With this year’s Petal It Forward date set for Oct. 23, growers and breeders say planning ahead leads to a successful event and a meaningful experience about the power of flowers for staff.
For Sakata Seed America, Petal It Forward resonates with its mission statement, “To contribute sustainably to the betterment of life and culture of people around the world,” said Jamie Kitz, a key account sales manager and corporate citizenship specialist for the breeder of ornamental and vegetable seeds and plants. Last year, Sakata partnered with grower Kitayama Brothers who provided and bundled 250 bouquets and helped hand out the flowers in downtown Monterey, even taking some to a retirement home.
Partnering with Kitayama also creates a customer synergy that elevates enthusiasm for the program, said Kitz, who advises handing out the flowers anywhere with a lot of foot traffic at lunch time, such as walking malls or restaurants.
“It’s a great opportunity for community interaction,” she said. “Take your most energetic people who smile a lot and who aren’t afraid to approach people.”
Kitz recommends using the Petal It Forward materials provided by the Society of American Florists to make things easier. She also recommends starting small.
“If you feel the logistics are tough, just make it simple for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood production or a huge number of flowers; it’s the one-on-one interaction of handing out flowers that matters,” she said. “Any amount of flowers that you feel comfortable handing out — small bouquets or even single stems — they have the same effect.”
After last year’s event, Sakata and Kitayama discussed the event and made notes about what went well and what to improve.
“We will take a look at those notes and use them to plan for this October,” she said.
Last, Kitz said to get the word out ahead of time so your community and customers know you’re participating.
Tracy Easter of Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers, in Fallbrook, California, endorses getting the word out early, too. Her company promotes Petal It Forward through its website, social media and word of mouth. They also try to gauge the peak level of activity in a given area before deciding where to hand out the flowers. Easter said that the event is also a great time to educate people about the company’s product.
“We love the opportunity to create a memorable experience that will promote the awareness of our flowers. Any opportunity to educate brings us great value. If a person knows what kind of flower we grow, they will be more likely to seek it out and purchase it in the future,” she said.
Last year, the company’s employees handed out 300 bouquets. She is excited about participating in this year’s Petal It Forward event.
“It’s a great opportunity to remind us why we all grow and or sell flowers,” she said. “The happiness and joy experienced by the gift giver and gift receiver is something that we are somewhat removed from so this is a great chance to experience what we are working for.”
For the fifth year in a row, SAF is leading the industry in the Petal It Forward concept. During this “random acts of kindness” flower giveaway, consumers receive two flower bouquets (or flowers) — one to keep and one to share — to demonstrate the Rutgers University research that shows flowers make people happy and are encouraged to post on social media about their experience using the hashtag #petalitforward.
SAF provides resources to help members Petal It Forward, including planning timelines, tips on where and when to stage a giveaway, talking points, T-shirt and flower card templates and more at safnow.org/petalitforward.