March 5-7

A flower power extravaganza March for florists

The theme is ‘sustainability and regeneration in the floral industry’ - battered by COVID. The virtual event is the 3rd ‘Fleurvana Virtual Summit’ with a line-up of 25 floral industry experts from the U.S. and Canada. The three-day event running March 5 -7 is expected to match the participation of two previous virtual events which each drew more than 1,000 new and veteran florists.

Organizer - Shawn Michael Foley, AIFD, PFCI - promises the event will be inspirational and the 1,000 participants will get business advice, tutorials, design tips and marketing ideas in a COVID world. Topics include sustainable floral mechanics and techniques, new eco-friendly floral designs, innovative products and social media strategies (blogging and podcasting). The Dallas based floral guru, author and coach joined with a colleague – Gina Thresher, AIFD, EMC - last summer to organize the event. They’re thrilled by their success and plan to do two a year - one in the spring and another in the fall. This is their third. 

Foley says, “COVID has had a serious impact on our industry and I wanted to help with its rebirth so to speak. Initially florists were hardly hit as lockdowns went into effect and weddings, graduations and other events of celebration were largely cancelled. While some florists are struggling, others who developed a social media presence or already had one reported record sales for Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

In the midst of all of this, Shawn decided to organize what he’s named ‘Fleurvana Virtual Summit’ – a virtual gathering on a video platform for floral opinion leaders and others in the floral industry looking for inspiration, floral designs, new ideas and marketing advice. “It was intended as a beacon of hope for our profession as they regenerate and rebuild,” says Foley.

“When I reached out to key influencers in our industry and told them about the idea, they responded enthusiastically with, ‘This is great, I’m on board. Count me in’. Everybody wanted to help. They all have a mutual love of flowers.”  

One of those marquee influencers is Debra Prinzing, a champion of American-grown flowers who has 10 books and nearly 500 podcasts to her name. She plans to focus on, “the journey from blog to book.”  Tickets are free for most of the sessions. VIP tickets start at $147 and go to $197 when the Summit goes LIVE. They provide exclusive benefits including ‘closed’ question and answer sessions with presenters.

Building on the topic of sustainability, the FloraGUPPY, an eco-friendly alternative to green floral foam, will be introduced at the Summit. The FloraGUPPY is recyclable and reusable and has been welcomed by leading florists. It’s been praised by floral magazines and florists everywhere as a ‘time and money saver’ and a design whose time has come. It’s simple in design - a sphere with 58 holes of various sizes. It comes as two interlocking halves and is versatile and moldable in warm water and can be used in different sized vases and can be used for fresh or paper flowers. Foley describes it as ‘genius’. It comes at a time when the world’s top floral organization, the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK, has banned floral foam from all its shows including Chelsea.

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