Debra Prinzing

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Episode 540: Slow Flowers Society’s 2021 Year in Review

January 12th, 2022

It’s that time again — our chance to review and reflect on all we achieved and experienced in the year that’s just come to a close — this time, 2021. I’m joined by two key members of the Slow Flowers Team — Karen Thornton, our operations and events manager, and Niesha Blancas, our social media manager, who helped review our highlights and wrap things up for 2021. As historians have taught us, you can’t plan for the future without knowing the past, right?! 

Karen and Niesha are such valuable members of our team and I’m so grateful for their talents and commitment to the Slow Flower Mission! This year, rather than taking a chronological, month-by-month walk through 2021, we thought it would be useful to touch on each of our programs, channels and activities by topic. 


Membership:

In 2021, we achieved our highest level of membership since the launch of Slowflowers.com in 2013 — 880 members in all 50 states and most Canadian provinces. What a wonderful growing community of progressive, sustainably-minded, flower people. 

Our monthly Member Meet-ups were a highlight for me — beginning last January when we hosted Rachel Johnson of Simply Grounded, who led our session on Sogetsu Ikebana. The monthly meet-ups averaged 50 attendees all year long — some more, some less. Sometimes we had a number of presenters; other times we included break-out sessions. The meet-ups began in 2020 as a way to connect with each other during the early days of the COVID pandemic. None of us realized how valuable these Zoom calls would become over the ensuing months. In 2021, we averaged 50 attendees each meet-up, and the replay videos have been watched more than 1,200 times.

Continuing with Membership, one of my favorite accomplishments of the year was designing and producing the Member Marketing Toolkit, a digital 42-page booklet that answers all the questions our  members might have regarding ways to participate and get the most out of your membership. And more recently, during October Member Appreciation Month, we produced a special Member Benefits Booklet with discounts and coupons from Slow Flowers Society and our sponsors. 


Member Survey:

The Slow Flowers Member Survey informs our planning and forecasting for the year to come. Here are some highlights:

Congratulations to our Winners! Everyone who completed the Survey and shared their details was included in a special drawing for two prizes. 

Complimentary Slow Flowers Premium Membership for 1 year ($249 value): April Vomfell, Flathead Farmworks 

Free Slow Flowers Dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns – June 27, 2022 in Pocantico Hills, New York ($350 value): Jennifer Kouvant, Six Dutchess Farm


Slowflowers.com

At Slowflowers.com, our original home online, we invested in some important upgrades to the software platform. Just unveiled in December, we’re calling it Slowflowers.com 3.0. It was our goal to improve user experience for the consumer and functionality for our members. We are planning a virtual “spring cleaning” later in January to share some of the ways our members can maximize their profile and brand through Slowflowers.com 3.0, so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks. We’ll be sure to record the tutorial for replay viewers.


American Flowers Week

The American Flowers Week looks were featured in the digital edition of Slow Flowers Journal “Botanical Couture.” This was the debut of a digital flip book, and we’re excited to launch the quarterly magazine in 2022, with our winter edition coming later this season. Our members have contributed articles to the slowflowersjournal.com website over the past few years — a popular feature — and now we expect to get more members involved in the new project, which we’re publishing in conjunction with BLOOM Imprint (more on that later).


Slow Flowers Summit

Two years in the making, the Slow Flowers Summit was our 4th annual gathering. When I asked Karen to share her feedback, she gave it in one word: Wowzer

What a memorable and successful gathering last June at Filoli Historic House & Garden in Woodside, California.

I have to thank Niesha Blancas for going to Filoli in June 2020, during what would have been our Summit there, and taking beautiful video and photography, as well as filming a design session with Emily Saeger and my IG live interview/tour with Jim Salyards — all while masked, of course! You pulled of a social media feat in 2020 and again in 2021 when the rescheduled Summit took place!

We are especially grateful to our friends at Filoli, who were incredibly supportive in welcoming Slow Flowers and the Summit to their amazing grounds.


Social Media and Communications

Ninety-one percent of our members follow Slow Flowers Society on Instagram, while more than 45 percent follow us on Facebook.

We renamed our Instagram home: @slowflowerssociety

We launched a new Instagram account: @slowflowerssummit

New Video

There are so many ways that we share inspiring news and resources with you. In 2021, we invested in a short 3-minute Slow Flowers video to introduce the organization to potential members, strategic partners and supporters.
The video was filmed and edited by Alayna Erhart of Alayna Erhart Studio. It features me clipping flowers in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden, the fabulous gathering of members at Filoli Historic House & Garden at the recent 2021 Slow Flowers Summit and a visit to the UW Farm with member Riz Reyez of RHR Horticulture. Special thanks to the members who share their voices of endorsement and support, including Sarah Reyes of Wildflower & FernTobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events and Design and Laura Gonzales of Swallows Secret Garden! Look closely – do you see yourself here in our community!? We’re ready to welcome you as a member!


Storytelling, Newsletter, Original Content

We love producing our monthly newsletter to send to you at the beginning of each month. The Slow Flowers newsletter is a popular resource for our members — in fact, in the recent survey, more than 3/4 of you tell us you usually or always read it! Our content is rich, informative and inspiring — and newsletters keep you up to date on events and PR opportunities available to members. I like to treat the newsletter as a chronicle of all we’ve achieved from month to month, and the archives are easy to find in the footer of slowflowers.com. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

Stories about our Members: Whenever I’m asked to write for another floral or farming publication, I make it a priority to feature our members and their expertise as my sources. In 2021, that meant including you in several articles for Johnny’s Seeds’ newsletter called JSS Advantage; a guest piece for Details Flowers Software; guest articles for Florists’ Review, Growing for Market and Longfield Gardens, among other outlets.


You could file these stories under Slow Flowers advocacy and outreach, and I’m especially excited about our partnership with the National Gardening Association and GardenResearch.com to include cut flower questions in the 2021 National Gardening Survey.

The findings were published in April, revealing encouraging national attitudes about local and domestic cut flowers. And in 2022, we’re joining with NGA to dig deeper into attitudes and consumer behavior — this time about where people buy their local and domestic flowers — can’t wait to share with you!


Our ongoing commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

To proactively pursue equity, inclusion and representation in the floral marketplace, intentionally valuing Black floral professionals (farmers, floral designers and vendors) in our business practice with as much support as we give to environmental sustainability.

new Slow flowers manifesto statement (2021)

Education

In addition to our Monthly Member Meet-Up, other educational offerings include offering you free access to webinars with our partners, including Johnny’s Seeds, Bloom Imprint, AIFD and Fleurvana Floral Summit. We also taught the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in January and helped so many aspiring writers flex their writing muscles and learn new skills.


BLOOM Imprint

In 2021, we launched our publishing branch of Slow Flowers — BLOOM Imprint. As a boutique publisher, we are committed to producing floral lifestyle books by and about our Slow Flowers members.


Slow Flowers Podcast

Finally, we must note all of our Podcast achievements. If you watched this conversation that Niesha, Karen and I are having on Facebook Live or YouTube, you’ll realize this is one of our new initiatives for 2021 — since our 8th anniversary in late July, we have added video interviews aka Vodcasts to the mix.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This is the weekly podcast about Slow Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. It’s all about making a conscious choice and I invite you to join the conversation and the creative community as we discuss the vital topics of saving our domestic flower farms and supporting a floral industry that relies on a safe, seasonal and local supply of flowers and foliage.

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

Thank you to our lead sponsor, returning for 2022, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

Lead Sponsor: Farmgirl Flowers
Major Sponsors: Longfield Gardens, Johnny’s Seeds, The Gardener’s Workshop, FlowerFarm.com, Red Twig Farm, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, and Rooted Farmers
Channel Sponsors: Mayesh Wholesale, CalFlowers, Roadie.com, Details Flowers Software, CoolBot and Scenic Place Peonies.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast is a member-supported endeavor, downloaded more than 804,000 times by listeners like you. I value our loyal members and supporters! If you’re new to our weekly Show and our long-running Podcast, check out all of our resources at Slow Flowers Society.com and consider making a donation to sustain Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Show & Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers on the table, one stem, one vase at a time. The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. You can learn more about Andrew’s work at soundbodymovement.com

Thanks so much for joining us today and I’ll see you next week!

Music Credits:

For We Shall Know Speed; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

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