We’re living in tricky times. Things are always changing, and we’re constantly having to adapt in order to continue to serve our customers in the best way possible. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many industries across the world and also at home here in Canada, and the flower industry has not escaped. We wanted to take a moment to highlight the realities of what is currently happening and inform you of the impact to our customers.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, global supply chains for all sorts of businesses have been disrupted. For us, farm closures, shipping delays, border closures and labour shortages, combined with poor weather conditions, have left many flower farms unable to deliver enough supply to meet current demand. Whilst a lot of our flowers are locally-grown, many of our speciality blooms have to be imported from countries such as Ecuador and Columbia. Currently, major changes to capacity and travel restrictions means that less product is able to enter Canada, and at a much slower rate than before.
In contrast to this, demand for fresh-cut flowers is at an all-time high. With lockdowns and social isolation, more and more people have turned to sending flowers as a way of connecting with loved ones. With more time at home, and less money spent on socializing and going out, people have rediscovered the joy that is all things green. According to Statistics Canada, “Canadians spent 6.5% more on flowers and plants in 2020.” And the demand is still growing!
During the early days of COVID-19, demand for flowers was dramatically reduced, and so farmers planted fewer flowers. Some were even forced to shut down farms completely. But now, demand is roaring back, and flowers are in short supply. Roses and other speciality blooms have been particularly affected, but of course, this has a knock-on effect for all other types of flowers, and that includes those grown locally as well!
This mismatch in supply and demand has driven up prices. From lumber to ketchup to dumbbells, demand for once readily available items has sky-rocketed over the course of the pandemic, and unfortunately, flowers are no different. Currently, product availability is highly unreliable and as such, prices have soared, with increased costs of up to 20-30% across the board. Unfortunately, for these reasons, we have also been forced to adjust our pricing.
Current weather conditions are also having a major impact on distribution. An update from one of our flower farms in Ecuador reports lower production over the last few weeks due to cold and rainy conditions. Farms are also reporting problems with diseases such as mildew, as a result of the inclement weather, and roads have been hindered by snow, which has contributed to transport issues. This poor weather, combined with logistical issues and labour shortages is tightening the supply of many types and colours of flowers, making availability of products completely unreliable. Add to that increased cargo and shipping rates, and demand for truck drivers, and you can quickly see the tricky situation the global floristry industry is in.
This past year and a half has been an absolute rollercoaster, and has especially impacted small businesses. Everyone at Oleander is doing their best to go with the flow whilst still providing our valued customers with beautiful flowers and excellent customer service, but an industry shortage has meant we need to do things a little differently.
Here’s what it means for you:
- Little to no choice of specific flowers
- Unavailability of many products
- Increased prices
Here’s what you can do to help:
- Don’t expect specific flowers - be flexible
- Give us a colour palette or style to work with
- Trust us and be open to something new
- Order early
- Be respectful and patient - we’re all in this together and we’re doing our best
Since flower availability is inconsistent and we don’t know what we’ll be getting each week, flowers used in arrangements may differ from what is advertised on our website and we are unable to guarantee what stock will be available at any given time. However, our customers will always get the best value for money without deviation from the desired style, and the current situation means unique, one-off arrangements are designed with maximum creativity!
We thank you for your support, patience and understanding as we continue to try and navigate these supply issues. As always, Oleander customers are our number one priority, and we will do our very best to meet your needs. We thank you for putting your trust in us and letting us do what we do best. We’re all here because we have a love for flowers, and making your arrangements brings us so much joy; it’s even better when we get the opportunity for creative freedom, that is truly when we’re at our best!