3 floral design systems every florist needs

I know, you see “systems” and you wanna hit the snooze button. I get it – floral design systems is NOT a sexy topic.

But if you’re a floral designer who is on a mission to build a profitable business, stick with me. I promise this will help.

Why do floral design systems matter?

My accountant was the first one to really show me how powerful systems and procedures are in floral design.

In one of the most memorable meetings of my life, he turned to me and said, “Kathleen, I want you to think about your flower business the way McDonald’s thinks about their restaurants. Anyone should be able to walk in, pick up the manual and be able to directly replicate the work you’re putting out the door.”

The idea blew my mind. The notion that we could document our processes and create a set of “If this, then that” floral design systems was totally new to me.

But it’s true. When we first start our flower business, we just start to throw things together and hope for the best.

And with every Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or spring wedding seasons we navigate, we learn what works and what doesn’t.

Over time, we have so much information floating around in our head that much of what we do is entirely intuitive.

And then you think about growing your team and you’re at a total loss on where to begin.

My first suggestion, always, is to start going through the process of documenting your systems.

Creating a clear procedure for the most common processes in your business is a game-changer for three reasons:

  1. It brings clarity to your staff – they know exactly what your expectations are and what needs to happen when
  2. It frees up your mind to focus on more creative tasks – like making that bride’s bouquet more beautiful than even you envisioned
  3. It adds value to your business – so you can turn around and sell it for a premium

Constraint is your secret weapon

When I was first starting out, the concept of floral design systems wasn’t even part of my consciousness.

I thought having more time, more product choice and more flexibility would deliver me the best results.

Turns out I was wrong. So wrong!

Even Dr. Suess celebrates the idea of constraints (check out this article here).  Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr Suess) teaches us that constraints actually increase our creativity.

  1. Constraints provide clear direction
  2. Constraints decrease your chances of becoming distracted
  3. Constraints force you to become more creative

If you’re anything like me, your creative output will actually increase by having constraints.

And this is one of the additional reasons I love floral design systems.

It frees up my brain to focus on creativity AND it provides a constrained box to operate within.

Where to begin: floral design systems

You’ll probably be surprised to hear this, but I don’t use anything fancy when it comes to systems in our business.

I know a lot of designers invest a lot of money in stem counting software but I’ve never found I needed it in my business.

You can do a lot with Google Sheets + Google Docs.

When it comes to documenting systems in your business, I always suggest starting with a Google Doc.

No, you don’t have to sit down and hammer the whole thing out in one session. Open a new doc and start throwing in your email templates, outline the steps of the process and build on it one piece at a time.

Make a plan to come back to it and add pieces as you go.

My 3 favourite floral design systems

No matter what kind of business you run, regardless of whether you have a shop front or work from home, these are my three favourite floral design systems:

  1. Processing Product – Every florist has their own personal preferences when it comes to how product is processed. What gets scalded? What, if anything, gets bashed? What gets trimmed and put in water? What goes into a full vase of water? What goes into a little bit of water? What goes in the cool room? What doesn’t?
  2. Order / Enquiry Process – When the phone rings, what is the script? When you receive an email enquiry, what is the template response? If this…then what….
  3. Your Go-To Recipes – What does your $60 shop bouquet look like? What is your formula for a beautiful archway? What ingredients go into your signature bridal bouquet? 

I never imagined I’d be such a fan of process and systems until I realised just how much better they made our floral design business.

We literally made MORE money because we took the time to document our systems and processes.

Flower Boss Bootcamp

Finally, if you need help with your business, check out my Flower Boss Bootcamp. I created this one-of-a-kind program specifically to help floral designers, just like you, master the business of flowers. I’d love to see you there!



P.S. I’ve done a podcast on this topic which you may like. Find it on Spotify here or listen on the player below.