May 8, 2020

Mother’s Day is Black Friday for flower shops. The pandemic nipped the biz in the bud.

An $8.5B global industry wilted almost overnight.

PSA: Call your mother on Sunday.

Go on, set yourself a reminder. We’ll wait.

There. Better.

Now, for the forgetful types who are cursing themselves and frantically Googling “socially distant flower delivery,” don’t despair. The coronavirus pandemic trampled the stem industry’s garden, but the bouquet’s not totally wilted.

The petals came off overnight

When governments across the world started locking down their countries, the $8.5B flower trade dried up fast.

As Bloomberg reported, much of the industry is planted in the Netherlands, where a conglomerate called Royal FloraHolland auctions off flowers to be shipped around the world (one of its facilities is larger than 75 soccer fields).

Spring is supposed to bring booming blooms, but Royal FloraHolland estimated that the pandemic could cause $2B+ in lost business.

In April, one of its sales managers told The New York Times that about 400m flowers had been destroyed over the last month — including 140m stems of tulips, the Netherlands’ most famous flower.

The crash put flower shops in a vice vase

Mother’s Day is the flower industry’s equivalent of Black Friday: The Los Angeles Times says some shops rely on the leadup to the holiday for half of their annual earnings. It kicks off a typically busy (but now fallow) spring and summer wedding season.

Thankfully, this year’s Mother’s Day card isn’t just blank:

  • LA’s flower shops got the green light to reopen just in time, so if you live there, you’re in luck.
  • If you don’t, you might try D2C: The CEO of a flower startup called Farmgirl Flowers saw business blossom after she posted an emotional 26-minute YouTube video about navigating the thorns of the government’s small-business relief program.

Lowe’s is sending $1m worth of flowers to long-term and senior-living facilities, for socially isolated moms who can’t be with their families.

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