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  • Jan Peterson

2022 SAF Conference Takeaways

Updated: Sep 19

We had the pleasure of attending the annual SAF conference in Orlando, Florida this year. If you aren't a member of this association - you might be missing out on some valuable information. This is a conference where retail florists, wholesalers, growers and designers come together to share insights about their businesses and trends in the industry. There were many educational sessions with great tips for everyone in the industry. Here's what we learned.


The general themes of the conference included:


1. How florists dealt with their businesses post-COVID.

2. Getting the younger generation to consider floral jobs.

3. Retaining talent in the industry.

4. How to get Baby Boomers, Gen Zs, and Millennials to work better together.

5. How to make more profit with higher costs.

6. Social Media Tips.


We went to 8 different sessions – Here’s a broad summary of the key take-aways:


Floral trends:

  • The surge of growth in our industry is slowing from 2019, but still in the double digits -Year over year sales were 90% in 2020, 49% so far in 2022.

  • Social media is key to keep flowers top of mind and the limited customer contact and the pandemic caused a heightened investment in marketing and social media tools.

  • As inflation grew florists started charging more, with minimal resistance from consumers.

  • More consumers were sympathetic to small businesses increasing pricing, rather than large businesses.

  • More florists revamped their websites and started offering on-line buying.

  • The plant industry took off and there is a large demand for houseplants more than ever before.

  • A wellness craze began during COVID - and flowers were part of that trend.


Dealing with COVID:


  • Many florists extended delivery hours to satisfy customer demand.

  • More personal customer service became the key to success for most shops.

  • Some florists were forced to temporarily close locations - but customers came back.

  • The pandemic forced florists to narrow their focus and rework their businesses.

  • There was a surge in social media especially Instagram and TikTok.

  • There was a trend in marketing the real people behind the businesses – not just the products they sell.


Florists began to consider operational efficiencies such as:


  • Cross Training Staff

  • Investing in Technology

  • Slimming down product options on-line

  • Increasing delivery hours services


The Great Resignation:


  • Staffing remains a challenge for florists as more people resigned and rethought their lifestyle.

  • Many florists became one-person shops, but are slowly hiring.

  • Florists did a lot more training of employees, as fewer people were left to share the workload.

  • More businesses shared sales data and progress reports with employees so they felt included in the process.

  • More companies looked to employees to come up with ideas - empowering them to feel better about the workplace.


All in all, there were many positive takeaways. Despite all the challenges we have faced, our industry is resilient and stronger than ever. To learn more, visit https://safnow.org/events-education/annual-convention/



"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy,

not on fighting the old, but on building the new."

Socrates


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