Time’s Up By Bridget White

We’ve all heard how the life cycle for floriculture products is changing. Products used to have five or more years to conquer and rule a category; now, many argue, that time is closer to three years. If you’ve ever wondered how accurate that assertion is, I think, unfortunately, we might be about to find out with painted poinsettias.

Last year, painted poinsettias jumped onto the market in a big way. Sure, flower paint has been around for a while in Europe. Many of us have seen or heard about it for years, but last year was really the first push in our market. Despite purists (myself included) who disliked the look and the entire concept, painted poinsettias worked, meaning they sold.

Much higher prices (often twice as much at wholesale), increased sell through and renewed excitement for a stagnant crop caused everyone to jump on the painting bandwagon. This year, the second “real” year for painting in the United States, painted poinsettias are a major part of the market. I’ve talked to growers this year who are painting 20-30 percent of their total crop. And the prices are worth it. My local grocery store is stocking 8-inch ‘Plum Pudding’ sprayed with glitter for $16.99 each. These are impressive numbers. They are the kinds of numbers you would expect to see from a mature market…not one finishing up its second year.

Painting 2006

If good market penetration coupled with high prices really does indicate a mature market, one that has reached the top of its lifecycle, what does the future hold for painted poinsettias?

I’ve talked to a number of people about this topic, and everyone is hoping the same thing: that poinsettia painting will have a nice, long stay at the top and not become a fad. Ever cautious, I have my doubts. With as much margin as painting allows, undercutting must be pretty tempting, and before you know it, people will be offering painting at cost or no cost just to get the order. Hopefully, this won’t happen, but we’ve seen it time and time again: vegetative geraniums, 4-inch material, grower brands…

Garden centers have shown real interest in this product. Everyone from the best independent to Wal-Mart is stocking poinsettias and paying more for the privilege. The key to continued success with painted poinsettias will be patience. Grow your business as the market grows; you can’t push it.

The Final Word

With this issue of GPN, Roger Styer really does give his final word, at least in the form of a monthly column for GPN. This month will be Roger Styer’s last column for GPN, though he will continue to contribute feature articles.

Roger has been a monthly columnist for GPN the past three years and has helped all of us understand everything from drench rates to starting a new business. We want to thank Roger for his contributions to GPN and look forward to his feature articles…you can’t get off that easily, Roger. For those of you who rely on “The Final Word” for entertainment and insight check out our new back page next month. We’ll be picking the brains of some of the industry’s leading chemical experts.

Thank You

Every year in the December issue, I close out my “Editor’s Report” with a thank you to our subscribers and advertisers. This year is a bit different, though. Not only are we thankful for your continued loyalty, we also want to thank you for your vote of confidence. You see, we just received results from a blind readership study showing that GPN is both the most-read and the most-useful trade magazine in the industry.

So especially this year, we are reminded how fortunate we are to have subscribers and advertisers like you. From the entire staff at GPN (Carrie, Catherine, Diane, Kelley, Judy, Meghan, Tami and, of course, me): Thank you for your support. We wish you and yours a prosperous new year that fulfills all your wishes.

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