I say that because I’m in the flower business. But not just because I’m in the business, but because of what people tell me because I’m in the flower business.
People always say that they love getting flowers. And people always say that they’d love to receive flowers more often. People don’t usually say “I love getting gift cards, I just wish I got more of them” or “I really wish that more people brought wine when they come for dinner“. But they always say they love flowers and would like to get more.
The same thing, from a different perspective, comes from people that give a lot of gifts. They always volunteer that they love giving flowers because the gift is always so well received.
One friend of mine is a real estate agent who, like many people in that business, likes to give his clients a gift when they move into their new homes. He tried gift cards, but it seemed so insignificant – giving someone a card with a big $50 on the front of it when they had just spent hundreds of thousands on the home (and generated a commission of many thousands) on the purchase.
And, in the frenzy of moving, the gift card would just disappear into a pocket. With all the commotion they were unlikely to even remember who gave it to them, and he wants to be remembered!
He also tried wine, sometimes even champagne, but that always seem awkward – showing up with a bottle as people were moving and unpacking. He said there was always this weird moment of “uh, so, were you thinking we’d open this now?”
But flowers are perfect. He walks into a home that is in the complete turmoil that comes with moving carrying a beautiful flower arrangement – a gift that immediately makes the place look so much more beautiful than it had just a moment before. And, when he leaves, the flowers keep on making the place look beautiful for many days to come. It’s something that he knows his clients appreciate. They respond to flowers more than they do any other gift.
People will call or email me days later to thank me for the flowers, and for being so thoughtful. Nobody ever did that when I gave them a gift card, or a bottle of wine, so I know flowers are the prefect gift.
People that entertain a lot are used to the question “what can we bring?”. It turns out what they really enjoy getting the most is flowers.
Most often people bring a bottle of wine. A lot of hosts who don’t like that. Often it is because they are really into cooking and pairing wines on their own. When somebody brings a bottle they feel obligated to open it, drink it, and then compliment it, even though they believe it is undermining all the hard work they did cooking. I can’t tell the difference and wouldn’t care, but a lot of people do. And forget about bringing dessert to this kind of host – they had a plan and they don’t want to throw it off with your dessert!
Many people have told me they stopped giving wine for different reasons. In many cases it was because it was just more background noise – they hand it to the host and the host puts it on the counter among the other bottles. It’s barely noticed or appreciated.
Flowers are different. Flowers get noticed. They definitely get appreciated. And they really make a host happy.
The best move of all? Send flowers over the day before, or afternoon of, the party. That way the host can work them into the way they set the table or decorate for the party.
I once sat beside a human resources director on a flight. When she heard I was involved in the flower business she started talking about how flowers are the “secret weapon” of the best HR people.
And it wasn’t just her – she belonged to an association of HR professionals that met every month and flowers were the go-to gift for most of them.
As a matter of policy almost all gifts purchased by her department were flowers, and flowers were suggested for peer-to-peer gifts. She told me a story to explain why.
At the going away party for a larger gentlemen they staff took up a collection to purchase a parting gift – a gift certificate (this was years before gift cards became popular) for a popular local “big & tall” shop.
The departing employee was deeply upset and embarrassed, and it was an extremely uncomfortable situation for everyone. They meant well – everybody knew that he shopped there (over the years they had seen labels, bags, etc.) – but it was a colossal failure.
We never run into problems like that with flowers. Nobody ever gets offended, no religion or custom is ever violated, no feelings are ever hurt. Everybody loves the flowers.
Another thing great thing about flowers from her perspective was that you didn’t have to be a slave to a specific dollar amount – if an employee collection raises $62 it’s hard to get a gift card for that amount, but it’s easy have the florist prepare a $62 arrangement.
It’s also a little harder to pin a value on flowers. If a staff collection raises $125 for the birthday f a popular employee on Monday and only $60 for someone less popular on Thursday the number isn’t right out there for everyone to see like it would be with gift cards.
These are just a few examples of why flowers are such a great gift in so many situations. You can read more stories and see more examples over on the Bring Flowers website.