How to Manage Flower Orders with Functional Flower Recipes — Curious Lola (2024)

recipes here to save the day!

Are the flowers in your shop mocking you right now? Are they secretly laughing at you because they know their beauty has lured you into buying too many flowers?

If only they knew that your success is THEIR success. What those flowers don't know is that if you don't figure out how to make enough moolah, you can't do this dream job for long, and the demand for their livelihood goes away.

(sigh). Okay, it's not the flowers' fault. It's ours.

I laugh when I stop to think about how ridiculously hopeless it is to maintain a steadfast system or process in floral design. Especially the ordering process.

We know that one of our biggest challenges to achieving and maintaining profitability is the ordering process.

Just ordering flowers! Our main ingredient!

Let’s say you want to maintain a ratio of 3:1 for your flowers. So for any given amount you bring in with a job, let’s just say you want to have your floral costs be 25% of that and 75% for all that other stuff- your salary, your cute apron, your van, marketing…

(Pssst. I’m not saying you should shoot for this, by the way. Pricing is personal as I can’t blather about enough- this is just an example).

So 25%. Seems easy enough to plan for and track spending on an ingredient, right?

Oh, but I forgot, the prices will change daily.

Oh, and you may not actually know the prices until you are looking at your order.

Oh, and in most cases, if you order it, you HAVE to buy it.

Oh, and sometimes it’s just not going to be available so you will have to substitute for who knows what.

It’s cah-ray-zay!

Rub your nose and give me a muffled cough if you’ve ever spent WAY too much on flowers.

Can I hear a, “eheh---hmmerrffl-eh-huh?!”

Mm-hmmm, I know.

Here’s the thing, you don’t have to get it perfect, but you do need to try and control overspending. It’s the number one way our costs sneak up and snatch your future right out of your purse.

I have a method that works for me. It’s not perfect but it’s good enough and way better than deciding your financial health by eyeballing a stack of fleurs on a rack.

Here’s how I do it.


Ya ya, I know you know of flower recipes but this is more of a FUNCTIONAL recipe.

It’s a way of sorting flowers by function and cost.

There’s a lot of different functions a flower can have and a range of prices each flower can be, but worked into a system provides just the type of moderate quantity control and ordering systemization I need.

PLUS it makes the estimate/ proposal process a whole lot quicker.

So, here goes it.


I like to sort things. Always have. I was the kid laying on the ground during recess sorting beauty bark by shade of red/brown. I lined up my skittles by color and counted them before eating.

Hopefully you can find some similar obsessive joy with this…


Well no matter, I’ve done it for you.

Recipes are broken up by the quantity of flowers in an arrangement. The varieties of flowers is not important.

The ROLE that flower has in your arrangement IS important.


How to Manage Flower Orders with Functional Flower Recipes — Curious Lola (1)

A base flower is usually a larger flower. It is something that provides a bit of mass, and visual weight to your arrangement. Because of that, it is usually placed at the bottom. It can act as a strong base to support more delicate blooms. Some examples are hydrangea, standard rose, stock, lilac, and dahlias


How to Manage Flower Orders with Functional Flower Recipes — Curious Lola (2)

Secondary flowers are typically medium in size and sometimes are used in larger quantities to help build out the shape of the arrangement or en masse to create a contrast for a flower that you want to stand out. Some people call these fillers but that sounds unimportant. They are like the alto in a choir it’s just a little flimsy without it. Secondary flowers are typically less expensive but can be moderately priced. I typically use more of them and most often use two or three different flowers to fill this role. Some examples are ranunculus, carnation, tulips, zinnia, leucodendron, lilac, dahlia, rose (flowers can fulfill multiple functions).


How to Manage Flower Orders with Functional Flower Recipes — Curious Lola (3)

Just what it sounds like. This is something no matter what size is interesting enough for you to want to make it stand out. It’s usually more expensive- so you usually have less of them. And sometimes their just big. Some examples are garden rose, peony, sunflower, lady slipper orchid, protea, dinner plate dahlia.


How to Manage Flower Orders with Functional Flower Recipes — Curious Lola (4)

I tried to come up with a more professional name but what’s the use. They are sprouty. These flowers give movement and whimsy. They provide a naturalistic element. They give your arrangement a more interesting shape. They are sometimes small flowers on long slender stems, and other times curvy spiked flowers. Typically smaller, they sometimes float above or outside the other flowers. Some examples are scabiosa, ranunculus, spray roses, cosmos, bells of Ireland, lavender.


How to Manage Flower Orders with Functional Flower Recipes — Curious Lola (5)

These stems are interesting. Sometimes small and usually a bit more costly than sprouties or secondary flowers. I categorize something as a ‘special bit’ when I want something different that won’t necessarily take center stage- something that will reward the person who looks a little closer. Some examples include scabiosa pod (or any pod or nut for that matter), grasses, Kent beauty oregano, berries, hypericum, some sweet little something.


How to Manage Flower Orders with Functional Flower Recipes — Curious Lola (6)

Akin to special bits, drapey bits hang out. They drape over the edge of your arrangement and give a nice romantic weight to an arrangement. Examples are clematis, jasmine, amaranth, grapes and berries.


This is, well, um, just foliage.


How to Manage Flower Orders with Functional Flower Recipes — Curious Lola (7)

Foliage but special-er. Special foliage is basically expensive foliage. This can be clematis vine, maidenhair fern, hosta leaves, rosemary

That seems straight forward enough, right?

Well the real magic happens when you apply a cost per stem to each category and this is how it plays out.

How to Manage Flower Orders with Functional Flower Recipes — Curious Lola (8)

On the right is the recipe I pulled for this bouquet. And on the left is the flowers I actually purchased for this bouquet. Not bad huh? The wholesale costs are pretty close. I went over a bit but BAH, I had to have those martagon lilies.

Imagine, now that you have created this type of recipe for the last year’s worth of work you’ve done. You now have a client with a similar style but different season and palette.

You could take that recipe and apply it for what will be in season.

Heck, you'd have a whole LIBRARY of FUNCTIONAL RECIPES that are ready to just be dropped on into an ordering process and your super fast estimates.

Or say you are the type who likes to breeze into a flower wholesaler and feel out what is most beautiful and in season, you can charge your client appropriately, order the focal flowers, and then go and fill your car up with flowers that fulfill the function in your arrangement but keep your prices in check.

PS, we have a brand new mini-course what will help you whip your own collection of floral recipes into shape AND show you how to use them so it’s not overwhelming.

Check out the new mini-course (now on a massive sale):

create your signature floral recipe collection

In this course, you will learn how to :

  • Identify your signature style

  • Develop floral recipes that can be used year-round, regardless of what is available,

  • Manage waste and flower orders with recipes to stop overspending

  • Some tips to sell your signature style

  • and Guidance about how to implement this into daily operations.

So much value and only for a little while- so affordable. Check it out.

Business Strategy, Floral Design

Emily Anderson

flower ordering, ordering flowers, floral design, how to be a florist, studio florist, floristry, flower pricing, floralpreneur, wedding florist, floral business tips


How to Manage Flower Orders with Functional Flower Recipes — Curious Lola (2024)


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