Chartered by an act of Congress in 1884 SAF (the Society of American Florists) was officially formed in Chicago by twenty-one members of the American Association of Nurserymen, Florists and Seedsmen. It is the only national trade association that represents all segments of the U.S. floral industry.
SAF membership is open to all individuals and companies in the floral industry. There are over 7,000 members and that includes the top retailers, growers, wholesalers, importers, manufacturers, suppliers, educators, students and allied organizations in the floral industry. SAF is also the face and voice of a strong, unified floral industry in Washington.
The Society of American Florists is the association that provides marketing, government advocacy, industry intelligence and best practices information for all participants in the U.S. floral industry. And since selling is what it is all about, SAF helps the entire floral industry with an aggressive public relations campaign educating consumers about the benefits of flowers.
FloristWare & SAF
FloristWare is very proud to be a member and supporter of the Society of American Florists. We are great admirers of the work they do on behalf of the industry and the excellent Floral Management magazine.
SAF also publishes the outstanding Floral Management magazine. Absolutely the best source of business information in the floral industry it also features some design content.
One of the most popular ongoing columns is "CSI: Flower Shop" written by Tim Huckabee AIFSE, founder of FloralStrategies and frequent speaker at SAF events.
Derrick Myers of Crockett Myers is also a regular contributor, writing a column about accounting for retail flower shops. Renato Sogueco, SAF CIO, writes another popular monthly column called "Plugged In" that covers technology relevant to florists. FloristWare founder Mark Anderson has contributed a number of articles to this column, covering topics like Yelp! for florists and security basics.
SAF also hosts some of the biggest and best events in the floral industry including...
Usually held in August or September each year the Annual SAF Convention is the biggest event of its kind. It typically includes approximately forty education sessions and events.
Most of these will be educational in nature, with some of the most successful florists in the industry sharing their success tips. These are joined by professionals from outside the industry that bring valuable perspective. For example a high-ranking Google exec might present on how florists can do better in search, retail expert Jim Dion might talk about retail trends, and a well-known HR consultant might talk about human resources for florists.
Some of the most popular events are social in nature. The annual convention always starts with a first-timers party and the President's Welcome Party. The second night usually includes the AFE (American Floral Endowment) fundraising dinner. Another night will include a networking reception, and the final night features the Best & Brightest dinner, followed by the After-Glow party.
SAFPAC is the SAF political action committee and one afternoon of the convention they hold a golf tournament to raise funds.
The emphasis is on fun and golfers of all skill levels are encouraged to come out and support the important work of SAFPAC.
The Sylvia Cup competition is a live national design competition. Two dozen of the best floral designers in the country are given the same flowers, foliage and design supplies — and just two hours to create the surprise design.
During the final hour of competition commentators and coordinators, dressed in themed costumes, walk the floor and talk about the featured products and challenge.
The winner of the competition receives the Sylvia Cup trophy, $3,000 and free registration to the next SAF annual convention. Attendees get exposed to the hottest emerging design styles and an exciting live demonstration of how the best designers in the business create spectacular floral pieces in limited time.
Grand Prize Winner Receives
The Sylvia Cup — an engraved silver trophy
Recognition during the Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner at SAF Amelia Island 2015
Complimentary registration to SAF's next convention
Two Runners-Up Receive
1st Runner-Up: $500
2nd Runner-Up: $250
Recognition during the Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner at SAF Amelia Island 2015
For more than 25 years the outstanding varieties competition at the annual SAF convention has included and honored the industry’s most outstanding flowers, foliage and plants. It is a highlight of the event for growers, wholesalers and retailers — and a real eye opener for the general public, who are allowed to visit free of charge.
The competition lets retail florists and their wholesalers review more than 5,000 of the best fresh products on the market. Dozens of growers from around the world are exhibit their finest cut flowers, greens, potted flowering plants, bedding plants and foliage as they compete for top honors. Expert judges crown one entry as Best in Show and another 13 as Best in Class. They also present Blue and Red Ribbons to dozens more. All attendees can vote for their favorites in a separate competition, the People’s Choice honor.
Best in Class and Blue Ribbon winners will be announced at the Kick Off Breakfast. Winners will also be featured in the November issue of Floral Management Magazine and receive additional exposure through press releases and the SAF website.
Winning in the outstanding varieties competition is a big deal for growers, who can turn their victories into powerful marketing tools that increase visibility and sales.
Reintroduced in 2013, the 2015 convention presents a new format for the supplier showcase. The annual convention now features a dedicated supplier exhibit at SAF’s convention. It typically runs for two hours after the new product showcase and gives retail florists a chance to connect with vendors, ask questions and check out new products.
FloristWare has participated in each version of the since it was reintroduced to the convention in 2013, and looks forward to meeting with retail florists in the new format.
The most exciting and engaging PFCI speakers will introduce the most exciting new products in the industry in a fund, rapid-fire format. The Premier Products Showcase is always one of the most enjoyable events at the convention.
SAF Retail Growth Solutions brings the same great content that could once only be found at the Annual Convention to more florists. It does this by condensing it (Growth Solutions is typically a day and a half long) and making the content more accessible to shops that might not be able to commit several days to attending convention.
For example Retail Growth Solutions is usually held in areas that have a high concentration of florists within driving distance, and adjacent to major airports so that it's easy for many more to fly in. In 2012 Growth Solutions was held in Cherry Hill NJ, close to the Philadelphia and within driving distance of many East coast flower shops. In 2013 it was held next to the St. Louis airport, and in 2014 it was held next to O'Hare in Chicago.
How good is the content? At the 2015 Growth Solutions in Hartford CT several florists flew in from as far away as San Francisco and even Hawaii to participate. There is now more affordable or convenient way for florists to encounter this kind of outstanding educational content.
SAF Retail Growth Solutions always includes a Supplier Expo and FloristWare always participates – both to support SAF and to meet with and learn from florists.
The SAF One-Day Profit Blast is another attempt to bring more great educational content to more florists. This event is even easier to participate in than Retail Growth Solutions – it is just one day long and very affordable.
Profit-Blast still contains outstanding educational content that will help retail florists be more successful. Typical presenters might include Tim Huckabee of FloralStrategies, Renato Sogueco or Derrick Myers of Crockett Myers.
Every year during Congressional Action Days SAF members meet in Washington. This event includes a trip to Capitol Hill where members get to meet with politicians and help them understand and appreciate the concerns of the retail floral industry.
Action Days also include some amazing social events, including sightseeing in the DC area. It is an outstanding opportunity for political tourism as well as a chance to be heard and make a difference.
Do you know of a resource we should include in our directory? If so we hope you will share it with us!