I’m guessing that right about now you’re shaking your head and thinking, “Preserved Roses, what are those?” Those, my friend, are big business — especially when people are socially distanced and looking for ways to connect and reconnect and traditional flowers don’t last as long.

That said, how different is one brand of roses from the next? And more importantly, how can you distinguish your brand when, in theory, you’re selling the exact same thing sold by your competitor? With careful branding, on-point copy and carefully curated content you can elevate and differentiate, instead of simply going to market.

Content marketing lessons from the preserved roses industry.

A preserved roses primer

Before we get into the nitty-gritty and takeaways, here’s some information about the industry. “The USA flower market was about $12B in 2019,” shared the almost eponymous Shelley Rosen, founder/ CEO of Luxe Bloom (Tagline: Lasting Luxury Roses).

But like many businesses, “The USA floral market was severely impacted by the coronavirus with florist closures, event cancellations and consumer conversion to online e-commerce floral sales,” she continued. Sadder yet, Rosen said, “The 110- year old FTD, International experienced bankruptcy last year and is now in a recovery mode to save over 13,000 florists in their co-op.”

Rosen also shared a fascinating fact that explains why preserved roses are so hot right now. “Sadly, the floral industry lacks innovation overall. We know millennials are not as interested in the idea of taking are of weekly fresh-cut floral in their homes or in giving flowers like their Boomer grandparents. They seek more carefree maintenance in floral products like succulents or now preserved flowers that can last up to a year in the home.”

But floral innovators have no need to despair just yet. Rosen said that since she began “Trade exports to the USA for preserved flowers are nearing $20MM and growing. Now is the time for the preserved floral market to take hold in the USA as a nice alternative to fresh-cut floral.”

She makes a great point.

Preserved rose companies are popping up all over the place and classic florists including 1-800Flowers are offering this option as well, but back to the primer. Preserved roses, (or eternity roses depending on who you ask) are dehydrated roses that have been picked at the peak state, dehydrated and treated to last for about a year.

While the smell won’t last, the beauty does. You should also know that they’re on the pricey side and can run into several hundred dollars for a more ornate arrangement, but if you factor in weekly flowers vs. ones that last for a year, the pricing makes more sense.

A blooming bit of history

About two years ago, the trend for creating bouquets that don’t look tacky and last about a year started to heat up. Suddenly the gifting industry exploded and the competition became fierce. But the trend isn’t as new as it seems.

Rosen explained the current popularity of preserved roses. “The preserved industry has been around for 100 years. Invented by a family in Osaka, Japan they perfected the process of preserved roses and other flowers with their innovative technology,” she said. Rosen explained that “The secret sauce of the recipe is actually sugar water or glycerin. In Japan, preserved flowers are very much part of the culture as women have tea ceremonies in their homes and make preserved rose arrangements. Farms in Latin America began working on preserving flowers about 15 years ago. Europe is a viable market for preserved flowers in Germany, France and Spain. The idea of preserved flowers is just now catching on in the USA.”

And along with the popularity, comes increased competition.

3 ways to disrupt a tired industry

  • Find inspiration overseas: Think of K Beauty and K Pop and you’re on the right track. If your product seems tired, try looking elsewhere for ideas on how to market yourself.
  • Find a niche: There’s nothing new to be done with roses, right? Wrong. Who would have thought that preserving them would create an entirely new product line?
  • Embrace the competition: If you’re worried that your micro-niche has no room for competition, these brands make it clear that’s not the case. Their differences allow you to highlight your own.

In addition to name-brand florists simply offering preserved roses as another option, there are upstarts doing the classic disruption as well.

With lots of flowery content

In addition to name-brand florists simply offering preserved roses as another option, there are upstarts doing the classic disruption as well. For instance, a fresh young brand called Rosepops has gotten nearly every single detail right from the content they include in their packaging to the way it’s explained on the website, to their offerings.

It’s a classic example of trying to compete and then smashing the competition with the simplicity of your brand and the amazing extras. Not sure of what Rosepops are? It says it right on the homepage. To the left of the logo, “Real roses that last a year.” To the right of the logo, “No maintenance required.”

And then there are the visual extras. Charms on the packaging? Sure, why not! Personalizing each delivery? Naturally. That’s part of the appeal. As is the constant and clever wordplay. Their best-sellers are POPular while there’s also a POP quiz that allows you to customize your purchase.

Rosepops also creates step-by-step instructions on how to quite literally make your roses pop out of their packaging. It’s a case study in finding a niche and then finding countless ways to make your brand stand out — even when you’re all technically selling the exact same thing.

They might be carrying it slightly too far in targeted content and branding though, the Rosepops 101 page is crowded with emojis and a bit too cutesy. Perfect for a younger millennial consumer, not so much for anyone else. Incidentally, a single rose from Rosepops starts at $28.00.

But sometimes consistency is king

Here’s the thing. There are only so many ways to sell or market a nearly identical product. While Rosepops goes for the cute, Luxe Bloom goes for the posh. While Rosepops’ website is active and full of motion, color and content, Luxe Bloom goes for the classic elegant vibe. Rosepops seems to be going for a gimmick, Luxe Bloom seems primed to be here to stay, and there’s a good reason for it — Luxe Bloom’s founder has a pedigree worthy of the finest rose.

“I have a corporate background and had the privilege of working for a world-class global company, McDonald’s Corporation, Rosen said. It was there she “learned how to operate a company with consistency and predictability.”

Rosen, who describes herself as a late bloomer, also knew that if she entered the entrepreneurial world, she would apply these principles wherever she operated. She also admits to being “fascinated by subscription-based business models where we would enjoy recurring sales. Unlike other entrepreneurs that may start with a product idea in mind, we started with the business model and business principles in search of an innovative product.”

She also put together all the moving parts. After seeing a similar product in England, she knew the hotel sector was looking to cut operating costs. “Our idea is to supply luxurious long-lasting floral arrangements to luxury hospitality operators to save time and money without compromising the beauty needed in floral for their discriminating guests.”

And it didn’t come easy. Rosen said, “With a lot of learning, we have figured out how to export flowers from Latin America and get completed arrangements to a front lobby of a luxury hotel anywhere in the USA. We have been proud to serve St. Regis Hotels, Ritz Carlton, Waldorf Astoria, American Airlines and more as we grew our base of credit worthy clientele.”

Branding and content lessons from the preserved roses industry.

Let’s talk branding and content

“The cost of a preserved floral arrangement is more than fresh cut and so photography and copy of our product must reflect something a luxury buyer seeks,” explained Rosen. To that end, they choose their words almost as carefully as they choose their perfect blooms.

For Rosen and her content team, that means choosing words like “Bespoke, Handmade, Luxurious, Beautiful” to explain their arrangements.

Rosen is also cognizant of the fact that the product has to fit the descriptors. “Luckily our roses are just beautiful as are our over 25 colors.” Also important in the overall messaging is exquisite photography and product shots that invite comments from fans along with social media engagement.

“Close up shots of the roses work well to wow a reader to open and comment on an Instagram post or e-blast,” Rosen said. “We also try to tell a story with props and places customers may see floral in a normal setting. We have a poster in our floral department that says, everything we make is beautiful, everything. This will always be our goal as our customer is our boss and they expect and deserve the best.” 

2 reasons to try luxury:

  • Many industries are suffering as a result of the pandemic. While they might not be spending a fortune on going out or travel, consumers haven’t stopped targeting an elevated shopping experience, albeit on a smaller level.
  • You don’t have to reach out to each individual to get your message across. Luxe Bloom’s ultimate consumer is the hotel, the event or the producer. While individuals are welcome, the overall content and branding speak to volume sales.

And inspiration

Before creating content for a brand — much less launching one — smart content creators look for inspiration across a wide variety of industries. In the case of launching an aspirational brand entirely consisting of preserved roses, Rosen said, “We looked at a lot of fashion books and photography for design, styling and use of colors.  We are inspired by the use of vibrant colors of Hermes, the consistent look of Chanel and the beautiful, intricate gowns and works of Oscar De La Renta. Fashion will always be our inspiration.”

With that in mind, it isn’t simply the look of the products that carry that same level of panache, the content follows suit. From the carefully curated collections of roses to the ways they’re named or described, every word is chosen carefully. In describing their rose walls, Luxe Bloom invites even a casual reader to understand the impact of their product.

On the web page for rose walls it says:

“We have been on the Red Carpet in Hollywood, in Luxury Retail Windows on Fifth Avenue, in Luxury Sporting Stadiums and other leading Luxury Events. Our exquisite Rose Walls make for stunning photography and endure in any setting.”

In a single sentence they set the stage, let you know where they’ve been, inform you that the photo ops are there and their products are Instagram friendly and that, more than anything, their product lasts.

3 content marketing lessons from the preserved roses industry

3 content marketing lessons from the preserved roses industry

  1. What’s old is new again — if done right: Until I first heard about preserved roses from a client a few years back, I’d have never thought that roses could make a comeback, but they did. Simply refreshing your content or presentation methods can allow you to almost create a subcategory in your existing product line or work.
  2. Focus on the positive: Roses! For a year! But they don’t really smell too strong after that. For all the stunning presentations and riveting content, I’m almost sure that I didn’t read anything on any of the copy for these brands saying the smell doesn’t last — or maybe I missed it. My point is that these products have so much going for them that there doesn’t seem to be any reason to highlight the things consumers might miss.
  3. Categories can be transformed — even during a pandemic: The floral industry suffered mightily at the onset of COVID-19 since people couldn’t deliver their product. By creating and marketing a product that lasts, they created a way to charge more initially and create a memorable gift item that keeps on giving. It’s thoughtful, cost-effective and decorative. It’s also a good reminder to look at your own offerings and see if they can be tweaked for the here and now.