Your flowers are the best I’ve ever seen from there.”       
     
The speaker was a retail florist, who had called me after buying some of my stuff from a wholesale florist. The point, here, is that normally I wouldn’t have gotten a call like this. Usually, the  retail shop doesn’t know what country the flowers were grown in, much less the name of the grower.  But I (Ron) had started using plastic hang tags to identify each bunch of flowers, following an idea developed by Ralph Cramer.  Ralph has been using the tags since 1998 and, he says, they’re worth it –  customers ask for “Cramers” flowers by name.

“Some of our wholesalers list our stuff by name on their faxed price lists,” Ralph said. “The best part of branding like this is that a retailer who has been satisfied with Cramers’ quality in the past is not afraid to try a Cramers’ product that is unfamiliar to them – at least they know the quality will be there.”

The idea is, people like to specify a particular variety, just like with coffee and wine, even if they really can’t tell the difference.

I was careful to explain to my wholesale customers that I wasn’t interested in selling direct to the retailers, and I would send inquiries back to them.  Now, the wholesalers say that their customers call to ask for more Smith flowers.

There are probably other ways to do this.  I had considered using stick-on labels to go on the sleeve, but I don’t use sleeves for everything, and you need special labels that stick to the plastic.

One thing I did different from Ralph is to print only one side of the tag so I can use the reverse to further identify the product by name or variety.  I want to identify unusual cuts so the buyer knows them by name, so he can ask for Physocarpus instead of “that real tall purple stuff.”  And if I identify all my peonies with the variety name, then florists can ask for a particular variety instead of just asking for a color. The idea is, people like to specify a particular variety, just like with coffee and wine, even if they really can’t tell the difference.

The tags cost less than $0.03 each.  We got them from Modern Graphics/Economy Label, (800) 334-0286.  In 2003, they cost $261 for 10,000 printed one side.