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A dried flower business will sell dried flowers to hobbyists or craft stores. A flower preservation business will save important flowers, like wedding bouquets, for interested parties. Owners may do one or both of these services, but they are separate. Dried flowers do have a demand amongst a variety of people who use them to finish their craft projects. Flower preservation is perfect for those who want to scrapbook their memories, or fill boxes and chests with important mementos. Demand has increased for dried flowers over the past few years, as more people discover easy and fun DIY challenges.
Who is this business right for?
This business is excellent for someone who loves to spend time in their garden, and who understands how plants react to a variety of different circumstances. You don’t need to have formal education in botany, but you should be willing to experiment with different types of techniques and plants.
What happens during a typical day at a dried flower business?
This business is normally started as a part-time enterprise (at least at first). Here are some activities that may be included in the normal day of a dried flower business owner:
- Finding craft shows/stores to partner with
- Marketing services online and in-person to hobbyists.
- Growing and maintaining a garden
- Drying out plants
- Freeze drying plants
- Choosing new crops for your business
- Harvesting flowers at the proper time
What is the target market?
You’re looking for people who love to make their own decorations. Lampshades, bags, and candle holders are just a few decor items that would benefit from dried flowers, meaning there are a wide range of hobbyists available.
You may also want to market to those who want to keep their bouquets from different events intact, and store them in special keepsake places. For example, a child may want their dried flowers in a family chest from their First Communion or middle-school graduation.
How does a dried flower business make money?
Maintaining a garden and crops doesn't necessarily take very much money to do, and flowers are some of the most profitable plants to sell on the market. Those who run these businesses can base their prices based on demand in the area. The key is finding a steady group of hobbyists who come to rely solely on your flowers.
What is the growth potential for a dried flower business?
Normally this business is done as a side venture to a person’s full-time job, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Flower drying can grow exponentially if you establish yourself in a community as the go-to for decorative plants or sentimental keepsakes.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful dried flower business?
The first thing you’ll need is in-depth knowledge of how flower drying works. From oven to glycerin drying, there are a variety of ways to reach your goal. Those who need dried flowers for centerpieces may want a different look/feel than those who will use them for their homemade sandals. New business owners will also need people skills to find either direct clients in their area, or to make relationships with larger retail craft stores.
What are the costs involved in opening a dried flower business?
Initial costs are typically wrapped up in gardening supplies. You may need to lease vacant land if you don’t have enough space in your own home to grow the crops you want. Community gardens can cut down severely on leasing costs if you don't currently have enough land, though you may be limited on space. Owners may also purchase flowers too, though this method can get very expensive.
Owners may also need a state permit to conduct their affairs, with each state having different requirements and regulations. If you choose to freeze-dry bouquets for flower preservation, you will need a good specimen chamber for the best results. This professional equipment may cost up to $1,600. You may want to start your own website, or invest in online advertising to attract customers. A basic website service will cost about $16 a month. Most people can start this business with less than $2,000 in their pocket total.
What are the steps to start a dried flower business?
Once you're ready to start your dried flower business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your dried flower business is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your dried flower business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a dried flower business?
All flower drying businesses should develop service contracts with the stores they supply. These contracts may be boilerplate, but they need to include provisions for payment failures, legal disputes, and ordering hiccups.
How to promote & market a dried flower business
The best way to promote your business is to offer the plants that people want to use the most in their crafts. You may want to take full-color photos of your best work to illustrate just how beautiful dried flowers can really be. Market your preservation tactics as the best in the business, and then continue to learn and experiment with the best ways to keep your flowers perfect.
Recommended: A website is essential for promoting your business and attracting customers. Weebly is a great tool.
How to keep customers coming back
Hobbyists love websites that teach them how to do what they do better, so you may want to start advertising there if you were hoping to sell directly. Specialty websites like Reddit are also a good spot to establish yourself for free, though you have to be careful about your reputation there. The retention will stem from offering quality goods that can be used in a variety of circumstances. When it comes to craft stores, show your enthusiasm for the art of drying flowers. Take samples, and grow plants that the different stores aren’t currently offering to distinguish yourself from others in your industry. The more research you do into the particular companies, the more likely it is you’ll make a business partner.
How and when to build a team
Normally you won’t need to build a team at the beginning. However, if you do start to find that your demand heavily outweighs the supply, you can hire other gardeners and teach them how to do what you do.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a dried flower business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, check out our informative guide, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
In business where services are provided on an extended basis, a services contract is often put in place outlining terms and conditions of service.
Dried Flower businesses should require clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, and service level expectations. An example of a service contract can be found here.
How much can you charge customers?
This is heavily dependent on the types of services you offer. Bouquet preservation can run a person up to $700. A full dried flower bouquet of a variety of different bulbs may run up to $20. One type of plant, like lavender, may be closer to $7 or $8.
What are the ongoing expenses for a dried flower business?
Ongoing expenses can include the following, depending on whether or not you grow your own flowers or buy from a wholesaler.
- Gardening supplies
- Website maintenance
- Equipment replacement
- Staff salaries
- Flower purchases
- Land upkeep (e.g., leasing costs, tilling, etc.)
How much profit can a dried flower business make?
Flower drying businesses can make hundreds of thousands of dollars with the right marketing and services, even if most people use it as a supplemental income. If you can charge even $200 to preserve bouquets from important events, it’s about $18,000 or more in profit you’ll make for every 100 orders you have. Dried flowers can also net you very high profit margins, especially if you grow and dry them yourself. If you sell 100 bouquets at $16, that’s potentially $1500 in pure profit.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Attend every trade and craft show to get more clients, and consider making your own specialty crafts using your dried flowers. Offer personalized services for people (e.g., spelling out someone's name in flowers). Expanding your business to preservation can also be a good way to maintain your profits if you start with dried flowers only. Market yourself heavily especially around formal dances (e.g., homecoming, winter formal, and prom), and during wedding season.