How to Organize Profitable Pop-up Flower Shops

Considering a Pop-up Flower Shop for your floral business but aren’t sure where to start? We have solutions for you.

Pop-ups are a hot topic right now. The buzz is both positive and perplexing.

Some florists say it’s “a great way to connect with potential customers … direct traffic to your brick and mortar flower shop … have off-site selling space for special events or the holidays.”

Others find it more challenging “long hours of work for little profit … hard to determine how much to buy or what will sell.”

What’s the real secret to pop-up success?

Photo: Phebe Robinson-Higgins

“You must be organized to be profitable,” answers Phebe Robinson-Higgins of Popped with Phebe an online community for pop-up shop entrepreneurs.

Phebe shares tips for organizing profitable pop-ups.

Start by finding followers

“The biggest thing in creating your pop-up business is finding your tribe,” says Phebe.

Understanding that clients relate to and buy from “Phebe” not her business,
she advises us to “First build a cohort – a group of loyal followers, and they will build your business.”

How can you do this?

According to Phebe the first step is establishing your goals.

 

Photo: Phebe Robinson-Higgins

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish with a pop-up?
  • Who and where are my potential customers?
  • What local venue offers an energetic vibe?
  • Which business encourages people to ‘linger longer’?

Phebe’s #1 goal was to connect with potential brides. “I’m an event florist, I wanted to reach out to people to build my wedding business.”

Pop-ups put you in front of people! “People who know, like and trust you want to do business with you,” she explains.

       “A great way to sell yourself is to let potential customers get to know you through your flowers,” says Phebe.

To keep connected Phebe sets up two pop-ups a year – Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Location, Location, Location!

How do you decide? Outdoor pop-ups can face unexpected weather and hot or cold temperatures. Indoor sites require finding the right space.

 

 

Photo: Phebe Robinson-Higgins

Phebe visits venues months before a pop-up to ask questions:

  • Is there visible space for the flowers?
  • How much foot traffic in the venue?
  • What are the high traffic times?
  • Can she bring in flowers and fliers in advance to create buzz?

“There is an emotional connection between enjoying food and flowers.
You can use this to connect with people if you’re in the right space.”

She does weekly Popped with Phebe on FaceTime Live. Before an event she does the live broadcasts from the venue.

Percent of sales or pay a flat fee?

 

Photo: Phebe Robinson-Higgins

How much should you pay to rent a space? Phebe suggests three options.

  • Free? Some venues welcome you at no charge. Ask what’s in it for them: Visibility from pop-up promotions? Increased foot traffic? Access to your online followers?
  • Percent of sales? Consider this one carefully. It’s okay for low sales, but when you start making more money this adds up quickly. “Ask what they are providing for that 20% of sale,” cautions Phebe. “It has to be more than just space.”
  • Flat fee? This option allows you to calculate expense and prepare enough extra arrangements to cover the cost.  “Agree on the exact amount before contracting with the venue,” she advises.

How much product should you take?

 

Photo: Phebe Robinson-Higgins

“Pre-orders plus 30%,” instructs Phebe. “No more than 20 to 25 arrangements to start with.”

“By looking at your numbers and collecting pre-orders you can lower your financial risk,” she explains.

Phebe recommends taking all the pre-orders you can get, but adding only 30% more of saleable arrangements.

Create an experience for your customer by designing on site. “People love watching designs come together, it’s like magic or something,” she laughs.

 

Photo: Phebe Robinson-Higgins

Phebe inspires impulse sales by taking flowers, containers,  floral foam and waterproof tape to design as customers watch.

What if you sell out early? Phebe did.

At her first pop-up she sold out in 32 minutes. 57 minutes at the second event.

She thinks sellouts offer benefits: (1) takes the worry out of lost profits from leftover flowers (2) pressures the customer to pre-order next time (3) helps you learn how much product to buy.

The challenge?

Getting the pre-orders! Set up a system. “Start by emailing your VIPs,” suggests Phebe.

VIP’s. Interest group. Cohort. Tribe. Whatever you call your followers, these loyal fans are your best test group. Reach out to them first.

Build an active email list of VIPs:

  • Former brides and their tribes.
  • Customers who’ve bought in the past.
  • Cohorts you’ve met through flowers.
  • Attendees from previous events or weddings.
  • Buyer’s from ecommerce sales (PayPal; Square, Shopify).

 

Photo: Phebe Robinson-Higgins

Email your pop-up location, date and time to VIPs, letting them know they’re the first to be invited.

Then share on Instagram and Facebook. Ask your venue to do the same.

Offer three price points

Offer three price points: budget, moderate, and exceptional.

“Try to drive the selection to the middle price point then offer add-ons to elevate the sale.”

Which add-on’s does she suggest?

Upsell by asking lifestyle questions.

  • Who are the flowers for?
  • Your mom? What’s mom’s name? Susan?
  • Do you want to make that special for Susan?

Phebe’s lowest priced item is her Flower Cone, a hand-tied bouquet wrapped in a cone she makes from card stock.

 

Photo: Phebe Robinson-Higgins

Permits and insurance?

Vendor permit? Or, does your brick & mortar shop’s permit cover off-site activity?

With the exponential growth of mobile merchants, city governments struggle to keep up with proper rules and regulations. They vary state to state.

Tax identification numbers sometimes cover you in another location. Check with local authorities to be sure.

Insurance? Check your policy to see of it covers working in other venues or if your brick and mortar insurance covers you off-site.

Phebe’s next step?

Relocating from Laredo, Texas to Nottingham, New Hampshire Phebe left a thriving wedding flower business behind and started over.

“The biggest thing I wanted was more weddings,” says Phebe, “but I found a new passion.”

She built a cohort of florists interested in adding pop-up shops to their services. She learned that she loves to coach and is developing a mentorship program for pop-up entrepreneurs.

What insight can you share with us for creating pop-up shops profitably? Please leave your comments below.

 

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