'Tough, Resilient' Wholesalers Gather in Record-breaking Numbers in Miami
By Mary Westbrook
This year’s record-breaking attendance continues a five-year upward trend. In 2014 the conference attracted 750 people, a feat WF&FSA Immediate Past President Alan Tanouye, of Floralife Inc., attributed in part to its South Florida location.
Among the highlights of this year’s event: Rob Shibata, president of Mt. Eden Floral Company in San Jose, California, assumed the organization’s presidency. As he took on his new role, Shibata presented his vision for the coming year, one centered on the phrase, “We’re still here.”
“As a group, we are a tough, resilient, innovative, hard working, adaptable, industry,” he told the packed room. “We’ve had to change as business people, and we’ve had to change as an industry. And do you know what? We’re all still here. And not only are we still here, but we are moving into the future as companies. The companies that I know are pushing into the future.” Read his full remarks.
In assuming the presidency, Shibata joined a select group of industry families who have seen two generations head WF&FSA: His father, Yoshimi Shibata, was president of WF&FSA 43 years ago. Making Robert’s new role even more poignant, Yoshimi died peacefully at his home less than two weeks after the conference this year ended.
During the conference, WF&FSA also presented its Leland T. Kintzele Distinguished Service Award award to Len Levy of Hillcrest Gardens in Paramus, New Jersey. The annual award is the organization’s highest honor.
Read more about the conference, including a full list of new leaders and awards, and download presentations from the event.
Old Containers Be Gone: Scholarship Winner Gets Serious About Inventory Control
By Mary Westbrook
At Hawley’s Florist in Rutland, Vermont, sales and service consultant Tim Huckabee found a basement filled with such containers — and an owner, Heather Fernandes, more than willing to see all that unsold merchandise go.
“I think they probably have $10,000 in containers down there,” said Huckabee, who quickly noted that the container backup at Hawley’s isn’t unusual. “It’s human nature for a designer, working in the design room, to reach for the closest container,” rather than the vase hiding in storage.
To combat the problem, Hawley’s will soon incentivize team members to sell those unused containers. In fact, Fernandes, a former paralegal who purchased the longtime florist in September, said she’s already challenged her designers to move through the containers by focusing on the worst first.
“We called it the ugly vase challenge, and it was amazing,” she said, adding that the language is only used internally. “I told the designers to go in and pick out the ugliest one and make something new — two out of three designs sold right away!”
That’s just one of the solutions Huckabee, of Floral Strategies, is cooking up for the shop, which received the Gary Buckwald Scholarship for Excellence in Floral Sales and Service during SAF Amelia Island 2015. The scholarship was created in 2012 as a collaboration between Floral Strategies, Syndicate Sales, which sponsors the sales training, and the Society of American Florists.
As the scholarship recipient, the Hawley's team will receive more than $10K worth of sales and customer service training, education, and ongoing support from FloralStrategies.
Read more about Huckabee’s first visit to the store, and why he thinks shops located outside of major metros need to stop assuming their customers won’t spend serious cash on floral designs.
Look for additional updates from the store in future issues.
In San Francisco, 'Legacy Business' Proposition Passes
By Mary Westbrook
A proposal to use financial incentives to help preserve longtime San Francisco businesses passed on Tuesday.
Proposition J will create the Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund. Under the proposition, legacy businesses will be granted $500 per full-time employee. Building owners who lease to legacy businesses for at least 10 years could also receive an annual grant of $4.50 per square foot of leased space.
Prop. J expands the definition of a legacy business to include businesses and nonprofits that have been in the city for over 20 years, have contributed to the history or identity of a neighborhood, or face risk of displacement because of rent increases or lease termination.
Momentum for Prop J picked up last year, after the “city’s budget and legislative analyst issued a report saying thousands of businesses would close, driven in part by commercial real estate prices,” according to KQED News. “It predicted that if current trends continue, more than 5,000 businesses would close or change locations by 2019.” Read more.
According to the San Francisco Business Times, city Controller Ben Rosenfield estimated “the measure ultimately could cost about $30 million in 25 years — just for the business grants — and another $21 million to $63 million annually for the landlord portion of the program. About 7,500 businesses could qualify as legacy businesses, and some 300 a year could receive grants.”
Opponents of Prop J “argued that the fund translated to a political handout, especially since legacy businesses would be nominated by supervisors and the mayor,” the newspaper reported. “Proponents, however, said the fund could save small businesses that otherwise may shut down or flee to new, cheaper locations amid the city's real estate boom, particularly in the city's unique neighborhood commercial corridors such as Chinatown, North Beach and the Richmond district.”
For his part, Harold Hoogasian, president of Hoogasian Flowers in San Francisco, said he opposed the effort. “The last thing we need in [San Francisco] is more government intrusion into business,” said Hoogasian, whose father, Harold B. Hoogasian, emigrated to San Francisco in 1928 and soon started working in the floral industry. (Hoogasian owns his properties, but he says he could “probably apply for a subsidy, as the business does not own the property, but rather a family LLP.”)
“In my opinion it would represent the ‘nose of the camel under the tent’ of rent control, which currently only applies to residential tenancies in buildings built before 1978,” said Hoogasian on Tuesday, before the proposition passed. “Sorry if I sound cynical, but I have lived in San Francisco all of my life and seen even more radical changes occur in the name of some [so-called] greater good in the past.”
AFE Research Aims to Protect Gerbera From Powdery Mildew
By Lori Ostrow
Powdery mildew is the most common and damaging disease for gerbera crops. The lack of disease-resistant gerbera plants has been a major limiting factor for crop production.
The American Floral Endowment's (AFE's) latest research report, Powdery Mildew Resistance in Transgenic Gerbera Plants, focused on increasing the plants' resistance to powdery mildew through gene transference.
Researchers Dr. Zhanao Deng, Zhonglin Mou and Natalia A. Peres of the University of Florida have concluded through this research that powdery mildew sensitivity can be overcome by transferring defense-related genes from non-crop plants to crop plants.
Results showed that genes from other plants can be transferred into gerbera crops to increase their resistance to powdery mildew. Regenerated plants had few mildew symptoms and better mildew resistance.
This information can be incorporated into breeding programs and can help breeders manage diseases more effectively and control production costs. The study also offers the potential to develop disease-resistant varieties in other floriculture crops and for other diseases.
Visit Endowment.org for the full report and to access more than 150 free research reports covering disease management, insect management, post production, and more!
Bob Friese Inducted into Hall of Fame
For over 50 years, Friese has shared his knowledge and artistry supporting the floral industry. Active as a leader and volunteer in the American Institute of Floral Designers, he received the group's 2014 Award of Distinguished Service and has also been honored with the Michigan Floral Association's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Early in his career, he began teaching and mentoring students at his floral school in Chicago. He took an active part in the Great Lakes Floral Expo, teaching classes at the conference and at his home studio on behalf of the Michigan Floral Association.
Approximately 10 years ago Friese began hosting Nature's Creative Edge at his property in Fruitport, Michigan. The massive floral display created by designers from around the country was open to the public and attracted thousands each year. Ticket sales benefited various organizations including local charities, AIFD National and the AIFD North Central Chapter. This year marked the finale of Nature's Creative Edge as Friese reached his 80th birthday.
Yoshimi Shibata: Jan. 25, 1916-Oct. 31, 2015
By Mary Westbrook
“He was at home, with family present,” said Robert Shibata, one of “Shimi’s” sons and the current president of Mt. Eden. “We are grateful that he had a distinguished and fulfilling career in the flower industry that he loved so much.”
Last spring, friends and family gathered in Palo Alto, California, to celebrate Shibata’s upcoming 100th birthday. According to a Mt. Eden web page commemorating the event, “The celebration was a heartfelt reunion of people from various walks in Shimi’s life, some connected by family ties, others through friendships forged in the earlier days of working in the floral industry. But all have been similarly touched by Shimi’s life, career, and friendship.”
Shibata was born in Oakland, California, to Zenjuro and Koyuri Shibata. In 1918, his father, Zenjuro, purchased the Mt. Eden property. Shibata attended both UC Berkeley and Ohio State, but after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, his family relocated to Marysville to avoid internment.
There, they worked in fruit fields. After eventually being interned at Tule Lake War Relocation Center for a year, Shibata moved to Des Plaines, Illinois, to work for Premier Rose Garden. He returned to the Mt. Eden Nursery in 1945, but was soon drafted into the U.S. Army.
Shibata, who became active in the Civil Rights Defense Union after his honorable discharge from the Army, received many lifetime honors, including the Order of the Rising Sun, Fourth Class in 1987 from the Japanese government. It is the highest civilian award given by the Japanese government. This year, he was awarded the CalFlowers 2015 Distinguished Service Award. Honorees of this award are recognized for the highest levels of leadership, strategic thinking, and contributions to the floral industry in California.
In 2006, Shibata released his memoir, “Across Two Worlds: Memoirs of a Nisei Flower Grower.”
Last month, Robert Shibata continued his father’s legacy of industry leadership and service, as he took on the role of WF&FSA president during the group’s annual conference.
In 2014, The Tribune in San Luis Obsipo told the story of how Shibata and his wife, Grace Eto, met, fell in love and married in 1947. The charming article includes pictures from the couple’s wedding day.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 at 2 p.m. at the Buddhist Temple of Alameda, 2325 Pacific Ave., Alameda, California, 94501.
Shibata is survived by his wife, Grace; his sister, Yayoi; his three children, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Find out more about Shibata’s life and watch a touching video created for his 2015 Distinguished Service Award.
U.S. Consumer Spending Rose Less Than Forecast in September
Household spending rose less than forecast in September, showing the biggest part of the U.S. economy ended a strong quarter on a weak note. Purchases increased 0.1 percent, the smallest gain since January, after rising 0.4 percent in August, Commerce Department figures showed Friday in Washington. The median forecast of 75 economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.2 percent advance. The first drop in prices since January helped take some of the sting out of a smaller-than-projected advance in incomes. Read more.
Four Ideas for End of Year E-mail Marketing
By Katie Hendrick
In a recent blog post, Ryan Pinkham, content manager of Constant Contact, shared 30 ideas to connect with customers for their holidays. Here are four of them — none of which entail slashing your prices!
1. Give an end of year update.
One way to celebrate the holidays is to reflect on milestones of the past year. Some choose to do this in their annual Christmas cards; others prefer a longwinded New Year's Eve status update on Facebook. While the latter often provokes a few eye rolls, a thoughtful email about your accomplishments is a welcome message in a sea of promotional emails. "As a small business, you share a special connection with your customers and they’ll be happy to hear about all of your success," Pinkham said. Recap highlights — galas, fundraisers, renovations, new employees, etc. — and mention what you're anticipating about the new year. Be sure to thank your loyal customers and include a smiling photo of your staff.
2. Share a holiday video.
A video adds some personality to your emails. For the past three years, former Floral Management Marketer of the Year winners Marty and Jane Loppnow, owners of Waukesha Floral & Greenhouses, Inc. in Waukesha, Wisconsin, have shared a goofy cartoon of dancing elves, with employees' faces superimposed on top of Santa's helpers.
You could also use video to go behind the scenes and let people know how you’re preparing for the holiday season or do a spotlight on independent employees, allowing them to talk about their family traditions.
3. Market gift packages.
You can add value without offering a discount by bundling products and services to create special gift packages. You can create packages unique to different audiences. For instance:
Who doesn't love an ugly Christmas sweater — or suit? Tasty Burger, a fast-food chain based in Boston, Massachusetts, invites fans to participate in an annual "12 Days of Ugly Sweaters" contest. Customers post their tackiest getups on Instagram, tagging the restaurant and using the hashtag, #uglysweater. The winner receives a $150 gift card. "This is a great way to engage your audience and have some fun during this busy time of year," Pinkham said.
For more tips on improving your email marketing, read "Stay Out of the Trash!"
'Butterfly Moments' Yield More Effective Copy
By Katie Hendrick
Afraid of coming across as a snake oil salesman, many business hold back too much in their marketing, says Amy Harrison, host of "Hit Publish," a podcast about sales copywriting.
"People's no. 1 fear is sounding over the top, but the no. 1 problem is underselling," Harrison said during a recent episode.
Harrison sees a lot of businesses describe their products or services as "amazing" or "awesome." "These terms are both overused and ambiguous," she said. "What's amazing to one person can be awful to another."
A more effective way of describing your business is to build and use a list of "butterfly moments."
"Butterfly moments are vivid, emotionally evocative points in time that crystallize in your customers' mind that a significant change has taken place, not unlike a caterpillar becoming a butterfly," Harrison said.
Start by writing down a collection of moments in a customer's life where they've experienced a major change, one that brings them joy (think: graduation, a first date, a new job, a marriage proposal, a positive pregnancy test, a promotion, a book deal, retirement, etc.). Next, imagine how your flowers and service can help them celebrate those moments. Finally, write the scene, so customers can picture themselves experiencing these butterfly moments.
There are four key elements that help you set a scene, Harrison said:
How Some Mini Pumpkins Saved Thanksgiving For One Oklahoma Florist
By Katie Hendrick
Do you struggle to sell the traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece: a long and low candelabra design?
You're not alone.
After watching Thanksgiving sales decline for several years (a common trend, according to results of SAF's Thanksgiving survey), Barbara, Lacee and Lenzee Bilke, owners of Madeline's Flowers in Edmond, Oklahoma, decided the problem was that the holiday's conventional style didn't mesh with their clients'. Their customers gravitated to diminutive designs in bold colors, a lot of texture and intriguing containers.
Enter: the mini pumpkin. These itty-bitty gourds provided the perfect petite vessel to fill with bright blossoms, such as zinnias or orchids. Madeline's customers responded with glee, snatching up "a tremendous" number of them, said Lenzee Bilke.
The Bilkes shared a three of their top sellers in this month's Floral Management. Check them out here for some Turkey Day inspiration.
6 Reasons You Still Need Print in a Smart Marketing Strategy
Smart Marketing Strategy
Almost every marketer today is focusing on Web and mobile marketing, with good reason. By 2020, there will be 6.1 billion smartphones in use around the world, according to Ericsson. And that’s just smartphones. Billions of eyes also are gazing at tablets, laptops, wearables, and desktop PCs. So where does that leave print marketing? Read more.
3 Never-fail Tactics for Superior Social Media Engagement
The waters of social media are difficult to navigate. You risk going unnoticed by your audience if you put up new posts only once in a while but you stand to turn off dedicated followers if you bombard them with updates every hour. Data shows that tweets with 110 characters or fewer receive much higher engagement than longer tweets. However, even if your tweets are the perfect length, tweeting more than three times a day can result in a drop in engagement rates. You simply never seem to catch a break with this multi-headed beast. Read more.
Stop Doing These 15 Things on Facebook
Small Business Trends
Many small business owners have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. While the potential to reach and engage your prospects, leads and customers is huge, there are so many little things that can keep you from realizing that promise. To help your business succeed on this challenging social media platform, here’s a list of things to stop doing on Facebook right now. Read more.
Setting Pretty: Party Rental Pros Share Top Trends in Tabletop Design
Like its culinary counterpart, the rectangular farm table — in all its rustic and sleek variations — remains a top dining table choice at both social and corporate events. "The way guests are seated contributes to the overall event experience, and farm or banquet tables are conducive to more celebratory family-style dining," says Kayla Loyek, event specialist at Edmonton, Alberta-based Special Event Rentals. Read more.
11 Fresh Fall Wedding Details We Love
Martha Stewart Weddings
Summer may be referred to as "wedding season," but more and more couples are choosing to say "I do" in the fall. And thanks to the cooler temps, incredible produce, and fabulous foliage, there are plenty of ways to throw a unique autumn wedding. Here, Jess Levin of Carats & Cake asks a few experts to share their tips on how to bring the season into your big day. Read more.
FTD Supports Military Service Members And Their Families With Flowers And Donation To USO
As part of its continued support for military service members, their families and veterans, premier floral and gifting company FTD® (Nasdaq: FTD) made a $20,000 donation to the United Service Organizations (USO) today. The contribution is part of an ongoing USO campaign encompassing a number of components, including sponsorship of the USO Gala held Oct. 20 and a dedicated USO Collection of bouquets.
"The brave men and women of the military protect our freedoms every day, and FTD is proud to continue our support of the USO which provides them with so many important services and programs they need," said Robert Apatoff, CEO of FTD Companies, Inc. "Providing beautiful artisan-designed flowers, along with financial support to members of the military and their families through the USO, is part of our company-wide effort to support the communities in which we live and operate."
FTD has proudly supported the USO since 2011. The company's multi-faceted USO program is designed to express gratitude to active duty service members in a number of ways:
The USO Collection - Customers who use this link to shop at FTD.com/USO save 20 percent on their purchase, and FTD will donate 5 percent of the purchase price to the USO. The USO Collection from FTD features a variety of fresh bouquets with beautiful red, white and blue blooms.
USO National Gala Sponsorship - FTD donated 100 handcrafted, artisan-designed floral centerpiece arrangements - featuring more than 5,000 flowers - for the USO Gala. The USO's annual event pays special tribute to men and women in uniform. Guests included Washington dignitaries, Members of Congress, military leadership and members of the USO Board of Governors.
Ongoing Donations to the USO - Following the USO Gala, FTD today delivered a $20,000 check to the USO Warrior and Family Center at Bethesda. The center is located on the campus of Naval Support Activity Bethesda, home of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. FTD also was able to use the flower arrangements from the Gala to create handcrafted bouquets and deliver them to wounded, ill and injured service members and their loved ones at the center. The Bethesda center opened its doors in 2014 to provide a place for USO Warrior and Family Care programs.
"Support from our corporate partners, like FTD, helps the USO continue its care and support for service members and military families," said Kristina Griffin, USO Director of Corporate Alliances. "We are grateful for all that FTD has done for the USO, and are proud to partner with a company that shares our commitment to keep our military connected to their family, home and country throughout their service."
For more information on FTD and to shop the USO Collection of bouquets, please visit www.ftd.com.
David Austin Roses has launched a new website dedicated exclusively to its cut rose varieties at davidaustinweddingroses.com.
Filled with gorgeous photographs and evocative language, the site offers both insight and inspiration for floral designers, wedding planners and brides-to-be.
It features 12 photo galleries — one for every David Austin cut rose variety. Through images of magnificent bridal bouquets and wedding décor, the galleries explore the unique beauty and special appeal of each David Austin Wedding Rose.
Floral designers are encouraged to use the galleries as they consult with wedding clients and to share images via social media. The website’s mobile-responsive template allows it to be viewed easily on any device.
“The Look of Love” — the website’s blog — will feature interviews with top floral designers from around the world. This month highlights floral and wedding designer Holly Heider Chapple, who tells customers that a David Austin Rose is “like a Gucci or Louis Vuitton — it’s a branded, labeled specialty bloom that’s worth every penny you pay for it.”
Put Thanksgiving Designs Front and Center
By Katie Hendrick
Have an early Thanksgiving with your staff – potluck style (this keeps down your costs and it's a fun opportunity to share family recipes). Bring in a couple different tablecloth and napkin sets (so you can stage several Thanksgiving dinners) and start snapping images of your designs next to all the fixings. (Find staging and photography tips here.) Curate your favorites and post them in an album on your website. Advertise your offerings and include a link to the designs in an email message and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Thanksgiving Web Ads
By Katie Hendrick
Help flowers find their rightful spot on the table next to the turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie with SAF’s Thanksgiving collection of web ads. Available in multiple dimensions, the images feature a pedestal-style arrangement in harvest colors with the message, “Always tasteful. Give thanks with flowers.” Download them for free here.
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063