Per Benjamin: "Being a florist is more than just a job"
Being a florist is a fantastic and creative job. But the job goes way beyond creativity only. Many florists underestimate the importance of their commercial skills. Too often, in flower shops the client has to ask for what he wants. While, there is so much to gain in the aspect of providing service that leads to extra sales. Instead of letting the client ask, florists have to learn to give advice.
The Floral Movement was a great place to introduce Dutch Creations' initiative to create an (online) information and inspiration platform for florists, but we wanted to know what the florists think about this, Per Benjamin for one.
Per Benjamin on Dutch Creations:
"I think Dutch Creations is an ambitious venture and I am very enthusiastic about this initiative. The breeders in Dutch Creations possess the combined knowledge and information that will make the life of florists easier. I believe that the Dutch Creations website will become a tool for all florists and that even you are underestimating the impact of such a tool in the market; especially the search engine for flowers and pot plants, where florists can search for all colors, names and in the near future also the availability of the combined assortment is adding much value. So far there is nothing comparable on the internet and in my opinion, this will change the florist industry.
With this device, Dutch Creations proves that they understand the need for a so called pull strategy, to inform florists directly about (new) varieties. Until now florists had to struggle to find updated information, as most of the wholesalers do not care about variety names as much as florists do. In general I dare to state that most wholesalers do not share the same level of passion for flowers as florists do."
Per Benjamin on the importance of sales skills:
"Being a florist is a fantastic and creative job. But the job goes way beyond creativity only. Many florists underestimate the importance of their commercial skills. Too often, in flower shops the client has to ask for what he wants. While, there is so much to gain in the aspect of providing service that leads to extra sales. Instead of letting the client ask, florists have to learn to give advice. They have to use creativity to make beautiful arrangements and bouquets, but they also have to sell. What I mean here is that the florist has to be more proactive, there is so much to gain when you ask the client about his needs, make some alternative suggestions and by acting like this, sell more! It is quite simple: in our profession, you need to make money to be able to express your creativity. The better you perform in the commercial part of the job, the more creativity you can show."
"This spring, Life 3 will start a program on this topic, to help florists to improve their sales skills."
At the summer of 2002 the co-operation between the 3 European top florists, Max van der Sluis (Holland), Tomas de Bruyne (Belgium) and Per Benjamin began. Life 3 is an international company that offers demonstrations, shows, books, workshops, seminars, teaching, trend views and lots more within the flower industry and beyond that.
Per Benjamin on Life 3 and on the importance of having fun:
"With Life 3 we want to make people aware of the possibilities in this industry. We feel that there are so many traditions and these traditions do influence the way florists work and think, they are stuck in customs. We want to inspire people to think further than traditions and habits. We want to bring the work and the knowledge to a higher level."
"To achieve this, we discuss a lot and we ourselves are faced with many differences between the three countries we come from. We strongly believe that creativity is best done together and we want to share our passion, our experiences and our opinions with other florists. As being a florist is more than just a job, it is passion, it's creativity, it's sales."
"For this reason we started to work together with several flower arranging schools. Too many people in this industry do not feel the passion, they want to work from 9 to 5 and they complain that they have to work too hard and earn too little. We want to grow the passion again; we want to update the awareness about the possibilities of our industry. There are so many options if you are passionate; you have to start with thinking positive. It is a mindset, see the beauty, feel the fun and enjoy. You can't perform when you have a negative attitude, as negativity blocks space in your mind."
"Compare our profession with being an athlete: if you aren't passionate, you can't perform. It is extremely important to have fun in what you are doing and we want to make florists more aware of that."