I love hearing from florists who are working on ways to go green. I’ve come to believe that the move toward sustainability in this industry is going to come from an army of individual florists–highly creative, artistic people who are personally committed to the environment and who have the flexibility and the entrepreneurial spirit to just make a move.
(Hey, y’all should form an organization! Or at least get together and throw a party for yourselves.)
So today, please say hello to Floribunda Designs. Michelle Howell got her start in landscape design, which may explain why she got interested in selling eco-friendly flowers. You can read about her approach to going green on her website. She’s doing what many florists who have contacted me are doing: She’s buying flowers through Organic Bouquet’s wholesale division and she’s offering other VeriFlora-certified flowers (see a list of growers and suppliers here.) And once she’s got that in place, what does she do?
She tells people. She keeps a blog here (more about that in a minute) and she works with her local media, including bridal magazines and morning TV shows, to spread the word about how she’s doing flowers in an eco-friendly way. And then she tells people that she told people by posting all the media coverage on her website.
What I see florists doing is undertaking a kind of three-step process to going green. The first step is to get the flowers in the shop. The second step is to tell people. And the third step is to continuously improve and refine the first two steps. In other words, you don’t have to go green all at once. You might start with a line of eco-friendly tulips. Get a little news coverage, start a little buzz, market an earth-friendly bouquet. Then you may bring in some locally-grown organic flowers. Then you figure out a cool way to recycle, reuse, or reduce waste. You keep telling people, and you keep making small, manageable changes.
So–way to go, Michelle. I hope florists will keep sending me their stories of how they’re going green. (See? That’s part of the "tell people" step.)
Oh, and there’s an article in Florists’ Review on going green. Check it out here.
And one last thing–about blogging. A few florists have asked me about keeping a blog. Without getting into too much technical detail, here’s what I suggest:
- Use TypePad. It’s five bucks a month, and worth it. (see the orange box in the right sidebar for a link.) Without any HTML skils, you can create a blog that matches your website OR serves as your website if you don’t have a website! That’s what I did with this blog. It doesn’t match my site perfectly, but it’s close enough. If I had more HTML skills or wanted to pay somebody, I could have created a full HTML template that would have been completely integrated with my site.
- Use the "Pages" feature to create static pages with your contact info, directions to your shop, other info that doesn’t change–if you don’t have a website to refer people to.
- Use domain mapping to either give the blog its own URL (like www.yourstore.com) if you don’t have a website, or make it a subdomain of your existing URL (like www.blog.yourstore.com)
- Use the "Posts" feature to post quick photos of your beautiful flowers or whatever is happening in the store that seems fun and interesting. Blog posts should be quick (unlike this one) and topical and aimed at getting people into your store or helping them to feel like they have a personal connection with you–that you’re a real person they want to support.
- Use FeedBlitz’s service (it’s a TypePad widget) to allow people to "subscribe" to your blog and get your new posts by email. This can serve as a kind of e-mail newsletter.