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The pandemic has shaken up a lot of industries across the world. Lockdowns, lack of staff, forced isolations, inflation, instability have wreaked havoc on business confidence. Certain industries such as travel, restaurants and entertainment have certainly suffered disproportionately more than others.
How has the flower industry fared in these unstable times. In particular, how have the flower shops weathered the pandemic and who has benefited?
Generally speaking, you could say that flower shops have been pandemic-proof, as they have stayed open during lockdowns. At the height of the pandemic, during the strictest lockdowns flower shops have been able to trade behind closed doors offering flower deliveries. During those dark days when families were forced to be separated and birthdays could not be celebrated with all the loved ones and all the friends, florists offered an essential service. They delivered bouquets of love and arrangements of hope. When families could not gather around a birthday cake, they sent flowers and teddy bears and chocolates, and hampers and wine. When funerals were limited to only 10 mourners, florists delivered sympathy arrangements, made casket flower arrangements and sent messages of condolence. When physical contact was prohibited, sending flowers and messages of support was the florists' main endeavour. In fact this has kept retail florists extremely busy and very stressed out. It is important to point out that on the other hand, wedding florists and event florists suffered from cancelled weddings and events forcing many to close down.
The retail florists thrived, taking each day at a time, not knowing if the next day will bring stricter lockdowns, unsure if they would receive the stock they ordered and if they would be able to travel to the markets. Delivery drivers criss-crossed the city delivering flowers well into the night.
While it may seem like a dream situation for florists, it wasn't all smooth sailing. When the planes stopped flying, they also stopped delivering cargo and a substantial amount of flowers get imported into Australia. With higher demand for flowers and reduced supply the prices skyrocketed. Certain flowers purchased at the markets for $6.00 per bunch before the pandemic shot up to $20.00 and $30.00 per bunch. Also, as some staff stayed home, flower shops have found themselves extremely understaffed and therefor overworked at reduced margins. Certain flower shop owners decided that it was not worth it and they closed their doors for the duration of the lockdowns. Those who remained open continued the daily struggle with increased costs, higher demand, lower supply and underemployment.
The lockdowns finally finished, the demand for flowers eased, but the problems facing flower shops still continue: high costs of flowers, uncertain supply of flowers and difficulty finding staff.
In this reality, ordering flowers from your favourite is still easy. Simply call them directly, just make sure that you are talking to a real florist with a retail shop. Avoid ordering from order gathering websites that charge large amounts of commission and pass your orders to a real flower shop.