If a tragedy strikes here, the whole town rallies round to help. I can’t help but be part of that. When a family walks through my door and I know there’s been a loss, I almost run to them. I always say, “If you’re going to cry, I’m going to cry to,” and provide tissues! We have a sit down area to separate these clients from the hustle bustle of the shop. Although that’s for wedding clients, too, so these experiences do cover the joys of life as well as the sad moments.
One man came in once needing “life insurance” to prevent him being put in the doghouse! He took so much care choosing the perfect flowers, he forgot he had to pick his kids up from school and got in serious trouble! His remedy was to order flowers every week from that point!
A soldier once ordered flowers over a satellite phone from the middle east because his wife was close to giving birth. Everybody delivered on time that day! He ended up being part of the whole experience over Skype! I was just so happy and amazed to share in that.
I felt that I was getting a lot of orders through my wire service that were from order gatherers. It dawned on me that all these people were online, trying to order flowers, and I wasn’t really being there for them, because I didn’t have a competitive website with a shopping cart. I knew I was giving away those opportunities to other entities. I started to want my own website, so that I could take those orders myself and have a closer connection to those shoppers. There were also all kinds of problems trying to fulfill orders in that way, which I ran into daily and I wasn’t happy.
I did get a website dedicated to showing my wedding work at one point; but what I love about Lovingly is that they take the middleman out of the picture. And I can contact them immediately. It’s not a big corporation; it’s person to person. I just love that. And I get a bigger slice of the pie!
I’ve been very vocal with other florists since joining Lovingly. Some of them are with multiple wire services and I ask them, “Why are you doing that? You need to watch the real bottom line. Why are you paying all those fees? You’ll only get so many orders anyway.” The wire services have changed and they’ll never go back to what they once were, in my opinion. Be more proactive with your pocket book.
With Lovingly you have a website that really goes out and works for you. Lovingly gets all these verified reviews and puts them up there for you, so all those little things you do when you go the extra mile are put up there by happy clients. It makes it personal immediately for the person considering your shop. It’s a better experience for the shopper as well as for us. The transition and initial setup was great. And when I call them, they respond and they’re so helpful.
My last provider was a little cheaper, percentage wise, but Lovingly is so worth it. It’s an investment that pays. The website works, the service is fantastic. The team is always available and always friendly. I’m always left with the feeling that Lovingly genuinely wants to see me making money. And they say it: “If you don’t make money, we don’t make money.” It’s a real partnership.
My Lovingly website ranks up there, so I’m competing now in the way I’d originally intended. People are starting to recognize me as a trustable name and address online. They’re learning to pick me and not some order gatherer. It’s all about understanding the importance of online marketing and getting your website to compete. Lovingly is so much better than the wire services; even the day-to-day orders, without the big dates, is a vast improvement for me and my business.
And Lovingly Weddings is amazing! Amazing! A wedding software company contacted me recently, so I told them I had this Lovingly Weddings thing with my provider. I actually put them on it and gave them a demonstration, and this person was saying, “This is the coolest!” She was completely impressed by how it was done. I’m getting two or three inquiries a week now. I take them or give a good recommendation for another florist. It really drives clients to my door.
I grew up in eastern and western South Dakota but finished high school here in Custer, so I’m very much a local florist! I’m also a South Dakota Certified Florist (SDCF), I have an American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) accreditation, and a Professional Floral Communicators International (PFCI) accreditation through the Society of American Florists (SAF). My husband once asked me if I planned to get the letters E-I-E-I-O after my name!