After the longest summer break in history, school children around the country are preparing to hit the books again — some, in traditional classrooms (now featuring masks and plexiglass shields) and many more learning at home, coached by beleaguered parents trying to navigate unfamiliar technology while juggling their own work. Enterprising florists have positioned flowers as a way to bring some calmness to this stressful situation.
“Students and teachers will be heading back to school to start another year filled with excitement, anticipation, and challenges,” reads an August 24 Facebook post for Blossom Events & Florist in Trumann, Arkansas. “A beautiful gift of back to school flowers could help ease them back into the routine of homework, instructing, contributing, and all the other elements involved within the educational system.”
Within a few hours, the post had been shared five times and the shop had already received a trickle of orders for back to school flowers, which the shop offers as a “designer’s choice” bouquet, said owner and designer David Faulkner. He also marketed this service on Instagram and Snapchat, but he believes most people will see it on Facebook. “We have a very strong following there,” he said, citing a March 13th post showing a toilet paper bouquet that went viral. “We had more than 1,000 calls that week, including many from out of state,” he said.
In Lake Forest, Illinois, Eileen Looby Weber, AAF, vice president of Lake Forest Flowers took a similar approach. “Take a moment to stop and smell the flowers…With E-learning and school back in session, it is so important to have fresh flowers/plants in the learning space,” she posted on social media on August 24. “Come by the flower shop and have your child pick a few blooms to enjoy. You will be amazed at the stress relief and productivity they will have. I would love to see you too, behind a mask of course.”
So far, she has had a few customers order thank you gifts for teachers and administrators. In Lake Forest, private schools have resumed in-person learning and the public high school has started e-learning. The public elementary and middle schools will have a hybrid-learning option that has been postponed until after Labor Day. She intends to promote the “self-care” theme for stressed out families more in the coming weeks. “I was able to capture sales this spring from this angle, so hopefully a push will gain sales again,” she said.
Jeanne Ha, AIFD, owner of Park Florist in Takoma Park, Maryland, is organizing the “Takoma Park Strong Flower Flash,” a large-scale installation on the town’s clocktower, on Sunday, August 30, to celebrate students’ return to learning.
In a letter to Takoma Park schools and small businesses, Ha wrote, “We envision this as a place for school children to come take their ‘Back to School’ pictures, as well as a place for everyone in the community to come take Selfies! We have all been through so much over the last six months and, with uncertainty for what lies ahead, this is meant to encourage the community to come together for revitalization and to celebrate and enjoy the wonderful Takoma Park spirit. We invite you to get the word out to your students and friends — school flags welcome!”
Ha felt compelled to show her gratitude to the community, whose support has kept Park Florist going during these tumultuous months. DVFlora generously agreed to sponsor and provide fresh flowers for the project.
“We hope many people can come out and enjoy the flowers and take it as a chance to refresh their minds and mark it as a new season to freshly start again for another long battle with the COVID19 situation,” she said. “We feel very strongly that we need to put all our community’s strength together to get through the rest of the year and we hope this creates a good memory for the people and lifts their spirits.”
Ready to get in on the back-to-school action? The Society of American Florists has created new social media shareables to promote brightening up the workspace and showing appreciation to education professionals and remote learning warriors with flowers.
Katie Vincent is the senior contributing editor and writer for the Society of American Florists.