Is it just me, or does the thought of a new year kick your dreams into high gear, too? If you’re dreaming about starting a flower farm or flower business in the new year, I’ve been right where you are! In the first year, I spent so many cold winter days curled up on the couch with seed catalogs, garden books and a notepad dreaming, making plans and itching to get into the snow-covered soil.
While the dreaming part is fun and it’s easy to get carried away with the seed catalogs, there are a few things I would absolutely focus on if I was planning to start a business this year. (And this doesn’t just apply to flowers!)
3 Essential Steps for Starting a Flower Farm in 2024
Create a website. In the world of social media, it’s easy to create a business account and think ‘I’m done’. I’m not saying social media isn’t important (it’s likely how you found me!) but it’s important to own your own space online. Secure a domain that matches your business (try to keep it simple) and claim your page on Google. Until you have more to share, create a page to introduce yourself and your business. Share your anticipated open date, what you plan to offer and a meaningful story about what brought you to this point. Once your flowers are in bloom, you can use your website to instruct customers how to purchase or offer online ordering (like I do). If you’re itching to do more, consider blogging about your journey by sharing seed starting, garden preparation and plant growth.
Websites are SO much easier to create than they once were; no coding necessary for a simple site! I recommend Squarespace for the a user-friendly, all-in-one option that can eventually expand to e-commerce. If you’re looking for an option that includes point-of-sale and greater e-commerce capabilities, try Square (different from Squarespace) and Shopify (what I’m currently using). I’ve moved through all three platforms in the last 6 years and can vouch for all of them.
Build an email list. Much like my reasons for creating a website, building an email list is essential to owning your audience and communicating with them. Since I’ve been in business Instagram has gone down several times. In those short but stressful hours I quickly realized the importance of owning my audience and the ability to communicate with them on my terms.
As you begin your business, make it a priority to add potential customers to your email list. Don’t add them without permission, of course, but start out by sending a quick email to friends and family introducing your business and inviting them to join your email list for future updates. As you begin to make sales, attend farmers markets and gain a following on social, make it a point to invite those contacts to your list as well.
Maintaining an email list can be as simple as using a spreadsheet but there are plenty of email marketing solutions out there for small businesses. I started out with Mailchimp (free up to 500 contacts) and now use Klaviyo (which integrates with my Shopify store).
Sell your flowers before they’ve bloomed. Yes, you heard that right. Don’t wait until the flowers are blooming to start selling. Trust me, having sales channels lined up ahead of time will save you some headache (and possible heartache) when the flowers are in bloom. Making sales ahead of time will ensure that your hard work doesn’t go to waste and also help to offset some of the costs of getting up and running (seeds, equipment, etc).
Consider kicking off a flower subscription program or CSA in late winter or early spring; I sell 50% of my flower subscriptions between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Local flowers make great (and unique) gifts to look forward to in the coming months.
Reach out to local businesses who might be open to selling your flowers on consignment or purchasing from you at wholesale. Remember to be considerate when reaching out to a fellow business and know that it won’t always be the right fit. It’s helpful to put some thought into how the setup would work before reaching out to a business; don’t rely on them to do the thinking for you. When will you deliver flowers and how will they stay fresh? What will a display look like? What is your wholesale price or are you willing to sell on commission? What will happen to unsold bouquets? Consider these questions so you’re prepared and professional when reaching out to a fellow business owner.
If you have the space and resources, consider setting up a roadside stand or joining a farmer’s market. Check your local zoning and permit requirements for a roadside stand and be sure to understand the requirements before joining a market or co-op. Many markets begin in early spring before flowers start to bloom, so make sure you’re on the same page before committing.
In my first year of business I used all three of these ideas for selling my first flowers, and am still running the subscription program and roadside stand today. There are so many creative ways to sell flowers!
There are plenty of other tasks to get started on as you begin your flower farming business and I’ll share more on that in the coming weeks, but tackling these 3 tasks will set your business up for success this year and you’ll be glad you got them out of the way when you’re spending long days planting, weeding and cutting!
Until next time, check out:
And be sure to leave a comment; let me know if this was helpful and what else you'd like help with in the flower biz.
Here’s to a beautiful new year!
Hi! Thank you so much for all of your content and helpful publications! I am not local to you but am wondering if I could be added to your email list for blog posts? I’d love to continue reading your helpful tips! Thank you so much. Stay blooming! 🌷 – Kelsey
Thank you for the info…I am in the thinking stage, and this was really useful! Happy New Year!!
I watch you on YouTube almost every night. You have been such an inspiration. I actually started a small raised bed garden this past fall and it did so much better than I ever expected. I have always loved flowers more so decided to focus on flowers more for 2024. I am getting prepared by ordering seeds and planning my layout. My dream for 2024 is to begin my own flower farm and yes all of your information was very helpful. I am already working on a name and hope to get a website and begin recording my journey, Thank you for sharing your story and being an inspiration that your dreams can come true if you work hard enough. Happy New Year !!!!!!