I'm going to start sending out a monthly(ish) "newsletter", as it were, with news from the buyers, to keep you updated on exciting new items or vendors, and noteworthy info.
"Slow Season" Buying
In the world of plants, we're well into the time of year we call the "slow season". In reality, this is more of a shift in sales from outdoor plants to indoor plants and boutique, than it is a true slowdown. The primary focus over the winter months becomes holiday items and giftables (basically, everything inside the building). We'll continue to receive orders for Accent Decor, Bloomingville, etc.
If this is your first cold season with us, you'll notice that we start to get a little heavier in conifers and evergreen plants as the flowering plant options diminish temporarily. The big exciting return to color starts in Feb when the maples arrive from Oregon.
Many of our vendors take time off around the holidays, like we do ourselves. A notable one this year is Suncrest, who will be closing from 12/23 thru 1/17. Whenever we're made aware of such vendor closures, we're making a point of plotting it on the Incoming Calendar.
In general, we're not ordering plants as frequently. EWT, which we're used to being weekly most of the year, will drop to 2-3 deliveries a month. Monterey will skip a week or two at a time. Because of the change in frequency, we try to "bulk up" on some of the bestsellers, like Lomandra and agaves, to keep a nice variety on hand and to reduce the necessity of "special orders" as much as we can.
Please continue to use all the same tools for taking Customer Orders. We'll handle them all the same as always in terms of setting realistic dates, but know that same-week turnarounds will be less possible this time of year.
New Plant Sources
We're also actively trying to resolve the dearth of buxus. I'm looking at pricing from a couple of vendors, with the aim of having a more consistent supply in the future. The prime candidates so far also offer all the trees that don't appear on our regular availabilities (olives and ginkgo in big sizes, for example), so I'm hoping to be able to build confidence in Customer Ordering for these types of big plants.
This will be an ongoing upgrade for a bit still, but progress is being made. You should be able to scan all 4" plants from Blooms, and the Suncrest/Monterey plants with barcodes are mostly up and running.
The idea is to improve efficiency. If, when you're ringing up a customer and sorting their 4", it's easier for you to scan than to key-in "4495", then please do. If keying is better for you personally, go with it. The feedback I got from those of you I questioned is that scanning would be a huge improvement.
We're working with all our 4" suppliers to start pricing the plants for us, so that we don't have to price them manually and so that the price stickers don't wash off. Regardless of barcodes, this process is nearly complete with all the vendors who will do it for us. Yay! Soon, you'll start seeing vendor-applied labels on succulents as well.
They're here at last! Pricing and merchandising is under way. Yes, our discount applies on ornaments. You know you want them. :)
New Handmade Pottery
Phui has been bringing in some new handmade pottery, all Cali local:
Mt Washington Pottery - Handmade in LA by Beth Katz. You'll see bells and a variety of pots with carving and handles.
BD Pottery - Handmade locally by Bob Dinetz, who shares a firing studio with Julie Cloutier (another line of handmade pottery that we've been selling for a few months).
Other New/Returning Boutique Items
Aside from the ornaments, we also have the Woolrich woolen blankets, Hansa real-life plushies (has anybody else been startled by what they thought was Phui's dog peeking out of a box in the backstock?), three versions of the 2017 Moon calendars, new indoor/outdoor rugs from Dash & Albert, and new totes/baskets from Dharma Door. Check it out!
We appreciate everyone's adaptability during these past few months of changes in the buying team, and understand the confusion and challenges that have arisen in the process. Things are starting to smooth out quite noticeably, and will continue to do so! Thanks for the hard work, and please keep the questions and suggestions coming. :) And have a great Thanksgiving!
Zann and Phui