Unlike most TREND reports, this compilation tracks changing shifts, emerging ideas and new concepts that are taking hold in the American floral world. Think of it as your Next, New and Now Report. These topics are gleaned from my conversations and interviews that took place with many of you during 2016 – Slow Flowers members, including farmers, florists and creatives. I know some of you have already experienced these emerging developments and your influence has inspired this list.
Here are the NINE Slow Flowers' Insights for 2017
#1 WHOLESALERS ARE DISCOVERING AMERICA. Farmer-Florists and small-scale floral agriculture have stepped into the gaping void created when wholesalers turned their backs on local flower farmers. And now those wholesalers are waking up to the missed opportunity.
#2 MORE FARMS ARE SELLING DIRECT. The conventional wholesale model is changing, as traditional channels of floral distribution are disrupted. I predict that more flower farms will seek and establish new ways to bypass the conventional wholesale pipeline and market direct to florists and consumers.
#3 RETURN OF BRICK AND MORTAR. There’s a lot of flower power going on as independent and progressive florists are signing leases and opening retail spaces in the same markets that have witnessed mainstream mom-and-pop floral storefronts being shuttered.
#4 MICRO-REGIONALISM. Across the country, farmers and florists are forming unique alliances for commerce, marketing and promotion. The net benefit means more local flowers available to more consumers.
#5 LOCAL FLOWERS MOVE INTO MAINSTREAM RETAIL CHANNELS. Major wire services and mass merchants embrace LOCAL Flowers. At least one major wire service, FTD, has determined there is customer demand for local and American grown flowers. FTD now devotes a single page of its web site to the new “Homegrown Collection,” with the tagline: Thoughtfully gathered and locally grown on American farms.
#6 FLORAL TOURISM. More than ever, design schools and flower farms are producing floral-themed experiences – from tours and dinners to private workshops. Truly, there is a cultural shift symbolized by the many inspiring ways that the Slow Flowers community connects consumers with local flowers. I’m excited to see what you create in 2017 — and move over wineries! Tourism is coming to America’s flower farms.
#7 LUXE AND LUSH TROPICALS MIX BEAUTIFULLY WITH GARDEN ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS. We're tracking a renewed fascination with tropical-infused arrangements and bouquets. These elements are used as accents that spice up garden-inspired floral design.
#8 COLOR UPDATE — Beyond Blush. The spectrum for wedding flowers is broadening, and two themes are emerging as favorites among Slow Flowers farmers and designers: Butter Yellows and Muddy Neutrals.
#9 SLOW FLOWERS INTERNATIONAL. Canada launched in 2016 and now floral designers and flower farmers in Italy and France have asked to join the Slow Flowers Movement! This has prompted our initial efforts to form Slow Flowers International -- stay tuned for news to come!