By the end of today, tens of thousands of Americans will have shared free flowers with family, friends and strangers — experiences that will lead to tears and squeals, along with heartfelt thanks and social media posts about how good it feels to give and receive flowers.
At press time, floral industry members in 459 cities in 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Canada had planned 561 local Petal It Forward events for October 11. Those numbers represent a major bump from last year’s effort, when industry members planned 262 Petal It Forward events in more than 234 cities in all 50 states.
Another sign of success? Before a single flower had been handed out, publications in nearly 20 states had already highlighted 2017 Petal It Forward giveaways with pre-event coverage.
The spikes in industry participation and media interest are testaments to the popularity of the goodwill outreach and the power of flowers, said Jennifer Sparks, vice president of marketing for the Society of American Florists.
“Research shows that receiving flowers makes us happy and that giving flowers makes us even happier,” Sparks said in a nationally distributed press release promoting florists’ local efforts and leading media to a list of events and florist contacts. “The floral industry wants to share positivity and kindness toward others, and to give people the chance to do that for someone else.”
Here are some highlights of great press coverage generated by SAF and local florists ahead of the event; you can review a comprehensive list of coverage here.
- Makeba Giles was one popular health and family blogger with whom SAF partnered to write about the nationwide effort on her blog, which receives 220,000 unique monthly visitors, and share details on social media. The mother of four has a combined social media following of more than 44,000 people. “With so much happening in the world today, a day of spreading happiness and positivity is certainly going to make a huge difference,” she wrote.
- Elana Lyn, another partner blogger with 50,000 unique monthly visitors, explained “How Petal It Forward is Spreading Happiness Two Bouquets at a Time.“
- Julie Wurr of Heart ‘n Home in Laurens, Iowa, told the Spencer Daily Reporter her business was participating in Petal It Forward in part to give her community something positive to focus on. “With social media, I think we can focus so much on the bad,” Wurr said. “When was the last time you just did something for good, or heard something for good? It’s just magic.”
- At Blumz by…JRDesigns in Detroit and Ferndale, Michigan, Jerome Raska AIFD, AAF, PFCI, CF, and Robbin Yelverton, AAF, AIFD, CF, MCF, PFCI, doubled down on tasks (and great media coverage) this week by participating in Petal It Forward and opening a new location in nearby Holly, Michigan. Crains Detroit covered both news items in one story. “[Petal It Forward] is a great awareness of the power of flowers … people that may be on a regular basis aren’t floral consumers can witness how powerful handing a bouquet of flowers to somebody can really be,” Raska said.
- Vickie Trimble of The Hardy Geranium in Austin, Minnesota, told the Austin Daily Herald said sobering headlines over the past few months have made the effort more important this year. “Because I think it’s time people learned to be nice to each other,” Trimble said. “We want to spread the ‘nice.’ We are really excited to do this.”
- Hudson Valley 360 shined a light on two area shops. “[Petal It Forward] is not mandatory — this is something we choose to invest in to brighten people’s day,” said Karen Gallo, owner of Karen’s Flower Shoppe in Cairo, New York. “It helps promote the floral industry as well.” Linda Hursa, owner of Angel’s Trumpet Flowers & Gifts in New Lebanon, New York, said she hoped her outreach “promotes positivity in the world.” Petal It Forward “lets people know how much flowers can make a difference in someone’s day,” she said.
- Ben Dobbe, president and CEO of Holland America Flowers, told The Reflector in Woodland, Washington, that his team handed out 200 bouquets last year and were excited to join back in this year. “Last year it was extremely well-received,” Dobbe said. “Several people actually got tears in their eyes… Petal It Forward is just an amazing effort of our whole industry to make people aware of flowers, to make people happy with flowers.”
At press time, the Petal It Forward Thunderclap had 155 supporters, with a social reach of 108,436. At 11 a.m. on Oct. 11, SAF’s pre-written message blasted across their Facebook and Twitters channels: “Happiness blooms across America today, as the power of flowers creates smiles! Follow the fun: #petalitforward http://thndr.me/25x0fA.”
Check out About Flowers’ Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds for additional stories. (Search the hashtag #petalitforward for even more stories on those platforms and check out the Storify.) Look for more coverage about successful local efforts (and more media coverage) next week.
Have a Petal It Forward experience you want to share? We want to hear all about it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.