The Perfect Pricing
With all the factors involved in pricing your flowers, it really comes down to one thing: what is someone willing to pay? I don’t have any specialty market niches (other than the fact that, by being a flower farmer, I am one). But what I mean is, I don’t have a particularly well-off area that I can market my flowers to a few and make a great living. At least I haven’t discovered it yet. I’m in rural north Idaho and in order to make this business “go where no one has gone before” I sell to everyone and anyone.
My pricing is not marked up because I know my customers are wealthy and can afford it. (I actually don’t know if they’re wealthy. If I look only at the purchases, I really couldn’t tell the rich from the not rich.) They all buy a few flowers every week to enjoy and will be back again next week. So in recognizing that, my pricing strategy needs to reflect that reality, while maximizing my earning potential as much as possible. We all want that, right?
For this discussion I’m talking farmers’ market prices.
Up to this point in my business (trying to get established and known), my whole pricing strategy has been geared to get people to try my product, and to grow my customer base. What does that mean? Well, finding a price point where people were willing to try my flowers. When I started this market there were two other flower vendors and they never even sold a quarter of what they brought and probably didn’t even sell $100.00 worth of flowers in a day. So I knew I had an uphill battle to establish myself as a flower vendor and my flowers as a high-quality, long-lasting, worth-your-money purchase.
I strategically priced those first bouquets at $7.00 each and I kept that price for three years, building my customer base and expanding the farm as needed. Flowers sold but it didn’t happen by itself. It required a knowledgeable and energetic farmer exclaiming “You won’t be disappointed, I guarantee it.” Well, business grew and my flowers became more in demand but the cost of producing flowers had risen, so I needed to raise my prices. I raised my price to $10/bouquet and invested in a bouquet stand to help “showcase” the flowers. I noticed only one customer who stopped buying but who continued to stop and enjoy the flowers and conversation. It took me three years to get this frugal, German fellow to buy bouquets again. But he was the exception, overwhelmingly, everyone knew they were getting a real value for their money.
Today, my customers are driving me, and I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your eyes and mind open. Don’t hold yourself back by not recognizing trends within your own little circle—see change and meet the demand. I noticed requests for custom bouquets were on the rise so I began to experiment with offering a few ready-to-go $15.00 bouquets. Last year I scrapped the $15.00 bouquet and I went to market with $10 and $20 bouquets, and almost always sold all the $20.00 bouquets, along with a lot more special orders of $25.00-$35.00 worth of flowers. By watching my customers and trying to provide them with what they want, I’m growing, and surpassing goals I never thought I‘d reach.
And I’m ready to go to the next level. Unfortunately, with this being my first Regional Report, and I’m turning it in late, and I’m afraid I may have too many words and am over my column length, I’ll have to continue “My Pricing Dilemma” in the Spring issue. Until then—happy winter planning.