At the beginning of the summer, LORA Bloom took a bold risk to organize a series of localized pop-up flower stands called LORA’s Summer Tour. By partnering with several local coffee shops, LORA helped generate brand awareness and most importantly stimulate short-term sales for florists and suppliers of the industry. It was a great success!
Launching LORA Bloom just months before a global pandemic hasn’t been easy. For nearly three months the floral industry was at a complete standstill. It’s been incredibly difficult to find a sense of direction with so much uncertainty in the world. I firmly believe we’ll move past Coronavirus at some point, but the big question is when.
(For each pop-up location, LORA Bloom delivered a small fresh vase of flowers to alert customers of our upcoming arrival. Location: Cypress Coffee Redmond, WA)
In a typical year, the summer season for florists is a bustling time. Wedding season is in full swing and flower farms are cranking out gorgeous blooms all over the country. 2020 has been completely different. Weddings are almost non-existent with perhaps a handful of elopements that happen in back yards and neighborhood parks around the Puget Sound.
Cathy Lamb of Lamb & Twig hosted one of the first pop-ups in August at Cypress Coffe in Redmond, WA. She had bright, bold, jewel-toned colors in her bouquets. )
Even demand for daily deliveries, like birthdays, anniversaries, and even sympathy arrangements is very slow. Site traffic on search engines are also down significantly for consumers looking for local florists to deliver flowers. Thus, the increase of SEO for larger online retailers with deep marketing pockets who gobble up any visibility on sites like Google and Bing. For small businesses like LORA Bloom, it’s incredibility frustrating and disheartening.
(Annika McIntosh of Hazel Landscapes + Flowers hosted a pop-up in Bellingham, WA. She grew almost all of her flowers. They were beautiful summer flowers with lovely textures.)
Regardless of the world’s unfortunate situation, LORA Bloom still had to find a way to grow. Though I’ve been in the floral industry, it felt very much like starting from scratch. Thinking back on my early days as a florist, I reflected on how I developed brand awareness and a loyal customer base.
(Lori Poliski of Flori of Woodinville, WA brought so much fun and interaction with her customers. Her bouquets were entirely sourced from local farms and her very own gardens. Lori also had flower crowns for very special customers!)
When I started my florist business, First & Bloom, I relied heavily on connection to my existing network of friends and favorite local businesses, word of mouth marketing and pop-ups! I decided to host pop-ups for any interested LORA florists. This definitely posed challenges with regards to the safety and wellbeing of all participants. The practice of face masks, social distancing and hand sanitizer and proper disinfecting of areas was a top priority. I literally had to think five steps ahead throughout this campaign to ensure I was keeping everyone as safe as possible.
(Gillian Lamont of Sugar Flora in Sammamish, WA scheduled her pop on the first Sunday that Cypress Coffee in Bellevue had been open since the shut down. It was a great day! She brought such unique and fun touches to her pop up- like pom pom garland, a little speaker for music, and a poloraid camera!)
(Gillian ran out to hand off a couple bouquets from a customer who needed to pick up her car that was being serviced at the neighboring Toyota Dealership.)
Pop-ups are a fantastic way to connect with a community and showcase our amazing floral products. But, location was key. I narrowed possible locations down to coffee shops because everyone still needs coffee. The pop-ups helped generate additional buzz and foot traffic for the coffee shops and also enhanced the experience for existing customers. Even the shop employees loved the flower vibes! Many purchased their own bouquets and helped spread the word.
(Not even the smoke of the west coast wildfires could hold back Sophie Strongman of The Old Soul Flower Co. at Woods Coffee in Bellevue, WA. She had varying price points and darling colors!)
Though a lot of work, the pop-ups were so much fun! The feedback was very positive. We had several repeat customers and even some who traveled across town to get more flowers over several weeks. Customers also commented on the quality, freshness, and uniqueness of the flower bouquets. I know LORA Bloom flowers and florists are the best around. It was very reassuring to know customers easily recognized the difference and will hopefully order on LORABloom.com in the future.
(Sarah Wagstaff of SUOT Farm & Flowers was there rain or shine! At the Woods Coffee Burlington, WA, we fought off blustery winds all day but Sarah's smile never wavered. And when I say Sarah knew almost everyone, I mean it! If she didn't know them, she soon did. It was amazing to see her connection to the community!)
In the end, the pop-ups were very impactful. They helped stimulate floral business where there wasn’t business at all. Moreover, a guiding principle of LORA Bloom is the ability to support not only florists but also the suppliers of the florists. LORA’s Summer Tour helped generate nearly $5,000 in incremental sales from August to the end of September. This put a little extra money in the florist’s pockets as well as the flower farmer’s. It also helped the coffee shops!
(The flower farmers played an equally important role and success of the pop-ups. Here, I met Jesalyn Pettigrew of Mossy Gate Flower Farm at 6am in Seattle to get flowers for bouquets. There's nothing better than flowers cut within hours of designing! You're flowers last SO MUCH longer!)
And lastly, it really helped the customers! Flowers bring joy into this world and do we ever need it right now! It was wonderful to see someone lovingly express, “Oh flowers!”, “Are you going to be here regularly?” and even, “I really needed this pick-me-up today.”
(Another example of LORA Bloom spreading the joy of flowers around town for people to enjoy. This fresh vase was located in Downtown Bellevue at Woods Coffee. The flowers were provided by a grower/wholesaler in Bellevue, WA, 5 Leaf Clover!)
I want to extend a big thank you to Cypress Coffee Company in Bellevue and Redmond, WA. Their customer base and shop employees embraced the pop-ups with open arms! I also want to give a big shout out to the Woods Coffee Chain. Woods Coffee actually allowed us to have a pop-up at any shop LORA wanted out of their 18 locations! I am humbled and incredibly grateful for both coffee chain’s generosity to give us time and space during a very stressful time for all.
See you again soon- Tammy