Entrepreneurial Spotlight – Designs by Berniepatrickluensmann
By Joe Bolick, Business and Community Services
The holiday season is all about giving, and many times that giving includes a nice floral arrangement. Florists have a unique business that has to gear up differently for each and every holiday, but this time of year is especially important. Bernie Henrich knows this better than most. Next month, she will be celebrating 47 years of running Designs by Bernie, a custom flower shop in Carroll. We talked with Bernie about all of this and here is what she had to say.
With the holidays approaching, how do you prepare?
Honestly, I like to leave Christmas for Christmas and Thanksgiving for Thanksgiving. I’ll do a complete changeover of my store including my two large window displays the week of Thanksgiving to get ready for Christmas.
What percentage of your business is directly related to the holidays?
In this business, the motto is, “We marry people and bury people,” but I actually do probably about a third of my business over the holidays every year.
Has your business been affected by the rise of online flower shops?
It definitely has. I used to buy into and sell for some of the big ones, but the profit margins were smaller and the fees became so high that it just wasn’t worth it for me anymore. With that said, it has forced me to change my business a bit, which has been good.
On the other side, how have you embraced technology in your business?
We have a website that allows us to take online orders which has helped a lot. It is done through the Flower Shop Network, which is a website design service for flower shops, but unlike buying into the national flower ordering sites that take 20% of your sales, I get to keep 100% of what I make. We have also started a facebook page that does pretty well for us. We run a once-a-month giveaway there (for people that like and share certain posts) which has been awesome. We can also use it to flip pictures of our custom designs and show off our goods.
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs looking to pursue a similar path as you?
It’s hard! You have to have heart to do what you want to do. You have to love it or get the hell out. The biggest thing is to really plan what you are doing. It’s not all roses getting started, it’s a lot of work and you have to wear a lot of hats. But in the end, it’s worth it.