Mums the Word Floral Shoppe located in Marlton, NJ is the customer of the month for Pennock Floral Tri-State. We had an opportunity to sit and speak with, Maria, the owner. It was a pleasure meeting with Maria; she is very in tune to her customers needs and has a great knowledge of the floral industry. During our conversation we talked about fair website review services, importance of educating the customers, and essentials to helping her business stay successful.
How did you get started in this industry?
My husband Jay and his family were in the greens business, and they had some shops in New York. I always wanted to get involved with flowers, it was in my heart. I never went to floral school, and I didn’t have any designing experience. And then I met Jay and said “I would like to do flowers”. I sold my business and I opened a shop, because this is what I would like to do, this is my passion. And since then we have been here for 13 years. We provide quality product. When I first opened the shop this place was from 9’ o clock in the morning to 6’ o clock at night, and it was in and out. Back then, when you had a dinner, you will buy flowers for the table. Then we developed our niche. Our business is now primarily made up of event work, weddings and parties, however, we still offer all services such as birthdays and funeral arrangements when needed.
What tools do you use to help you to stay competitive in this market place?
We don’t advertise in church bulletins, newspaper, FTD or Teleflora, just word of mouth. We try to use our reputation and allow our work to speak for itself. We pride ourselves on the quality of our product and designs that go out of our door. Basically we are a wedding florist and, unfortunately all it takes is unsatisfied bride to go post on a blogs and wedding websites. If you will get one bad review, it’s done. A lot of websites like Google, Yahoo and Yelp, they don’t check if the person was really in the shop, so any person can type a bad review for you, even your competitor. We like to rely on website such as Wedding Wire http://www.weddingwire.com/reviews/mums-the-word-floral-shoppe-marlton/ for true reviews. On wedding wire website, person has to write 5 reviews from the wedding or they even won’t put the review on their website. They will make calls to the wedding venues, photographers, the florist to verify that the bride was there and that event did in fact take place. In my opinion this is the best site right now, because they ensure that factually information is being shared, it’s fair to vendors as well as past and future clients.
Name the top 3 or 5 floral design supplies or products that you just can’t live/work without?
Ribbons, paint, and foam
If you will ask me what I can’t live without on a daily basis, it would be my dedicated workers. I have a tight crew and we’ve been together for years, this is the most important thing because you have to work together as a team. All of us spent more time here than with our own families, we are the family.
How do you deal with current economic state?
Supermarkets are taking away from what was once considered everyday flower. However what we try to do is educate our customers on how to know the difference in quality and service. Yes you can go to the grocery store and get some decent pom poms and carnations, but if you would like to get something unique or upscale that is where the flower shop can differentiate themselves from a Mass Market bunch of flowers in the produce aisle. When a customer comes to your shop and says “I forgot about my wife’s birthday and I need to make a flower arrangement”. You have to make sure that this guy goes home and tell his wife about your shop. You just don’t wrap flowers and say good bye. We try to establish a long term relationship with every our customer.
You do a lot of weddings. Do you have your own floral design style?
Everything is different. If each arrangement looks the same people wouldn’t come in to the store. Everybody would like to feel unique. I have to try to get into my customer’s mind, and make every wedding that I do a unique experience. We really try to achieve perfection and capture the bride’s vision. We have a very high set of quality control guidelines. I believe this is why our doors are still open. And like I said, what’s goes out of the door is us and our reputation. It keeps everybody working.