Mornings with Mayesh: Alison Ellis Talks Pricing

– Good morning everyone, Yvonne here. And I am so excited to bring you another Mornings With Mayesh, April 2nd 2019, can you believe it guys? Happy April. And I’m super excited because I have a very
special guest with me, Alison Ellis, she’s gonna be coming on in a few minutes to talk about pricing questions. If you don’t know Alison she is from Real Flower Business and she has a lot of Real
Flower Business knowledge that she wants to share with
you guys, so super stoked. I’m gonna give everyone a
few minutes to come on in, say good morning, good
morning from Just Floral, thank you for joining me. And Penny, you guys are amazing, thank you literally for being
here every time I go live, I love you guys. I feel like if you don’t show up I don’t know what I’m gonna do. And while everyone is
coming in and saying morning and letting me know
where you guys are from, and also please share, yes, that would be
amazing, thank you Penny. Good morning Hailey. I’m just gonna go through
a few housekeeping things, alright guys. So just keep on saying hello, if you have comments or questions make sure you post those
in the comments section, I’ll be going through those
as I’m talking with Alison and going over your questions, I’m sure we will have some time for that, so very exciting, that’s like my favorite part giving all the live back-and-forth. Also if you aren’t able to
stay for the whole show, or you just can’t make it at all and your listening later, thank you, but we will be hosting
the replay on YouTube. The replay will be available
immediately on Facebook, it takes a couple of minutes
for it all to process. And then we also turned
the show into a podcast, so if you are into podcasts and you like to listen and
exercise or design flowers, you can listen to us while
you’re designing flowers, that is available for you as well, and that will be up on our blog. So that will happen in a couple of days. So keep a lookout for that. Also I wanted to make sure that you guys know about our Mayesh Design
Starflower Workshop Tour. So we have three more dates left, May, August and November. And we are gonna be hitting up Nashville, Austin and Columbus. So very cool, we have Sean Strong, we have gotten really great reviews. So I do do surveys and things
like that at the workshop, because while we are there in person, it’s always I think scary for people to give us real feedback face-to-face. So I always send that survey so that way people can send
out their honest opinions, and we definitely are getting
high marks across the board. So I promise if you are on the fence, you’re not sure what you want to do, take the jump, take the leap, invest in yourself, do something outside of your bubble, get to know some people. Travel, because I know
a lot of people travel. Build up your portfolio because you get amazing
professional pictures from our amazing
photographer Nicole Cleary, and then obviously get
to work with Sean Strong who’s amazing. So we will post the link for that, you can go and take a peek at that, let’s see where do I do this at, because I’m doing this
all on my own today. There we go, I did it, yay. Also I wanted to let you know about Quito, so if you are on the live and you know that I was out of the country a couple of weeks ago, and it was literally the
most amazing experience I’ve had in my life, and a really long time, besides having my babies and all of that. Work life right. And so I just wanted to make sure that you guys know about this, it’s gonna be published in Florist Review. Am I allowed to say that early, I don’t know, I just did. So super excited about that, and we’re just gonna be putting all the videos and photos out, it’s not out yet, all of our professional
things that Nicole did and Logan from Tailwind Visuals, he’s amazing too, an amazing storyteller. And just excited to share
this story with you guys. And also I just want to make sure that you guys know about it, because people were crying
because they were so happy, and so we know a lot of our students who came to Quito with us are gonna be going to the next one. We are working out those
details as we speak. I will hopefully be
publishing something soon, but if you want to be
one of the first people to know about our next
international workshop, be sure that you go and visit our website, if you go to the MDS
workshop dash Quito link, and I’m gonna post that for you as well, there will be a form so that
where you can fill it out and be put on our wait list type of deal, and then I will send out
an email to you guys, after I send out an email to all of the people that went to Quito first. So they are number ones, and then our form will be number two, and then I will let the world
know about it after that. So cool. And Desi is here, good morning Desi. She’s gonna be helping me post links and things like that going
forward, thank you Desi. Everyone say good morning to her, hello. She’s behind the scenes
helping me stay sane while we’re doing this live show, so I don’t hit any wrong buttons. Also make sure you save
the date for April 16th, that will be our next regular format show, I will be back with David Shelley answering your flower questions. Alright guys. Let’s see who else is here? Good morning Katie Lee, good morning Jennifer, hi guys. Shelley from Maine, hi Shelley. Shelley is one of the amazing people that went to Quito with us, and thank you for joining us Shelley. I have Tracey from Greater Omaha Chapter of the National
Association of Catering and Events, hi Tracey, that’s a mouthful right. Good morning Hailey, and Amy from Grosse Pointe. Awesome, I love having you guys. So if you’re just joining me, welcome guys, I’m Yvonne Ashton, here with Mornings with Mayesh. Today I have a very special guest, Alison Ellis of Real Flower Business whose gonna be answering all your questions about flower pricing, super super exciting. If you don’t know anything about Alison, she is a floral designer and an educator, she is huge in education. That’s one of her passions, if you watch anything
on her Facebook group you can just see it
oozes out of her pause. And she loves to teach florists how to embrace the business
side of our business so that they can take more money and take control of their future, which I love, and obviously we need strong
florists for a strong industry. She’s been working in the
flower industry for 24 years, it might be 25 now I think. 25 years. After spending eight years training at half a dozen flower shops, she’s opened her own home-based
floral business in 2002 which focuses mostly on weddings. So after this show make sure you visit and that’ll contain all of Allison’s business tips and techniques, so let me bring her on. Good morning Alison. – Hi good morning, can you
see the top of my head? – I can. – Alright. – Beautiful. – Thanks so much for
having me this morning, I’m so psyched. – Yeah I just realized I used
my intro from the last time, I always recycle things. – Recycling is good. – And 25 years is a big deal
though, congratulations. – It is, I started when I was two, and I’ve been doing it ever since. – Awesome. There are a lot of people
that start when they’re two, my husband used to ride his big wheels through flower wholesalers. – Yeah, I started when I was 16 actually, and never left, it was really something that I
fell in love with right away, and I feel like there’s two
types of florists out there, there’s the florist who
just loves flowers so much, and then there are the florists
who are business oriented and they could do any business, it doesn’t really matter to
them what type of business. I’m definitely a florist at heart, kind of floral designer, that’s who I am. – I love it, I love it. So let’s kick things off
with just an easy question, and just tell us what you’ve
been up to in the past year, because that’s the last
time you were on the show. – I know, I like it, we should have an April, it’s
like our anniversary show. What have I been up to in the past year, that’s a big question. Time flies by so fast, but I took a couple of notes, what I’ve been up to is weddings, teaching, I was honored to teach at a chapel designer workshop last May and I was invited to teach down
in Rhode Island in December, so while I do all my teaching online, it was so exciting to get to have that interaction in person. So that’s what I have my sights on, I’d love to do some more of that. But I’ve been doing some one on one coaching and strategy sessions with florists who were
interested in taking a course, but didn’t know what course. So I was doing these
free strategy sessions where we were talking for
1/2 hour about their business and getting them into the right course, and that was working at so well, because then it’s not just me being like here is my website where
I sell stuff for florists. It was like, what do you
need, and how can I help you. It helps focus you in. You know this as someone who
has specialized in marketing. It’s about the customer, and so the more we talk to the customer, the clearer we are. So I really feel like
I spent the last year talking to my customers and figuring out what they
really needed from me, and then making more freebies
and more resources for them, lots of content creation. – I love it. – Blogging, blogging, blogging, you know? – Yeah, and that’s my jam, I love all the content that you created, so powerful for everyone. – So appreciate that, because you put it out there, and as you know you don’t always hear how many people are
seeing it and liking it, they look at it but they
don’t acknowledge it. So it’s always so appreciated
when someone does acknowledge. I’m gonna call out Dee, she’s on this live chat, I can see her over here on my Facebook. Dee thank you so much for sending me a message the other day, she was like, your font is
too small on your emails. Boom, I was like, you
know what, you’re right. There are little things
like that are huge. I’ve been increasing the font on my emails for the past week. – That’s awesome. I feel like with our content I can tell when we do downloads, like the gated content and what’s popular and things like that, just based off that. But our regular content, it is sometimes difficult, it’s not always a science like
everyone makes it seem like, it really isn’t. But I do find that anything
that’s controversial, we always hear from people. So it’s fun to do things
like that on purpose, if you know people are
gonna get riled up about it. Yeah, we’re gonna hear from people. – Yeah, get them out of their seats. Because you can create something, like I’ll create something, like this is so good,
people are gonna love this, and then it’s kinda crookedly, and then you create
something just on a whim, and I created something
I posted a few weeks ago, or January, it’s been shared 400 times, like what’s happening
here, that never happens. So you just never can tell. That’s why we just do
what we can, do our work. – Exactly, exactly. I love it. Alright, so we’re gonna start
off with our first question from the wildflower easy, these are questions that we sourced from our Instagram question post
story which is always fun. And they want to know should
we set a minimum on weddings, I’ve done both ways. – That’s always a really really valid question from any floral designer. And the real honest answer is it depends. So it depends on a lot of things, where you are in your
business for example. If you’re busy enough where
you can turn customers away, setting a minimum is a good strategy. Because if you’re getting
too many inquiries coming in and you’re finding you have
a lot of lower budget clients that are trying to get in the door, setting a minimum helps to weed out people that are not a good fit and set that bar. You must be this tall to ride the ride, and that’s just what it comes down to. This is my standard of the work that I do. And that can work really well for people. And then you have to decide do I publish my minimum on my website. So there are a lot of things that go into not just setting the minimum, but then how do we communicate that minimum to the potential customer. So I like to do everything,
like I was just saying, customized. I think it’s really important
to look at the individual. So I’ve been in business
for 17 years on my own, I’m entering my 18th season. So what did I do last year? I finished season 17 of my business, which is like snaps right? And what I find interesting, because I have my Facebook group, there’s about 7000 florists in there right now from
all around the world, and I asked just two questions
just before you get in. What’s your ability level, are you aspiring or have
you been doing this, and sometimes people have
been florists for 40 years, or they’ve been florists, maybe they’ve been
florists for five years, and it’s so fascinating to me to see how people will
identify themselves. I’ve been in business for 40 years and I’d say I’m aspiring. Versus someone who is like, I’ve been in business for three years, I’d say I’m experienced. – Right. – And that is often how it goes. The longer you have been in business, the more humble you can be about how much more you have to learn. And the newer you are, when you’re in business for
three years or five years, you’re like look, I’ve been
in business for five years, and let me tell you everything
that you need to do. You haven’t been tested in five years yet, you know what I mean? Five years is great, and it’s a hump in your business where if you make to your
five in your business, you should be celebrating
and tooting your own horn, that you have been in
business for five years. three to five years is that threshold. But when you’re in business for five years your minimum is gonna be different, or your thought process on the
minimum is gonna be different than someone who’s been
in business for 40 years. And again, it’s gonna depend. The person who’s been in
business for 40 years, may have a really strict minimum, or they may have no minimum at all. So it’s based on your experience and what your market can bear. So if you’re in an area for example where you do tons of high end weddings, having a $5000 minimum might
be just perfect for you. Publishing on your website
might make perfect sense. But for me personally where I am, I’m in Vermont, we do
destination weddings mostly, meaning people come here. I don’t travel, people are
like, how do you do that? I am like, they come to me. So they come here, and their budget could be a huge gap. I’ve had some weddings that
are $2500 really small, like really small weddings, nothing fancy. Then I have an $8000 in June that’s like all the bells and whistles and more, more, more. So if I put on my website
I have a $3000 minimum, I’m missing out on that $2500
super sweet gig that I booked, and for my $8000 customer,
they might be thinking hmm, is this $3000 florist gonna
get what I’m looking for here. So when I used to publish
my minimum on my website, which I did for years, finally you have to get brave, there’s a moment where your brave, and you’re like, I’m doing it, I’m doing it, I’m setting a minimum. That’s it, I’m doing it. And it takes bravery, and you have to talk
yourself into it right? You have to talk yourself into
I’m gonna set the minimum, I’m really gonna do it,
I’m really gonna tell them, I’m gonna do it now, here I go, I’m hitting publish,
and now my website says I have a $1500 minimum. That was my first minimum. Then it went up to 3500 or something. So finally it got to a
point where my $3500 minimum was significantly below the average spent that people when they
made a purchase with me. So here I have on my website $3500 minimum but my average sale is higher than that. Why is my minimum 3500? So it was a moment of reckoning, of realizing this is arbitrary, this number does not pertain to you, the person inquiring to me, this is just a number
I’m throwing out there, just throwing to the wall
and see if it sticks. So there is a change, there is
an ebb and flow in business, so sometimes you should have an idea. I always put it this way, if you don’t have a set minimum, we don’t leave the door for less than 3500 at least have minimums on
each of your itemized pieces, so your bridal bouquet start at X, your centerpieces start at X, your installations start at X, so at least when you’re
putting together the pieces and presenting a budget to somebody There is a rhyme or reason for why they should be
expected to spend this minimum. And the way I do it as I
present it as a custom minimum, I say for your event this is the minimum that would be requested. And one of the smartest things I do if I do say so myself, is I missed that minimum on
every single client proposal right in the payment terms, so before they accept the proposal, before we do anything They see right there this is what the minimum is for your event, so they know that they
can’t fall below that. They can lose three bridesmaids, but you still have a $4000 minimum. You can have half as many guests, but you still have to have a 4000 minimum for me to block off my
day or my weekend for you. So we have to set our rules and then we have to change the rules, and that’s my really
really long answer too, should you set a minimum. – That is great and I actually love the idea of a custom minimum. And honestly for me personally I get really frustrated
when I’m on websites and I’m just trying to figure out what I like and what I don’t like, but then I have no idea
how much anything costs. I get frustrated especially when it’s my first time dealing with something and I’m trying to get information and everyone has it all
blocked and you’ve got to call, and I don’t like talking to people so I don’t want to call you, I just want to figure
things out on my own first. So I think that’s a really
great way to get started and have a happy medium, and not scare too many people off, but still give them enough information, I think that’s really cool. – So you still set the boundary,
there is still a minimum and it’s not like I’m just saying to them, so for example, I might send out a quote
to somebody for $8000 but only request a $4000 minimum, because I don’t really
need them to spend $8000, I just need them to be in
it with me for this much. And if they want to spend
more than that, great. But then there are other times where I met sent out a quote for $3000 and the minimum is 3000, like I’m not falling below this. So it just makes it really clear, makes the communication clear, and it’s that custom interaction, they feel my value because they see that
they get an email from me, usually we have a conversation, not always though right, because that inquiry
form that they sent to me I do my vetting through that. So I can tell do I need
to present my minimum to this person before we go any further, or are there enough clues in everything that they have answered here that I can tell they’re
gonna spend what I need to make this worthwhile and just hop round to
the phone consultation. But we are not meeting in person, they are not taking a ton of my time before an absolute minimum
purchase is established. Always. – Good stuff. Alright, next question is from Karen MRK7, she wants to know do you
price anything differently with a hand tied versus
a vase arrangement, I’m thinking she’s
probably trying to get a do you price it differently based off of the labor intensiveness of whatever you are designing. – I do, there are two things that make a hand tied bouquet versus a
vase arrangement different, when I read that question
when you sent it ahead of time I was thinking does she
mean a hand tied bouquet like a bridal bouquet, or does she mean like a wrap in a shop. So let me answer both things just in case. So in shop when I worked in flower shops, your flowers are all
marked up in the cooler, you have your retail price on everything. So we would just wrap them and there was not an
additional design fee added, to just wrap up flowers
for cash-and-carry. But if you’re doing a vase arrangement, you’re obviously gonna
charge for your flowers, you’re gonna add a
design fee for your time, and then you’re gonna
add the cost of the vase. Now some people do this different ways, but the way I do it, and how I teach it in my pricing course, Flower Math, is that we calculate how many stems, we add our design fee and then
the vase goes on after that. So I’m not adding a
design fee to the vase, that’s just how I was taught. I think that’s how most florists do it, but it’s not how every florist does it, but that’s how I do it. If I’m making a hand tied
bouquet for a wedding, usually I charge a higher
design fee for that, a lot of times I’ll just
have a straight fee of $100 and that’s my fee for the time it takes to think about your bouquet order the flowers for your bouquet, pull the flowers for your bouquet, clean the flowers for the bouquet. Actually put it together, wrap it, put it in the color, take it
out of the color, admire it, put it back in the cooler, rework it possibly, add a
ribbon to it, deliver it. All of that, that’s what I do. So yeah, that’s it, and then obviously you don’t have to add the cost of the vase onto it. So that’s the difference. – Great. Our next question is, and I feel like you
kind of touched on this, it’s from a lovely human 14. They want to know what
is the best way to start and then change your pricing
as your business grows? – It really is about
honing in on who you serve, so do you like cash-and-carry, do you like when people come to you and just pick up their stuff
and bring it themselves. Do you like when people buy
in bulk and do DIY stuff or do you have a full
service in that business where service is really
what you’re selling. We sell flowers, but it’s the service that
we should be focusing on, that’s the thing that
they can only get from you and that they can’t get from anybody else. So I think you should always
give yourself a pay increase, not every year, even though that would be ideal, because we can’t feasibly do that, we can’t give ourselves
especially as business owners, small business owners, a pay increase every year. But we should try, it’s always worth it, always worth the effort to see how can I bring in more money. Raise my delivery fee a little bit, you can increase your design fee if you’re not already
feeling like your capped out at charging as much as you
can on your arrangements. You can increase your markups, there are different ways where
you can steal a little bit more of that profit for yourself instead of putting it
into your cost of goods. But by providing better service, by being better, that’s really how we charge more, because we actually are better. I’m way better in year 18 of my business that I was in year five. There is a vast, vast amount of experience
between those 13 years. So that’s really what it comes down to, is who do you want to serve, what do they need from you, how do you do that expertly so that you can command a higher price. – Great, love it. Onto our next question, this is gonna be hard to pronounce, Premier Pier Dome Designs I think. They want to know how do you make sure you’re not undercharging your clients? – So a lot of people don’t
necessarily undercharge, but they overfill. That’s semantics really,
but that is what happens. Is they charge enough, this is one of my marketing lines, it doesn’t matter what you
charge if you over buy. Its truth and it’s part
of my flower master field. You could charge somebody
$1000 for a centerpiece but if you spend $800 to
fill it, you’re losing money. So that’s what it really comes down to is knowing your pricing formula. So florists have industry
standards on pricing, for the most part florists who have learned from other florists all follow the same pricing models. So if you’re not sure truly, like how to know if you’re
undercharge your client, Flower Math is my course that
teaches you how to do that, because it’s not easy to give you an exact answer on how do you know. Here’s one way, are you
charging a three times markup or a four times markup on your flowers, are you adding a design fee, are you charging a two or two and a half times
markup on your supplies. That’s your basis for knowing
if you’re under charging, but it’s really about how much you buy. And that’s why I always say
keep your wholesale orders tight and make sure you fill
your orders to value, because that’s the flip side. I love to talk about pricing, I love to talk about
maximizing your profit, but providing value to the client is still of utmost importance. I will sit and I will just
take out my calculator which is really my phone, and enter in every single stem and say is this filled to value. Because having that peace of mind that we are delivering something and we know it’s to value is so essential. There is nothing worse than
when you are delivering your heart and soul, I.e., the flowers you just made to someone’s big event, and you feel like I don’t
know if this is to value. Then you have a lack of confidence and there is just this
overall dread that you feel, because you’re like, I just don’t know, what if they say this isn’t big enough, what am I gonna say back? If I show up and someone says that doesn’t look like a $125 centerpiece, I can just say it is,
because I’ve done the maths, it’s just that easy. So undercharging your clients is usually a result of overfilling, that’s usually what happens. – That’s great advice,
and good things to know. Yeah, you definitely don’t want
to overfill and over stuff, and then you’re also just making
more work for yourself too so not only are you using more product but you’re spending more time usually than doing the design as well. – Yes, I have a video, it’s one of my more viewed videos, it’s called how a single stem can derail your floral business. And it really is about how if you, I break it down for you, if you just add one extra
rose to your arrangements over the course of a
week how that adds up, over the course of a month, year, and then I bring it out to
three and five years for you, it’s a lot of money that
you’re leaving on the table when you overfill orders,
so do not take this lightly. I always say the best worst boss I ever had was this guy Tom, and he really trained us about how important it is
to not overfill orders, he was very thoughtful and deliberate in teaching us the why behind
it so we could understand it’s integral to the health
of the business overall that we don’t do this. It’s not about just
making it pretty this time and getting it out the door, it’s about sustaining
the business, you know? – Yeah, exactly, good stuff. Our next question is from Atlas findings, they would like to know do
you mark up high end flowers like peonies the same as you do carnations to keep your margins, if you do how do you use peonies or ranunculus and everyday arrangements, sparingly? – The answer is just yes. Yes you mark them up the same. Unless there is an actual
legitimate reason why you are not, you will have to justify it to me, I don’t know what that would be. So let me just tangent here for a second, someone shared something
in my group the other day about doing garlands on
a table for somebody, I think this was just yesterday actually. And she said is this enough
what I’m charging for a foot it just seems like a lot and when I added up times for 19 tables, are you hearing me out
there florists, 19 tables. It comes out to be this much, and how am I gonna tell her that. And that’s what it comes down to, it’s not our job to make
what they want cheap. So someone else was just saying, hey, can I get peonies in October? You can try to source that, but the first thing I’m
doing is saying to my client, do you have $25 a stem
to spend on peonies, are you willing to spend. This is where if I had $3500 minimum I’d say, okay do you have a
$5000 budget for your flowers, because you’re not just getting
10 stems of those peonies, you’re gonna have a minimum, they are gonna get shipped, so that goes into the cost too. So yeah, if they want something expensive it’s expensive, and it’s not our job to
make it not expensive. I was just saying to Yvonne
this is my new office we just added an addition, not at any point did someone say to me, I was picking out stuff for the shower, he never said to me would you like this really expensive thing but I’m feeling really
bad at how much it costs. Please, please. Please. We are in a unique situation where when people are not
confident about their pricing it underlines everything we do, and there is no reason for us not to be clear about our pricing. So yes, if you want a peony in October, it’s gonna be at least $25 a stem, and you’re gonna have to buy at least, let’s just say, the bride has got to buy
at least 30 stems of them. Maybe even more, I don’t know, I’m totally making this up obviously, but does she have that. So before I worry about can I get it, do you have the money for this? – I love it. Preach, preach. – Yeah, I think the
answer is exactly again, she said it herself,
you use them sparingly. I love seeing, we all see this, and I know the real florists
in the world we see this, you see these beautiful arrangements, Instagram, everywhere, gorgeous, look at all
those beautiful flowers. If you add them up you are looking at $500 compote bowls on Instagram, and you know this, you know this. So let’s just be clear,
these flowers are beautiful, but some things are not the way every day florists do business, ranunculus was not in a
flower shop every single day when I worked in flower shops. King protea weren’t
there every single time, they are there sometimes,
you rotate them out, but you have to be realistic. Maybe you will only use peonies in June or whenever they are in
season where ever you are. We just have to be realistic, that if your customer again, this comes down to your ideal customer, if your customer can afford
it then you can sell it, but it is all about who you sell to. That is what it comes down
to at the end of the day. – Yeah, I totally agree. I also feel like it’s a little bit of like merchandising too, I feel like people don’t
realize how much things cost, and if you’re talking
about an everyday florist, if you put all of your
cheaper types of designs on the front page and all of that, and then that’s all they see, they don’t realize that they
could buy this really beautiful 300 dollar arrangement
that they see on Instagram and they know their girlfriend or wife is gonna go bananas over. – Also you know that idea that like the king protea for
example being so expensive, it’s expensive but it also lasts. So that’s always part of our hurdle that we have to get over, is flowers are just so
expensive and they don’t last. Well food is expensive
and it doesn’t last, wine is expensive and it doesn’t last, but there are people who
still buy it and value it. So I really like to preach to florists, it is not your job to convert people, though of course we want as many people to buy flowers as possible. It’s your job to find the people who already value what
you do and sell to them. – And just as a side note, I just feel like that’s growing too, I see just flowers everywhere, just in the fashion
shows, in photo shoots, I feel like it’s really more
mainstream than it was before, I feel like that, I don’t know if it’s
just my little bubble. – Flowers are so important in our lives, and we know that as florists, but we also can lose
sight of that sometimes. As a predominantly
wedding-related florist, I know my clients I know what they are looking for, I love when I know that I’m
hitting it out of the park, that this is exactly what they want. But when you are a florist who
has a brick and mortar shop, and you’re doing funeral arrangements, and you’re sending baby arrangements, and you’re doing the work of florists. You are bringing your community together, you are a key element of your community. This work is important to people, and it’s really, really, really something you can’t lose sight of, that what you do is special and unique, I think florists very often take your own talents for granted. That’s nothing, that’s just
a dozen roses in a thing. Oh that’s just a little hand tie, I just threw that
together, it’s no big deal. You are bringing joy to people,
that is a big deal you know? – Yeah, love it, so good. – Own it. – Own it. Alright, our next question, these next few questions are pulled from just things that people
have sent us in the past, so not from anyone in particular. This question is should you charge a different markup on rentals versus vases versus Labor, and I think you touched on that very quickly at the beginning. – Yeah if anybody is
not sure what you should be charging on these things
it’s time to get clear. I’m just gonna do a quick little pitch on my Flower Math for a second. One thing that I hear
a lot from florists is, oh it’s expensive. My course is $499. It’s very interesting to me because if you run a business, and I say this with peace and love, you should have $500 to
invest in your business, and that’s just for real. And if you aren’t making
money in your business, $500 is gonna teach you how to make money in your business should
not scare you, okay? So if you are one of those people who is like should I be, what should I charge for rentals. Flower Math has every
single answer for you, walks you through it, there are videos, and I am here, I am a real life person. If you take Flower Math
and you have a question, you shoot me an email, I’ll reply, I’ll get on the
phone with you, whatever. I don’t want you to be alone
in your pricing journey. But it is easy, these are very easy to follow formulas and you should not be afraid one, to find out that you have been leaving money on the
table all these years, because I know that that is
a hesitation people have, they are like, I don’t want
to know, I don’t want to know. You do want to know, you want to fix it right now. And I have so many people who say in one wedding they made back that $500. So you’ve got to think
about the long-term, you can’t be so short-term
with what I’m spending. I am super cheap. One thing florists have in
common, we are super cheap, we are super cheap people, we don’t want to spend money on things that we don’t have to. That is one of the things I love about us. But if you’re not sure how to do markups, there is no, I was gonna say no reason, but I’m gonna say this,
there is no excuse for that. There is no excuse for, I’m figuring this out on my own, I’m just doing it like this. There is no oh I’m new, so why don’t charge industry-standard. No. Whether you are new or you
are old, it doesn’t matter, you should be on par with this range, not because you’re the best florist and so you deserve the highest price when you are just starting out, but because you are a person
who deserves to get paid and there is a way to do this that you don’t have to
figure out on your own, and even if you have
to work your second job while you have your floral side hustle you should maximize your profits, that’s what it comes down to. So sorry, that’s much spiel. I don’t think anybody should
be unsure about pricing, that’s why I made Flower Math, I want you to know how to do it. – And so we have the link up here. – Oh thanks, that’s mighty kind of you. – Isn’t that cool, and we’ll post it in the comments as well. – Any questions on the
course before buying, don’t hesitate to get in
touch, I’m a real person. – Yeah, check it out, and just what Alison was saying too, if you are a new flower business and you’re undercutting everyone, I understand doing a couple here and there just to get started, I understand that mentality a little bit, it’s a little bit scary. Is a business and you want to make money, and it’s just healthier for
everyone that’s involved when you are charging what
you need to be charging. – What I found, I’ve been doing this for a little over three years now, and what’s so interesting to me is how many people are
accidental florists. They didn’t plan to be a florist, they just found out they were good at it, just through one thing or another, they did an event for
a sibling or a friend, and then all of a sudden
people started asking them, and all of a sudden they
are running a business that they had no intention of running, so that’s what my Real Flower
Business stuff is all about. If you’re not sure there’s
no reason for that. – Exactly. Good, so check out Flower Math. On Another question we get a lot is how do you price out the large designs, like installations and arches and then giant eight-foot flower hoops, how do you figure out
the pricing for that? – So that is where it gets to be, that’s the tricky part. It’s easy to price a bouquet, it’s easy to price a centerpiece, you get an idea do they
want a small centerpiece, do they want a big centerpiece, do they want peonies and ranunculus, or do they just want it
to be a $75 centerpiece, or a $50 centerpiece, what are the parameters of this. But when you don’t have parameters, when you have the yeah,
hoist that on the ceiling, make me a hoop right, you’ve got to get to do a
little bit of imagining. That’s when you’re pulling out a ruler, you’re calling your best floral friend, or you’re hopping in my
Facebook group somewhere, and saying hey, I have to do this, how do I figure this out. How do I figure out how
many feet of garland I need, or who is gonna hoist this thing up. I like to follow Marie Forlio, and if you follow Marie,
she’s a business guru. She says everything is figure out-able, and it’s so true in floristry. We are as my dear friend
Teresa said many years ago, we are the original cob jobbers, we can figure something out. If you need to make a Mickey
Mouse out of carnations, you figure out how to do it. That’s what we are expert at. So sometimes you need to just ask people who have already done it, sometimes you just need to
go to somebody’s Instagram where you saw that thing and say hey, can you give me an idea
of how you did this. So for example I was watching
the video you shared yesterday with Sean doing that big install, that’s something where
it’s about perceived value. I could tell you that’s $5000 or I could tell you it’s $1500. It’s just a matter of what the
customer is willing to spend and how much work are you putting into it. So that’s really what it comes down to is really just you have to figure it. You have to do a little imagining, sometimes you need to figure out what if there is just one foot of this, how much could one foot cost and then multiply it by there. The very first time I did
a hanging installation I can remember just how long it took me to figure out how much I
was gonna charge for it, and I was pretty much
spot on with it as usual. I was relieved, I was
pretty much spot on with it. But it helped me again
with setting a minimum, I’m not hanging stuff from the ceiling for less than $1500, I’m just really not. By the time I get my ladder and the extra trips and the
extra time and whatever, you’ve got to have $1500
for me to be doing all that. I don’t know how
incredibly helpful that is or if it’s just solidifying that’s how I work things out too, but once you do it then you
can jump off from there, so maybe the first time you
make your eight-foot hoop you lose on it, maybe you
didn’t price it right, but you learned some lessons, and sometimes you have to be brave and not be afraid to learn
some lessons you know. – Yeah, but using the
formula you were just saying like pricing out by foot and then thinking about the
time it’s gonna take you. Sean mentioned when we were talking, sometimes it takes him
a little bit of time To figure out how to
use this scissor lift, if it’s really high up. – Totally, all that time, the bodies that will be there, the product that will be there, and also the takedown. So that’s part of why 1500 is my minimum. What goes up must come down, so if I’m putting this up
I have to take it down, and so you have to be willing to spend what it costs to take it down. You can’t be like, I like that hanging thing for $1000 but I don’t have the
500 for the breakdown. No, it’s 1500 because it includes that. – Yeah, alright, good stuff thank you. So now I think it’s time
for some audience questions, and I see a few in here. Let me start with Dee first. She asks is it best to
mingle the delivery setup fee into the overall cost of
flowers in the total cost. People hate delivery fees
I blame it on Amazon. – That’s great. I think that also comes down to, I personally itemize everything so you can see delivery,
you can see breakdown. But if you feel like, I’m gonna go back to
a question from before about when do you change,
like that ebb and flow. If Amazon is making people
think delivery should be free, then maybe start building it in, maybe you have free delivery because you have already accounted for it. Delivery is included,
don’t call it free delivery because that would be a lie, but delivery is included because you have accounted for it already. That could be a way you deal with that. One way I really do handle it is by calling it delivery
and installation. Because I’m not just showing
up with a box and dropping it, unless you’re doing daily
deliveries then yeah, it’s delivery, but making sure they understand again the service that they are getting, it’s about selling the service, I’m not just dropping this and running. – Good stuff. Alright. It’s not pricing related from Hailey, it’s not pricing related but I’m now living in a
destination wedding location, how do you market? Local marketing is only so effective when the brides don’t live here. Very great point. – If there was an easy
answer to that question I would just bottle it
and sell it I tell you. That question could
really just be transformed to how can I get anybody to find me. And it really comes down to what you’re putting
out there on your blog, what you’re putting out
there on your website, what you’re tagging in your photos, how you’re labeling things on
the back end of your website, that’s how people are gonna find you. If you want to know how people find me for my destination weddings, they find me through organic searches, because I do the hard work of blogging and maintaining a website. But they found me through referrals. So when you’re getting
established it takes some time to get to the point where
people are referring you in your new area
that you just moved to, but it will happen. So you just have to do the hard work, and I would blog as much as possible about where you are and what you do and who your customers are, so when they get to your
website they see it, they see you, but more than that they see themselves. They see oh, this is for me, that’s what we’re aiming for. – That’s my jam, the content marketing is so important, and your blog. – It is so important. – The blog and the website.
– It’s so exhausting. – It is, it’s a lot of hard work, and then there’s a lot
of pressure to keep up, because you need to be
consistent about it, but it’s well worth the work, and a CO and just the power behind that. I mean this is real stuff guys, it’s not just fluff, it’s real hardcore stuff. And then you own that. The thing about social media, I think of social media as a vehicle to get my content out into the world, it can’t just be pretty
pictures all the time, I need it to be a little bit
more substance than that, and that just on keeps
feeding your funnel, and then you keep on
building up a library. I don’t even know how many
videos we have now on YouTube, it’s just funny because we
monetize some of our videos, this is a little side thing, but it’s been in my brain. So we monetize our videos and before I would make
maybe a hundred dollars in a year when I first started, nothing, it’s still not a whole lot, but now we are up to like
almost a few hundred a month. So again it’s not a lot of money, nothing to get excited about, but the power of the
content just builds up and it builds up and it builds up, and we have people coming into
our funnel all of the time because of our content and where we are. But it’s not just about the social media, it’s about the content
that you’re creating that you share with people. – And being a value,
providing valuable content. What do your customers need to know about getting married in your area Hailey. What do they need to know
that you can educate them on? I was just talking about this, I have a group where I do some
group coaching in my course The Art of Good Business, where we talk about marketing and branding and just running your
business from your heart, and I was just talking to them this month, we do a monthly live stream. So in March I was saying, make your epic freebie, what’s the thing that people want to know that you know that you
can give them for free, so that they can see you as an expert, and then choose you. That’s the idea. – For free, in exchange
for some information, so that way you’re feeding your funnel, you don’t just want to throw it out there, but for something that you
spent a lot of time on creating, like all of our product
guides for example, they are all gated. We do a lot of free content, tons of it, but we have things that it
takes us time to put together, and we gate those things, and that way we can also see what people like and don’t like, and we can see when they download it. – How long they watch,
what they care about, yeah. – Yeah, so it’s all great,
I love this kind of stuff. So thank you for the marketing question. So the next question is from Sadie, She wants to know how were you competing with new businesses undercutting pressing, I am a full service event florist in a market where a number of
newer florists are popping up and undercutting everything
and taking over the market. It’s the bane of a lot
of peoples existence. – It is, I’m switching drinks, I’m switching to coffee
for this one Sadie. Sexy Sadie let’s see. This is not an easy one, and there are a couple of reasons why, I feel like when, because you are so right, this is a question that
is so dominant right now. What do you mean by
underpricing or undercutting. How do we know that they are undercutting and not just providing less. So I’ll wait for the oohs and the ahs, I can feel them right. Because that’s really
what it comes down to. So let me give you a little story of a wedding I did a couple of years ago. So she was really nice, she had a cha ching, I think I need to do this
10 times with both hands, cha ching dress, cha ching dress. And I gave her a very fair, not at all over the top
quote for what she wanted. And she came back and she was like, love it, book it, done. Then two days later, the cheque already arrived so maybe it was three or four days later. She writes back and says hey, I just got a quote from another florist. So first of all time is of the essence, so time is gonna be on your side. A call was trying to come through, the nerve of some people. – I was wondering what happened, I was like uh-oh, and then my light flickered for a second, so that made me super nervous. – Sorry about that. So when push comes to shove here getting that proposal out fast
is why she wrote back to me, because she had to wait four more days to even get another
proposal from somebody else, so I’m winning at life with promptness. Then she has this moment
of why is this one cheaper. So she asks me, so I could easily be like, but instead I just said, hey, totally get that, and my response to her was, I don’t know why that
proposal was cheaper, they might be providing less, they might be using different flowers, they might not be as good as me. I don’t know, so I can’t say why it would be cheaper. But I haven’t cashed your cheque yet, so if you want to change your mind let me know by tomorrow at five, and we can cancel this contract. And she wrote back within
probably about 15 minutes and said, okay, let’s go forward, book it. We’re done I totally trust you. So trust is the thing, building trust, getting them to see your value
and experience your value and if there is somebody who comes into my market and they are
pricing less than me, if I am losing weddings to them, it’s because the person didn’t
feel a connection with me. Because people will choose me even though I am more expensive over and over and over again, for years and years. Again, it’s not my fifth
or sixth year in business, I’ve done this, this is my 18th season, I’ve been around the sun 17
times already with my business, so there is an ebb and flow and there are times when things change, there are times when your
whole customer attitude shifts, like you’ve got to be ready for whatever that shift is gonna be. So let him see your value and don’t be afraid to say to them, this person came in much cheaper, and say, I can’t imagine
what they’ll be providing. What’s important is that you
get the quality that you want. We always have to put that little, here’s one of my little
tricky things to do, you may know I also sell email templates where I tell florists how
you can present the minimum, because that’s the tricky thing, you can set a minimum but
then how do you say it right. So I teach florists how
to do that in my template. But one of the things I like to do, if someone else like,
I found someone else, because I don’t book every
wedding obviously that I did, I said as long as you find somebody that you trust to execute your vision. I’ve had people turn around and be like, actually you know what. Because that’s the end
of the day what you want to send home saying to these people, is as long as you’re confident that you’re gonna get what you
expect that is what matters. And let them go, am I gonna get what I expect? And let them have to answer that. – Yeah and then that
just goes back to people are dealing with people and relationships, and just building that trust
from the very beginning, so that way they don’t have
to question it is much. They’re like, you know what I trust you, I know you’re gonna do an amazing job, this is obviously
once-in-a-lifetime type of deal when you are dealing with weddings. So that part is so key, not just pricing for sure. Good stuff, love it. Alright, I think we have
time for one more question. – Let’s do it. – So this one is from Penny. She wants to know have you
ever budgeted for networking with fellow vendors like a show, do you do budgeting or
pricing different for that, is that what you mean Penny? – Have you ever budgeted for
networking with fellow vendors? You mean like everybody getting together and getting a booth or
something at the show, something like that? I haven’t, but I would, I think if you have a
group, a cohort, or a posse, or an entourage of good people and there is an opportunity where your ideal customers
are gonna be someplace, sure why not? The closest thing I could
say to that would be like budgeting for a photo
shoot or something like that. When it comes to networking I think you have to just know again where do your clients find you, should you make friends
with the photographer, should you be at the bridal show, should you be investing
that money in your website in a small little update
or tweak or upgrade so that it’s more snappy and snazzy, but sure, why not? – Good, that was easy. – Yeah, have you got any
more over there or not? – I’m looking through, I see something about Stephanotis, but that’s not a good one
for this I don’t think. – Dreaded Stephanotis. – And we’ll answer that on
our next show, how about that. Let me see, this isn’t a question I love this. Phebe says Alison is the
real deal, love this woman. – Thanks Phebe, Phebe is awesome. Phebe has a great pop-up
group actually on Facebook, she’s a Facebook group
on doing pop-up shops, so if anybody out there is
gonna do a Mother’s Day pop-up or something like that,
you can look her up. – Phebe, post your link so
that way people can find you. – I should know the name of it, it’s like popping up with
Phebe or something like that. – Popping up with Phebe, I’ll try to find it so that I
can put it in the show notes. I love it, great, good stuff. So is there anything else Alison that you wanted to share with our viewers before we move on? – I just want to say a huge thank you to you for having me back on. There is one more thing
where if they wanted to, I did another little
pricing thing this week on Flirty Fleurs with how to
price garlands and greenery, so you can head over to Flirty Fleurs blog and check that out. I love the rose study, I’m so
excited about that by the way, I was complimenting you on
your Facebook page about it, it’s so cool that we get to see all those roses together, like side-by-side.
– I’m excited, yeah. So just in case you guys don’t know, we are doing a rose
study with Flirty Fleurs on all the brownish types of roses, all the really hard to
get ones pretty much. – And it’s amazing to
see them side by side. Aleshia’s Instagram has a video, and it was really, really
cool to get to see it, I loved it, I loved it. I just wanted to say thank you, you can check out that
extra pricing stuff, check out my website at And for the month of April,
April is my birthday month, and I always give 10% of
my sales to charities, so I’m doing that this month as well, so if you buy a course you will be supporting
the Vermont Food Bank, and a diaper drive up here in Cherrywater, so that’s really what I’m up to. – Oh, I love it. – One more thing, I have a new freebie that I’m gonna be releasing at the end of this month as well, like a little bit of a guide on everything I wish I knew before I started my
floral design business. – Amazing. – I hope people like it. – And then I know you mentioned earlier before the show started that you have a new blog post up there called 10 Questions Every
Florist Should Answer. – I do. – So go and visit that, we’ll put it in the comments but– – You know it’s April,
it’s the second quarter, so this is where that
business mind has to flip on you just finished your
first three months of business, it’s your second quarter, so my hope is that you
will answer these questions and just get a little focus for yourself on where are you heading for the rest of this year in your business. You can’t improve what you don’t measure, so keeping goals in
writing and staying focused on where you want to go, but also acknowledging where you’ve been, what are you good at, what do
your customers thank you for. What is your strength, that’s something you’ve always
got to answer for yourself, every year, every year. – Good, good, and then last but not
least, happy birthday. – Oh thank you. – When is your birthday exactly? – It’s April 24 so I’ve still got a few more days to hold onto 40. – I’m heading to 40 here soon so yeah. – I think 40 is cool, I dig it. It’s sort of like that are
you aspiring or experienced, it’s like I’m experienced and aspiring. – Yeah, I love it, well happy birthday, I hope it’s an amazing month, and thank you so much for
coming on the show Alison. – My honor to be here,
thanks for having me. Keep doing beautiful work everybody. – Thank you, have a great day Alison. – You as well, bye. – Alright guys that’s
a wrap on our April 2nd Mornings with Mayesh with
Alison Ellis answering all your pricing questions. I hope you enjoyed it, it seems like you did from just the comments I’m reading here. Thank you so so much for joining us, making the show special. Again, we wouldn’t be
anything without you guys, this is an audience driven community, driven labor of love for me, and I love you guys if you
don’t know that already, I do, I love you. So keep on sending in that love, keep on sending in your flower questions. We are going to be creating
another show here on April 16th with Dave and Shelley. I have a lot of questions already, but just keep on sending them in and I will be adding them to our question bank for future shows. And that’s it, that’s a wrap guys, April 16th, I will see you back here. And with that, I hope
you have an amazing day, thank you for joining us, bye everyone.

2 thoughts on “Mornings with Mayesh: Alison Ellis Talks Pricing

  1. So much fun to talk with you live, Yvonne! Thanks for having me back!….looking forward to next time!

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! I love you BOTH! I work full time and recently branched off to pursue my passion as an “aspiring” florist and am a wife and mother of two so during my “me time” when I’m cooking or cleaning or designing flowers in the middle of the night I watch both of your YouTube’s for advice, inspiration and motivation! Keep it comin! Find me @puakaiefloristry!

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