KUCHING: When one thinks of Valentine’s Day, one of the things that typically come to mind — besides dinner dates and gifts — is beautiful bouquets of flowers.

With a multitude of choices such as physical florists, home-based online florists, and recently even roadside stalls that pop up around a week before this special day, customers are spoilt for choice.

However, they have to bear in mind that bouquets during this time come with a heftier price tag compared to regular days.

Chai shows a floral arrangement at her shop.

Chai Min Sia, director of well-established Lavender Flora Sdn Bhd in Jalan Padungan here, explained that prices tended to hike up during this period as the demand was much greater and supply was short.

“We would have to import more flowers from other countries such as India and Kenya. The prices can even be double the usual amount, so florists have to increase our prices accordingly,” she told New Sarawak Tribune yesterday.

She said that the rise of online florists had affected business a little, but Lavender Flora also offered online services and delivery ― “So, those who are outstation or from other countries can place their orders and have them delivered.”

Chai said that her store had been operating for about 15 years, indicating that the quality of their products was high and they had a regular customer base.

She said that their Valentine’s Day prices ranged from RM18 for one stalk to RM1,000; depending on the flowers used and the packaging of the bouquet.

“We accommodate the customisations and specification of customers as well. We can add items like soft toys to the floral arrangements,” she said, gesturing to the wide array of additional items in store.

Yiw making a flower bouquet.

Assistant florists Yiw See Tang from Spring Florist & Gifts in Jalan Foochow said that they received about double the usual number of flower orders during the Valentine’s Day season.

“We can get about 80 to 100 during these few days,” she said, adding that the economy was not too good so orders were less compared to the previous year.

According to her, prices were higher as the suppliers had upped their prices and they also had to cover transport costs for imported flowers. “At the moment we are not importing from China, but we do get most of our supplies from India and Kenya,” she said.

She, too, remarked that business had been affected by the presence of online florists, but it was manageable as they had their own designs and equipment such as a walk-in refrigerator to keep flowers fresh.

Yiw said that floral arrangements during the Valentine’s Day season would go from RM35 to RM630 depending on the bouquet size and packaging.

New Sarawak Tribune also reached out to The Petals Theory, a local online florist based mainly on Facebook and Instagram.

The Petals Theory’s Instagram page.

Its owner, Kiew Jia Ying, pointed out that the target market for online florists and physical stores was different.

“We offer more of the modern Korean style of floral arrangements, while stores tend to have more traditional styles,” she said.

She explained that most of their customers were gained via recommendations.

“Overseas customers and those not familiar with Kuching are more likely to purchase from physical stores as these would have an official website and would be easier to search for,” she said.

She echoed what Chai and Yiw had mentioned about the increased prices due to higher demand during this season, adding that the prices usually saw an upsurge about two weeks prior to Valentine’s Day.

Roadside stalls lining the Premier 101 area.

Touching on another difference between The Petals Theory and physical stores, Kiew said that their sources were different.

“Most local florists here would use local flowers and also those imported from China and India. Ours are mostly imported from Kenya, Ecuador and Holland,” she remarked, adding that this meant higher prices for these flowers.