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How the World’s Biggest Flower Companies Prepare for Valentine’s Day

The major players in the flower world are thinking about February 14 long before you are.

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Flower power

Gifting flowers is a beautiful gesture any day of the year, but Valentine’s Day doubles down on this sweet expression of love and friendship. When did giving flowers become a thing? According to The Classroom, the act likely dates back to the Middle Ages but ramped up during the Victorian Era. It’s believed that while Victorians weren’t big on expressing emotions outwardly, they preferred to convey feelings through flower offerings, really leaning into the way in which certain flowers represent specific things. For example, the rose is considered the flower of love, but different colors convey different emotions. Regardless of which type of flower you’d like to gift or receive this Valentine’s Day, here’s how the world’s biggest flower companies prepare for February 14—and don’t miss this primer to help you pick the right color rose to best express your feelings.

 

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Early action

You’re very likely still eating from that heart-shaped box of chocolates from last year when companies like 1-800-Flowers.com are in preparation mode for the following year’s Valentine’s Day. “We begin planning designs for next year’s Valentine’s Day arrangements as soon as the holiday is over,” says Alfred Palomares, vice president, merchandising, 1-800-Flowers.com. “A comprehensive review is done immediately after Valentine’s Day ends and we utilize those learnings for the following year.” Taking a look at hits, misses, and trends is, of course, an important part of discerning how next year’s selections should be planned to ensure every last possible order can be filled. These are the 26 things florists won’t tell you.

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Early brainstorming

Teleflora, which defines itself as a service organization rather than a florist, connects their orders with 13,000 local member florists throughout the United States and Canada and affiliate florists outside of North America. Still, the company designs exclusive Teleflora arrangements for special occasions. In terms of Valentine’s Day, they begin concepting designs 16 months prior to each holiday, meaning they started thinking about Valentine’s Day 2020 in August 2018. “Our partner florists are involved from the very beginning,” says Danielle Mason, vice president, consumer marketing, Teleflora. “All of our containers and floral arrangements are tested with the florists to ensure that the products will resonate with their customer base. The goal is to create a collection that appeals to both florists and consumers throughout the country.” Looking to do something different this February 14? Get inspired with these Valentine’s Day traditions around the world.

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It’s not just the flowers…

It isn’t only about creating a beautiful arrangement of flowers for one to gift; these companies are top dogs for a reason—they pay a lot of attention to detail. “When creating our new arrangements, we consider several priorities including florist needs such as quality, price, and profitability as well as the consumer needs and interests such as relevant trends and color palettes,” says Mason. “We also look at current design and floral trends to create unique arrangements with lifestyle-focused containers that may have after-use functionality so consumers can enjoy for years after receiving the bouquet.” For 2020, that includes bouquets in playful hand-painted ceramic and hand-blown glass vases. Follow these 8 pro tricks to make your V-Day flowers last longer.

 

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Sourcing the best

Palomares says Valentine’s Day is the second biggest floral holiday for 1-800-Flowers.com, with Mother’s Day being the first. For Valentine’s alone, the company expects to sell between 18 million and 18.5 million stems this year (of those he says 11 million are likely to be roses). To accommodate that surge in orders takes some pretty accurate planning. “We plan a year in advance what our floral needs will be for the Valentine’s Day season in order to provide the best value to our customers,” he says. “During this time, our flowers are flown in several times a week to ensure the freshest floral assortments are delivered to our florists and dispersed across our multiple distribution centers.” Want more ideas? Don’t miss our favorite Valentine’s Day gifts for women.

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Mix it up

Red roses pretty much scream Valentine’s Day, and, their popularity is still holding strong. But Palomares says their company’s talented merchandising and product development teams do a great job at offering these coveted stems in unique ways. “We offer a wide variety of new and innovative bouquets, from fresh-cut roses in lush, elegantly-styled arrangements to radiant red roses that literally say, “I Love You,” as well as Magnificent Roses® Preserved Roses that last at least six months.” (Roses that won’t look defeated in a week? Sign us up.) Additionally, he notes that lilies, tulips, gerbera daisies, and orchids are also popular flowers ordered during Valentine’s Day, typically used in mixed bouquets. Here’s how to preserve a beautiful bouquet to keep it as a beautiful memory.

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Expect the unexpected

With Valentine’s Day situated during a winter month, brutal weather can pose a threat to timely flower deliveries, which is something companies have to keep in mind. “As far as weather is concerned, February is a very unpredictable month,” says Mason. “If there are major snowstorms affecting areas of the country, our florists in those areas will be impacted as delivering the bouquets becomes a challenge.” On top of that risk, there’s also the factor of simple human procrastination. “While flowers continue to rank as one of the top gifts for Valentine’s Day, orders are often placed at the last minute,” she says. Completing those last-minute orders means florists are quite literally working around the clock during the week leading up to February 14. Steer clear of these Valentine’s Day gifts that send the wrong message.

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Time it right

If you want to make sure your loved one isn’t left flower-less on Valentine’s Day, Palomares suggests planning ahead on schedule delivery times to make sure your beloved is actually in at their home or office where that arrangement is being delivered. “Deliveries on Valentine’s Day often continue into early evening hours, when professionals have left for the day or office buildings have closed,” he says. “Orders placed for delivery earlier in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day help make sure the gift arrives as intended. Plus, sending flowers to the office on Monday or Tuesday means they are on display during the week for all to see.” So the next time you’re thinking about flowers for Valentine’s Day, go ahead and place an advanced order. The recipient (and your peace of mind) will thank you. Next, read on to find out 15 Valentine’s Day facts you never knew.