This video spotlights SAF’s 2015 Petal It Forward safnow.org/petalitforward event that generated millions of consumer impressions with positive messages about the powerful effects of giving and receiving flowers.
The event, sponsored by Denver Wholesale Florist, drew a cross section of retail florists, from rookies days out of floral design school to seasoned pros looking to refine their tech skills, make industry connections and gain insight on best practices in sales, customer service, financial management and event work.
For a number of attendees, SAF’s Profit Blast, with its targeted educational sessions, provided so much potential value, they brought along several team members.
“We took the entire [four-person] staff,” said Marsha Jones of Littleton’s Woodlawn Floral in Littleton, Colorado. She acknowledged that decision surprised some staff, including her delivery manager, who questioned the need for the all-hands approach. But, Jones argued, “it’s important that everyone is on the same page, and everyone is impacted by different presentations.”
Lisa and Brad Golter of Longmont Florist in Longmont, Colorado, employed a similar strategy and brought five team members to the event. Lisa said that investment paid off quickly. “They all agreed it was worth giving up their Sunday to learn more about the topics provided,” she said.
Thaddeaus Servantez of Westminster Flowers in Westminster, Colorado, said Profit Blast delivered ideas with immediate application, including the opportunity to see “local art” and “local vendors” in one place at the Vendor Spotlight and Supplier Showcase, along with business techniques with fast application. During “Tech Strategies to Capture More Online Sales,” led by SAF’s Digital Strategy Manager Max Duchaine, for instance, “I realized there are things I need to do with our SEO [right away] to go in and look at different layers of our online presence,” he said, adding that he also picked up tips on increasing transaction size from Tim Huckabee of FloralStrategies, Inc. during “Building the Perfect Sales Script.” One idea? Engage the customer on an emotional level before talking price. “From Tim, I learned that dialogue is the most important connection between our customers [and our sales team],” Servantez said. “I want to implement [Tim’s ideas] tomorrow.”
Part of the appeal of the Profit Blast series — and a big reason SAF kicked off these events in 2013 — is that the events are situated throughout the year and the country, making it easier for industry members to take advantage of the educational opportunities in a close-to-home (or closer-to-home) location.
That was the case for Lori Wheat, AAF, of Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, Colorado, who has attended many SAF events in the past, including the group’s annual conventions. “Profit Blast gave me the chance to bring key staff members, who typically wouldn’t be able to attend an SAF program” because of the travel expense and time away from the shop, she said. “We were able to listen to well-respected industry advisers and brainstorm on how we, as a team, will make our store more profitable,” including during “Treasure Hunt: Finding Your Hidden Profits,” led by Derrick Myers, CPA, CFP, a longtime Floral Management contributor.
Still, the event was far from being a locals-only affair. Wayne Perlo of Fioravanti Florist traveled from Rochester, New York, to improve skills related to social media use, an important task for every florist today, but one that can be pushed down a to-do list in the craziness of everyday life. “I am a dinosaur as far as social media goes,” Perlo admitted. Ducahine’s session helped him “understand much better. I am going to use it much better than I have in the past.”
Joel Houston made the trip from Charlotte, North Carolina, for Profit Blast. A big pull for him? The chance to learn in-person from Huckabee and Jerome Raska, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, CAFA, MCF of Blumz by…JRDesigns in metro Detroit (“Successful Events—From Conception to Completion”), two pros Houston has followed on social media and in Floral Management magazine. “It was great to meet them both in person and learn from them firsthand,” said Houston, who celebrated his own 50th birthday during Profit Blast — a milestone he said was perfect for the event. “I so enjoyed spending the day with fellow florists from around the country.”
The event also attracted newcomers to the industry, hungry to build their knowledge base and forge those important professional contacts. Sarah Rovner, of Calla Blue Florals in Aurora, Colorado, finished floral design school a week before Profit Blast. “Being able to meet several vendors and other professionals in our industry was one of the highlights,” she said.