5 Inspirational Ideas to Adapt Your Petal it Forward Planning
- Bring bundles to centralized locations. Valerie Lee Ow of J. Miller Flowers and Giftsa in Oakland, California, plans to bring bunches of bouquets to a centralized location (e.g., a hospital, school, nursing home or fire station) so that managers can distribute to recipients. Other florists say they’ll do the same with area businesses that have walk-in traffic, including local restaurants. Key to a successful group handoff when you and your team are not present? Advanced communication with the location about logistics and precautions they need you to take, along with written communication to help recipients understand the purpose of the event — including the “keep one, share one” concept. (SAF has updated flower cards and tags to help make this task easy.)
- Leverage existing distribution channels. In the past, Petal It Forward participants have sent teams of employees to the busiest intersection in town to hand out flowers. That’s not a viable approach in 2020. Instead, Sally Kobylinski of In Bloom Florist in Orlando, Florida, said she’s considering making the most of existing deliveries on Oct. 21 by adding “surprise” Petal It Forward bouquets that recipients can pass on. Kobylinski and team also are thinking through the idea of delivering two bouquets each to some of their best customers that day, as a surprise thank you for the clients’ loyalty.
- Offer curbside pickup — and promote contact-free giving. In Wichita, Kansas, Jennifer Barnard and her employees at Tillie’s Flowers Shop created a version of Petal It Forward last spring when they sold bouquet bundles that customers could pick up and distribute on neighbors’ doorsteps. The promo, which the shop called “Ding Dong Ditch!”, was a big success, in large part because customers were happy to have a safe way to let neighbors know they were thinking of them. Barnard said she can imagine a similar angle this fall — especially now that so many florists have mastered the art of the touch-free curbside pickup. An important caveat: Putting out an unmanned bucket of free flowers could draw a crowd (and negative attention), so you may need to pre-schedule pickup times to maximize social distancing.
- Encourage community members to honor area heroes. The pandemic has no shortage of heroes and some SAF members say they’ll use Petal It Forward to shine a light on the selflessness of local health care professionals, frontline workers, teachers, parents-turned-home school instructors and more. A possible way to do that: Solicit nominations for hometown heroes via social media, choose a set number of winners and deliver two bouquets each to those people.
- Keep it simple, superhero. Floral industry businesses are operating with small crews right now, and many are struggling to keep up with brisk daily work and holiday planning in an uncertain time. Petal It Forward outreaches don’t need to be complicated to be successful. In fact, streamlined approaches with simple bouquets and flowers are likely your clearest pathway to a great event.