World Floral Expo 2018 Review

I recently attended the 2018 edition of the World Floral Expo held in Rosemont Ill presented by Hpp Exhibitions.

This show has bounced around the US and once again landed in the windy City. The attendees were all reminded of the reason that the city gets it’s nik name. It was cold and windy on the outside but nice and warm once inside the cavernous convention center.

This is a relatively small show by HPP standards but that did not not stop exhibitors from  putting on a good show with ample flowers to be wowed by. To be fair this was not a high traffic show but most of the vendors I spoke with were very pleased with the contacts they made.

As always with these events the story changes depending on who you spoke with last and when. Typical of these expo’s the success or failure often depends on very few factors. 

At one point on Wednesday buyer traffic seemed to slow down when the good folks from Krueger Wholesale arrived followed by a large Kennicott contingent. Heads started peaking out of booths like Santa Claus had arrived.

There was a large Ecuadorean grower presence with a few names that I had not seen before in my travels. These few were mainly focused on the Russia market before and now see the US market with new eyes.

Colombia was well represented as well and the flowers presented were top quality.

I am always wondering when the Kenyan vendors will understand how to conduct themselves at these shows.
With a few notable exceptions most of these booth representatives don’t seem to know how to engage with the attendees and thus most of the time they sit talking to themselves or colleagues. Perhaps it is a bit cultural but if they want to attract buyers they need to step up their game.

As always at HPP events there was an educational program hosted this year by industry favorite, J Schwanke from Ubloom. J packed the small design area as many want to hear whatever it is he has to say and this time his presentation was “Let’s Get Social”

Of course no floral event is complete without some design demonstrations. JK, the Dutch design team that travels with HPP whipped up some juicy arrangements for all to see.

Always a pleasure to get to hang out with old and new friends and watch the floral business in action. The personal interaction in this business appears to me to be the only real definer of who buys from who.

Not so many years ago quality separated the grower/suppliers so buying choices perhaps easier but now the quality of most suppliers is measured in much tighter standards. Not all are equal but the quality bar is set high and many are reaching it which leaves service, personal relationships and trust to guide two companies into a business relationship.

This was my first show of the year and next I set my compass to Kenya to attend the IFTEX show held in June. For this show I am leading a tour of North American buyers to see what the Kenyans have to offer.

Finally, I invite you to take a trip around the World Floral Expo show with me by watching my YouTube video review. Thanks to all for reading.

Editor: Williee Armellini


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