Every year when we call for nominations for our “35 under 35” honorees, I inevitably get emails and posts to social media complaining that we are discriminating against older members of the floral industry. To this, I simply smile, take a deep breath and remind everyone that this is your magazine. We share all of your floral designs, how-tos and business tips regardless of your age, color, sex, orientation or gender in every issue of the year. In the two years since I’ve published this magazine, we’ve brought in more floral designers, more writers, more photographers and more perspectives than ever before. In December, we even featured an 84-year-old florist who still runs his shop single-handedly.
So, you ask, why feature members of our industry who are under 35? The answer is simple: Our industry is in extreme change, and the youth in our industry are the ones who will grapple with and solve many of the challenges facing us today. We need them.
They will answer so many difficult questions: What will a retail florist look like 20 years from now? How will local florists compete with online powerhouses? Are studio florists the future, or are they just the gateway to the next iteration of professional floral designers? How will the floral industry begin to grow and even thrive? The challenges are huge, and for many, the rewards are low. Why would a young person even choose to be in this industry except for the love of flowers?
When the team at first took on this challenge, it was with the clear goal of finding and recognizing talent in our industry. From farmers, importers and wholesalers to floral designers, we wanted to find and encourage talented young people to thrive and stay in our industry.
What the team found was a group of energetic, enthusiastic and highly-engaged people who are genuinely excited about their work and that of those around them.
I’m thrilled to recognize them, encourage them and give them a chance to shine. I hope you’ll join me in recognizing and encouraging the young folks on your team. They are the future of our industry, and they deserve our support.