At Fleuriot, rue de la Corraterie in Geneva, no less than 16,000 Red Naomi red roses have been ordered for February 14th. Manager Louise Barradi is warming up before a weekend that promises to be sporty. “We know that when Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, as is the case this year, the numbers are less good. People go on weekends, and don’t necessarily go to the florist on a Sunday morning. This year, however, when preparing our orders, we based ourselves on the same figures as last year, because we are expecting a big Valentine’s Day. ”
Since March 2020, the director has had a crazy year. While the branches of the retail trade are sticking out their tongues and some restaurateurs are on the verge of dying, florists have seen the appearance of new customers: all those who, for lack of a visit to a loved one, show their attention by the sending a bouquet of flowers. Orders that compensate for all those canceled by major events which are now prohibited.
Give flowers to those who cannot be kissed
Bertrand Cornut runs a small boutique in Morges, a neighborhood store that has nothing to do with the management of several branches, like Fleuriot in Geneva. However, the observation is the same: the year has not, financially, been turned upside down by the coronavirus. Customers, semi-confined to the house, flocked month after month to bring a touch of life to their interior and to offer flowers to those they could not kiss.
Valentine’s Day is one of the two big days of the year in flower shops, along with Mother’s Day. The sales of artisans florists and the largest retailers flirted with 40 million francs that day, or about 5% of the annual sales of the branch, according to figures from the Swiss Association of Florists. On February 14, half of the flowers that have passed are roses, most of them red. Other important periods for sales are Advent and Easter. To which has been added, in recent years, March 8, the International Day of Women’s Rights, “more especially celebrated by the Russian, Italian and Balkan population”, according to the manager of Meylan Fleurs in Lausanne.
Finance on a tightrope
How will the day be on Sunday? Here it is still a mystery. We count on it, because if the finances hold, they are still on a tight rope. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the store on Avenue de Rumine, a true Lausanne institution, is tastefully decorated: a horned heart adorns the window, another huge, in willow, crowns the counter. The flowers abound, varied, rich in colors contrasting with the gray sky and in perfumes which pierce the mask.
Customers take their time, everything is fine. The florists accompany them in their choices, offer them a mixture of roses, ranunculus, jasmine, orchid and eucalyptus leaves for a romantic bouquet. But most men remain faithful to the bouquet of red roses for Valentine’s Day, “a kind of tribute”, as Marinette Déglise perceives it.
“I think customers like to come to the store, more than ordering online, it takes them out of their homes. We are sometimes custodians of their emotions, and we recharge them, there are good vibrations here. Then they leave with a beautiful object, but ephemeral: they know they must enjoy it while it lasts. That’s what makes the charm of flowers, ”smiles the manager.
This year the store lost a lot of events and its workforce was reduced from 12 to 8. Usually, for Valentine’s Day, the store also received large orders from shops and restaurants that are today. ‘hui closed. But all of this was fairly well compensated by a new and more frequent individual clientele. To alleviate the thousand solitudes of this year, say it with flowers.