Finding a good florist is no small feat. As I planned my wedding this year, I asked my married friends if they would recommend their florist to me and, unfortunately, all of them said no. Not a single one of them was happy with their experience. And they all listed similar problems: they felt rushed during their consultations, communication was slow and they didn’t understand why everything was so expensive.

But there was another problem as well. Most weren’t willing to pay what the flowers were worth. I’m talking budgets of $500 for an entire wedding party, plus décor. Wedding flowers aren’t cheap but most of us don’t understand why. Perhaps that’s why fake flowers are becoming a popular alternative.

As I poked around on review sites and social media, I figured out that part of the reason is that no florist (at least in the Cleveland area) had any pricing information of any kind on their websites. People beginning their searches had absolutely no idea where to start when it came to the price of a bouquet, much less centerpieces and other décor.

After hours of digging and lots of consultation calls, I was lucky enough to find a florist who would work with me, price everything out and show me exactly how much bang I was getting for my buck. It wasn’t cheap, but it was absolutely worth it. She was a true professional and I’d highly recommend her to anyone in need of gorgeous flowers. This woman really knew her stuff and she knew how to sell it, and she knew how to provide options to fit my budget.

That’s the kind of person you need if you want to start up your own floral department — someone with a true passion for fresh flowers and great floral design. You want someone with great customer service skills as well as an entrepreneurial nature. Flowers aren’t going to sell themselves, after all.

But according to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent $2 billion on flowers last Valentine’s Day alone. The key to capturing your segment of that market could be in the way you market your floral division. Rather than compete with the local grocery store’s prices, show potential customers what you’re worth and why.

Instead of joining the race to the bottom, show customers your value, charge what you’re worth and explain why you’re the expert they need.

Kate Spirgen