The long-lasting flower business is booming.
The market for rose arrangements made to last a full year has blossomed with the help of celebrity endorsements seen around the internet as flower lovers flock this Valentine's Day to blooms they don’t have to throw away a week later.
Stars like the Kardashians, Gigi Hadid and Alicia Keys have praised the preserved boxed roses seen all over Instagram. And they don’t come cheap – a single preserved rose costs $39 and can range between $400 for up to 42 roses and $1,500 for about five dozen. To compare, the cost of a fresh bouquet of roses from online retailer 1800flowers.com costs $84.99.
Consumers, however, are likely to splurge, considering Americans plan to spend an average of $196.31 for Valentine's Day this year on gifts like flowers, candy and chocolate, up 21 percent from last year's $161.96, according to the National Retail Federation.
“People like the idea of something that lasts forever,” Jill Brooke, editorial director at FlowerPowerDaily.com, told FOX Business of the growing trend, adding: “Packaging the idea that thoughtfulness can last more than week is appealing to many.”
“People like the idea of something that lasts forever."
Venus Et Fleur, a New York City-based preserved flower company, launched in 2015 when co-founders Seema Bansal and her partner Sunny Chadha set out to find a solution to keep flowers fresh for longer than their typical weeklong shelf life. They started importing real roses from South America, cutting them down to sit pretty in boxes and applying a non-toxic bleach to remove the rose color before they’re injected with natural oils and a wax formula to keep them fresh. Then the “eternity roses” are died in rich colors like red, bright blue and pink. And the roses hardly need any maintenance – they can be placed in direct sunlight.
The company was on track to sell $7.5 million, Forbes reported. And a number of other startups have sprouted up with similar concepts in recent years. Eternal Roses, another New York-based business, also specializes in boxed floral arrangements and centerpieces priced around the same as Venus Et Fleur, promising flowers last three years with no water or sunlight. And La Fleur, a Los Angeles-based business, boasts 24 custom rose shades promising buds to last up to three years.
The florist industry meanwhile seems to be withering with e-commerce competition from direct-to-consumers sellers and discounted stems at supermarkets. Market research firm IBISWorld estimated the florists' industry revenue would decline 2.8 percent in 2019 with $7 billion in total revenue.
As a result, florists are having to become more inventive with their bouquets, customizing roses with flowers like lilies and orchids, Brooke said.
“These days, florists have to be a lot more creative and they’re not necessarily selling a dozen roses as they could have before," she said. "They’re including orchids, calla lilies and more deep-colored."
Buying flowers has also been proven to boost moods and positive emotions. Studies suggest that just looking at flowers can brighten up someone’s day.
Brooke says that while the likes of Venus Et Fleur and other preserved flower retailers are “genius marketing,” it takes away from the social experience and excitement associated with getting fresh flowers for yourself or from a special someone.
“It’s a different experience. It doesn’t give you the same sensation as getting live, beautiful flowers,” Brooke said.