Sympathy Business: Past, Present and Future.

The Evolution of the Sympathy Business: What does it mean to Florists?
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Sympathy Flower care

Tradition when paying tribute to loved ones that have passed has, over the last century, been generally standard no matter your religious preferences or even if the deceased was not religious per say.  There might be a funeral service or visitation of some kind remembering the life of a loved one followed by a graveside burial.  Flowers were usually present throughout services in the form of casket sprays, standing sprays, wreaths, potted plants, etc.   

Things have changed dramatically in just the last few years.  Cremations over the past decade have increased exponentially.  It is estimated by the year 2030 the rate of cremation will rise to 70%.  The fact is the choice of burial in a traditional cemetery is less common all together.  Non-traditional funerals are on the rise, families opting to gather in a meaningful place to the deceased and scatter ashes to say farewell in a very intimate way. 

This break with tradition means florists need to re-think how they present options for sympathy work.  What is becoming increasingly important to people when planning a funeral?

  1. That it is personal
    The more you are able to personalize your designs the better.  Ask a lot of questions about how you might incorporate different elements in your designs, so it communicates something meaningful.

  2. That you offer alternative services
    Ceremonies at non-traditional locations may require set up and tear down after service is complete.  Traditionally handled by funeral homes or cemeteries, a willingness to provide this service could make the difference in whether to have flowers present at all.

  3. That you offer different ways of sending condolences
    Offering long-term sympathy gifts to surviving family members such as potted plants or flower deliveries on each important occasion for the following year such as birthdays or anniversaries can be a touching way to offer condolences, even if flowers are not included in any of the initial services.

Make Sure They Last

To ensure your flowers are as fresh as possible for as long as possible we have a few helpful hints and suggestions:

  1. Sanitation
    It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to clean and sanitize anything and everything that comes into contact with fresh flowers and branches. This is your best weapon to combat bacteria and minimize exposure to pathogens. After every use, utilize a floral cleaner that does not harm flowers, such as FloraLife® D.C.D.® Cleaner.

    Did you know that FloraLife® D.C.D® Cleaner is a best-in-class hospital-grade EPA registered cleaner approved for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19?

  2. Hydrate & Nourish
    Flowers must be hydrated well, especially when receiving dry pack.  Receiving wet pack?  Be sure to check water levels and add water with flower food solution if needed.  For best results when processing dry pack, cut and dip in an instant hydration solution such as FloraLife® Quick Dip before being put into prepared container with flower food solution. This will ensure that stems are unclogged and free flowing.  After such a long journey flowers really need to be hydrated and nourished properly.  Using a flower food solution will provide flowers with what they need to flourish.

  3. Protect
    Ask that your flowers are dipped or sprayed at farm level with a treatment for botrytis prevention. Also, ensure that your supplier has treated your flowers with an ethylene action inhibitor such as EthylBloc™. Once flowers are designed and ready to go, make sure that you give the arrangements a fine mist of a finishing spray like FloraLife® Crowning Glory® or FloraLife® Finishing Touch, depending on the application.

  4. Not too hot, not too cold
    Be sure if your tribute is indoors to avoid direct sunlight, heat and drafts. When it’s cold outside typically the heater will be working overtime to keep things comfortable.  If your tribute is outdoors be sure temperatures don’t dip too low or flowers can freeze which creates an irreversible damage.

The new “normal”

The past year has been a year that has redefined our existence, especially when it pertains to gatherings of any kind.  As we navigate the new “normal”, adaptation will be the key.  The situation being so unpredictable, allow extra lead time when placing orders in case of extenuating circumstances such as last-minute mandated lockdowns or reduced air freight space available.  Extra precautions such as cleaning and disinfecting before, during, and after will need to be taken to be sure is a safe celebration of life. 

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