Every year Petal It Forward participants reap the rewards of giving out flowers. And, those rewards not only include seeing the joy that flowers bring recipients firsthand, but also gaining new customers, establishing current customer loyalty and creating community awareness.
For the fifth year in a row, the Society of American Florists 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. This year’s Petal It Forward event takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 23 — and there’s still time for floral industry members to plan their own local events.
And, most SAF members said the impact of Petal It Forward is worth it as the benefits last well beyond the one-day event.
“We have people come in and mention to us all year long how much that flower meant to them and how they appreciate us for spreading happiness,” said Annie Taylor, AIFD, CFD, CF of Leona Sue’s Florist, Inc. in Scott, Louisiana.
Nicole Palazzo of City Line Florist in Trumbull, Connecticut, received the same type of feedback.
“We were literally the talk of the town. People called us for months after saying they saw us on the news or heard about what we did and wanted to thank us,” she said. “It’s not only a great community give-back but it’s really a stepping stone for business. We’ve gained so many new customers who appreciated what we did.
“The lives you touch by handing out bouquets is truly so special,” Palazzo added. “Petal It Forward is such a wonderful event and is becoming our favorite day of the year at City Line.”
And, as Renee Potter, owner of Fred’s Flowers in Tempe Arizona, found out, flowers can even bring out the best in skeptics. “There was one person who thought flowers were a waste of money because they die; this helped him rediscover the joy flowers bring and the warm feeling of making someone else smile,” Potter said.
Mike Whittle of K Mike Whittle Designs in Marietta, Georgia, said that his shop took the concept of Petal It Forward to a whole new level.
“Every year we participate in Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Expo and last year we set up a booth with the flower cart and a garden scene with just buckets of flowers. We let everyone choose three stems and we had a wrapping station set up and it was absolutely wonderful. We wrapped about 1,600 bouquets with our business card in each one,” he said. “We had more calls and got more customers from this than anything we have ever tried. The concept of Petaling it Forward is wonderful.”
SAF provides resources to help member florists Petal It Forward, including tips on where and when to stage a giveaway, talking points, T-shirt and flower card templates and more at safnow.org/pif.
Renee Houston Zemanski is a contributing writer for the Society of American Florists.