Donates Cash Prize to SAF’s PR Fund
ALEXANDRIA, VA – August 27, 2014 — A national campaign for Women’s Day, March 8 — as a way to fill the sales valley between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day — earned Sun Valley Floral Farms in Arcata, Calif., the coveted title of SAF’s Floral Management 2014 Marketer of the Year.
The announcement, Friday, Aug. 15, during the Marketing Breakfast at SAF Marco Island 2014, drew great applause from the nearly 400 attendees.
“This is not about Sun Valley,” President Lane DeVries, AAF, said in his acceptance speech. “This is about the American flower industry.”
Citing data from the United States Department of Agriculture, DeVries told the audience that the industry’s share of the country’s gross domestic product has decreased by 43 percent in the past 24 years. Even countries with significantly smaller populations, such as Greece, Italy and Slovenia, all dwarf the U.S. in terms of flower consumption, he said.
“Folks, I don’t know about you, but this makes me edgy,” DeVries said. “As a floral community, we need to become less Valentine’s Day- and Mother’s Day-centric and look for more opportunities to drive sales.”
That conviction led DeVries to lead Sun Valley in its effort to build awareness and demand for Women’s Day, a holiday that actually began in 1909 in New York to celebrate women and their resilience in the face of adversity, but never really took off in the U.S.
A native of the Netherlands, DeVries knew the holiday had strong international support, particularly in Eastern Europe and Russia, and believed, if marketed properly, the same could be true in the U.S.
What began in 2010 with grassroots efforts — DeVries and about 30 other flower friends handing out bouquets to women in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., during Congressional Action Days — led to a formal campaign, with the help of California State Polytechnic University marketing students; a partnership with 1-800-Flowers.com that involved another flower giveaway bonanza (this time distributing about 10,000 Sun Valley tulips to women at iconic New York City landmarks, including Penn and Grand Central Stations); coverage on CBS’s “The Talk” and Parade.com; and, ultimately, a 39 percent increase in revenue for Sun Valley during week no. 9 (when Women’s Day falls) from 2012 to 2014.
DeVries encouraged SAF attendees to jump on the Women’s Day train. “It’s low hanging fruit,” he said. “Every one can participate because it doesn’t require any particular flower or even color. But the best attribute is that is for 50 percent of the population, not just for mothers, wives, fiancées or girlfriends.”
In detailing Sun Valley’s Women’s Day campaign, Floral Management Editor in Chief Kate Penn said the Marketer of the Year judges were impressed “not only with the success of the campaign for Sun Valley, but he fact that, if it continues to grow, it stands to benefit the entire industry.”
As Marketer of the Year, Sun Valley received a $5,000 check from Design Master color tool, Inc., which has been a partner on the award since it began, in 1994. DeVries donated it to the SAF PR Fund with an earmark for Women’s Day promotions.
“I leave you with a dream, a desire and an unshakeable conviction that someday our country will be in the top quartile of flower consumption as the American flower industry collectively embraces this holiday,” he said.