One of the “hot button” topics we keep hearing about is one that is poised to do substantial damage – not only to the floral industry – but for many small businesses across every industry. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour may sound good in theory, but in reality, it could be the most devastating blow to small business yet.
I speak from experience for the retail flower industry, but the truth is, you can apply this to any service-driven business because, like florists, they also have a very small margin to work with. Since there is no structured understanding of what a floral designer is, it is all up in the air as to what fits well and what the owner’s vision is - beauty is in the eye of the beholder for sure.
That being said, there will no longer be an opportunity for someone to just drive, or just sweep floors and clean buckets. If minimum wage goes up, those jobs go away and the Floral Designer is forced to take on more duties because in addition to designing, they’re also covering the work that the minimum wage helpers used to perform.
I am sure you can see where this is going, right?
If minimum wage goes up $4, $5, or $6 or $7, what does that mean for the designer making the industry average of about $20/hour? Now they go to $25 an hour (or more)? YIKES!
So how do we hire? It’s hard work, it takes experience…That is your answer.
The greatest challenge I find florists facing today is finding people to get the work done, to go out on the weddings and to know how to create a wristlet that doesn’t fall apart during prom or a wedding.
My prediction is florists will no longer focus on growth.
The florist filling orders for the larger gathering operations who secure transactions nationwide and expect local florists to fill them like 1-800 Flowers, FTD, Teleflora, Just Flowers, From You, will only be able to fill “cookie cutter” design options.
In other words, florist will have to create the system to pump out and mass-produce the work while the companies selling the products will need to sell according to what the retail florists can mass produce.
Smaller boutique shops will be the norm and creative designs will only be based on what the retail florist in the area creates. More focus will be on the Google my Business offerings or websites will be treated more hands-on by the retail florist.
The industry needs to come together. No longer can a florist offer hundreds of creations to design and we all need to start working smarter (and harder) in order for our industry to survive. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, so now is the time to start practicing, talking and creating a solution as an industry.