EconomyCompetition from big brands, uberization... Florists fear for their...

Competition from big brands, uberization… Florists fear for their future


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In January 2019, the municipality of Lille (Nord) decided to rent the Rameau palace to the collective Plant for all for a sale weekend at a knockdown price. One drop too many for Guillaume Letaille, artisan-florist at Alchimie, a flower shop in the old center of the capital of Flanders. In a Facebook video with 10,000 views, he denounces the danger represented by these standardized plants sold en masse for florists and contacts Martine Aubry, who swore to him that she would no longer lend such palaces to this kind of event.

Three years later, the merchant, contacted by 20 minutes, however, draws up an even more bitter observation of the situation: “The phenomenon is now completely established. The flower market is torpedoed by this kind of sales at bargain prices. Plants and flowers are alive, it’s still a bit stupid to sell them like pairs of basketball shoes. »

The canvas against the bouquet

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In his viewfinder, all the big boxes go through it, whether specialized giants like Interflora or Aquarelle, but also supermarkets, “always ready to make call products on chrysanthemums for All Saints’ Day”, or even Ikéa, ” who sells the trees at Christmas”. Competition that is all the tougher for him with the advent of digital technology. According to a 2020 Ifop survey, 39% of French people have already bought flowers online.

But the ravages of the web do not stop there: “The giants take advantage of social networks to publicize their promotional offer or their flagship event, like this kind of weekend in 2019, where it required a long mouth job -to-ear before”, continues the trader. A weekend that he still has in mind: “They came, sold their plants, left. No rent to pay, temporary workers as employees and not permanent employees, plants transported and sold in deplorable conditions… Faced with these methods, we cannot fight in terms of price. His fear: that customers will abandon artisanal flower shops in favor of quick clicks on the Net.

Save the Petal Soldier

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Paradox: craftsmen sometimes have to forge partnerships with big brands to increase their income and attract other customers. This is why for several years, standardized bouquets from major brands have been squatting on the shelves of certain craftsmen. The deal is simple: the florist displays them, sells them for delivery, can customize them according to very specific rules and the mother brand takes care of the transport. The latter thus benefits from having fixed and embodied places of sale, in order to make its merchandise more accessible to part of the population.

“For seniors in particular, delivery via the Internet can seem insurmountable. Exhibiting flowers, even more standardized, in our shop means putting the human back in there by allowing them to make deliveries for funerals, weddings, birthdays, “says Cécile Dobut, director of Fleurs Parisiennes, sign which has a partnership with Interflora. Anyway, “it is only a question of delivery outside Paris or even abroad, which I do not provide”, recalls the manager. As for the intramural capital, “we take care of it with our own flowers, our own much more personalized bouquets and our own deliveries. So, we don’t lose anything: it’s not the same clientele for our own flowers. But we can retain someone who came initially for Interflora”.

Because each rose has its thorns, Cécile Dobut does not embellish the picture: “The prices of the bouquets and the level of commission that will be taken for example, Interflora are the big downsides. Between what the client pays and what we give him, there is a big difference. “. According to a survey of 60 million consumers in March 2021, “out of the €81.80 (delivery costs of €14.90 included) paid by the customer for a bouquet, the florist will actually only receive €44.05. he delivered the bouquet within a radius of 3 kilometers around his shop. And Interflora will pocket nearly 46% of the sums paid! »

Under the cobblestones, the flowers

Others refuse to leave any part of their stalls. The Sessile network claims to fight against the uberization of the profession by bringing together many independent florists into a large network. “Rather than everyone buying the same bouquet or doing long-distance delivery, we redirect each time to the nearest florist. The goal is to have an entire cartography of France and to rediscover the proximity, ”defends Louis Savatier, co-founder of the site which already has more than 400 member brands. The commission would be only 12%, far from the prices of the flower behemoths.

And when it comes to defending his profession, the man is loquacious: “The big brands participate in the anonymization of florists. However, it is a profession in its own right, and even an art! No assembly line work or copies. A bouquet is handmade and unique, it is a work of which the florist and the buyer are proud. When you redirect to a craftsman, he won’t make the same flowers as the neighbor, and that’s the whole point. »

Find the human and the seasons

For Marie Ruillard, of the Marguerite house in Le Mans (Sarthe) and member of the Sessile network, “it is time to have the same thinking for flowers as for meat: buy less, but of better quality, from passionate artisans . “With the confinements and the strong comeback of short circuits, the florist thinks that her approach is in line with mores: “Part of the population has gotten tired of the supermarket and is looking for seasonal and local products. Flowers, that’s it: each craftsman has his predilections and his bouquets. We say we love our plants, so let’s avoid flying them to transport them. ” Far from the classic red roses worn to the marrow, she sells the merit of anemones or violets, more seasonal, more French, more logical for her, quite simply.

She also boasts of a more human approach: “We have robotized everything so much that it makes people happy to talk to someone! By taking the time to choose your flowers and design your own bouquet, you find the human, the discussions, the social. But also attention, adds Guillaume Letaille: “What do the big brands care about your plants rotting? We, if the plant is not doing well, the customer comes back to ask us for an account. And so much the better! We give advice, we inform, we ensure the good health of our plants. It’s more durable. “He remembers this famous weekend in Lille three years ago: “People who were queuing must have been between 15 and 35 years old, looking for a good deal. “Good deals”… Pfff. Call me an old-timer, but I know the value of things, the price and the work that must be put into them. They too will understand one day…”

Source: 20minutes

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