We asked one of the members of our team that was with us for his first Valentine’s season in the flower business to chronicle his experiences through the week. Filled with humor and an appropriate dose of sarcasm we learned more about ourselves and what we do than we ever really expected to…. Step into our world for a behind the scenes look at the single craziest day of the year. Accountants call it April 15th, farmers have harvest time, to the florist it is Valentine’s Day…. “Thank you for calling Starbright, can I help you?”
-February 7th : One full week before Valentine ’s Day. All I’ve heard since I began work here at Starbright Floral Design, was the nightmare that is Valentine’s Day. I am a skeptic by nature and brimming with confidence that I can handle whatever challenges presented. I dismiss my coworkers’ warnings as tall tales and nothing to fear. Here we are 8:30 A.M. one full week before V-day and the sky is blue, the earth is still spinning on its axis, all is well. 9:00 A.M. I arrive to the scene of impending DOOM, Starbright Floral Design, 28th street, the flower district. The store is abuzz. Orders are coming in rapidly both telephonically and through the internet. 10:00 A.M. Staff meeting held discussing potential delivery problems. Plans are in the works to start delivering to accepting businesses, such as hotels, at 4:00 A.M. I spontaneously erupted in laughter. My laughter was not reciprocated nor well received. Is it possible this was not a joke? Four A.M.? The theme from the twilight zone is now deafening. Day ends without further incident. A busy day, but nothing too atypical. Can’t wait for relaxing carefree night at home.
-February 10th : A few days have passed since my last entry. Work has kept me busy. Orders are now appearing on my desk magically. The machine they call the Dove keeps printing what seems to be a copy of the Iliad. A continuous flow of paper is fed into the machine printing order after order. 10:30 A.M. Our purchasing department arguing over facts, figures and projections. The consensus is that this is going to be a big one. Fear and panic is abound. Last minute orders are frantically placed to suppliers in Holland and other flower growers throughout the world.
-February 12th : 9:00 A.M. Fearful of poor customer service as a result of taking orders beyond capacity has led to the decision to shut down the Dove. I come from a business background. The notion of turning away good and profitable orders was foreign to me. When I questioned the move my coworkers’ glares were like weaponized lasers. Management wasn’t as irritated by my inquiry. It was explained that the floral industry is customer service driven. Taking in orders that couldn’t be adequately serviced would result in unhappy customers. Accordingly, the net effect on the business, long term, would be negative. I understand the principle, but still believed it to be a premature and perhaps panic driven decision. 05:00 P.M. My coworkers are looking increasingly weary and disheveled. Some have clearly forgotten that personal hygiene is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and healthy work environment. Shaving appears to be a lost art to the men in the office (probably the women as well).
-February 13th: 8:00 A.M. The place is a flurry of activity. Hasn’t taken long to realize my Saturday night exploits were ill timed and will be regretted. Word to the wise, don’t drink and floral design on Valentine’s day weekend. I am unable to recover or catch my breath. 11:30A.M. Designers as far as the eye can see are preparing pre-Valentine’s day orders. Nerves are frayed. Niceties such as “Good Morning” or “Hello” fall upon deaf ears or are responded to with a grumble. Each designer appears to be genetically transforming into a snapping turtle. The phones are ringing incessantly with an ear piercing buzzing. Never realized how annoying the phone ring was until now. 4:30 P.M. the order goes out for all available hands to start cleaning roses. I had developed a case of laryngitis from the endless hours of phone calls rendering it painful to speak. I need to conserve my voice for V-Day. Accordingly I volunteer for the simple, mundane task involving a knife and thorny long stems. 6:15 P.M. The monotonous task coupled with exhaustion has led to blood shed. Several fingers have become victims of errant knife shavings. Several other fingers suffered from thorn inflicted wounds rendering their use painful. Luckily my middle digit was immune from injury and thus I was able to adequately express my feelings to my coworkers without the need for speech. 9:00 P.M. End of day staff meeting. Nic Faitos, President of Starbright and our valiant leader begins a pep talk to the staff that would hopefully last through the following day –V-Day. “Guys and gals, you are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. Your task will not be an easy one. I have full confidence in your devotion to impeccable floral design and customer service. We will accept nothing less than the full satisfaction of our customers. Let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking. Good Luck and I’ll see you at 5:00 A.M.” I was inspired by his eloquent words and eager to meet the challenges of the following day.
-February 14th: 0500 hours V-Day. Proper preparation has made the beginning of the day a time to strategize and ready ourselves for the coming battle. I felt confident and prepared. 0530 hours –the first two delivery trucks are on the road. With any luck we’ll have them back and reloading by 0900. 01000 hours, the phones are unleashing an endless barrage of sound blasts. Oh the noise noise, noise! Everyone is working at a fever pace. There is no room for dilly or dally today. 01200 hours, the lunch crowd is now filing in. I think to myself, how much more can a person handle? It is not long before I get my answer. Several of the designers, both men and women, have been broken. Tears are streaming down their faces. I want to console them but don’t have the time, the energy or the empathy. I have to commit all my energy to the common goal. The flowers must be delivered and they must be beautiful! 01500 On a normal day I would be busy making dinner plans. Today I have been recruited to insure that our all business deliveries are made before 01700. The pressure is unrelenting. I have broken into a cold flu like sweat and have trouble focusing. The enormity of this logistics task quickly overwhelms me. Near tears myself, I call for backup personnel. 01800 hours, the corporate deliveries have been made. The second phase, home deliveries, is now well underway. The last minute business crowd is now filing in. I ponder if any of these last minute shoppers understood how challenging it was to give them that appreciative smile demanded of a Starbright employee. 02100 The day of days is coming to an end. I have travelled through the valley of blood, sweat and tears and come out the other side smelling like roses. I have a deep sense of accomplishment and pride. I can’t believe I doubted the enormity of the task. Twelve hundred deliveries in one day, made with grace, will not be forgotten soon. I guess the day is best summed up by the immortal words of Davy Jones: “now I’m a believer.”
Starbright Floral Design is the “Official Florist of Romance” and most of the time we deliver flowers, love, passion and hope everywhere in Manhattan and worldwide. Sometimes we deliver yellow carnations.
Give us a call, visit our website or pop on in! We would love to meet you….
The Official Florist
Starbright Floral Design
Located in the heart of New York City’s Historic Flower District
150 West 28th Street, Studio 201.
T. 800.520. 8999
Web: www. starflor.com
E-commerce portal: www.starbrightnyc.co