A few days from now, Filipinos will once again be trooping to malls and flower shops looking for that perfect gift to give their loved ones on Valentine’s Day, as the occasion has long transcended from being exclusively for lovers alone. To help you make the most out of this highly entrepreneurial occasion, Entrepreneur.com.ph will be giving you some suggestions on what sideline businesses you can do for this special day.
Cut flowers are fresh blooms separated from their stems to make bouquets and other flower arrangements. Very few people cultivate blooms for cut flowers despite the huge demand, and it’s the reason the cut flower business is considered a sunrise industry.
Now that it's the Valentine season, there is no better time to dabble in the cut flower business than today!
Interested? You’ll need to register with the Bureau of Plant Industry if you plan to import/export ornamental plants. Most growers are based in Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Baguio, Davao, Cotabato, Cebu, and Iloilo, but a 500-square-meter farm is good enough to start if it’s in an area with good climate and ample space for flowerbeds or a greenhouse, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Research. You must also consider your farm’s distance from your intended market, and if you’ll need to buy a vehicle or two to transport your flowers.
If you don’t have enough money to grow flowers, you may start retailing them like Bella Odoño did after quitting her job at a multinational company in 1992. She needed only P300 to start selling roses and mums or chrysanthemums to grade-school students of San Isidro Catholic School in front of her house. And in 2001 she partnered with a cousin to set up a stall near the Dangwa bus terminal in Sampaloc, Manila, and used P16,000 to buy ribbons, plastic, and other accessories to offer floral arrangement and sell cut flowers that she’d bought on credit. With 50 dozen mums, Odoño’s Biboy’s Flower Shop opened for business on All Soul’s Day. The business took off quickly.
Odoño now sells 2,000 dozen gerberas, mums, carnations, and other flowers every week and has established excellent relations with suppliers from Davao, Cotabato, Baguio, and Iloilo. Three regular workers help her deliver cut flowers on Sunday and Wednesday nights, and two floral arrangers pitch in to make arrangements for weddings, debuts, and other special occasions. One month before Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and the November-to-May peak season, she prepares her ribbons, floral foams, plastic, and flowers for the onslaught and depends on regular customers to survive the lean months of June to October.
Odoño found it difficult finding suppliers at first, but they started approaching her once she’d proved herself a good payer. “Pwede kang makakuha ng bulaklak kahit wala kang puhunan,” she says. "Kailangan lang ay honest ka’t tumutupad sa pangako." She kept her markups small and aimed at volume orders to be competitive. “Praktikal lang ako. Kung may 500 dozens ka at tumubo ka ng P10 each tapos naubos lahat, mas mabuti pa rin ‘yon kesa tumubo ka sa P35 pero 100 dozens lang ang nabenta mo.”
This is an updated article.