ALEXANDRIA, Va. — This March, the Society of American Florists will launch its first ever Great Big Plant Event – a library of tools and resources designed to help florists improve their plant business, feel inspired and connect with industry partners.
SAF Now editors talked with CEO Kate Penn about this new event — why it matters to the industry, how the association has adapted the programming to the industry’s needs and the big questions some of the sessions will tackle.
SAF Now: First, why houseplants?
Kate Penn: Houseplants and indoor plants have become so popular with Americans — and that was true before the pandemic. Now, with so many people working from home, home-schooling or monitoring virtual school — the value of plants in interior spaces has really heightened for consumers. As an industry, we’ve always understood that bringing nature inside can have tremendous health benefits — from helping to increase productivity to creating moments of calm — so it’s great news for the floral industry that consumers are becoming more aware of this too, and that an entire constellation of “plantfluencer” stars is out there on social media generating enthusiasm and demand for our products!
Attendees will receive practical tools and guidance, directly from industry experts, on topics including care and handling, merchandising, customer service, leveraging social media and dealing with supply issues.
SAF: The formatting of this event is different from anything SAF has done before. What can people expect?
KP: It IS different. This program was created around bite-sized demos and talks. Through close to two dozen all-new, on-demand recorded sessions, participants will hear directly from SAF retailers and industry members on specific topics — like creating innovative services such as plant swaps, designing with plants, training your team and your customers on best practices and how to think through different aspects of plant sales. These demos will be available to purchase at any time, meaning attendees can watch on their own schedule.
Throughout March, SAF will also host live meet-up events and social media takeovers by some of our most exciting speakers. The live events will highlight issues that benefit most from live interaction — a cross-segment sourcing panel with Q&A, a conversation with Eliza Blank of The Sill, which has been a major disruptor of plant sales in the online space, and a presentation by plantfluencer Marcus Bridgewater, also known as Garden Marcus (and recently featured in Vogue!).
SAF: What can attendees expect to take from this event?
KP: This houseplant craze is a chance for our industry to shine. The potential ROI for your business is huge since plants are every day, versatile purchases. We see The Great Big Plant Event as part of SAF’s mission to bring the best and brightest industry minds together to talk more about the opportunities in this space and the challenges, to make connections and share best practices. The programming we’ve developed is practical, applicable and it’s fun to watch!
SAF: What other events are coming down the pike? Will SAF be doing only virtual events in 2021?
KP: Everyone on the SAF team is SO ready to resume in-person programming. We miss seeing our members and having those important connections. We have to make sure we’re handling in-person interactions safely and making smart investments. Our annual Congressional Action Days will be an all-virtual event this year – on April 13-14. With a new administration and new Congress, our advocacy for the industry has never been more important and the virtual format has real advantages! It makes the event more accessible to members who aren’t able to leave their businesses or travel, without compromising our ability to get in front of key decision makers in Washington. More information on this year’s event is coming soon to safnow.org.
SAF hopes to hold its annual convention, in person in September. The event will be shortened to ensure it is accessible for businesses that are still short-staffed and/or swamped with fall weddings. SAF also hopes to hold 1-Day Profit Blasts in October and November. Stay tuned to safnow.org for more details on when and where those will be.
Regardless of what the pandemic delivers, SAF will be here for our members, helping you grow and connect.
SAF’s Great Big Plant Event launches March 2021. Member Price: $99.00; non-member price: $139.00. A full list of presenters, demo names and a schedule of live events will be added to the Great Big Plant Event page in the coming weeks.
The Society of American Florists is the only national trade association that represents all segments of the U.S. floral industry. SAF provides government advocacy, education and marketing advice; and connects industry members who want to learn, share ideas and grow; helps the industry recruit and retain talent; and provides guidance to the industry to prepare for and navigate the future. The association was chartered by an act of Congress in 1884. To learn more about SAF or to join, visit safnow.org.