Selling old vases to control inventory

Ugly vase challenge

At Hawley’s Florist in Rutland, Vermont, sales and service consultant Tim Huckabee found a basement filled with old containers — and an owner, Heather Fernandes, more than willing to see all that unsold merchandise go.

“I think they probably have $10,000 in containers down there,” said Huckabee, who quickly noted that the container backup at Hawley’s isn’t unusual. “It’s human nature for a designer, working in the design room, to reach for the closest container,” rather than the vase hiding in storage.

To combat the problem, Hawley’s will soon incentivize team members to sell those unused containers. In fact, Fernandes, a former paralegal who purchased the longtime florist in September, said she’s already challenged her designers to move through the containers by focusing on the worst first.

“We called it the ugly vase challenge, and it was amazing,” she said, adding that the language is only used internally. “I told the designers to go in and pick out the ugliest one and make something new — two out of three designs sold right away!”

That’s just one of the solutions Huckabee, of Floral Strategies, is cooking up for the shop, which received the Gary Buckwald Scholarship for Excellence in Floral Sales and Service during SAF Amelia Island 2015. The scholarship was created in 2012 as a collaboration between Floral Strategies, Syndicate Sales, which sponsors the sales training, and the Society of American Florists.

As the scholarship recipient, the Hawley’s team will receive more than $10K worth of sales and customer service training, education, and ongoing support from FloralStrategies.

Source: Society of American Florists

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