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SAF Wednesday E-Brief
April 27, 2011
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In this issue ...
  • As Popular Choice, Flowers Get Picked on at Mother’s Day
  • U.S. Floriculture Crop Rebounds, Climbs 3 Percent
  • In Good Taste: Dove, Apparel Retailer Laud Flowers
  • Congressman Has a ‘Ball’ with Member Visit Prompted by CAD
  • Roll with It: Florists Add Floral Décor to White House Easter Egg Roll
  • PFCI Members Provide Royal Commentary
  • Faith Hill Pushes Posies, This Time for Mom
  • Retail Group Senses a Positive Trend
  • Best Practices
  • Newsmakers
  • Life at Work
  • Tip of the Week
  • Mark Your Calendar
  • Spotlight


    As Popular Choice, Flowers Get Picked on at Mother's Day
    By Jenny Scala
    During popular flower-buying holidays, flowers and florists tend to draw unfair criticism from competitors. With Mother’s Day approaching, SAF is encouraging retailers and writers to drop the unnecessary jabs at flowers and instead follow Mom’s advice, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.”
    • The May issue of Woman’s Day magazine references SAF on page 11: “Mother’s Day is the second most popular holiday for flowers and plant sales next to Christmas, according to the Society of American Florists.” If only that was all she wrote. Woman’s Day follows it with: “But you don’t have to brave the lines at your local florist to get something exquisite for Mom.” SAF emailed the magazine’s editors and asked them to refrain from making discouraging references to florists: “While SAF understands and appreciates your need to provide readers with flower-buying options, the negative florist statement seems unfair and unnecessary. We realize the statement may not be intended to be taken seriously, but hope you can understand why professional local florists may take offense.” SAF’s message also offered Mother’s Day flower-shopping advice, such as ordering early, talking directly to your local florist and surprising mom with flowers before the holiday.

    • HandPicked, a jewelry chain with 12 locations in the Southeast, emailed the following promotion April 26: “Mother’s Day — Handpicked ideas that are better than a dozen roses.” SAF e-mailed the company asking it to promote HandPicked on its own merits. A few hours later, Sonya Ingram, HandPicked’s general manager, responded: “We are in complete agreement with the points you made about advertising principles. Promoting positive energy is an important value at HandPicked and, as a business, we recognize the importance of being in good relationships with everyone. Thank you for bringing the ad to our attention. We fully appreciate the points you made and regret any offense made by it. We love the flower industry!"
    SAF is the voice of the industry. To report negative publicity, contact SAF’s Jenny Scala at 800-336-4743 or email

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    U.S. Floriculture Crop Rebounds, Climbs 3 Percent
    By Ira Silvergleit
    The 2010 wholesale value of floriculture production increased 3 percent from the revised 2009 valuation, according to the USDA, rebounding from a 7 percent decline in value one year ago.

    Total crop value was $4.13 billion for 2010, compared to $4 billion in 2009. Released April 21, the Floriculture Crops Summary covers 15 states and includes growers with $10,000 or more in sales.

    California’s production value increased 8 percent to $1.01 billion; Florida’s 1 percent dip puts its value at $810 million. Together, these states account for a combined 44 percent of the 15-state total. Michigan, Texas and North Carolina round out the top-five. Of the 15 states in the summary, these five account for $2.75 billion — or 66 percent of the total value. (For data on additional states, go to the Census of Horticultural Specialties.)

    As is the case in many industries, fewer producers are making more. In 2010, grower levels fell 7 percent to 6,126. The number of producers with sales of $100,000 or more fell 7 percent to 2,706. While these operations represent just 44 percent of the production population, they account for 96 percent of the total production, or $4.13 billion in sales.

    All but one segment grew in value, with the exception being propagation materials, which fell 1 percent.

    Increases in value, per segment:
    • Bedding/garden plants – 4 percent
    • Potted flowering plants – 4 percent
    • Foliage plants – 3 percent
    • Cut flowers – 4 percent
    • Cut cultivated greens – 6 percent
    The summary also includes labor data. Overall, 79 percent of operations used some hired labor in 2010. This level cannot be compared to 2009, as the wording in the question was changed.

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    In Good Taste: Dove, Apparel Retailer Laud Flowers
    By Jenny Scala

    Dove Chocolate

    Talk about a powerful makeover. Just three months ago, retailer New York & Company took a pot shot at flowers on its gift cards. Now the women’s apparel maker is urging shoppers to buy flowers. And it’s not the only competitor tapping into flower power this spring.
    • One of the “Promise” messages inside the wrapper of Dove Chocolate candies says, “Buy flowers for yourself.” Dove’s website lets visitors send Promise messages, like this bud reminder, to friends. SAF sent the company a thank-you note with information on flowers’ emotional health benefits.

    • SAF also sent a thank-you note to women’s apparel retailer New York & Company, after seeing its April 25 email promotion, which read, “This Mother’s Day...Give flowers.” In January, SAF asked New York & Co to reconsider its “forget flowers” Valentine’s Day gift cards.

    Before: New York & Company’s negative Valentine’s Day ad.

    After: New York & Company promotes flowers for Mother’s Day.

    SAF is the voice of the industry. If you hear or see flowers applauded or dissed, contact Jenny Scala at (800) 336-4743 or

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    Mother's Day Fresh-cut Preserved Florals

    Our preserved gardenias, orchids, callas, carnations, hydrangeas, ferns, roses and lavender make lovely Mother's Day, bridal, prom and special occasion arrangements, corsages and keepsakes.

    Congressman Has a 'Ball' with Member Visit Prompted by CAD
    By Brian Gamberini

    Employees at Ball Horticultural Company met with freshman Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-14-Ill.) at company headquarters last week. Ball's Marvin Miller, Ph.D., coordinated the visit with Hultgren's staff following Miller's visit to Washington, D.C., during Congressional Action Days in March.

    Marvin Miller, PhD., of Ball Horticulture in West Chicago, Ill., has been coming to SAF Congressional Action Days for more than 10 years. But all that was history to the new lawmakers taking office in January.

    Miller realized he had to make a concerted effort to get to know freshman Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-14-Ill.), the congressman representing West Chicago. Not only did he make good on that effort, he also secured the connection by inviting Hultgren to the company’s headquarters.

    On April 21, Miller, Anna Ball and others met with Hultgren and pressed him on key issues including immigration reform.

    “Even though he was hearing about our main issues for the first time, Hultgren was very receptive and we asked him to come back in the summer when the gardens were in full bloom,” said Miller, a veteran lawmaker host.

    If you are interested in giving your legislators an insider’s view of the floral industry, check out SAF’s Grassroots Guide at or email for more information.

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    Roll with It: Florists Add Floral Décor to White House Easter Egg Roll
    By Jenny Scala

    Ardith Beveridge (pictured) and Sherry Reinking made sure flowers were part of the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

    With flowers provided by SAF, Ardith Beveridge, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, of Koehler & Dramm Institute of Floristry in Minneapolis, and Sherry Reinking, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, of Armstrong Flowers in Fort Wayne, Ind., followed executive orders to design bright, cheerful and happy spring floral arrangements to decorate this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll.

    The First Family hosted 30,000 people in their backyard on Monday for the 133rd White House Easter Egg Roll.

    Beveridge and Reinking created the floral arrangements adorning the photo op areas, including the Reading, Yoga, Kitchen, Farmers Market stages, and the VIP tents and eating areas.

    “People just have to know flowers and florists are involved,” Beveridge said. “It’s part of the celebration.”

    This is the seventh year SAF has provided flowers for the Egg Roll, held the Monday after Easter. “It gives SAF visibility before the administration, federal officials and members of Congress,” said Drew Gruenburg, SAF's chief operating officer. “And it’s great to remind consumers and children about the importance and beauty of flowers at festive celebrations.”

    See Beveridge’s pictures from the Easter Egg Roll.

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    PFCI Members Provide Royal Commentary
    By Kate Penn
    Be sure to keep SAF’s Facebook page open on Friday — we’ve managed to convince a small team of SAF Professional Floral Communicators-International (PFCI) members to wake up before dawn on Friday and provide some floral commentary from this side of the pond of the royal wedding. Check out their comments and chime in with your own, on SAF’s Facebook page.

    Want a sneak preview of the wedding flowers? Royal wedding artistic director Shane Connolly dishes about his floral décor plans on

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    Faith Hill Pushes Posies, This Time for Mom
    By Kate Penn

    Faith Hill pairs up with sound engineer once again for a humorous 30-second spot, which begins airing today, through Mother’s Day.

    Grammy-award winner Faith Hill continues her collaboration with Teleflora, which began with the 2011 SuperBowl ad, through a collection of Mother’s Day arrangements as well as another 30-second ad that begins airing today.

    The Mother’s Day spot reunites Hill and actor Kevin Manwarren, who plays Hill’s clueless sound engineer seeking advice about what to write on the enclosure card for his mother. The ad will air on women’s focused cable channels and network TV through Thursday, May 5

    “We are happy to be continuing our partnership with Faith Hill whose inspired vision helped make our Valentine’s Day a success not only in sales, but in connecting with our core consumer,” said Teleflora President Shawn Weidmann.

    Check out the spot here.

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    Retail Group Senses a Positive Trend
    United Press International
    U.S. retail sales rose slightly in the week ending April 16, as consumers have indicated increased optimism about the job market, a trade group said. The International Council of Shopping Centers, based in Washington, said "Consumers are still inclined to spend, largely as perceptions of the job market improves."   Read more.

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    Strategies for Better Money Management
    USA Today
    Here’s a dirty little not-so-secret of small businesses: You can be profitable but not have cash. On the other hand, you can actually NOT be profitable and still have good credit, excellent relations with vendors, and be able to meet your financial obligations. In a small business, it’s not just about making money; it’s about managing your money. A few simple steps now to get your money management systems in order can make it a lot easier to pay your monthly bills later.   Read more.

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    Florists Trumpet Their Expertise and Get Pre-Mother's Day Coverage
    By Katie Hendrick
    Two retailers trumpeted florists’ ability to help consumers select personalized gifts in a recent Fox News article, “Finding the Right Flowers for Mom.”

    Maryann Finegan, owner of Foliage Garden in New York City, and Tom Doyle, owner of Springdale Florist and Greenhouses in Darien, Conn., shared strategies for getting orders just right.

    “It’s about how [flowers] fit into her life,” Finegan told readers. “Does she have a favorite color? Do you want to remind her of the flowers she carried at her wedding? It’s a very personal thing.”

    Doyle advised readers to think beyond the bouquet or centerpiece. "Someone who is a gardener may prefer a nice planter to put on a step," he said, adding his recommendations of azaleas, hydrangeas and orchids as flowers that work well both indoors and out.

    "This is a great example of providing useful ideas and advice for consumers at a time when they are seeking suggestions," said Jennifer Sparks, SAF’s vice president of communications. "And the best part is, it positions the florist as the expert and personal consultant."

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    Starbright Gives Fox & Friends a Floral Makeover
    By Katie Hendrick

    Starbright Floral responded to an early morning email to win the coveted opportunity to decorate a national news studio.

    Sometimes, the early bird gets the … coverage.

    Early last week, a producer at Fox News e-mailed dozens of New York City florists at 6 a.m., asking if any would like to decorate the set of Fox & Friends, the network’s morning news show, for the Easter weekend. At 6:15, Nic Faitos, owner of Starbright Floral Design, saw the message and immediately nabbed the opportunity.

    Starbright provided 15 arrangements, including one five-foot-tall vase of open cherry blossom branches, two vases of white callas, one vase of French tulips, two rectangular containers with about 50 tulips in each and assorted five-inch cubes with peonies and hydrangeas. The designs appeared on Fox & Friends’ Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows.

    In return for the gratis blossoms, Fox mentioned Starbright Floral on air and included a link to the florist’s website on its own.

    “On top of the million-plus viewership, we promoted the fact that we were on the show to our own clients through social media and other outlets,” Faitos said. “The show gave us credibility to our own audience, as well as any additional clients that we gained through the exposure we received.”

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    No. 1 Meeting Killer . . . and What You can Do About It
    The single factor that makes the biggest difference between a great meeting and a poor one? PowerPoint. The best meetings don't go near it. PowerPoint presentations inevitably end up as monologues. They focus on answers, and everyone faces the screen. But meetings should be conversations. They should focus on questions, not answers, and people should face each other.   Read more.

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    Help Gen Y Buy Right for Mom

    Here's another tip. Share Mother's Day ideas from on your social media sites. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the "Share" icon to select Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

    Giving personalized gifts are important to Gen-Y customers (and everyone appreciates receiving them). Help customers add a personal touch to their Mother’s Day gifts with suggestions like these:
    • Is Mom a great cook? Try an herb garden design with several small pots of herbs.
    • Taking her out to eat? Have the customer bring in a plate, bowl, napkin and set of silverware. Create an arrangement in the bowl using the silverware to accent the flowers and suggest they add a card with an invitation to her favorite restaurant.
    • If unwinding is what she needs most, give Mom a relaxing gift. Ask the customer to wrap a new book and bring it in. Put it in a fragrant flower bouquet with a note: “Today is your day to relax!”
    • An athletic mom would appreciate tennis or golf balls with her flowers, or a new pair of workout shoes – with flowers arranged inside.
    • For bird-watching moms, try an arrangement in a bird feeder.
    For more ideas check out Tips to Pamper Mom and other Mother’s Day ideas on

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    On the Horizon

    SAF Growth Solutions: A Mini-Conference for Florists
    June 22-23, 2011

    SAF Palm Springs 2011 - 127th Annual Convention
    Sept. 14-17, 2011
    Westin Mission Hills Rancho Mirage, Calif.

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    Emotional Impact of Flowers Counter Card

    Remind customers that scientific research shows flowers’ positive impact on mood with SAF’s colorful Emotional Impact of Flowers counter card. Reinforce the message with the “Instant Delight” or “Guaranteed Smiles” poster. Want to keep the theme going? Send out an “Instant Delight” postcard, which says on the back: "Research from Rutgers University shows that the presence of flowers has an immediate impact on happiness and increases enjoyment and life satisfaction. Call us today, and we'll help you send happiness in a heartbeat."

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    Ben Maitland, Director of Advertising Sales

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