Always Dreamt of Opening a Florist? What Franchises Are There?

27/09/2018 08:00 | Start a business

florist franchises

While there are countless independent high street flower shops, only a tiny percentage are franchises. While the franchise model has proven popular in many industries, it's yet to fully take hold in the floristry sector, despite being well suited to this particular type of business.

Instead, it's the floristry delivery services that have adopted a model that's relatively similar to franchising. Interflora is the country's largest flower delivery network, consisting of more than 1,200 independent florists around the UK. While it may resemble a franchise, Interflora is neither a franchise nor a limited company. Instead, it's a non-profit trade association. This makes it difficult to compete against, particularly when you consider the large brand reach Interflora have managed to develop over the years.

Though a high street floristry franchise is a feasible concept, it would have to compete with independent florists associated with the Interflora delivery network. This would be a considerable challenge for the vast majority of franchisors. In many ways, Interflora offers independent businesses many of the benefits associated with the franchise model, without the stringent controls of franchising.

For this reason, starting a franchised high street florist isnt a wildly popular option. However, there are other types of investment opportunity, some of which may be better suited to the franchise model.

Florist supplies

Many businesses specialise in supplying florists with everything they need to operate their businesses. Florists require a diverse array of products and raw materials if they're to meet the needs of their customers. First and foremost, they need to source their primary product flowers.

Flower wholesalers source an incredible range of flowers and plants from all around the world. Whether purchasing exotic plants from far off countries or looking for something a little closer to home, a supplier needs to have a good understanding of seasonal variations, an efficient distribution network, and an ability to form strong working relationships with those businesses they partner with.

However, florist suppliers don't solely supply flowers. There's also a diverse array of gift materials to consider, too. For instance, all florists need cellophane, ribbon, and packaging materials. Most will also stock small gifts, like balloons and candles, while a select few will go even further and stock specialist memorial products, soft toys, and baskets or hampers.

Though there are currently no big-name franchises operating in the florist supply sector, it shows a lot of promise. If you consider the fact that much of the work could be carried out remotely, it seems as though the franchise model would be well suited to this kind of business.

Wedding franchises

Wedding services are one area of floristry in which many franchises are competing for business. While floristry constitutes a relatively small part of the services offered by wedding franchises, flowers are an important earner and generate a great deal of revenue.

The vast majority of wedding franchises provide decorating services for customers who want their special day to look as spectacular as possible. They're typically home-based franchises and day to day operations involve responding to customer enquiries, carrying out consultations, developing your reputation as a design expert, and styling dream wedding events.

This type of business is particularly suited to franchising, as it relies on transferable skills and the development of an extensive network of professional contacts. Both of these can be passed from franchisor to franchisee relatively quickly and simply. Essentially, the franchisor develops the operations manual (containing all the expertise required to run the business successfully) and grows a professional network that supplies it with all the goods and services it needs. This is then passed on to those individuals willing to pay the franchise fee.

Online florist

Another market in which franchises can compete on a more level playing field is online floristry. In many ways, this is a thriving market for franchising because it allows for low overheads. With an online florist, there's no need to pay for business premises, nor hire a large team of employees. An online franchise can be run from home and depends on standardised systems that can be passed from franchisor to franchisee via a simple training programme.

Moving beyond flowers

Many floristry organisations have also expanded beyond the traditional product range associated with floristry to stock a wider range of goods. For instance, many businesses now sell house plants, preserved flowers, and plant-based features, too. Live walls, moss pictures, and hanging basket displays are increasingly popular additions to homes and offices, while innovations like petal printing have opened up entirely new markets.

In these markets, franchising works well due to the way in which it allows for rapid expansion. Franchises can latch on to trends and movements within a particular industry and use the popularity of certain products to grow and establish the brand as a recognisable name.

Examples of floristry franchises

Though there are a few recognisable franchises in the floristry sector, there's no single franchise you could point to as a model for success. In the world of wedding franchises, there are many small-scale operations, such as Ambience Venue Styling and Add a LittleSPARKLE, to consider. If youre looking for franchises that stock something a little more diverse, you may want to consider Inleaf or Speaking Roses franchises. While the first specialises in plants and statement features, the second has made a name for itself by developing a unique petal-printing technology.

Where is there space to grow?

In contrast, there are almost no successful florist franchises in the online realm or on the high street. This means that there's enormous potential for growth in these markets, should a viable business plan be formulated. While the wedding market is highly competitive, and many franchises are catering to the more "gimmicky" side of floristry (such as petal printing), there is a gap in the market for florist suppliers. In terms of franchising, the industry is relatively underdeveloped, and there does seem to be plenty of opportunities.

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