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Chrysanthemums on glue, broken lilies for the price of whole ones: How flower shops in Moscow work under sanctions

Our correspondent, on the eve of graduation, when florists should have a real boom in sales, got a job in one of the shops

Our correspondent, on the eve of graduation, when florists should have a real boom in sales, got a job in one of the shops

A photo: Ivan MAKEEV

Sometimes you buy a bouquet in a flower shop, bring it home, and only there you already realize that you have been cheated. The buds are of the second freshness, so to speak, and some of them, under the very head, where the stem has broken, are fastened with thin tape. And you paid well for these flowers. Because the prices for chrysanthemum roses bite. And especially evil is biting right now, when sanctions and the price of almost everything went up. It is no secret that most of what was sold in Russian flower shops was brought to us from Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Here I am on the eve of graduation, when florists should have a real boom in sales, and got a job in one of the shops. To look at this business from the inside.

SAVE ON EVERYTHING

It is, of course, very crowded in here. A small shop on the ground floor of a residential building in Northern Chertanovo. There was only enough space for a refrigerator for flowers and a table on which bouquets are collected.

The owner of my outlet, Svetlana, is about 40 years old. Married, has a child. As she says, she became interested in floristry about ten years ago, when she was on maternity leave. I started reading things on the Internet. Then she studied at the school of floristry. Then she got a job as a florist in a flower shop. And in early February of this year, I finally decided to open my own store. Rented a “point”, agreed with suppliers.

– And a few days later my entire business plan went to hell, – Svetlana sighs. – Now at us the people save on everything. Not for flowers.

Svetlana needs a replacement florist in order to manage household chores. He explains the basics to me: we cut off the dried petals from the flowers standing in the refrigerator every morning, add a special flower dressing to the water – so that the buds last longer. We set aside stale branches separately – they will go into compositions.

Picking bouquets is also a science. The simplest technique is spiral: when the stems are laid at an angle. A round bouquet correctly assembled using this technique will be able to stand on the table without a stand. Buyers most often want round bouquets. The stems are not rewound with tape – this is already the last century, but with a special “rough” tape, it is green and almost invisible.

WEDDINGS AND GRADUATIONS ARE MORE MODEST

Back in May, Svetlana says, during the last calls at schools, people were ready to sweep away literally everything that was on the shelves. Therefore, after a small “repair”, even substandard and broken flowers were traded: chrysanthemums were planted on glue, lily flowers – in capsules (short flowers are lengthened with plastic nozzles, as if they were whole). From this, everything was made into bouquets and put up for sale at a slightly reduced price.

And in June, suddenly there was a lull. It would seem – summer, the season of weddings. Yes, brides and grooms still go for bouquets, but they choose more modestly than before, and decorations for the celebration are ordered much less frequently. In Moscow, marriage can be registered even at the MFC, so at some points there are even stationary beautifully decorated photo zones. For many this is enough.

June 25 at schools graduations. Usually parents order bouquets ahead of time. And here – silence. The woman associates this with the same economy. Peonies, irises, roses bloomed in the dachas, and seasonal trade near metro stations.

She registered, she says, on aggregators like Flowwow (the service connects flower sellers, buyers and couriers through the application). But it turned out that they take 30% of the cost of the bouquet! So it turns out: if you put too high a price, then there will be no customers, if you set too low, you will not earn anything.

Correspondent

Correspondent of “KP” got a job as a florist to learn all the secrets of the flower business

A photo: Ivan MAKEEV

IMPORT SUBSTITUTION

The sanctions also hit the flower business hard.

– The prices have risen at once in half. They say that deliveries from Europe will stop altogether, – Svetlana gasps.

Holland has always been the champion in the supply of flowers to Russia. This is a global flower hub, where flowers from all over the world go – even from Africa, even from South America, and then distributed by country.

– But our main suppliers Ecuador and Kenya found detours. True, they work strictly with 100% prepayment. They say that China may soon enter our market (so far only tulips have been imported from China, – Auth.).

But, as they say, there is no evil without good. The share of Russian products is gradually increasing. If back in May peonies were brought from the same Holland, now they are from the Crimea and the Krasnodar Territory, where the season began. As a result, prices for this variety fell almost twice. Domestic peonies overseas in appearance are in no way inferior. What can you say about roses. Podmoskovye, for example, can be seen immediately: they are both “growth” lower, and their bud is smaller.

– These roses are from Ecuador, and those are from the Moscow region, – Svetlana points to the refrigerator.

The first cost 250 rudders apiece, the second – 150. The Ecuadorian buds are so huge that against their background the rest of the flowers seem like babies. True, there is no one to appreciate this beauty: for the whole day that we worked together, only a couple of people looked into the store. It even somehow became clear to me why on holidays florists raise prices and are ready to cash in on any illiquid assets – in order to somehow compensate for their losses in complete calm …

– One of these days I will go to a nursery near Moscow, – says Svetlana. – With my own eyes I’ll see what kind of flowers they offer there. They say that we already grow good tulips, irises, gerberas, lilies and eustoma. And if you agree on direct deliveries, then, you see, it will be possible to save.

MONEY

“The buyer overpays at least five times”

Svetlana Perepelova, chairman of the Roses and Ornamental Shrubs section of the Moscow Flower Growers club:

– The rise in prices for many flowers is due to the fact that the chain of intermediaries has lengthened. In Holland, a decree was issued – cut plants, conifers and bulbs fell under the category of “luxury goods” and were banned from supply. Moreover, they will track deliveries even through intermediaries. Therefore, the chain of these intermediaries will be very impressive. And everyone gives their own spin. Even now, the final buyer pays five times more than the amount for which the flower was originally sold. What is the cost of a commodity? The seller’s margin, transportation costs, intermediary markups, the price of the wholesale base, delivery to a retail store, the costs of a particular point for renting a room, employee salaries, and so on. Yes, all this is ultimately paid by the buyer. The problem of small business is also that greenhouses, for the most part, do not want to deal with them directly – it is more profitable for them to sell the goods to a wholesaler, and he will already redistribute it to specific points. So it is impossible for small shops to avoid intermediaries.

Picking bouquets is also a science

Picking bouquets is also a science

A photo: Ivan MAKEEV

EXPERT COMMENT

“Summer is the season. But not this year.”

Tatyana Zhashkova, chairman of the Moscow Flower Growers club:

– Summer is always the season for selling flowers. But now many people try to buy only really important things. Hence the decline in demand. However, it may even be better for us: it will give impetus to development – not to buy something abroad, but to grow it at home. So far, import substitution offers stores a product that is worse in quality than foreign ones. And we need to learn a little more to reach that level. But I think we’ll get over it with time.

SPECIFICALLY

Prices for flowers in Moscow (for 1 piece):

Rose 50 cm – from 160 rubles.

Rose 60 cm – from 200 rubles.

Rose 70 cm – from 300 rubles.

Rose 80 and 90 cm – from 350 rubles.

Alstroemeria – from 200 rubles

Iris – from 120 rubles.

Carnation – from 120 rubles.

Chrysanthemum – from 250 rubles. (bush) from 350 rubles. for a big flower

Gerbera – from 150 rubles.

Orchid – from 250 rubles.

Peony – from 350 rubles. (local), from 600 rubles. (Holland)

Gladiolus – from 400 rubles.

Hydrangea – from 700 rubles.

Lily – from 550 rubles.

Compared to winter, retail prices increased by 20%.

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