The 2022 Wffsa Distribution Conference is now in the history books, and a good one it was.
The stars of this event were People and Flowers, as we found ourselves acting “normal” in a crowded indoor event.
I am not sure what normal is anymore, but being around people without mask and the ability to hug was a refreshing change from the last 24+ months. This event was well attended and packed with good programs that helped make the event a success in my opinion.
Attendance was up from last year and the energy around the event was very up beat because we were amongst friends and companies are making $$. Profits have a unique way of making life a bit better…
The proverbial 800 pound Gorilla in the room, that was on everyone’s mind but not discussed openly, was the very delicate and horrific situation unfolding before our eyes in Ukraine. The question I got asked the most was, what is going to happen to the roses that normally go to Russia?
I took this question to several growers and the answer, in general, was that the varieties that the Russians prefer are not very popular in the US or Europe. This should limit growers and importers from wanting to take a chance to send them and incur all of the cost with little hopes of selling.
Perhaps there are some large sophisticated growers that can manage to export to equally sophisticated Russian importers but the average farm that is/was dependent on Russia has a serious issue to contend with.
My guess is that any extra production from this fallout will not affect the market until summer. Mothers Day and wedding season should create enough demand to absorb any extra production. After that it is anyone’s guess.
There was a very well attended after party on Monday night Organized by New Bloom Solutions, Flowersandcents and 28 other sponsors. The place was packed and I even got to play some harmonica for the crowd.
Additionally New Bloom Solutions and Flowersandcents.com conducted two round table discussions that were streamed live and will be published on my youtube channel (flowersandcents)
First in celebration of Women’s Day Sahid and I hosted five independent “Women in Floral” These successful women shared their stories with us and I encourage you to take the time to watch listen and perhaps learn how they got to where they are.
Next, we hosted representatives from the proposed marketing order called Floral Board (floralboard.org) and Cal Flowers (cafgs.org). The need for marketing has driven these to organizations to work together as they have very similar goals and objectives. The bottom line is how do we, as an industry, fund these programs. The goal is to keep the momentum that we have witnessed over the last 12 months reminding consumers of the value of flowers.
Another question I heard from some importers was there were not a lot of wholesaler in attendance. I reminded them that due to consolidation in the wholesale segment there are just less independent wholesalers around. If Bill Doran, Kennicott, Mayesh and DVFlora show up, and they did, they collectively represent a lot of locations.
On Tuesday night Asocolflores (The Colombian Flower Organization) once again brought Colombia to America with a drum and dance show and white hats for all. Thank you!
Finally, I want to express my deep gratitude and appreciation for those of you that went out of your way to thank me for my coverage of the floral industry. It means a lot to me when my words mean something to you.
Almost forgot about the flowers! There were beautiful flowers in the booths, as you will see.
Ok now sit back turn up the volume and enjoy my picture review of this very fun event.
Remember to check my floral blog at my website Flowersandcents.com for the latest floral news, and if you do not yet get my newsletter please register at flowersandcents.com
Thank you for your valuable time.