Friday, March 19, 2010

Save The Florists!

Over the past few months I am hearing from more and more retail florists that they are sick and tired of losing business to "order gatherers" and "flowers in a box" companies. Many are also finally realizing that their wire service is also a competitor. Social Media is lighting up with facebook groups and tweets on Twitter where florists are sharing their stories and strategies to take back the business that has been lost. Many are severing their relationship with a wire service and putting more marketing into their own websites and networking to drive business to their shops. They have come to understand that they will not be able to survive when they have to deliver full value and only get back a small percentage of the sale. Many accepted this so that they could take advantage of other services provided like POS systems and credit card processing but being held hostage is not a good place to be and fortunately there are other options for these services that are more competitively priced.

I believe that the consumer is also beginning to understand the difference between a LOCAL retail florist and a "flowers in a box" company and why the LOCAL florist is their best source for freshness and value. We (individually and as an industry) need to continue to educate consumers on this. There is power in groups and so be sure to use tools like social media, small business groups and industry associations to network and exert your flower power!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Heading to Washington DC to attend SAF Congressional Action Days!

I leave tomorrow morning for Washington DC. I will spend time in Government Relations committee meetings over the weekend and on Monday and Tuesday I am going to participate in SAF Congressional Action Days (CAD). I have been going to CAD for many years and the experience has been so good for me and my company. I have become educated on some of the most important business issues of the day and I get the chance to talk face to face with my legislators about them. That's how democracy works. You have the right and responsibility to talk to your representatives and help them understand how issues effect you and your business. Believe me, your legislators need to and want to hear directly from you. Your real life, first had experience is important for them to hear. It's the only way you can have any influence over the outcome you will have to live with.

I look forward to meeting up with many friends there...some retailers, wholesalers, growers and SAF staff. Another benefit of CAD!

I hope that wherever you are, you are finally starting to thaw out from a long cold snowy winter. I hear it is going to be in the 50's in DC. For me it will be like a heat wave! Have not felt the 50's for months.

If you are reading this and are coming to CAD, safe travels and see you soon. If not, I hope you will consider it for next year.