Selling flowers to survive during retirement
As one grows older and approaches retirement, there is need to plan for your financial wellbeing. It is important to think about investments that are not as labour intensive but guarantee regular cash flow. Many retirees usually consider investing in projects related to their hobbies and interests.
Sanyu Christine Musaazi, a 38-year-old mother of three living in Muyenga village, is a florist and owner of Sanyuka Florists and décor. Her husband, Musaazi Denis is also a florist.
“After selling flowers for more than 12 years, I took this on as a retirement job after resigning from my marketing and sales job at East African glassware mart,” Sanyu says.
“I got inspiration from my boyfriend, who used to run a florist shop at Garden City in Kampala about 15 years ago. He would routinely invite me to wedding functions, where he would spend the night arranging flowers, taking care to make each arrangement look beautiful for his clients,” she says.
When asked why she chose flowers, Sanyu says flowers are beautiful and bring good energy wherever they are.
“It is like nature’s way of speaking to us. Whether it is a sad or happy moment, when you see flowers, you see love,” she adds.
Sanyu says her pricelist ranges from 10,000 Uganda Shillings for standard bouquets to 250,000 Uganda Shillings for the coffin spread bouquets. She adds that gift box hampers range from 50,000 Uganda Shillings to 150,000 Uganda Shillings for the large boxes, which include wine and chocolates.
After being in business for more than 12 years, Sanyu says making your customers kings and queens is the most integral part of any business. This, she says, will drive growth.
As flowers continue being a sought after item, especially for occasions, Sanyu believes there is increasing ready market for her flower arrangements.
“The culture of flowers in Uganda, I would say has grown overtime. People have learnt a different way to show and share love through flowers. Of course, there are those who do not understand the essence of giving flowers and feel giving another gift is more practical. However, we are also changing their minds slowly but surely,” she says.
According to Sanyu, there is a certain age group that actually appreciates the gesture of receiving and giving flowers and these kept her business thriving, even during the hard times of the coronavirus lockdown.
The business employs three women and routinely trains young girls if need arises.
“I have also given opportunity to some of the teenage girls who are not in school because of the pandemic. I use this time to teach them how the flower business works, and adding onto their skills bank until schools resume,” she says.
Given the number of businesses embracing the flower culture, Sanyu says variety, uniqueness, quality, efficiency and effectiveness have made her business stand out from her competitors.
“We always do our best to make sure that the client gets what they ordered or even better. Through the years, we have continued receiving compliments and referrals. Our job is to make our client’s function memorable,” Sanyu adds.
She has also been able to reap big from the business enough to pay school fees for her children and also sustain the family together with her husband.
Despite the growing demand for flowers, however, there is still uncertainty of supply. The shortage of flowers in Uganda forces Sanyu to import from neighbouring Kenya, which can be costly.
During a media interview, David Malinga, a professional florist at Royal Gardens, says florists mainly consider the quality of flowers including the freshness and health of the flowers. Florists also prefer closed flowers that are not too short in length.
“Flowers should be well graded in bunches of 15 to 20 and have a good appearance and we like them closed so that they open up from the shop. If the suppliers’ flowers are up to standard, we give them an order and they supply,” Malinga says.
He advises farmers to check which flowers are in demand so that they supply those making more profit.
With regards to future plans, Sanyu says it has always been her dream to open another flower shop and reveals that she plans to open one on the Munyonyo-Entebbe Expressway to reach out to clients as they drive to and from Entebbe International Airport.
“We are setting up our online selling site and we are adding Balloon bouquets, potted plants, flower vases and bridal bouquets. Our goal is to ensure every customer is accommodated and served to their satisfaction,” Sanyu reveals.