Sharing ideas and learning ways to improve your business are the best reasons to attend SAF Amelia Island 2019, according to last year’s first-time participants.
Networking was a highlight for Tanya Anderson, co-owner of Wascana Flower Shoppe in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, who attended her first SAF convention last year with mom and co-owner, Petra Janssen.
“You learn so much by listening to what works for others,” Anderson said. “The support and knowledge that we gain from our industry peers is incredibly valuable. The energy we create at convention when we are all together you will never find elsewhere.”
They also learned a lot about themselves, said Anderson: “It was neat to see what we were doing right and what we could improve on.”
She said they not only learned the skills to make those improvements but also how to make them last. They also learned “a ton about social media marketing, care and handling, our own business culture and how to adapt it so that we are just generally ‘better.’”
“It was 100-percent worth every penny and second,” she said. “We came home with an energy for our business that we haven’t had in years. That alone was worth everything.”
Amber Ballance, general manager of Fairfield Flowers in Virginia Beach, Virginia, agreed. “I think that it is so important to refresh yourself as a florist … and meet other people that love flowers – just the positivity of it was amazing. It’s a phenomenal experience,” she said.
“One of the coolest things for me was [meeting] people who were my age in the industry. I don’t always see that,” added the 32-year-old.
Ballance loved the hands-on workshops, too: “I think as florists and designers, we like to be able to make something while we’re there.”
She is still applying what she learned from the convention, especially the hiring advice, and is looking forward to attending the Advanced Design Techniques workshops at this year’s convention.
For Farai Madziva, vice president, at Kitayama Brothers Inc. in Watsonville, California, the SAF convention was an opportunity for his company to meet with and understand what matters most to wholesalers, retailers and other growers.
“Meeting with florists was a big plus for me as I got to hear issues on quality and trends,” he said, adding that he learned the importance of providing product information to the clients on subjects such as postharvest handling and treatment, cooling and hydration and more.
Anderson’s advice to people on the fence about attending: “Just book it and go,” she said. “Don’t overthink it. Investing in yourself through your business is worth every penny.”
SAF Amelia Island 2019, SAF’s 135th Annual Convention, takes place Sept. 18-21 in Amelia Island, Florida. For details and to register, go to safnow.org/annual-convention.
Renee Houston Zemanski is a contributing writer for Floral Management.