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From a businessperson's standpoint, what do you expect from your vendors?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm thinking of offering realistic, custom-made gumpaste flowers and decorations to bakers in my area.

 

By custom making, I meant more like made-to-order ... I don't expect to keep a large stock of ready made flowers for same day orders... more like how you would order a cake with lead time ... I'd expect bakeries to order from me at least a week or two in advance, in the colors, tones, finish that they want.

 

Do you guys think this is a good way to go about it? Or do bakers usually expect the product to come right away, like in an online seller? I'm sooo new to business-to-business sales and I don't know what established bakers like all of you expect.

 

Also, when would be a good time to visit a bakery to let them know about my business? I don't want to cold call or just drop a brochure but I expect that bakeries would prefer to keep their days open for cake consultations and not people looking to sell to them. How many of you set aside time for vendors and what are your pet peeves?

post #2 of 11
I'd think you'd be better off keeping a large stock of ready made flowers and an airbrush to color them. Bakeries already have a place to order custom flowers from. If they have to wait for the flowers then they're going to order from the cheapest place (assuming the quality is the same) which is probably the Internet. But consider this: if they get a last minute order and need last minute flowers, you're there to save the day icon_wink.gif
post #3 of 11
How will your prices compare to competition on etsy?
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

How will your prices compare to competition on etsy?

I would want to price in the mid-high range (e.g. peonies at around $35 instead of the $15 less detailed peonies on sale on Etsy).

 

I understand bakers would need to mark this up for their customers, so I could either take about 25%-30% off the normal retail price I see on Etsy and bank on having return business from the bakeries to compensate for the  reduced revenues. 

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by manddi View Post

I'd think you'd be better off keeping a large stock of ready made flowers and an airbrush to color them.

Agreed, having pre-made inventory available for quick pickup (or even delivery for an added charge) would give you a big competitive advantage over online sellers. Don't forget to take into account shipping cost when comparing prices, I don't think you would need to discount online prices by that much, if at all (a 30% discount = a 40%+ markup).
post #6 of 11

I would also expect you to have a quick turn around.  We don't always get a lot of lead time on our orders and the faster you can supply me the more I'd give you my business.  I would suggest bringing in samples (even just one flower for them to keep) instead of cold calling.  Or giving samples to the one's whose cold calls went well. 

 

However, I would not be able to pay $35 for a peony and have room to mark it up to my clients. 

post #7 of 11

I sell flowers on Etsy and I do charge higher prices than other people on there, but my flowers look bettericon_twisted.gif There are a lot of cheap flowers on there but they don't look great.

 

I try to keep some stock on hand because no matter how many notices and warnings that you put on there about lead time, people always want things fast. Making them up in white and airbrushing or dusting them is the best way to go.

post #8 of 11

If I was buying flowers, it would mean I have the skill to make them or have time to deal with it. Or that they are so cheap I can't be assed to do it myself. But I would expect them extra fast, so you definitely need inventory on hand. Maybe not that extra special / huge / rare flower someone wants but the basic stuff.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for everyone's feedback. You've all given me a lot to think about. 

 

Just a few more questions:

  • ​regarding the realism and quality of the flowers vs. pricing, would most of you go for the one that's "good enough" or would you pay a premium for a better looking flower?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

I sell flowers on Etsy and I do charge higher prices than other people on there, but my flowers look bettericon_twisted.gif There are a lot of cheap flowers on there but they don't look great.

  • @costumeczar (and any other Etsy sellers): What percentage of your customers are brides vs. bakers? 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyro View Post

If I was buying flowers, it would mean I have the skill to make them or have time to deal with it. Or that they are so cheap I can't be assed to do it myself. But I would expect them extra fast, so you definitely need inventory on hand. Maybe not that extra special / huge / rare flower someone wants but the basic stuff.

This questions are also for everyone, addressing @Pyro's comment:

  • What would make you choose to purchase a higher quality, premium flower vs. a standard quality, wholesale price flower? For example, there are some decent roses already available online (less than $1 each) but I can offer a more realistic one for $3-$5 (depending on size).
  • About "not having time to deal with it", what would you pay yourself (or your assistants) hourly to make flowers? What value would you attach to being able to accommodate extra cake orders if you and your assistants don't have to deal with the flowers?
  • Would you trust a flower maker/vendor to execute your uniquely designed flower? I mean, if you went through the trouble of designing something unique for a customer, would you be ok with someone else bringing that portion of your design to life?
post #10 of 11

I made a typo.  " it would mean I don't have the skill to make them or have time to ".  I hope that makes more sense. 

 

Where I worked in the past, we literally had about a thousand flowers in at all times. Probably more. They came in boxed from the wholesale place in all sizes and colors. Basic flowers and roses. They were cheaper then having someone make them. The smaller ones ( about an inch )probably cost a quarter each, no exaggeration.

But let's say someone came in asking for a shaded violet or hibiscus, we were boned.

 

 

- Higher quality vs standard will be dictated depending on if it's going on a high price specialty / wedding cake or a sheet cake.

- When I say not having time to deal with it, what I mean is that if it's more profitable for me to get more orders in then sit there making flowers, I'll do that. Money in my pocket. If I trusted the source and quality of what I'm buying thought.

- You can't do everything in life, and even if you can, sometimes it's more profitable not to. When you try out a new vendor, it's a risk, trust comes after you get what you paid for looking like you expect it to look.

 

I'm sure some people are terrible at making flowers, bringing in a higher quality product from an expert helps raise the overall look and quality of their own product ( cake ).

post #11 of 11

To answer your first post, if you aim at your local market, I would definitely show up in person with pictures of what you can achieve. The phone always rings with people wanting to sell something, leave them a flyer and some prices, let them know you can also accommodate special requests.

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