A waste

Waste has always been a preoccupation of our business. We don't say that because we're such a bunch of smug eco-mega-legends. Our packaging is all bio-degradeable, we contribute to Bee and Tree charities and compost our green waste, but let's be honest; the cut flower industry is not the world's greenest and the right amount of packaging is no packaging at all.

The main reason for this preoccupation is that to have a viable flower business wastage has to be at the front of your thinking pretty much constantly. A big part of the initial premise of the business - 2 bunches each week, in 2 sizes - was an attempt to avoid the gross wastage that is endemic in floristry. That is by no means a criticism of other florists. Nobody wants wasted stock, but a fast-moving perishable product makes stock management extremely difficult. If our bunches don't go out during their freshest period, or if our riders end up at an incorrect address those flowers can't just go back on the shelf. Our product is no longer the same product the following day.

The result of this structural issue with floristry is that margins have to be higher so that businesses can protect themselves from losing money through dead flowers. Our structure allows us to trim those margins a bit, but it would be fair to say that the fear of buckets of wasted flowers is never far from our minds. 

The bigger we get, the easier it is to predict our volumes each week and even each day, but there are still things that catch us out. For example, did you know that Mondays are our busiest delivery day, Tuesdays are our quietest and that people are about 15% more likely to choose the bunch we put on the left hand side of the page on our website?

Even with this knowledge excess flowers are inevitable sometimes. Most people reading this article will be thinking - "They aren't wasted! Give them to me!" and this thought is entirely legitimate. Flowers that are a day older than we'd be happy sending them out still look amazing. As a result we're looking for creative ways to use these bunches when this does happen, and would welcome suggestions to hello@petalon.co.uk. For now we're dropping them off at local businesses we love, the local care home and random people in the street. But we feel like there's more we could be doing when we get our order quantities wrong. We'd love to know your thoughts.

Florence Hill