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Floral experts converge for SAF Orlando 2022

An employee retention specialist. An acclaimed designer. A trend spotter. A researcher. A life coach. Marketing gurus. Entrepreneurs.

SAF Orlando 2022, the Society of American Florists’ 137th annual convention, Sept. 6-8 in Orlando, Florida, will bring together some of the brightest minds in the industry to share their expertise.

“SAF’s convention was designed to inspire and help the industry with the challenges of today, and to do that, we’ve called on some of the industry’s top experts and most successful business owners to share their knowledge and insights,” says SAF President Michelle Castellano Keeler, AAF.

The floral experts who are a part of SAF Orlando’s 16 educational sessions, two all-industry sessions, and keynote address, will discuss how to leverage emerging trends in floral and consumer behavior, and explain strategies for better business operations, overcoming staffing hurdles, and executing profitable events.

What’s trending
Talmage McLaurin, AIFD, Creative Director, Esmeralda Farms, Doral, Florida
Meeting customers’ expectations requires staying up to date with the latest floral trends. Trend spotter Talmage McLaurin, AIFD, who conceptualized the American Floral Trends Forecast and is now the creative director at Esmeralda Farms, will reveal his trend forecast for 2023. In a follow-up session, “Flower Trends Forecast in Action: Profitable, Trend Forward Designs,” three designers will translate those six trends into a profitable, everyday event, gifting, and sympathy designs.

Melinda Knuth, Ph.D., Consumer and Market Researcher, North Carolina State University
How has the consumer — and the industry — changed? And more important, how do you leverage those changes? Melinda Knuth, Ph.D., a consumer and market researcher at North Carolina State University, will explore shifts in consumer behavior, how to use e-commerce for business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales, and break down generational preferences when it comes to buying behavior during the keynote address, “Great Expectations: Attracting and Retaining Today’s Flower and Plant Buyers.”

Profitable events
Zoë Gallina, AAF, Creative Director, Botanica International Décor and Design Studio, Tampa, Florida
For the many florists who want to get in on the record number of weddings in the next year, Zoë Gallina, AAF, of Botanica International Décor and Design Studio in Tampa, Florida, will share her playbook on navigating competition, budgets, supply chain challenges and the demands of today’s brides—all while creating an experience that will have brides coming back for other life celebrations for years to come. Her session, “Gaining and Maintaining Wedding Clients. Client Behavior Trends In Our Ever Changing Industry,” will also offer networking tips to meet vendors, venues and planners, strategies for wedding planning and designing and additional ideas to generate revenue.

Sarah Campbell, Founder, Intrigue Designs, Denton, Maryland
Keeping up with the floral trends many brides see on social media, particularly floral installations, is essential to set your business apart — and it’s also a good way to create more revenue. Sarah Campbell, founder of Intrigue Designs in Denton, Maryland and a contestant on Netflix’s The Big Flower Fight, will lead the session “Floral Installations That Increase Sales,” in which she will share tips for creating large floral installations, pricing strategies and sales techniques.

Better operations
Tim Huckabee, President, Floral Strategies, Bridgeport, Connecticut
An IPSOS survey found that consumers are more empathetic toward small business owners raising prices if they feel they are getting great customer service. Tim Huckabee, president of Floral Strategies, will share key ways florists can cater to customers during his presentation, “Customer Service in a Post-COVID World.” The session explores how consumer habits have changed and how shop owners can adapt.

Derrick Myers, CPA, PFCI, President, Crockett, Myers and Associates, Glen Burnie, Maryland
Inflation, which drove up prices 8.5 percent in July, is squeezing profit margins, and long-time floral financial expert and Floral Management columnist Derrick Myers, CPA, PFCI, has strategies to improve your bottom line, squeeze more profit out of the design room, cut costs, and price for profitability.

Rodi Groot, Director of Sales, Sun Valley Floral Farms, Arcata, California
Ryan O’Neil, PFCI, CEO, Curate, St. Louis, Missouri
With so many changes afoot in the industry, the economy, and consumer behavior, many business owners have found themselves doing some serious soul searching. In the session, “Re-Thinking Your ‘Why,’” Rodi Groot, director of sales at Sun Valley Floral Farms in Arcata, California, and Ryan O’Neil, PFCI, CEO of Curate in St. Louis, Missouri, will share the events that led each of them to question everything about their businesses, including how they changed, what they learned, and how the transition informs what they do now.

Engaged employees
Barry Gottlieb, President, Coaching the Winner’s Edge, West Palm Beach, Florida
Stress and burnout have taken a toll on workers. A recent Gallup report found that workers are experiencing stress at an all-time high and aren’t engaged with their work, which is essentia for better customer loyalty and lower absenteeism and accidents. Barry Gottlieb, a coac,h and author who works with the floral industry and founded Coaching the Winner’s Edge, has inspiring ideas for how leaders can help employees feel better at work. Gottlieb will share actionable steps to manage stress, practice gratitud,e and promote well-being during his presentation, “Feel Better! Wellness and Mindfulness for Teams.”

Bart David, Founder, R3Think, Quito, Ecuador
Labor has been hard to find. A record number of workers left their jobs last year, and they have been slow to return to the workforce, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Finding talent starts with telling the stories about the benefits of flowers, and even more specifically, authentic stories about your business, says Bart David of the consulting firm R3Think. David will give a two-part presentation on attracting and inspiring talent. His first presentation, “Cultivating Talent That Blooms, Part 1: New Talent” will focus on how to market the appeal of the floral industry to attract top talent, and what a great onboarding and training experience looks like. A second session, “Cultivating Talent That Blooms, Part 2: Existing Talent,” is about inspiring employees, optimizing their talents and nurturing their leadership skills.

Jeff Kortes, Founder, Human Asset Management, Franklin, Wisconsin
Randy Wilinski, Life Coach, Human Asset Management, Franklin, Wisconsin
There are as many as five generations working together in today’s businesses. Not only does that lead to misunderstandings among workers, but with many different motivations, work ethics, and talents at play, the generational gaps also create a management challenge. Employee retention and recruitment expert Jeff Kortes and life coach Randy Wilinski will role play, sharereal-lifee experiences and offer strategies to leverage each generation’s talents without clashes during their keynote address, “Gen Z to Boomers: Working Together for Success.”

For a full schedule of SAF Orlando 2022 events, click here.

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