10/06/2010 - 00:00

Funky bunch takes on blooming hobbyists

10/06/2010 - 00:00

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Funky Bunches is a family owned flower and gift retailer in the highly competitive Perth market.

Funky bunch takes on blooming hobbyists

Funky Bunches is a family owned flower and gift retailer in the highly competitive Perth market.

Established by florist Tina Dagostino in 2000, the business operates out of three locations – Leederville, Como and the QV1 building in the Perth CBD.

“I am a qualified florist, and saw a good opportunity to first get into Leederville, where a new and innovative flower shop would do well,” Mrs Dagostino told WA Business News.

“It’s all about being passionate about helping people make their homes look trendy, while providing great solutions to people’s gift dilemmas, plus I enjoy working for myself.

“As a business and as a family we pride ourselves on having fun and providing a high-quality service to all our clients.”

However, Mrs Dagostino found early on how competitive the retail flower sector is, with a growing number of people undertaking flower arranging from home, and an increasing number of retail outlets.

These direct competitors include other florists, supermarkets and service stations, gift shops, as well as outlets that sell cards, such as newsagents.

A recent report by global research house, IBISWorld, found supermarkets have taken over a quarter of Australia’s flower trade.

The ‘Cut Flower Growing in Australia’ report reveals how the massive market power of the retail giants is driving down returns to growers and smaller retailers.

It found that, while the quality of such flowers is diminishing, consumers are unable to choose to buy Australian because flowers are not labelled with their country of origin.

This has become a concern for Funky Bunches, which has been forced to diversify its product offering in a bid to compete with the market power of supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.

“When shops sell flowers, customers may get a product for a lower price, but they will usually get a product at a lower quality,” Mrs Dagostino said.

“Shops are unable to pass on the knowledge that a florist has, like how to care for the plants and flowers, when and how to get access to new and interesting flowers and plants.

“[But] the main issue is the hobbyists, or people arranging flowers from home.

“These people are usually not qualified florists and therefore usually don’t have the same level of floristry skills, knowledge of flowers or access to the vast array of products that retail florists, such as Funky Bunches, have.”

To overcome the cheap offerings by supermarkets and ‘hobbyists’, Funky Bunches has introduced some quality controls as a point of difference.

To work at Funky Bunches, florists must complete at least two years of training to gain the qualification, increasing to three years for the certificate IV involving event and business management.

“Funky Bunches and other qualified florists can offer great diversity, innovation and creativity with their floral arrangements, which can’t be guaranteed with hobbyists,” Mrs Dagostino said.

”During the wedding season we always get calls from brides at the last minute, who have been let down by the hobbyist working from home who has been unable to get the flowers they promised.”

Mrs Dagostino said she hoped to educate the public about these issues to ensure they understood that Funky Bunches’ products were “fresher and better flowers” with arrangements that are “technically more superior”.

 

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