Here’s a new reality you deal with every day: Customers who spend hours on Instagram want the latest and greatest in design. How can you clear the noise and position yourself as their go-to expert?
“Show, don’t tell,” is the mantra of Derek Woodruff, AIFD, PFCI, owner of Floral Underground in Traverse City, Michigan, who will present trends and ideas from the International Floral Distributors’ Flower Trends Forecast next month during SAF Amelia Island 2019, the Society of American Florists’ 135th annual convention.
“I’m a practical designer — I’m not only studying trends every day, I’m actually putting them to use with real customers, with real money on the line,” said Woodruff, a former SAF Sylvia Cup Design competition champion. “So, when I talk about the trends we’re seeing, we’re going to be talking about how to actually use those trends in your business to increase customer engagement.”
Woodruff’s presentation will focus primarily on weddings and events, because “what happens in those spaces, design-wise, tends to trickle down,” he explained. (One trend he can share ahead of time: “Dried botanicals, incorporated into designs of all kinds, are going to be huge in your market, if they aren’t already,” he said.)
The biggest shift Woodruff sees, though, is how trends move through the market. “It used to be that big companies set the pace, but now, often because of social media, it’s a reverse dynamic: Consumers are the ones driving trends. They’re telling us what they want to buy.”
If you’re thinking that design trends are a soft topic — the kind of thing your designers chat about while on break — think again, Woodruff said. Having a modern aesthetic and knowing what your customers want, before they know it themselves, will set your business apart in ways that show up on your balance sheet.
“You can’t get complacent or comfortable about these things, or the rug will be pulled out from underneath you,” he cautioned. “Brick-and-mortar florists who are surviving today are staying on top of trends related to design, consumer buying habits and consumer wants and needs. You always need this information.”
Mary Westbrook is the editor in chief of Floral Management magazine.