’re doing, always keeping an open mind, an open mind, in terms of the new ways of improving yourself. And that that is the name of the game, you know, you have to have vision. Try to, you know, if you get lemons from from the sky, make lemonade with, with the lemons, you know, that’s what I mean. Look, look to be different. And that is the answer. You know, you cannot stay steal and do the things that you used to do 2030 years ago, or 10 years ago,

 

Joe Vega  24:04  

it doesn’t work. Would you say that better designs equals happy customer. Is that true?

 

Unknown Speaker  24:11  

Yeah. Well, before I answer that question, let me tell you, that’s what we teach our students in our school, you know, okay, you came to our school, you are self certified. You graduated from high school we gave you you took all our courses. Now it’s time for you to go to other schools. And we recommend other schools for them to continue under development and never say steel you got to continuously learn y’all on I even today. We are AIA members for many years. We are presenters in Platt national platforms, international platform, and even today we will take a plane to Europe and take a course or a week spent 1000s of dollars but you know what, what are we learning and we we we get exposed to a different view of Oh What they do in in Europe and we bring it here, you know, and that’s, that keeps us always in front in front of the carriage. Should florists invest more in the design efforts overall. Yeah, they need to continuously educate, just following up with that, what I just said, learn new tricks, lemnos ways to be quick in production, and efficient, that’s the name of the game. And you have to continuously train yourself and improve yourself to maintain your customers, you know, database. Okay, so

 

Joe Vega  25:35  

what what can other floors do to further their floral education?

 

Unknown Speaker  25:39  

Well, they there’s many options. There’s, we have classes online, for example, your like, google.com, if you go to your google.com, you can study online, we don’t have all our courses online, we are in the process of videotaping all our classes. So even though that you are not here in Miami, you could take our classroom, well, there are other schools all around the country, AI as these if the greatest, the greatest platform, you will find it in this industry, to grow and to get education. And if you never if you came into this industry, and there are a lot of florists out there that have never taken a course. That wasn’t my case, because well, it was my case, because I started this business in Brooklyn. And after two months, I realized I didn’t know nothing about flowers, and I opened up a flower shop imagine and very quickly understood that I needed to educate myself to become a real professional. And since then, I’ve been educating myself all the time. So there’s education is the is the answer. If you don’t educate yourself, not only in pretty design, you have to educate yourself in marketing. You have to educate yourself with technology. It’s, you know, technology is getting better and better and better every day, you know, and if you don’t stay on top of it, social media, you need to educate yourself on how social media works. Now, you not only have the time to do all that, but you have to engage and employ people that will do it for you. But before you employ people, you got to know the deal. You got to know how it works in order for you to give direction and create leadership for your team of workers. And that does what we do. Education is the key to it. Yeah, education is the key. How many students go through the year school every

 

Joe Vega  27:43  

year?

 

Unknown Speaker  27:45  

Well, a big number of students come to our school. We at this time where we take groups of 15 people we also teach privately. We have people that traveled from other states and other countries, to Miami to study with us intensively for a week, two weeks, we have all kinds of students coming towards school, and our reputation is impeccable. Even today we have the flower importers that have their own productions and there are managers and their own designers are calling us to educate their staff. So we have become a really strong platform here in South Florida.

 

Joe Vega  28:33  

In terms of education, and we have many many students into the hundreds. Ruben you and Yola are so inspirational. Thank you so much for joining me today. How can people get in touch with you?

 

Unknown Speaker  28:45  

They can go into the website. The school website is www dot. Yola. goose.com y o l. a goose is GE UCs and syrup.com or they can call me directly on my phone number. My personal line is 305-504-1061 it would be a pleasure to help anyone.

 

Joe Vega  29:14  

There you go. Thank you so much, Ruben.

 

Unknown Speaker  29:17  

You are quite welcome here.

 

Joe Vega  29:19  

We want to help your business bloom. Check out more episodes of flower shop secrets. Watch now on YouTube, like subscribe and ring the bell for new episodes.

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Full Recording

Unknown Speaker  0:23  

That’s

 

Unknown Speaker  0:25  

man, I’m gonna have to restart my machine. Okay, not a problem.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:08  

Good morning. Good morning, Jeff. Yes, I’m Jeff. How are you? Good. Good to meet you. Likewise. Hold on a second, please. Sure. No problem.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:30  

Okay, this is better. Great. Perfect. It’s a great

 

Unknown Speaker  1:37  

piece of art behind you. Oh, thank you. Yeah, that’s

 

Unknown Speaker  1:42  

a structure made out of sticks, and geometric form.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:47  

Um, for artists, and this is the kind of work I do

 

Unknown Speaker  1:53  

to create a

 

Unknown Speaker  1:57  

good name for myself in the industry.

 

Unknown Speaker  2:00  

I like it. I love the image creates. So it’s, and it looks great behind you. So how are you today? I’m doing good. Thank you and your shop. Very well. Thanks very well.

 

Unknown Speaker  2:11  

He’ll be on in a moment. He was having a bit of trouble with his cameras. So he’s just rebooting his machine right now. Okay. Not a problem. So. So where are you located? I’m in Miami, Florida. Beautiful. By yourself, California. Okay, so

 

Unknown Speaker  2:28  

yeah, for most days, for most days. So, today we have 78 degrees. Weather, Sunny, beautiful. Yeah, we got the sun, but not nearly your warmth. So

 

Unknown Speaker  2:44  

you know, as the old adage goes, the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. So

 

Unknown Speaker  2:52  

I don’t think I had the pleasure to meet you before. But what is your relationship to leveling? So I’m there. I’m joined lovingly about three and a half weeks ago. I’m the VP of Marketing for loving me. Oh.

 

Unknown Speaker  3:07  

Welcome to the team. You know, they have been having

 

Unknown Speaker  3:12  

quick turnovers with that position. Yeah, well, we’re, we’re entrenched and we’re moving forward now. So we’re in a good place. I have a lot of years, Joe. Hey, Ruben. How’s it going? Why nosy I send your way. Como esta? Good. Good. You looking sharp, man. Oh, thank you. I’m trying. I’m trying over here. You should have told me I wouldn’t wear my tie on my best jacket. That’s okay. You look great.

 

Unknown Speaker  3:39  

I was just chatting with Jeff. Yes, Jeff. Jeff joined our team about three and a half weeks ago. He’s a VP of Marketing. So we’re happy to have him and I was just having computer issues like ironically, so I couldn’t get on earlier. Sorry about that.

 

Unknown Speaker  3:56  

Yeah, well, burning computers. Like you shouldn’t be having those problems. I know it was when I moved to this new location. So now everything is set up yet. It isn’t Jojo. There’s all right. I know. I know. I know.

 

Unknown Speaker  4:08  

So it’s gonna be you today. Yeah. Oh, I say hello to YOLO Sure. Why not?

 

Unknown Speaker  4:31  

chicoms

 

Unknown Speaker  4:36  

Hello, Hello. How are you? Good. How are you?

 

Unknown Speaker  4:42  

Good. Asya

 

Unknown Speaker  4:46  

tratando esta muy bien. De Nino de Santi

 

Unknown Speaker  4:54  

a courier Say hello. I’m TK Coleman. Some Yes. See? Yeah, Louis speaking

 

Unknown Speaker  5:01  

Okay, your three most?

 

Unknown Speaker  5:04  

Oh, yeah. Okay. It’s gonna be signed in now.

 

Unknown Speaker  5:09  

For lonely Money money money for lonely

 

Unknown Speaker  5:16  

Yang we check it out. Yes. Okay. Are you family? See? Yeah.

 

Unknown Speaker  5:23  

Oh yeah. Yummy. So mommy dress Bessie Noma contest. Oh no, just

 

Unknown Speaker  5:29  

joeboy pedja esta semana de la de Vaca gamma?

 

Unknown Speaker  5:33  

gamma Okay, okay. Okay, we check it out.

 

Unknown Speaker  5:40  

Sorry about that, Jeff, I know you didn’t understand anything but we were just saying hello.

 

Unknown Speaker  5:45  

That’s my

 

Unknown Speaker  5:47  

that’s my other half my partner in crime. That’s great.

 

Unknown Speaker  5:52  

That’s awesome. I picked words out it’s close enough to French right they can I can go here and there and then living in California for 30 years I picked out a little bit more so

 

Unknown Speaker  6:02  

awesome. So before we get started, Ruben

 

Unknown Speaker  6:07  

Are you are you okay with us asking you about your revenue?

 

Unknown Speaker  6:14  

My in revenue in general? Yeah. Yeah, of course. It’s fine. If you’re not comfortable with it. We just we just want to double check to see if it’s okay. Give you I will give you general information, you know, not as specific numbers. Because I don’t want you know, that’s personal. Yeah, of course, then we want to respect that. So some people minded some don’t. So this will be where you want to go, you know, you you want to go in terms of inspiring or showing other florists what, what to be expected. But I’d be happy to share some general information. Okay, so that’s, that’s gonna be, I’m gonna say welcome, yada, yada, yada. And then that’s gonna be my first question and you answer it however you want. Okay, so you want to have a several questions.

 

Unknown Speaker  7:02  

After that, not about that subject. No, no, no. I mean, I mean, in general. Oh, yeah. Listen, we just want to hear your backstory, how you got started, we’re just gonna have a conversation. Okay. There’s no, there’s no particular agenda, which is just a matter of getting to know you, and Yola and the school, and what you, you know, what you expect for the future and all good stuff.

 

Unknown Speaker  7:26  

Sounds good. As Jeff,

 

Unknown Speaker  7:29  

you have previous experience in the floral industry. Well, this is all new to you.

 

Unknown Speaker  7:34  

A lot of it’s new, I’ve got a little bit in the background too. So. Okay.

 

Unknown Speaker  7:40  

Let’s go forward.

 

Unknown Speaker  7:47  

I’m going to go off camera and mute for now. Okay.

 

Unknown Speaker  7:58  

All right. I like that art. What’s it What is that? That’s one of my pieces of art. pieces of sticks tied together, creating a an architectural look, with geometric forms abstract in an abstract manner. And this is one of the walls in our school.

 

Unknown Speaker  8:18  

That’s, that’s that looks really nice. I like thank you. Thank you. Okay.

 

Unknown Speaker  8:24  

So we pull up your file here.

 

Unknown Speaker  8:29  

Can we have a conversation of the records after we finish? Absolutely. Okay.

 

Unknown Speaker  8:38  

Always Ruben always, I know. Thank you. Awesome. Alright, so we’re gonna get started in 54321.

 

Unknown Speaker  8:50  

What’s up everybody? This is Joe Vega, and welcome to another. I fucked up already. Alright. 321. What’s up everybody? This is Joe Vega, and welcome to another flower shop secret podcast. And today, we have Ruben concept from Miami, Florida. How are you? I’m doing good. Yo, How about yourself? It’s I’m doing great. Thank you. Could you tell us how much revenue did in your business last year?

 

Unknown Speaker  9:14  

last year? Well, we had a very good year. We are constantly expanding our scope. We are visionaries in terms of the business. And we always find them ways of increasing our revenue. It is lost. You cannot sleep on the Laurel, your lap laurels. Do you have to constantly do and we did very well. Although we are in the middle of a historical period of this country or all over the world with the pandemic. Our remedy was better than the previous year. And we’re looking to

 

Unknown Speaker  9:52  

do better this year. Oh, that’s wonderful. So can you tell us a little bit of your backstory? What like what has your journey been?

 

Unknown Speaker  10:00  

How did you get and where you are today? running multiple shops in Miami and the other areas and design school?

 

Unknown Speaker  10:07  

Yeah, well, it’s not easy, Joe. I wear different hats in my business and but my experience allows me to do it. I’ve been in this business over 40 years. And originally I started back in the 70s 80s. You could do the math, and you know my age.

 

Unknown Speaker  10:32  

But I started my first humble flower shop in Brooklyn, New York. And from there, my vision was to be in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue. And after five years of being in a small neighborhood in Brooklyn, I was able to move my business and grow into the Big Apple Manhattan in the Rockefeller Plaza area, where I stay in business for more than 25 years. And I did very well together. While that was happening, I became an AI of the member in 1989. And that gave me the platform for the growth I have experienced over the last 2030 years. It’s

 

Unknown Speaker  11:20  

been a journey. It hasn’t been easy. And but because I love flowers, and I love the art of flowers, creating art with flowers, I Purdue and I was resilient. And but it hasn’t been easy. There has been valleys and mountains during my

 

Unknown Speaker  11:40  

time. And while I was in New York, I did very, very well I was

 

Unknown Speaker  11:47  

able to get accounts like Italian fashion houses like Giorgio Armani, Valentino Ungaro, Elizabeth Arden salon, those were my clients in New York high end completely. And they wanted the best of the best so that I did very, very well there. And at the same time with my development with AI D, I started traveling around the country and overseas as well teaching floral design, with the AI of the flag, but sponsored by companies ice mission. So aces design, master and so on. So that gave me a pretty good experience in teaching and commentary. Many times in Spanish because it’s my first language and doing that in 1996. I met my beautiful wife, y’all are in the Dominican Republic because she was one of the persons in the audience. And that’s how I met her. He was already a florist. So beautiful, long story that I’m going to go into it. Another day. I will give you that that background, but we married and we have joined forces and that’s what we’re doing today.

 

Unknown Speaker  12:59  

Since then, I moved out of New York, I moved to Miami and Mary Yola, and we created a very powerful educational team because she is a good instructor and educator, and very talented and we joined forces and created our design the Yola school for all who signed in Miami. Together with that we all I went back to retail, because after being in New York was in retail for so many years, I was tired, and I sold my business and they went and moved to Miami. I didn’t want to be in the retail business anymore. And you’re convinced me that we should be in the retail business that she she wanted to save her that because she was an immigrant to the US. Her experience was in VR and she wanted to save her the the retail experience that I already had accomplished in Neagle. So we opened up our first shop our second shop our third shot for shot on today we are 60 flowers, retail outlets in Miami, close to school. Wow. That’s amazing.

 

Unknown Speaker  14:04  

In our information and in what we have been doing, that’s a lot of businesses. How do you manage that? How do you how do you balance the business side of the flower shops and the design work and the school altogether? We are under the same roof that makes it really easy. Our production facility for the flower shop is in this under the same roof with the school. So that gives us the ability to be in one place and manage all the retail outlets around the city. Our production facility we employed a former students from our school people that we have trained with our recipe and our know how and that’s how we are able to do it. Also technology allow us to do it as well. For example, I could be at home at night and I’m watching my phone seeing all the orders

 

Unknown Speaker  15:00  

Coming in while we’re not out the shop, so that allow us to do that the school is very busy as well. The school pulled us in different directions, because we train people not only to be professional florists but we develop, we create a path for them to become AI v members in the future. Our school is certify We are an educational partner with AI FP. So our school is a pass for individuals that want to get to that accreditation of AI FP, and that it’s another monster. So we technology in hard work and passion, and we are able to do it. I understand we are a unique face, I’m sure you don’t, you know, you don’t find people like what we are doing. Because it takes a lot of Gods a lot of desire, a lot of ambition. And I’m going to hell Absolutely. During the pandemic, we were hesitant to have the school open. But we have been able to continue to teach in small groups. And, of course, keeping all the safe conditions like taking temperature, everybody wearing a mask, keeping the distance. And thank God, everything has been going really good.

 

Unknown Speaker  16:25  

That’s fantastic. It sounds like the technology you’ve always been connected has always helped you sort of run everything at once. Right? 

 

Absolutely and lovingly. And I don’t mean to patronize or advertise lovingly, but lovingly, with the technological capability that you have, and that the platform that you have provided us has given us the opportunity to create what we are doing today. Of course, there’s always room for improvement. And I know you guys are working together and doing that. But definitely technology makes it easy. I feel sorry, sometimes when I hear that are florists out there, from the old school, that are behind in technology, and they cannot keep up with the trends, they cannot keep up with the demands of the consumer today, because they don’t have the knowledge of computers and technology. And, you know, for those people is, it’s really hard to get in the bandwagon to learn at this stage of the life very often I will tell them, Listen, sell your business and get out and you know, and retire. Because if you’re not willing or able to be up to speed on what’s going on in today, today’s market, you won’t be able to stay in business. Right? Well, you know, the consumer behavior has changed, right? Everything now is online, right? So you either need to know the technology and the marketing in the online world, or you need to partner with someone or a company that knows is that it’s able to help you achieve your goals. So it sounds like that’s a big challenge in the industry overall. So in your opinion, what are some of the big other big changes in the industry that you have seen that have presented unique challenges? Well, you know, this is a changing industry. And I’ve been in it over 40 years. And I seen it since the time that supermarkets were not selling flowers. So florists it was the only place to go. And that’s where people bought flowers. But then supermarkets came to the picture. And they created a whole scenario for for florists and gave consumers the ability to buy flowers or very low, low low prices, that create a problem. And that’s that’s that was a tremendous change in the industry. Even today, I see a lot of changes, because here in Miami, we have relationships with all importers of flowers, all the flowers that come from South America, coming through Miami, and this is the poor of importation. And there’s a lot of importers that market their products here not only to our segment of the industry but also to the supermarkets, and it’s very challenging for them and that makes a difference for us. Because it for example for Valentine’s Day they have to bring tremendous amount of flowers within a week. And of course the freight charges, charges fees go sky high and they’ve been bringing the flowers by boat, you know in refrigerated containers. And that is good if you’re going to move the flowers very quickly. But the flowers have been in cold storage for three or four weeks. And in the long run the freshness of the flowers in the world.

 

Unknown Speaker  20:00  

Ron is not going to be the same when they try them by plane. So it works for for a holiday like that because you move the flowers fast. But if you have to keep those flowers for a week, in your core, they will last. So you have to adjust to those things. And when you buy for Valentine’s Day or for Mother’s Day, you need to know that the lifespan of the flowers will not be the same. So those changes are occurring, because of the time, you know, the amount of volume that they move are ObiWan overwhelming. And so they are trying to catch up and find ways of adjusting. And if we don’t mind just with them, then they will lose the ball. You know what I mean?

 

Unknown Speaker  20:46  

Yes, exactly. So that’s proving to be a challenge. How in?

 

Unknown Speaker  20:51  

So the supply chain is very sensitive, right? Yes, sir. We experienced that EMI EMI firsthand, because we aren’t here in Miami, we have access to everything. I feel sorry for Florida’s in New York or in Chicago that have to wait until the flowers are shipped from Miami to their location. And they even pay even more, you know, so they become very challenging. Right? Yeah, I can see that, in terms of designing for yourself in your school was strange to you bring to the table when it comes to flow design and creativity? Well,

 

Unknown Speaker  21:29  

there’s always no trends in the industry, no materials, and no containers, no tools, and you got you have to stay in top of that in order to maintain and produce a quality product at a high end level with with creativity and trends. So we stay in top of all that. And that’s what we teach in our school people come to our school, because we have a great reputation, because of the resource we created for other students. And they come to our school for that. So you know, we are always on top of the trends. We are educators, we promote products for manufacturers of products, like Mr. Sois is actually for and other companies to mention some. So we always stay on top of the trends, you know, and that’s the name of the game. Has your has having a school, a floral school helped your flower shop business?

 

Unknown Speaker  22:30  

Yes, it has. Because in our website and our school website, when people logging into in there, whether they looking for school, or for flowers, they land to our school, and we have a link that says, if you want to buy flowers and deliver them today, click here. And that takes us to the lonely web site. And then the customers, people that land in our school page, even though they know looking for classes, they see that link and they go straight to our website. Lovely website.

 

Unknown Speaker  23:06  

So it sounds like everything is connected. Everything is working nicely together. Sorry. It’s like a very, it’s a machine that works like Ferrari. I will say I like to I mean, there’s always room for improvement. Joe, you know,

 

Unknown Speaker  23:23  

we try. We want to think that we are working like a Ferrari. So yeah, I’m more of a Lambo fan, but Ferrari would do that.

 

Unknown Speaker  23:34  

You can’t go wrong with either one of those, of course. So Ruben, how has your experience changed with customers in recent years since things are so different? Now?

 

Unknown Speaker  23:46  

Let me tell you something that is a good subject. You have to take every customer’s job, no matter what, in the past, when they were no Google reviews, and customer would complain. And you will say Well, you didn’t like it as to what you already paid for it. You know, don’t call me Don’t bother me. In today’s world, you cannot afford to do that. Because there is Google who is overseeing everything. And when a customer is not happy with your service, for whatever reason it is they might not be right. It might not be a solid complaint. But if they have a complaint and they do a bad review, and people are looking at those reviews all the time, and that’s going to maintain you in business. So what do we do? If the customer cancels with a complaint it doesn’t matter where they are right or wrong. We give him 100% satisfaction. If they complain, we say we give you three options. We will refund you your money 100%

 

Unknown Speaker  24:55  

we will send another arrangement. That’s the second option. replay

 

Unknown Speaker  25:00  

the first one and you can keep the first one we’re going to send a second one to make it even better for you or leave it the way it is and next time you order your order will be free

 

Unknown Speaker  25:13  

wow that i’ve never heard those three options before so by providing those three options to the customer what what is the how do they react which one is more popular they love it they say wow man you are amazing

 

Unknown Speaker  25:27  

they will some of them will say give me the refund but i can assure you that next time i order flowers i’m gonna go through you wow so it’s like it’s basically a marketing opportunity right you’re turning you’re turning a bad experience into a great experience right and consumer loves that and sometimes listen their their completions are realistic joe between you and me they will say oh a little pedal broke from the flower you know maybe that happened to in transportation well who cares you know give him even the benefit of the doubt maintain that the customer and then when you when they are happy you could come out and say listen since you are happy with the resolution why don’t you do a good review for us you know what they go into google and they do a beautiful review for you and that’s pushing you up all the time so never refused to give a customer their money back or replace your arrangement that’s excellent advice what would you say to florists who who basically take it personal when because we all know some customers are just simply unreasonable right you could do everything perfect and like you said sometimes you know it’s not good enough you can’t you can only please some of the people some of the time right so some floors would take it personal and then do you just either reply with like no i’m right you’re wrong that you know yada yada yada but like what would you say to some of those shops who are still on the misimpression that it’s better to be right than to just simply just make the customer happy again not even go there not even try not even say that who do don’t agree with them you have to give them

 

Unknown Speaker  27:07  

you have to tell them you are right 100% i’m here to please you no matter what you cannot take it personal because there are consumers out there that they are realistic you know their requests are not realistic so you don’t agree with that because you’re never gonna win but let me tell you we we yola takes care of our quality control and after cheetos that it goes through my hands as well so our quality control is so such such such a perfection that out of a 100 orders maybe we get one complaint that’s an excellent ratio

 

Unknown Speaker  27:49  

that’s fine you know what it doesn’t cost me anything to replace that arrangement if we was $100 arrangement because we 20 $25 to create it so at the end of the day i’m not losing $100 i’m losing only 25 when you come to see so it’s not enough to make me rich or poor what i want to be able to do is maintain my credibility and especially with the reviews ago that’s the name of the game today service service service and the consumers is always right it sounds like you always your number one goal is to please the user oh please the customer absolutely

 

Unknown Speaker  28:29  

okay the recipient as well i mean the sender and the recipient because the recipient is going to get the flowers and sometimes the recipient is the one calling to complain you know it’s not the sender so either way doesn’t matter to us we will give them 100 fully satisfaction wow so you give the recipient the same options then of course absolutely that’s that’s our secret job that’s why we are successful and in after you do this do these customers come back and buy from you again do you say yeah yes they do

 

Unknown Speaker  29:08  

well there you go it’s it’s it’s marketing customer support roll into one right got it

 

Unknown Speaker  29:16  

that’s great so

 

Unknown Speaker  29:19  

what do you enjoy most and what do you most what do you enjoy most about being a florist

 

Unknown Speaker  29:28  

i enjoy the most of course the creation of the design because that’s the artistic part but i also enjoy it when i get a phone call and the person will say something like i have never received an arrangement like the one i just got from your shop

 

Unknown Speaker  29:46  

those words are very give you the reassurance and confidence that what you’re doing is correct and it makes you feel

 

Unknown Speaker  29:58  

like a superman and

 

Unknown Speaker  30:00  

When, when a customer or a sender calls you to tell you that was such a great job you did, like they’ve never seen anything like it. That’s what makes the day for us.

 

Unknown Speaker  30:13  

That’s great.

 

Unknown Speaker  30:16  

Let’s take a little break here because I think I think I’m shaking the I think you’re shaking the camera too. I think we both doing it. I think we’re hitting the desk. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna take my hands off my of my desk, so I don’t do it anymore.

 

Unknown Speaker  30:33  

Wow. So that, like, That’s amazing. The fact that you give, like, I’ve never heard of that, that’s, I’m really impressed with those three options. Because it’s, it’s a win win win situation for them. Right? Like, it’s just, they don’t, they don’t have any other choice but to like you and to like, use you again for the future, they’re going to tell their friends about that. That’s an amazing strategy. I really appreciate that. Well, let me tell you, your let me add something else. Our average sale is between 151 75

 

Unknown Speaker  31:03  

Wow, $75 our average sale, we get called for 500 $600 arrangement. And the smallest one is a designer’s choice that we keep it at $99. And in some location that $89 customers are not calling us for 40 5060 $75 arrangement, right? Is that the same for all of your locations? Ah, well, five of them are like that one of them is in a middle class lower

 

Unknown Speaker  31:35  

class economical ratio. And there we have

 

Unknown Speaker  31:41  

price ranges a little lower, but still, they are ordering high ticket items in there are designers choice in that area. $79.

 

Unknown Speaker  31:54  

So with the with the other shops is your average is your average price. product. 75 is that you think that’s due to be to the location.

 

Unknown Speaker  32:05  

that’s to do with the location and the type of quality and, and trendy designs that we’re creating.

 

Unknown Speaker  32:12  

But we get people from other areas that don’t live in those locations or work in that location that happened to go into our website, and they are ordering as well.

 

Unknown Speaker  32:25  

Wow, that’s not to say we go consumers are willing to pay for what they want. And And remember, buying flowers is something exclusive, something that

 

Unknown Speaker  32:39  

it’s not food on the table. I mean, when people are getting out of their way to send flowers to show affection to show their emotions, they want to send the best. And they my experiences is that the more expensive it is, the more they will buy because they know it is exclusive. If you sell in an exclusive design beautiful, like your competition, you know, in their websites, you see arrangements for $60 $50 that no way you can produce and make a profit on that arrangement.

 

Unknown Speaker  33:12  

Consumers at that high end level are not looking they’re buying those exceed those arrangement for 50 $70. Because they know they’re going to get tricked somehow somewhere. Because they know it’s not realistic to pay $50 for a beautiful arrangement of calories and orchids. Okay, just to give you an example. So they don’t look at those sites. There’s a lot of people that look at those sites, but people that are serious, I want quality. They the the the more they pay for the product, the better they feel. That’s that’s my opinion. That’s right. I’ve met many florists who are afraid of charging what they believe it’s worth for some reason. They just feel bad about it. They don’t they don’t believe or I’m not exactly sure what the reason is, but they they cut themselves shorts. What would you have to say to those floors? Don’t be afraid, you know, don’t cut yourself short. Pete the cheaper you sell is not the best solution. The cheaper you sell is making you go to the ground, little by little, you got to take the different direction you got to go off charge more for your work and sell quality. Right? That’s right.

 

Unknown Speaker  34:32  

How do you feel about wire services? Today?

 

Unknown Speaker  34:40  

You know off the records I have given you my opinion about

 

Unknown Speaker  34:45  

a lot of what we can we can keep it kosher. There’s no naming not just just general that was it. You know, what role does the water services have to play in today’s world in today’s market? Well, I used to call in and I still do

 

Unknown Speaker  35:00  

When I talk to my students, I used to call it a massiah.

 

Unknown Speaker  35:06  

Naming anyone.

 

Unknown Speaker  35:10  

wire service historically have been

 

Unknown Speaker  35:15  

draining florists for a long, long time over 3040 years. And florists are depending on wire services in general.

 

Unknown Speaker  35:31  

And I’m taking LauraLee aside because you know, I call you the Uber of the flow industry and putting the lonely aside.

 

Unknown Speaker  35:42  

They notice they, you know, what they doing? Is they working for themselves, they become a million years, and the floor is getting poor, poor poor working for them. They are no longer an independent business they work in for this wire services. Are you an independent business? Yes, I am an independent business. And the only wire service that I carry slowly, I will not carry another one. Because I know the deal I had the others. In the past, I have many, many experiences with them. And I don’t want to

 

Unknown Speaker  36:18  

even talk to them. They call here all the time offering our services and their their their deals. And we say Listen, don’t call us we’re not interested.

 

Unknown Speaker  36:28  

So what can I tell you? Little by little they be fading out. And I know but it’s it’s, it’s

 

Unknown Speaker  36:37  

it’s pathetic. And it’s sad that this particular segment of the industry afraid to flourish so much, right? Just a small correction we are not loving is not a wire service. You cannot wire orders within a network. So just to clear things up a little bit there.

 

Unknown Speaker  36:56  

So up so you’re independent, you have five flower shops, you have a school you’re doing you guys are doing amazing, right, what is next? What are the next steps for your business?

 

Unknown Speaker  37:07  

That is a good question. I want to retire yo.

 

Unknown Speaker  37:12  

I want to retire. And Yola says I’m gonna support you when you retire. No, I’m just kidding. Now the next step is continue to what we’re doing, always keeping an open mind.

 

Unknown Speaker  37:26  

Yeah, an open mind, in terms of the new ways of improving yourself. And that that is the name of the game, you know, you have to have vision.

 

Unknown Speaker  37:38  

Try to, you know,

 

Unknown Speaker  37:41  

if you get lemons from from the sky, make lemonade with, with the lemons, you know, that’s what I mean. Look, look to be different. And that is the answer. You know, you cannot stay still and do the things that you used to do 2030 years ago, or 10 years ago, it doesn’t work.

 

Unknown Speaker  38:02  

That’s That’s fantastic. So would you say that better designs equals happy customer? Is that true? Yeah. Well, before I answer that question, let me tell you, that’s what we teach our students in our school, you know, okay, you came to our school, you are self certified. You graduated from high school we gave you, you took all our courses. Now it’s time for you to go to other schools. And we recommend other schools for them to continue under development. And never stay still, you got to continuously learn y’all on I even today, we are AI members for many years, we are presenters in Platt national platforms, international platform, and even today, we will take a plane to Europe and take a course or a week spent 1000s of dollars. But you know, what, what are we learning and we we we get exposed to a different view of what they do in in Europe. And we bring it here, you know, and that’s that keeps us always in front in front of the carriage. Now your question about Korea? Well repeat the question again, about creative designs.

 

Unknown Speaker  39:15  

Basically, like, you know, what were better designs equal happy customers, correct? Yes, sir. So if that’s true, should florists invest more in the design efforts overall?

 

Unknown Speaker  39:28  

Yeah, they need to continuously educate just following up with that what I just said, learn neutralize Lem, no waste, be quick in production and efficient. That’s the name of the game. And you have to continuously train yourself and improve yourself to maintain your customers, you know, database.

 

Unknown Speaker  39:52  

Okay, so what what can other florists do to further their floral education? Well, they there’s many options.

 

Unknown Speaker  40:00  

There’s, we have classes online, for example, your like google.com, if you go to your google.com, you can study online, we don’t have all our courses online, we are in the process of videotaping all our classes. So even though that you are not here in Miami, you could take our classroom, but there are other schools all around the country, AI as these have the greatest, the greatest platform, you will find it in this industry, to to grow and to get education. And

 

Unknown Speaker  40:35  

if you never if you came into this industry, and there are a lot of florists out there that have never taken a course.

 

Unknown Speaker  40:44  

That wasn’t my case, because well, it was my case, because I started this business in Brooklyn. And after two months, I realized I didn’t know nothing about flowers, and I opened up a flower shop imagine and very quickly understood that I needed to educate myself to become a real professional. And since then, I’ve been educating myself all the time. So there’s education is the is the answer. If you don’t have okay yourself, not only in pretty design, you have to educate yourself in marketing. You have to educate yourself with technology. It’s, you know, technology’s getting better and better and better every day, you know. And if you don’t stay on top of it, social media, you need to educate yourself on how social media works. Now, you not only have the time to do all that, but you have to engage and employ people that will do it for you. But before you employ people, you got to know the deal. You got to know how it works in order for you to give direction and create leadership for your team of workers. And that does what we do. Education is the key to it.

 

Unknown Speaker  41:57  

Yeah, education is the key. How many students go through the year school every year? Well,

 

Unknown Speaker  42:06  

a big number of students come to our school.

 

Unknown Speaker  42:09  

We at this time where we take groups of 15 people we also teach privately. We have people that traveled from other states and other countries, to Miami to study with us, intensively for a week, two weeks, we have all kinds of students coming towards school. And our reputation is impeccable. Even today, we have the flower importers that have their own productions, and there are managers and their own designers are calling us to educate our staff. So we have become a really strong platform here in South Florida.

 

Unknown Speaker  42:52  

In terms of education, and we have many, many students into the hundreds every year, Joe,

 

Unknown Speaker  43:00  

that’s great. And could you share a story or two about a student seeing a successful career in the floor industry after going through your school? Oh my god. I have many stories to tell. But I’m going to tell you one that really movers in it’s gonna take me two minutes to tell you the story. But I think it’s worth it.

 

Unknown Speaker  43:25  

Bernie and her husband, French citizens from Europe, traveled to Miami on vacation three, four years ago. from Paris, they love the city. They love the weather. They were tired of their city in Paris, and they wanted to change and they decided to move to Miami.

 

Unknown Speaker  43:48  

In order to come to the US, they have to have a visa and they acquire an investor’s visa. They sold their businesses in France and brought all their money, I believe it was like a couple million dollars to Miami. And guess what they bought a flower shop

 

Unknown Speaker  44:09  

without knowing anything about the flower about the flower business. So they paid $350,000 for the flower shop.

 

Unknown Speaker  44:19  

big amount of money or realistic. They bought it they know nothing about the business somebody

 

Unknown Speaker  44:29  

made him to believe that he was a profitable businesses that he was making so much with the business and he sold it to them for $350,000 cash

 

Unknown Speaker  44:40  

and they inherit they’re a staff and he’s been his equipment, his clients and so on. And after working in the business for two weeks very nice foreigners, curiosity needed to learn about the flower business which finals in the internet and key calls

 

Unknown Speaker  45:00  

She says, I understand you have a school, I need desperately classes, I need to start right away, me and my husband. And this is a deal, we bought a flower shop, we don’t know nothing about it. And when is your next course. So I register her over the phone with the next course that was going to be one month down the line. And that evening, I go home and I tell you all about them. And she says they cannot wait a month or two to start their education. They need fast education, call them and tell them that they need private classes. So in one month to month, we could get him up to speed and they could run their business. So I called her on it the next day. And I offered them the option of coming in and taking private classes. And they did.

 

Unknown Speaker  45:48  

They came into the school every day for three or four hours husband and wife and we train them. The husband was more artistic than the wife. And although he has like an engineer background, but with our teaching tools and ability, we were able to pull it out of them and teach him. But every day, Bernie will come to school and cry. And she will say ruin. We’re not making a profit. How are we going to stay in this business, we lose in money. We have to pay rent, and we have two children.

 

Unknown Speaker  46:26  

And then I became more interested in their case. And I said well tell me more details about this purchase. Who was working for you It turned out that the person that sold them the business opened up a new location five miles away. And he was stealing the customer database of customers that he was he thought to them he was taking taking him with him and the staff that he left behind. Every time a customer will call they will refer it to the

 

Unknown Speaker  47:01  

owner magic. Wow. And Christopher didn’t realize this until we came into the picture and I started asking question, what is the deal how this works? And we told her immediately you got to fire everyone.

 

Unknown Speaker  47:16  

You got to run the business yourself. You don’t need these people. They are draining you to the ground. Now. The other thing you need to do is Sue this person that sold us a business because this is a fraud. And I said to the hurt let Leslie I have never been to her flower shop and I said to her how much in the paper. In the closing statement they said that they had in inventory. She said well they put that they have $75,000 inventory in the shop plus the cooler and the vein I say I want to go to the shop when I walked in there. There was not even $5,000 of inventory in the shop. Well, immediately I told her Barenaked you have to sue this guy for ruin. We don’t have an attorney. I help you get an attorney. Well to make the long story short, they sue the guy they recover 200 $200,000 today they after three years they running the business successfully. They barely became an AI v member and they doing beautifully. Today they call me that a mom

 

Unknown Speaker  48:26  

Wow.

 

Unknown Speaker  48:28  

It hurt us so much that there that there is somebody out there that will take people like that rob them handily and they had no clue what they were doing. We take two took a very personal and we helped them with expecting nothing in return. You know we we train them they paid off all the classes. And today I’m so happy to say that they are a successful story.

 

Unknown Speaker  48:55  

Ruben you and Yola are so inspirational. Thank you so much for joining me today. How can people get in touch with you? Well, they can go into the website. The school website is www dot. Yola. goose.com Let me spell your life. Why o l, a goose is G UCs and syrup.com they can contact us through the school website, or they can call me directly on my phone number. My personal line is 305-504-1061 I repeat 305-504-1061 it will be a pleasure to help anyone. There you go. Thank you so much. Ruben. You are quite welcome here.

 

Unknown Speaker  49:47  

Oh, really? We got to have you on more often. That was fantastic. I love that story. of the the

 

Unknown Speaker  49:55  

that yeah, that’s that’s an insane story. It’s more to it is

 

Unknown Speaker  50:00  

want to add? Let me give you this little piece of information after getting their business going. I said to them, You got to change the name of the business. And they said, Well, how are we going to change the name of the business? This business has been around for 2025 minutes there’s no better need. You got to call that business something European because you have a French accent people love that. You got to call your business, French the sign on they say, Are you sure ruin they did. And that’s part of the success. Their logo is a fear tower.

 

Unknown Speaker  50:37  

is French the sign that’s the name of the business? Right? That that’s how long ago was this?

 

Unknown Speaker  50:44  

This, we know them for years now. It was a process. It took them like a year to get going. Almost all their savings went down to drain, and they have been able to recover they doing beautifully. Veronique is doing so such a beautiful work. Christopher is taking

 

Unknown Speaker  51:08  

he’s in charge of the administrative part of the business. And they do a great team on you know, their kids have grown now. They doing good. And you know, we’re so happy for them.

 

Unknown Speaker  51:19  

That that’s amazing. We got many more in tow has only one. Yeah, we gotta we gotta you know, we got to have you on more often? For sure.

 

Unknown Speaker  51:30  

What I want to start charging you for that. Yeah, well, that it’s usually start charging me for something else. Actually, you know, I

 

Unknown Speaker  51:37  

really don’t, you know, don’t hold this, you know, I’m not promising you anything. But I’m really thinking of going down there and taking a couple of classes. Just to just to see what you know, we might get, you know, what, if you want to get out the group of people in your office to take classes, even if they’re not on the same location? We could do it resume, we do it all the time. That’d be wonderful. Oh, yeah. Like,

 

Unknown Speaker  52:04  

really? How does that work? Because you have to show people like what to do. So it’s that there’s a camera angle need to be facing the the arranger, we did it we did it a lot of when the pandemic started, because we didn’t want to have students here in the school. And, you know, they were already in the in their training. So we continue the class them they were home, and we were here in the school, and we will, you know, teach resume, it works very well. About zoom Now, next month in April, we’re going to have a party design conference here in Miami. It’s about events and creating beautiful weddings, beautiful corporate events and so on. And we are bringing in Rene van Rams. I don’t know if you know Rene van Rennes. He is he is from California. He’s a number one. Instructor here in the USA, I remember a good friend of mine. And he were going to broadcast his segment of teaching in the conference through zoom with a big screen. Very cool. So we could do that for you guys. We do it very often. I know we could do it many ways. We could do a hands on if you want. And we could ship the flowers and the materials to each of the participants to their house. And it will get there overnight to FedEx. And so when we teach they have the materials to work, and we’ll take it from there. You know, it’s a it’s doable. Okay, Jeff, we got to put this idea in the in the in our parking lot and see if we could absolutely, absolutely ruin there’s so many great sort of analogies around what you do. It’s so focused on growth, you grow the business, you grow the art of floral design, you grow your customer base with great customer satisfaction, and you grow the industry by making great connections and being able to teach your it’s not only the floral design, but your discipline and approach to floral design. It’s very impressive. Thank you.

 

Unknown Speaker  54:15  

It’s his whole life doing this, you know, in my background, it’s art. I have a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Puerto Rico. And that’s the backbone to what we do today what I do so then join forces with my wife, she’s, she’s a dynamo, you know, our job. Yola has

 

Unknown Speaker  54:42  

to take it

 

Unknown Speaker  54:44  

you know, we work as a team and, and things that we do as a team. Oh,

 

Unknown Speaker  54:54  

for you.

 

Unknown Speaker  54:57  

Oh, wow. That’s beautiful.

 

Unknown Speaker  55:01  

45 okay

 

Unknown Speaker  55:07  

some someone luck is gonna get to enjoy that. That’s beautiful. Yeah. Money for you.

 

Unknown Speaker  55:13  

JOHN I just finished out doing her happy.

 

Unknown Speaker  55:18  

Now this is Jeff Jeff. He’s a new marketing.

 

Unknown Speaker  55:22  

VP of Marketing. Oh, nice to meet you.

 

Unknown Speaker  55:27  

Hey come and sock in Osaka, Mr. Samana. Oh.

 

Unknown Speaker  55:33  

This is good company. lovely flowers.

 

Unknown Speaker  55:38  

Yeah, who’s gonna win a conversation for Andrew stage? Oh, okay. I can pm. una propuesta bueno. Okay, Ruben stetina la illuma yo Casa de de Rena, a Bama. Sal, Bama Han Tanaka, Rena back al. Said. Okay. And the next couple of days next week.

 

Unknown Speaker  56:03  

Yep. Next week. Yep. All right, we could do that. Not a problem. I realized pretty good. She was amazing and helping us

 

Unknown Speaker  56:11  

before the crunch. As you know, I was writing emails to you going friend tricky because our websites weren’t working properly. But Mark at will Rina was instrumental in putting everything together. And Mark came into the picture and he fix everything. That’s

 

Unknown Speaker  56:27  

Yeah, they’re fantastic. So we, we have to record today’s like my recording day, we have to record another podcast soon. So I want to make sure that I give you enough time because you said you wanted to have an off the record conversation. Okay, right. You can do that. Yeah. What do you want to talk about? Okay, hey,

 

Unknown Speaker  56:45  

Jeff is gonna stay in it or I can make I can go ahead and leave. Oh, I didn’t know it was private show. Sorry about that, Jeff. It No. Okay. Sure. Let’s,

 

Unknown Speaker  56:55  

Jeff, I’ll see you in a bit. Oh, sorry. I didn’t know. It went over my head, man. I’m sorry.

 

Unknown Speaker  57:02  

This is probably confidential stuff. You know, I didn’t put that together. Yeah. Okay, don’t worry, I’m here to cover you back. Now.

 

Unknown Speaker  57:13  

There’s a couple of issues here with with our sites that we want to address. And as you know, we are unique, because we’ve taken an approach to have our wars on selection guide and have our own pictures and so on. And met, we are very

 

Unknown Speaker  57:32  

involved in creating and managing our websites. And of course, with your support.

 

Unknown Speaker  57:39  

We have been able to do that a time. We we were really anxious about it because the crunch of Valentine’s Day was coming and things weren’t clicking the way they were supposed to. And God Mark came to the picture. And he was wonderful, and he fix everything. But there’s a couple of other things that I’d like you to consider, for example. And I know we’re unique, and you don’t have a lot of shops like us in your network.

 

Unknown Speaker  58:06  

Ross tells me it’s probably 10, five to 10 florists that are managing their own pages. Now we have a situation with a banner does one of these with a banner that appears in Yugi has four options for that banner to appear at different times of the year. And we always choose the best one. But it’s so it’s only four other floors in the city might have the same banner. I don’t think it’s only for

 

Unknown Speaker  58:38  

it well, it could be six or 10. It’s limited. It’s not a lot what we like to do, if you allow us to do it, we would like to have our own banner.

 

Unknown Speaker  58:51  

And I tell you why. A couple of weeks ago we had an incident on situation with a customer that called another shop in Miami. And that shop had the same banner

 

Unknown Speaker  59:04  

that we have, after ky talked to that florist.

 

Unknown Speaker  59:09  

They couldn’t help her because the delivery was too far for them. And she searched for another florist in the city and key finals. And key tutorial was the same visit he was talking to before because it had the same banner at the top. Follow me.

 

Unknown Speaker  59:26  

Yeah, I’m just I’m just checking with someone because I don’t know what

 

Unknown Speaker  59:33  

what

 

Unknown Speaker  59:34  

it could be 608 or whatever it is, but it’s not more than that. You know, I’m asking if it’s a if it’s a custom banner is available. It’s

 

Unknown Speaker  59:44  

okay, so I’m waiting for them to that’s what we’re looking for. Because this customer say How come you charges for something that is almost similar to the other florist that was charging $60 you’re charging 120 so you have to be

 

Unknown Speaker  1:00:00  

Careful, Ruben with this, you’re very, one of the reasons I love talking to you is because you’re you, you’re florists, but you’re you’re very logical, you know, the floors are not logical, but like, you think business first, right? And what you have to, you have to be careful with making decisions like that, because of one time it happens, you know, I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. What I’m saying is, if it happens, let’s say happen one, and it was a bad experience for someone, you know, you should try to rectify that. Yes. But But you have to be aware of the unsaid right, there are other people who love that banner, and they bought because of that banner. So now if we change it to something custom, and to satisfy this one problem, right, then what what could potentially be happening is now, the other people that that distinct work for now, it doesn’t work as well for those other people. So by by you trying to satisfy one person or one thing, you’re potentially disqualifying others, and that’s why you have to be careful with that’s why I tell people all the time, you have to be careful how, how you reason that because no one is saying that they didn’t happen, because it’s true, it happened. And it’s a problem. No one is denying that. So you have to take that problem and weigh it and say, yeah, it’s a pain in the ass. I don’t want this to happen. I agree with you. And we should do everything to make that.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:01:27  

You know, that problem disappear. But many people don’t understand that there’s a counterweight to that. And that is everyone that didn’t have this problem had a positive effect. So by you trying to Oh, by us trying to fix this one thing. You’re ruining it for the other ones, too. Now, the perfect answer is to just to create something custom that you have both those issues. And so we can we can do that with this instance. Yeah. But it’s like one of the things that I always hear florists say, it’s like, oh, this customer called me and I want to change and then yada, yada, yada. And they’re correct. I, you know, I understand how they feel they’re feeling, you know, I want them to make them feel heard.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:02:09  

But they, it’s it’s difficult to react on that one thing, because they are unaware of the analytics of the rest of the herd or the rest of the customer or the rest of the, you know, recipients. So it’s almost invisible, right. So they don’t consider that. So I just wanted to make sure that you’re considering it. Yeah, of course, we have. And this is, this is what happens as lovely expands into many cities.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:02:38  

All this florists will be using the same banners. And it will be a time

 

Unknown Speaker  1:02:45  

when two or three or four will have the same banner. So when the consumer goes into the different websites, they feel that it’s the same company all around, they don’t they don’t, they don’t look at the name, they look at the banner. That’s right, we should we should have more, you’re

 

Unknown Speaker  1:03:04  

in the same place in the same town, the same delivery area, floors should not have the same banner completely have the ability, give the the florist a choice to have a custom banner. And that’s what we need. In Korea. Also, we could be distinctive all the way around their lovely flag, we are distinctive, and we don’t want to be confused with cookie cutters. And with people that are doing the same, maybe you know, everybody’s doing the same.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:03:34  

So it’s a it’s like, you go to Neiman Marcus, and they have a beautiful window. But when you go inside the store, the store is very beautiful inside. If you have a back window, or a cookie cutter window like everybody has all around the neighborhood, when customers see that window, they will say oh, this is the same like the other ones down the block or the other one on the other side of the city. I’m not I’m not gonna go in there because I know what they have without scrolling down and looking at that we are different. So and I discussed this with Ross many times and he said, I understand your point like you just said and but you are unique. You are florists in general don’t request those things. So he said talk to y’all maybe they can help you. And if you if you if we

 

Unknown Speaker  1:04:33  

have a solution. That will be amazing because yo we’re not we’re not staying with six shops, we are expanding. Okay. We want to be able to have 10 shops, 12 shops, and we work in another location as well. And the more we expand we want to keep that brand you know, together. Right? Okay. I’ll do

 

Unknown Speaker  1:04:58  

it since Amy’s telling me

 

Unknown Speaker  1:05:00  

to something other

 

Unknown Speaker  1:05:03  

than parameters.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:05:08  

She’s giving me a name. So we’ll wait for her. Alright, well, next week when we talk,

 

Unknown Speaker  1:05:16  

where it’s sorry to cut you off, but

 

Unknown Speaker  1:05:19  

you’re in, you’re in Miami.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:05:23  

And how are things dealt with COVID and stuff, like people take away masks or not. Things are people are more relaxed. Ah, the numbers have not continued to grow.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:05:38  

Fascination is going very quickly, and then it’s getting better every day. I got my my second vaccine on Tuesday. So

 

Unknown Speaker  1:05:48  

yeah, younger, but I’m still, you know, covering my face and all that. Now, we got to take care of viola, she’s a little younger than me and Kiki, she’s, you know, she’s she will be next. But in general, I heard this morning that

 

Unknown Speaker  1:06:05  

like a 20% of the city citizens already got vaccination here in Miami, so it’s getting better. That’s great. That that’s, that’s a good thing.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:06:16  

You know, I’m glad that you’ve got your vaccines, a lot of people you know, it’s a touchy subject right now. So I, I’m gonna get it if I get, you know, when I’m available when it’s available for me, but I’m glad you haven’t Yola. Next. That’s a good thing. Yeah, definitely, you know, we had a couple of students, I mean, we take the temperature when they come in, and they got to wear a mask. But in between classes, a couple students got infected someplace else. And they will call us immediately and say, well, we cannot make it to the class because we are sick, and they stay home. And we bring the class to them to resume the class as they were supposed to be in. We sit, we keep them in the class to resume and they really are happy about that.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:07:02  

So I know you’re gonna go Yo, yeah, I gotta prepare for my next one. I’m on mute. You know, obviously, I’m still getting used to the hang of it. So Well, yeah, definitely. So this, this will be broadcast where and Facebook or, or it’s going to be through your own broadcasting. It’s going to be on YouTube, it’s going to be on Apple, iTunes, and

 

Unknown Speaker  1:07:29  

Spotify, we’re going to send you a list of all the places where you can find it. Right, right. So that you can you can also if you like, you can promote it as well for yourself. You know, it would be a good idea to just occurred to me that you do one in Spanish. It wasn’t named.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:07:47  

Jeff just said that to me. He’s like, would you consider the one in Spanish? And I said, Yes, but I’m gonna have to practice my questions because my Spanish is not that great. But

 

Unknown Speaker  1:07:57  

if I get the I have to, like, get the questions ahead of time and I got to study them because it doesn’t come You know, some words or you know,

 

Unknown Speaker  1:08:06  

but then you can get your like, he’s a great commentator, and you will give you her peace of mind. I will. I will do it. I would love to do it. I will tell you to be happy. Yeah, you know, be careful because she just said she has a proposal for you. Yeah. I don’t know what it is.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:08:26  

Well, we talk next week, he will tell you, okay, and I have Reena reach out to you about that banner and see who can do that for you. Okay, yeah, let’s get together. Let’s chat some more. Okay. Awesome. All right. Thanks so much. Have a good weekend, YouTube. All right. Bye.

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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