Business: Plastic flower arrangement
Tenants of condominium buildings now rising at a fast clip across the metropolis can be your market for this business.
Capital: The initial investment for an artificial flower business will depend on the materials to be used in making the product. For Letecia Rodriguez, who has been making embroidered flowers on clay pots since the 1980s, it only required P500 to get started. She recovered her capital after her first delivery of potted artificial flowers, which took her a couple of months to make.
Materials: These are what you will need for making embroidered flowers: embroidery threads, glue, wires, pliers, small clay pots, Styrofoam, and artificial moss or grass. These can be bought from Divisoria Market in Manila or from crafts shops. For silk flowers: silk cloth materials, strings and wires, glue, scissors, vases, baskets, pots, and ornaments or accessories such as buttons and beads.
Workforce: Rodriguez initially did all the embroidering herself. When orders began to pile up, however, he asked her four children to help out. Among the four, the eldest, Jonard, is currently the most involved in the business. Since it is not her full-time business, however, Rodriguez doesn’t require additional help and devotes the greater part of her time to doing home-service reflexology.
On the other hand, Zenaida Cruz, owner of Acushla Flowers, does the artificial flower business full time. She was a one-woman show when she started the business, buying the materials and arranging the flowers herself. But she had to hire people when business started to pick up. Today, Acushla has two branches in Sta. Lucia East in Pasig City, another in SM North Edsa in Quezon City, and a small showroom-office at Makati Cinema Square in Makati City. She employs a secretary, two sales attendants for each branch, an accountant, and an artist.
Process: Flower-making started as a hobby for Rodriguez. She proudly says that she was the one who invented the embroidered flowers-on-pot concept. She recalls that she even attempted to have the concept patented but gave up because of the red tape. “My embroidered and potted flowers currently sell at around P350 a dozen, but I used to supply a New Zealander who bought them at $5 per pot,” she says.
In the case of Cruz, she used to arrange the floral pieces herself and sell them to her friends house-to-house. “I love beautiful things, so the business is simply an extension of my passion for aesthetics,” she says. “Up to now, although my business has grown, I still enjoy the creative process in flower arranging.”
Marketing: Rodriquez relies on word-of-mouth and referrals to promote her flower-making business. “During my son’s wedding, for instance, we used my artificial flowers as decorations and many of the guests liked it,” she recalls. To help promote the product, her children often give away samples of the artificial flowers as gifts.
As for Cruz, she leaves the marketing to the stores that she supplies with her products. But she also handles direct inquiries from building owners. She explains: “As more and more offices or residential units are built, the market for artificial flowers for decorative purposes has been growing. Among people who live in condominium units, for instance, it’s so frustrating to take care of real plants that can get dirty and die fast. This is why more and more of them are now getting artificial flowers instead.”
Article was originally published in the May 2007 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines.