Florists' Review - September 2022

Florists' Review Media Group has served the global floral in study for over 124 years.

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Business 48 September | 2022 Helen Olivia Floral Design Alexandria, Va. helenoliviafl @helenoliviafl owers Located just outside of the nation's capital, Helen Olivia Floral Design is owned by Rachel and Charles Gang and has been successfully off ering fl oral design workshops for more than 15 years. Rachel Gang says they provide a great revenue stream for the business. "We off er workshops for holidays year-round, not just anksgiving and Christmas," Gang shares. "In addition to those two big ones, we off er classes for Halloween, New Year's, Easter, Mother's Day and even Fourth of July. All our workshops are popular, but the holiday workshops are the most in demand. Our client base is really into holiday decorating, entertaining and tablescaping." Helen Olivia Floral Design schedules workshops either weekly or biweekly, depending on the season. "For example, during the busy fall and Christmas season, we may off er only two or three workshops a month, but in January, we may teach as many as fi ve or six," Gang explains. Workshops range in price from $100 to $150 per person and include a bucket of fl owers and a container for each student and one hour of instruction. "Before the pandemic, we were exclusively in-person, but shifted to online in the COVID era," Gang continues. "Now, half of our classes are in person, and half are online. We also teach private workshops for showers and birthdays, and many of those tend to be off site at a venue or someone's home." As for the workshop setup, the aff able Gang was resolute in not allowing customers free rein: "Oh no! I can't imagine allowing workshop attendees to rummage through the studio," she exclaims. "We recently moved into a fabulous new space—almost 8,000 square feet— and built a studio just for workshops. We provide all in-studio attendees with assigned spots at tables, with their buckets of fl owers, vases and tools. For those who register for our virtual workshops, either we will deliver the kits to them or they pick them up from the studio." Gang explains that like everything in her business, the workshops are formula based, calculating down to the cent what goes into each bucket and factoring in labor to ensure the shop makes a profi t on each workshop. "Some of our virtual workshops have been quite large, especially at the height of the pandemic, so we've been able to buy products in bulk, which means lower costs," she says, noting that the record was 150 students in a single class in May 2020. For in-studio workshops, Gang notes that Helen Olivia Floral Design caps enrollment at 12 students. " is seems to be the sweet spot to ensure that each student gets one-on-one attention from the instructor and that the room doesn't get too crowded. For virtual workshops, the sky's the limit." She also shares that the workshops are almost always in the evenings, at 7 p.m., which she says seems to the sweet spot: "Folks have had time to get home from work and have a bite to eat before turning to fl owers." Today, after more than 15 years, the workshop program is exclusively marketed via word-of-mouth, including chatter on social media. "Many students have taken dozens of workshops, and they keep coming back. ey also share their experiences with family, friends and co-workers. "Workshops can be a wonderful revenue stream for fl orists, especially those who have down months where wedding or events business falls off ," sums up Gang. "If you're worried that teaching your client base to design will negatively impact your sales, don't be. We've been at this for years, and our workshops have helped expand our brand visibility, and bring hundreds, if not thousands, of feet through the doors." Foxgloves Flowers' holiday wreath workshop kit

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