When progressive and curious ﬂower people come together, it’s no surprise that innovative ideas develop, align and reemerge with a new focus. That’s exactly what took place at the second annual Slow Flowers Summit on June 29, which drew a sold-out attendance at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C.
Designed to serve professionals in the Slow Flowers community, including ﬂoral designers, farmer-ﬂorists and vendors who supply them (ﬂower farmers, wholesale ﬂorists, soft and hard goods suppliers), as well as members of the media and educators, the one-day conference examined new models of ﬂoristry.
As an interactive LIVE element of American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4), the Summit drew more than 100 attendees. Of those in attendance, 60 percent self-identify as ﬂorists and ﬂoral designers while 20 percent describe themselves as farmers and farmer-ﬂorists. The top reasons people attended included connecting with other attendees followed by learning about new resources and connecting with speakers.
Taking our cue from the many topics and experts featured in the pages of the “Slow Flowers Journal” and in other channels, such as the “Slow Flowers Podcast,” the Summit presented speakers and subjects on ﬂoral business, design and technology – with the goal of stimulating attendees to think about their own ventures in a new way.
Keynote presenter Christina Stembel, of Farmgirl Flowers in San Francisco, Calif., shared her advice on scaling any ﬂoral business with goal setting and critical analysis of one’s core brand.
Two ﬂoral design presentations were geared toward business models, as well. Kelly Shore, of Petals by the Shore in Olney, Md., and Mary Kate Kinnane, of The Local Bouquet in Little Compton, R.I., teamed up to share their approach to sourcing from local ﬂower farms as part of their branding model. The sister team of Casey Schwartz and Kit Wertz, of Flower Duet in Los Angeles, Calif., revealed their multifaceted studio’s key income channels, including teaching ﬂoral design to professionals and enthusiasts in Southern California.
We rounded out the day with two panels. First, the Flowers & Technology panel featured Jonathan Weber, of greenSinner in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Jessica Hall, of Harmony Harvest Farm in Weyers Cave, Va.; and Christina Stembel. Their comments opened the possibilities of expanding markets and the many ways to sell and transport ﬂowers. Finally, there was a heartfelt presentation by two cause-related ﬂower farmers, Walker Marsh, of The Flower Factory in Baltimore, Md., and Mud Baron, of Flowers on Your Head in Los Angeles, Calif.
The diversity of topics and speakers reﬂects the character of Slow Flowers, which is a community of like-minded professionals pursuing and supporting the mission to save domestic, local and seasonal ﬂoral agriculture, from the farm to the studio.
Dana O’Sullivan, of Della Blooms in Bethesda, Md., shared her reaction to the event: “The Slow Flowers Summit should be on every ﬂoral designer’s or ﬂower farmer’s bucket list. If you’re curious about how a relationship can be cultivated with local ﬂower farmers or ﬂoral designers and others in the business, the Summit is for you. As a ﬂoral designer, learning about intentional sourcing from farms, with farmers who can tell me how the blooms were grown, versus habitually relying on bloom brokers was a breath of fresh air. My designs improve with fresh product and inspirational varieties whenever I can source locally.”
As we wrapped up the Summit 2018, it was time to reveal the third Slow Flowers Summit, which will take place on July 1-2, 2019, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. Save the dates! I’m so pleased that we have a cohost in Christine Hoﬀman, founder of Twin Cities Flower Exchange, a ﬂoral wholesale hub located in St. Paul that represents local ﬂower farmers and chemical-free practices, now in its second season.
Learn more about the Slow Flowers Summit at slowﬂowerssummit.com. Check the video tab to watch past presentations from 2017 and to ﬁnd subscription details for the 2018 presentations.