At AIFD Symposium, a Celebration of Past and Future
By Mary Westbrook
“Many of the new members were presented by our Fellows and past presidents,” said Symposium Chair Marie Ackerman, AAF, AIFD, PFCI. “It was a great blend of the old guard and the new kids on the block, and a great way to celebrate being 50 years ‘young’ as an organization!”
Frank Feysa AIFD, PFCI, of Garden Gate Inc. in Aurora, Ohio, agreed.
“One of the things that really stood out for me this year was seeing such a wide range of individuals in attendance, from founding members and past presidents right up to new inductees,” said Feysa, who was elected AIFD secretary during the event. “It was so exciting and rewarding that those early members have the same mission that the newer members do, and mixing the generations is nothing less than fireworks.”
Outgoing AIFD President Tim Farrell AIFD, AAF, PFCI, of Farrell’s Florist in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, also agreed that the shared stage presentation was “very moving.”
AIFD Director of Communications and Marketing Molly Baldwin-Abbott, who said attendance this year was about on par with previous years’ numbers, said the main stage presentations were another “standout moment” from this year’s “Journey”-themed Symposium, which celebrated AIFD’s 50th anniversary earlier this month in Denver.
“The artistic talents of the designers is awe inspiring,” she said.
For AIFD Membership Chairperson Leanne Kesler AIFD, of the Floral Design Institute in Portland, Oregon, a poignant Symposium moment came during her interview with presenter Jenny Thomasson, AIFD, and her husband, Joe, of Stems Florist in St. Louis.
New highlights included additional hands-on classes and a new short talk show, called The Talk, which summarized the programs of the day with what Ackerman calls AIFD’s “own Ellen-look-a-like and Symposium co-chair, Vonda LaFever.” Ackerman is particularly proud of the addition of short, edited and often humorous “interviews” with the designers presenting the main stage programs, which ran prior to each of those sessions. “They were a smash hit,” Ackerman said. “You got to know the designer before they came on stage — who they were, what was important to them . . . Very M-TV style.”
Other highlights from the event include:
2015 AIFD Class Inducted. Sixty-nine people were inducted into AIFD on July 2. The number represented “a much bigger class than we had in most recent years,” said Baldwin-Abbott. The strong turnout may be due in part to the creation in 2009 of AIFD’s Certified Floral Designer (CFD) credential. Following last year’s Professional Floral Design Evaluation at the 2014 Symposium in Chicago, 50 of the 143 qualified floral designers earned their CFD credentials, 24 maintained their CFD credentials and 69 were invited to join AIFD, the organization’s highest level of certification.
New Leaders Installed. Joyce Mason-Monheim AIFD, PFCI, of Designer Destination in Tucson, Arizona, was installed as AIFD’s president, succeeding Farrell. Installed as AIFD’s President-Elect was Anthony Vigliotta AIFD, of Anthos Design in Los Angeles, Calif. Kim Oldis AIFD, CFD of Details…..it’s all about the flowers in LaConner, Washington, was elected to serve as the Institute’s vice president. Feysa was elected secretary and Tom Simmons AIFD, of Three Bunch Palms Productions in Palm Springs, California, will continue as treasurer of the Institute. (Read more about the AIFD leadership team.)
Industry Heroes Recognized. AIFD recognized Sylvia Bird AIFD, PFCI, and Richard Milteer AIFD, PFCI, with the group’s Award of Distinguished Service to the Floral Industry and Jim Hynd AIFD, with the Award of Distinguished Service. In addition, the group recognized Denver Wholesale Florist with the Award of Merit – Industry. Find out more about the awards and the award winners.
For more information on Symposium, including a wrap-up video, results from the Student Floral Design Competition and design photos to keep you oohing and ahhing until Christmas, visit AIFD’s web site and Facebook page.
SAF Partnership Offers Four-Digit Savings on Vehicles
By Jenny Scala
Starting this month, SAF membership provides savings totaling $1,500 on many Chrysler, Fiat, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, with no minimum number of automobiles purchased. Seven vehicles have already been sold to SAF members through the program.
"Delivery and transportation are fundamental to the floral industry, and buying, operating, equipping and maintaining vehicles are major expenses for SAF members," said SAF Membership Manager Brian Walrath. "By offering our members savings on fuel-efficient, reliable vehicles, SAF and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA US), are helping lower the cost of doing business.”
Through SAF’s partnership with FCA US, SAF member business owners and employees, and their immediate family members at the same residence, may receive a $500 cash allowance toward the purchase or lease of select new Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck, and FIAT brand vehicles. The $500 discount is off the final negotiated price of the vehicle and in most cases can be combined with other offers to increase savings.
In addition, SAF member business owners and their employees also may qualify for On The Job program allowances, including up to $1,000 to add new equipment, a company logo or graphic to their work vehicle.
"SAF and FCA US equal a great combination," said Mike Ring, head of small business sales and operations at FCA US. "SAF membership is made up of a wide-range of small businesses, and FCA US has the diverse product line-up and unique for-business programs and allowances to address their needs. This partnership will help SAF members offset the cost of their membership while providing valuable allowances that contribute to their businesses' profitability."
The "On the Job" program allowance, valued at up to $1,000, enables the business owner or employee purchaser/leasee to choose from one of four offers:
SAF Helps Industry Ally Push for Seasonal Worker Clarification
By Drew Gruenburg
Last week, members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) took the issue to Capitol Hill after Shawn McBurney, SAF’s senior director of government relations, briefed the group.
NALP’s advocacy comes on the heels of SAF’s Congressional Action Days (CAD) in March, when about 90 floral industry members expressed similar concerns about the term and how it’s defined to their lawmakers. (Read more about the definition, and why it was an important issue at CAD.)
Speaking before a crowd of lawn care and landscape industry business owners, McBurney updated the group on the status of the “Simplifying Technical Aspects Regarding Seasonality (STARS) Act” and presented key selling points of the legislation. He also outlined what they might hear about the bill on Capitol Hill.
The ACA, which the STARS Act would amend, remains a highly-charged issue. Attempts to change the law are generally met with opposition from Democrats who do not want to see it weakened and from Republicans who want the bill repealed rather than improved. Despite that, STARS is seen as one of the very few bipartisan technical changes that may be considered.
McBurney said the NALP event was a “perfect opportunity to generate additional visibility and support for the SAF-initiated STARS Act and ultimately obtain new congressional sponsors.”
At press time, the House bill had 57 co-sponsors. SAF and its coalition continue to meet with members of the House to increase the number of cosponsors and to lobby for its passage. SAF has also been informed that Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) will be introducing a Senate companion bill along with Senator Angus King (I-ME).
“We’ve definitely made progress since CAD,” McBurney said, “but we have a ways to go, and demonstrating the support of business owners in the landscaping industry is an important step forward.”
NALP has been involved in SAF’s efforts to pass the STARS Act almost since its inception, according to McBurney, who noted that Sen. Ayotte is married to a landscape professional, a fact she shared with SAF members during a CAD office visit.
“The senator has firsthand knowledge of how the ACA’s definition of seasonal affects industry businesses,” McBurney said.
Read about how one florist and CAD attendee helped convinced her lawmaker to support STARS during an in-store visit.
From Weddings to Funerals to Everyday, SAF Amelia Island 2015 has You Covered
By Shelley Estersohn
Next month at SAF Amelia Island 2015 experts can help you tap into these markets and more. Among the 37 educational sessions and events at the association’s 131st Annual Convention, Sept. 9 to Sept.12 in Amelia Island, Florida, are sessions featuring practical insight that can help florists grow core segments of their businesses:
Summer Slump: Americans Aren't Spending
American spenders didn't show up in June. And they spent even less than we thought in spring. U.S. retail sales fell 0.3% in June compared to May. That's a red flag because economists had expected consumers to open up their wallets after a cold shaky winter. Retail sales for April and May were also revised down. And buyers didn't turn up for anything -- sales of cars, furniture, groceries were down in June. “For June so far, it looks like consumers took a step back," says Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. Read more.
What You Can Learn From Taylor Swift
By Katie Hendrick
The country singer turned pop princess, currently on her 1989 World Tour, consistently performs in front of sold-out arenas and has endorsements with nearly a dozen companies, including Keds, Diet Coke and Cover Girl. With a net worth estimated at $200 million, she's also the youngest person on Forbes' "100 Most Powerful Women" list.
Sure, her success is largely due to her talent for churning out song after song that we can't seem to shake shake shake shake shake out of our heads. But her charisma plays a big role too.
"She's a social media maven," said CNBC writer Sarah Whitten in "The Swift Rise of Taylor Inc.," an analysis of the singer's mass appeal.
Despite her very busy schedule, Swift goes online daily to communicate with her fans (37.6 million on Instagram, 60.3 million on Twitter and 71.8 million on Facebook). The effect: she comes across as real and relatable, someone who appreciates what she has and everyone who helped her achieve it.
Here are two types of posts she has employs regularly that have fans liking, commenting and buying her music:
Deck the Halls for Some Mid-Summer Sales
By Katie Hendrick
Baby, it's hot outside!
Sounds like the perfect excuse to indulge in a Sno-ball, some peppermint ice cream, or any other frosty treat befitting a Christmas in July party...
You don't have to completely haul out the holly for one day, but an informal holiday celebration is a great way to engage with customers and to clear out any snowmen containers or ornaments lingering from December.
How to Increase Your Sales Using Instagram
Social media has evolved into a treasure trove for marketers who know how to harvest fans and customers on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and the like. But actually translating your social media campaigns into increased sales takes finesse and know-how. Apu Gupta, CEO of Curalate, a visual marketing platform that helps 650 brands transform images into sales, has some ideas on how to market to different segments of consumers on Instagram. Here's his advice. Read more.
Your Holiday Shopping Guide
By Katie Hendrick
The holiday season is a whole lot jollier when the shopping's done well in advance. Take time this summer to pick out items that will give your shop and designs a festive touch. This month's Floral Management features a holiday shopping guide, chock full of beautiful products, including gilded ribbon, jewel tone vases and pinecone candleholders. Check out the New Products column to get inspired.
Why Retailers Rarely Hear About Customer Service Issues (But Should)
Pittsburgh Business Times
It appears that retailers truly only have one chance to make a good impression. LoyaltyOne and Verde Group r eleased a study that found four out of five consumers who have had a bad customer experience don't provide feedback, and only a small percentage will give retailers a chance to fix the issue. The study of 2,500 U.S. consumers found that nearly half of consumers have experienced a problem when they shop, but only 19 percent of consumers will tell the retailer to give them a chance to address the problem. Read more.
N.Y. Florist-Flower Grower Charms High-Profile Style Magazine
By Mary Westbrook
“People look at flowers as objects — as a decorating element, not a living thing,” said Ryhanen. “But sometimes the most beautiful thing is the most fleeting. The most fragrant, delicate rose — often those wilt in minutes. Flowers are about living in the moment, and then letting go.”
Along with her partner, Eric Famisan, Ryhanen co-owns Saipua, a retail store in Brooklyn specializing in bouquets and artisanal soaps , and World’s End, a 107-acre flower farm outside of Albany.
The glowing profile chronicled Ryhanen’s transition from the art world to the floral industry a decade ago and the couple’s more recent decision to start their own farm to source “unique specimens” for their floral design, including auricula, black hellebores and bearded brown irises. The story detailed some of the challenges inherent to an upstate New York flower farm (brutal winters, challenging soil better suited for dairy farms) and the rewards (the year’s peony, iris and lilac crops were particularly robust.)
This isn’t the first time Ryhanen has been highlighted in T. While her close-to-the-action retail location certainly helps garner that high-profile coverage, florists around the country can likely pull some PR lessons from her success, including:
Host an Open House. The bulk of the T story centered on a tour of World’s End farm. Ryhanen and Famisan showed the reporter their fields and farmhouse, introduced her to their employees and discussed the highlights and difficulties of their business model — while picnicking, idyllically, on cherries, cheese and bread. Local reporters may be similarly interested in a behind-the-scenes visit of your business, particularly if you frame the visit with a news angle (e.g. What goes into creating floral designs for a five-wedding weekend). PR Pitch: Practice your talking points ahead of time and don’t forget to give key staff members a head’s up, so they have time to primp and practice, too, says Manny Gonzales of Tiger Lily Florist in Charleston, who brought the open house idea into the digital age last year with a series of behind-the-scenes videos posted to YouTube.
Connect on Multiple Channels. In addition to owning a retail shop and flower farm, Ryhanen is the co-founder of the The Little Flower School in Brooklyn,, and a social media queen, with more than 51,000 followers on Instagram alone. Last year Ryhanen created an “exclusive” video with T on designing flowers “the Brooklyn way.” PR Pitch: The next time you host a hands-on class, try adding a region-specific theme and offering “exclusive” access to a features reporter in your area. Play up the specific vision or design aesthetic of your top designer — or offer your own services as an expertise to a local morning show. For more inspiration, read about how one SAF member, Eileen Looby Weber, AAF, scored a regular gig hosting a TV show in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Pump Up Flower Power. When Ryhanen said flowers are more beautiful because they are fleeting she struck back (in an artful way) against gift competitors who suggest flowers are a lesser gift because they don’t last forever, turning a potential negative into a positive. PR Pitch: SAF has university research galore to help you get the media’s attention and — once you have it — position flowers as a powerful, emotional gift. Find out more about the effect flowers have on emotional health, workplace productivity and much, much more.
Tips for Planning a Celebrity Style Wedding
Colin Cowie Weddings
Colin Cowie writes, "From intimate celebrations to iconic weddings, I work to give clients the ultimate experience. Now I'm sharing my secrets with you. Throw a celebrity style wedding with these six tips.” Read more.
Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
By Catherine Iste
We are adults. We are professionals, and we spend most of our waking hours at work. Why is it so hard to just get along? Because we are adults, professionals and spend so much of our time at work. How do we lead through these inherent challenges to accomplish our goals in a positive way? Take a minute, realize we are all in this together and apply a little perspective to your approach. Here are three reasons why we can’t all get along — and how to get passed it. Read more.
Get Better Acquainted With Local Funeral Directors
By Katie Hendrick
Maintaining positive relationships with local funeral directors is essential to build your sympathy business. When submitting death notices, some funeral directors regard "in lieu of flowers" as a convenient, polite way to reference memorial contributions. Others might use it because they consider handling and transporting flowers a hassle. They need to hear directly from florists to appreciate the role of flowers in the bereavement process.
Also check out "Take Back the Tributes," a recent Floral Management cover story, to learn how a few members have overcome thorny issues, such as order gatherers and "in lieu of" notices.
Free Sympathy Tools
By Katie Hendrick
Do you know all the ways you can ingratiate yourself with funeral directors? Knowledge is power, and SAF puts several educational tools at your fingertips. Among them: the American Floral Endowment's Funeral Directors and Flowers Report. This free report analyzes results from a survey of 200 funeral directors, providing insight on consumers' preferences for sympathy flowers, charity donations versus flowers, the relationship between floral retailers and funeral directors and more. In it, you'll also find ready-to-implement ideas, checklists and detailed suggestions from funeral directors. To download the report in its entirety, login or create a new account at FloralMarketingResearchFund.org.
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