The Society of American Florists’ membership includes all segments of the industry — and that community is the heart of SAF. This bi-weekly feature will spotlight SAF members sharing inspirational stories, professional insights, and the opportunity to form new industry connections.
Alan Tanouye grew up in Hilo, Hawaii and his interest in the floral industry began with his dad, Harold Tanouye, who in 1976 started Green Point Nurseries, a tropical flower farm specializing in anthuriums. Tanouye’s brother, Eric Tanouye, and his sons now run the family business.
Tanouye earned an accounting degree from the University of Hawaii and became a CPA . He worked for the business consulting firm Deloitte in the Honolulu office for many years. Tanouye eventually transitioned to the floral industry and started working at Vans Floral Products in Chicago, which merged with Kennicott Brothers Company in 2012. He spent 18 years with the Van Namen family and was the president for his last five years with the company. Vans Floral Products were one of FloraLife’s largest customers, Tanouye says.
Tanouye joined FloraLife, a division of Smithers Oasis Company, in 2010 as the general manager of the company’s North American operations. He is now the director of Wholesale Channel – Global, where he works with wholesalers throughout the world. He says his favorite part of working at FloraLife is helping wholesalers source the highest quality flowers so that retail florists — and eventually consumer — will enjoy the best possible flower experience.
Tanouye’s favorite flower are anthuriums, and he believes that the floral industry has such a great product and message to share with the world. In the future, he says he hopes the industry can figure out a way to promote itself as one entity.
When asked the secret to his success, Tanouye says that he’s had many great teachers in his life, and his career, who have generously spent time working with him and sharing their experiences and wisdom. If he had a chance to improve his time as a wholesaler the biggest tactic he would change is for him and sales staff to spend more time in the market with their customers. He says that’s where a business can better understand their customer from their point of view.
Tanouye joined the Society of American Florists after volunteering on the member services committee. Tanouye says his favorite thing about being an SAF member is the people. Even after spending a lifetime in the industry, he believes that there’s always new people to meet and get to know. And, he says that people in the floral industry are always the nicest people to know.
Do you know a member who should have a chance in the spotlight? Email Stephanie Brady, communications and event coordinator for SAF.
Stephanie Brady is the communications and event coordinator for the Society of American Florists.