SAF Campaigns for the Floral Industry
The Society of American Florists’ (SAF) eighth annual Petal It Forward flower giveaway on Oct. 19 involved 579 participating businesses. Flower shops, wholesalers, growers, suppliers and other industry groups handed out bouquets in communities across 49 states and Washington D.C., as well as Canada, India and Colombia.
The event sought to capture the powerful message of paying it forward and how flowers help reduce stress and evoke positive emotions. The concept is simple: participating businesses gift two bouquets to individuals throughout their communities, one to keep and one to pass along to someone else.
Spearheaded by SAF, the campaign is also a useful marketing tool. Some used the event to entice people into flower shops, and others partnered with influential community members including first responders, local businesses and teachers. Others aimed to get flowers to those who otherwise couldn’t afford them or brighten the day of hospital patients.
Florists were eager to invite the community into their local shops with promises of free bouquets. Many set up buckets both inside and outside to attract people to their storefronts.
Fleurtacious Designs in Latham, New York, began distributing flowers from its storefront at 9:30 a.m. Kristina’s Flowers in Manning, Iowa, encouraged people to stop by the shop after 10 a.m. for two free bouquets. “Help spread kindness!” proclaimed the store’s Instagram announcement. Similarly, in Canton, North Carolina, Balsam Mountain Floral welcomed people into its store to receive two flowers with the message, “Spread the sunshine and make someone smile today!”
Bringing Smiles to Downtown
Many others headed into the busiest areas of their communities, showing up downtown, on main streets, at school drop offs and shopping centers to brighten morning commutes with flowers.
George’s Flowers in Roanoke, Virginia, spread out throughout the Southwest Virginia community to hand out 5,000 bouquets at the region’s busiest areas. With its partners MKB Realtors and supplier TFS Roanoke, George’s was downtown, at local libraries, numerous shopping centers, the city’s social services building, and the community center of the Virginia Western Community College, according to a list published by the local television station WSET ABC 13 News.
Southside Flower Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan, found happy recipients at Breton Village Mall and neighborhood schools, while Flowers on Broad Street surprised strangers with flowers in downtown Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.
Beyond Retail Shops
The campaign also had support from those in industry who don’t have retail storefronts. Farms, wholesalers and suppliers all sought to contribute to the effort.
Syndicate Sales donated bud vases to eight florists in Florida, Indiana, Alabama, Michigan, Texas and North Carolina to be used for the event. Bill Doran Company, a wholesaler with 23 branches, posted pictures on Facebook of the boxes and boxes of flowers the company got in to support 234 retailers. DV Flora, a wholesaler based in Sewell, New Jersey, with 11 locations nationwide, handed out 500 bouquets at an outlet mall in southern New Jersey. They also helped 46 retailers from nine states by providing discounted bouquets from Queens and Holland America. Frank Adams Wholesale Florist in Portland, Oregon, worked with 18 growers and/or importers from California to Oregon and South America to offer customers who are also SAF members one free box of assorted flowers for the giveaway.
“Petal it Forward allows our industry to show people in real tangible ways the effects of giving and receiving flowers,” says Scott Isensee, general manager at Frank Adams. “For me, when I see a person receive one of these bouquets, break into tears and say, ‘You have no idea how much this means to me!’, that’s impactful. That person will likely include flowers and the benefit they bring in their life from now on, and in turn, may show others that joy by giving flowers or ‘petaling’ it forward!”