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US: Attendees learn to respond & adapt to economic uncertainty at SAF Phoenix 2023

This September, the Society of American Florists will host SAF Phoenix 2023, the organization's 138th annual convention, at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. The 3-day event will take place Sept 6-9 and focus on helping business owners respond and adapt to the growing inflation and economic uncertainty dominating today's environment.

The 23 education sessions and workshops are designed to help florists understand business trends, find growth opportunities, increase profitability, stay ahead of developments in technology, and inspire team members. SAF is also introducing the 2024 Floral Trends Forecast to help industry professionals tap into customers' wants and sell more. New features, such as a tour of progressive retailers and an expanded Supplier Expo, will inspire and keep attendees connected.

"SAF has put together a stellar lineup of education sessions that include topics like using artificial intelligence, marketing automation, succession planning, and more — all topics that floral business owners and their teams need to drive growth in today's market," says SAF President Michelle Castellano Keeler, AAF, of Mellano & Company.

Get Inspired 
New this year, the convention offers a behind-the-scenes look at progressive floral retail businesses in the Phoenix area. Floral pros can take notes, snap pictures, ask questions, and gain valuable insight into the operational strategies these progressive shops use.

The convention also features the 54th annual Sylvia Cup Competition — the longest-running, live national floral design contest, the Outstanding Varieties Competition, where growers from around the world showcase their best varieties and a Supplier Expo for attendees to see the latest products and services from dozens of vendors.

Make Connections
SAF Phoenix 2023 offers plenty of opportunities to network and meet at SAF President's Welcome Party hosted by SAF President Michelle Castellano Keeler, AAF; the First Timers Reception for those who are new to the convention, the Next Gen Reception for floral professionals 45 years old and younger, and the SAFPAC party, where floral pros will have fun and raise money for SAF's political action fund.

Stay Informed
Kate Penn, SAF CEO, will kick off the convention with the "State of the Industry" address, detailing the highs and lows of the past year, challenges and opportunities going into 2024, and what SAF is doing to address those issues.

During the 2024 Flower Trends Forecast, Talmage McLaurin, AIFD of Esmeralda Farms, will share his forecasts and reveal eight trends to help florists better tap into today's consumer and sell more. McLaurin's forecasts – inspired by home décor, fashion, florists, and other professional forecasters such as Pantone, The Trend Bible, and more – have been informing the industry for more than three decades.

The education sessions will cover a range of topics that fall under four learning tracks:

In the growth and profitability track, sessions include:

  • Reaching Customers in a Crowded Digital Landscape
  • Leveraging Third-Party Delivery
  • Empowering Innovation: Unlock the Hidden Potential and
  • Performance in Your Team
  • Idea Exchange: Tapping New Growth Centers
  • Building Brand Loyalty
  • The Future of Digital Marketing
  • The Future of Logistics
  • Leveraging Artificial Intelligence

In the operations and strategy track, sessions include:

  • State of the Floral Industry
  • Operational Tools That Sustain Your Business
  • Tour of Progressive Florists
  • In-Store Experiences Workshop
  • Sharing is Caring: How Open-Book Management Drives Sales and Profits
  • Sustainability and Floriculture
  • What's Your Exit Strategy

In the team development track, sessions include:

  • Blueprint for Family Business Succession
  • What's Your Team's North Star?
  • Leading with Empathy in Challenging Times
  • Idea Exchange: Finding and Keeping Employees
  • Harvesting Talent in Local Schools
  • Impact of Communication Styles on Morale, Culture,
  • Performance and Results

In the trends track, sessions include:

  • 2024 Flower Trends Forecast
  • State of the Industry
  • Outstanding Varieties Highlights Tour
  • 54th Annual Sylvia Cup Competition
  • Hands-on Design Demo and Experience Zone

"I attribute a lot of our business growth to attending SAF's convention," says Jen Barnard, AAF, of Tillie's Flower Shop in Wichita, Kansas. "It helps me stay ahead of the game. Worth every penny and every minute spent!"

For information on registering, and to see the schedule, click here.

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