A little more than two years after he launched BeautifullyFresh, Bill Schodowski has taken his one-man wholesale operation online.
Up until now, Schodowski would email customers each morning with a list of what’s available for the day and wait for them to call or email with their orders.
“Those who want to hear my whiny voice and my lousy jokes can still call,” he said. “But those who prefer shopping on their own when it suits them will love this —especially any insomniacs out there!”
The BeautifullyFresh website is very intuitive. It breaks down flowers by type, description, and farm origin. “By now, a lot of my customers know exactly which farms they like,” he explained. The site works in real-time; when a customer purchases flowers, they disappear from the available listings.
With 45 years of experience in the industry, Schodowski has built up a robust Rolodex that helps him source top-notch and unique product.
“I’ve paired up with an operation in Miami that brings in flowers from South and Central America six days a week,” he said. “They’ve graded their farms based on growing and packaging practices, so I’ve been able to select only AAA farms to offer my retail customers the best quality.”
Schodowski started BeautifullyFresh for retailers who felt under serviced by their wholesalers.
“I’d hear from florists who’d read about the winners in SAF’s Outstanding Varieties Competition and then be frustrated that they couldn’t get those flowers,” he said.
Schodowski can rattle off several “terrific” wholesalers known for fresh product and a lot of variety, but says they’re not the norm.
“A lot of wholesalers were beaten up financially during the recession and are still hesitant to bring in anything they aren’t 100 percent certain they can sell through,” he explained. “So their customers have been stuck with the basics.”
The idea behind BeautifullyFresh is that any retailer, “regardless of their size or location, can get those prized and quality varieties to wow their customers.”
Schodowski said that, although he is “extremely happy” with his current customer base, “there is always room for one more. I started my love affair with the retail community in 1971 and it shows no signs of letting up.”
For more information, call Schodowski at 855-814-6183 or email [email protected].