Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers

Kelly Perry - 00:00 - You are listening to the team flower podcast where we talk about flowers with people who've dedicated their lives to sharing them with the world. We believe that your work with flowers matters and we're cheering each of you on. Hi, my name's Kelly, and today we're talking with Debra prinzing, founder of slow flowers. Slow flowers is an inclusive community dedicated to the promotion of American grown flowers in the benefits of local, seasonal and sustainable sourcing. Their members are engaged in all facets of the United States flower industry, and the mission is to change the flower sourcing practices of consumers and professionals through outreach and education, highlighting the benefits of local, seasonal and domestic grown floral agriculture. The slow flowers movement is a response to the disconnect between humans and the flowers of the modern era. It aspires to reclaim the act of flower growing, recognizing it as a relevant and respected branch of American agriculture. 

Kelly Perry - 00:59 - Furthermore, slow flowers connects consumers with the source of their flowers. When there is transparent origin labeling, all the botanicals sold to consumers and professional florists. It heightens the value of local, seasonal, and sustainably grown flowers. And this episode we're diving into how the slow flowers movement has changed over the years and what it looks like today. Debra shares the sweet story behind her passion and the farmers who sparked the slow flowers flame in her. We'll talk about how you can be involved in American flowers week and how you can support your local flower farmer. The difference between growing from seed versus planning from a garden center. It's all right here in more on the team flower podcast. This podcast is paid for by team flower, an online support community dedicated to educating, connecting and empowering flower levers worldwide. We provide online classes, in person events, and free weekly resources designed to support you in your journey with flowers. Whether you're professional florists, flower farmer, or simply love flowers. There's space for you here. Come join the Well, we are really excited to have Debra on the podcast today. Welcome Debra. 

Debra Prinzing - 02:14 - Hi Kelly. It's so great to hear your voice and to be on the line with you. 

Kelly Perry - 02:17 - Yes, absolutely. Um, it was really fun. Debra was able to come down to the conference this year and I got to meet her in person there. Um, and we just had it. She brought me a little one of those little glass babies, a purple one, the sweet pea color. And um, I've got that here and she's just such a delightful person to be around. And so I'm really happy to be chatting with you again today. 

Debra Prinzing - 02:43 - Thanks. Thanks for inviting me. It's really fun to talk to the team flower tribe. It's really fun to be part of this on the fringes at least. 

Kelly Perry - 02:51 - Yeah, absolutely. And on the podcast we love to talk to all kinds of different people that have a life or business that's to flowers in some way, shape or form. So of course we've got different designers and growers and Debra really, I would describe as in you can disagree with me, Debra, but I would really describe you as an advocate and a voice in a storyteller. I'm for American farmers and the, just the industry at large. She, um, talks on a wide variety of different topics, but I think you just have a really, um, a really unique role and we're so thankful for you. So tell us a little bit more about slow flowers, what it is and um, yeah, who might be involved with it. 

Debra Prinzing - 03:37 - Sure, sure. Uh, you know, originally the term slow flowers was sort of my shorthand to explain to people what it is I was doing as a book author and I'm a magazine writer and I was working on a book about 10 years ago called which ended up being called the 50 mile Bouquet. And the 50 mile Bouquet. With sort of a nod to what was happening in the culinary food world where everyone was looking at their, their food mile and thinking about how close their food was produced to their dinner table. But it was such a long as you can tell. I like taking me forever to explain that. She was such a long explanation that I finally started saying to people, you know, it's, it's what I'm doing is slow flowers. It's like slow food but with flowers. And I'd say about 50 percent of the people I said that to understood what I was talking about. Um, but that was, you know, in 2006, 2007, 2008 around there. Um, that book didn't come out until 2012 and by that time it sort of became a more powerful term then the 50 mile Bouquet. So I love the way it symbolizes this intentionality, this mindfulness slow. 

Debra Prinzing - 04:49 - You can put the word slow in front of a lot of things these days. Fashion, art, um, you know, cars, whatever, you know, you put this word slow in front of it and it implies kind of a sustainable mindset and practice. So that's, that's really where slow flowers, the term came from and now it's just grown into this much larger platform I could never have envisioned happening when I started out. 

Kelly Perry - 05:14 - Isn't it fun where things just sort of roll out and develop whenever they're kind of put out into the world and people interact with it and you see, you know, what is resonating and it really can take your business in a lot of different directions that you weren't really expecting. I feel like you and I probably have similar stories as far as that goes. 

Debra Prinzing - 05:33 - Absolutely. Yeah. You'd like you to do it and then as you're doing it, you find out what it is and. 

Kelly Perry - 05:39 - Exactly. That's exactly it. 

Debra Prinzing - 05:41 - Yeah. And it's really, it's really informed by the people that we, we connect with and what they're interested in. So I do kind of have a definition for what. So flowers, what I am saying. So flowers means now I could just run through those five points that, that would help. Um, I was asked to write a manifesto a couple of years ago and so, um, that's what this ended up being. And um, there's five bullet points that, that slow flowers participants are supporters commit to. One is to recognize and respect the seasons by celebrating and designing with flowers when they naturally bloom. And as a gardener, like I totally get that. The second is to reduce the transportation footprint of flowers and foliage consumed in the marketplace by sourcing as locally as possible. The third is to support flower farmers, small and large, by crediting them when possible through proper labeling at the wholesale and consumer level. 

Debra Prinzing - 06:37 - And I also extend that in my personal practice to whenever I post something on social media, it could be a beautiful bouquet. I want to credit the farmers who grew those flowers as well as the designer who designed those flowers. I'm the fourth is to encourage sustainable and organic farming practices that respect people and the and the environment and the fifth is to eliminate waste and the use of chemical products in the floral industry. So those. There's a lot of points of entry there and some people really adhere to or what you know to one of these are only a few resonate. There's no hard and fast rule. I just kind of have these out there is sort of my beliefs and what I've learned from others. 

Kelly Perry - 07:20 - Yeah, that's very good. Just a summary of all those different points and um, let's talk a little bit more about that. Um, that aspect of kind of the full circle telling the whole story of the flowers um with, talking about who's grown, the flowers, who's designing with the flowers and how can we, how can we support you in what would just be maybe some tangible things that we could do to help in that. I'm bringing more awareness to that. 

Debra Prinzing - 07:48 - Sure. I mean, I, I really think that for so long, consumers, florists, anyone in the who was enjoying flowers in their life for so long, we didn't even know who grew these flowers are where they came from because it just wasn't an emphasis in the industry on that. And so we have a long way to go, but I feel like there's some wonderful, a wonderful understanding taking place that farmers are essential to like the fabric of our country and to economic development and sustainability and um, you know, cities and rural areas alike growing is sort of the, the, the practice. That would be horrible if we, if it disappeared in our lives. So what that yeah, with that mindfulness, I think increasingly floral designers, at least in my world and I think in years to are excited about meeting the person who grew those flowers and the visiting farms. I'm talking directly with a farmers. There's so much going on where farmers and florists are actually leaving, collaborating on seasonality like uh, you know, I know Florida Flores who a commission farmers to custom grow particular varieties for them if they're anticipating a big wedding in August that has coral and Apricot Palette, like they'll be, they plan ahead and see the farmer is integral to their, um, their business and the farmer in similarly is so eager to have that input in that direction from florists. 

Debra Prinzing - 09:26 - So I see a lot of that wonderful connection taking place. And just to take it further, the labeling issue is, is you know, an continues to be more of a, I think more of a problem at the grocery store level where you know, every piece of fruit you buy has a little oval sticker that says where it was grown. But we don't see that as much in flowers. There is some labeling going on with, um, like the certified American grown labeling and also specific states, state agricultural departments have their own campaigns like Colorado grown or Alaska grown and so more farmers are adopting those and that helps the consumer. But from a creative person's point of view, I feel like whenever a florist has the opportunity to highlight the farmer, um, it's really, it's really beneficial. It just helps educate the consumer that there's a, you know, there's a legitimate path here from the seed to the bouquet. 

Debra Prinzing - 10:22 - Okay. Um, and Instagram, instagram only allows that because farmers, most flower farmers that you and I work with are kind of savvy enough to be on social media, posting their own photos and it's just this wonderful reciprocity. Like the farmer wants to showcase designers that he or she sells to and designers want to, you know, pay homage to that hardworking farmer who grew that amazing ranunculus that everybody's drooling over. And so it's, it's a positive and it's really mutually. There's this sort of symbiotic mutual dependency that we have from both sides of the industry. 

Kelly Perry - 11:02 - And I will say to you that the brides really love that they love knowing that they're coming from a person and who that person is. And so I try to share that whenever I'm working in consultations or we're discussing what kind of flowers will come and all those kinds of things. I'm just mentioning the, the source and where those are, where those are coming from. And that's always something that it's kind of like a first stop for me is like what, what's happening right now, which ties into the seasonality piece that, that you were mentioning. Um, and just that respect for the seasons and part of philosophy flowers, which is the wedding side of the business here. That is really, I feel like the piece that makes an arrangement feel like, I don't know, I take like the sigh of relief when there can be. Sometimes you have clients that need hydrangeas and roses and tons of them and they're not in season and so they need to come, you know, they need to come from another, from a wholesale source. But I feel just personally that I just do need that one thing that is like in the present moment, I just caught, like, celebrate today. 

Kelly Perry - 12:07 - That was the original tagline, philosophy, flowers that are in it is, it's just that one thing that connects us to like the date, the moment in time. Because I really do feel that flowers are that for us. Um, you know, kind of that, that there, there are a lot of things but just that marker of time. And so whenever that client, you know, has their anniversary the next year, I just, I know that there's probably one client out of all the clients who really has caught onto this, but just the idea that, you know, those flowers could be blooming in your garden next year whenever your anniversary comes around. And so I have my anniversary garden planted, but of course I'm one of those like super flower obsessed people that this marketing everything by time. But, but every June, you know, when the lambs ear there and the lavender's there. 

Kelly Perry - 12:55 - And um, you know, all those kinds of things. It's just very, um, um, it just is very soothing to be able to walk out into the garden and to sort of reminisce on that time and I just feel that it does strengthen my marriage and it gives me an opportunity to reflect on the year and what it was like. And you know, there's, we all go through hard times and struggles and we all go through seasons of intense, immense joy. And so there's just such a value in reflection. I feel like flowers definitely bring that to the table for us. So I love that part. Um, 

Debra Prinzing - 13:31 - And even from a purely, you know, hardcore business, uh, if that's the only thing that motivates you, I don't think people in our world are like this, but, you know, I, I say, look, it gives you an edge as a designer to speak with more product knowledge. Um, you know, with authority and with education to your, to your bride or your customer by having that extra little level of a narrative to go with whatever your palate is or whatever. Whatever's happening in that season. It's just people are hungry for that, you know, we've all gone to those farm to table restaurants where the description of the farm is, you know, longer than the menu item and there's this romance to that and I think increasingly people are, are taking advantage of that hunger consumers have for connecting to the earth and to nature because we've been so divorced from it and that little narrative of telling about the story of the farmer or the farm or the or the season is just, um, it's just like that extra detail that I know you give to your clients and I think, you know, that's, that's an intangible. It's hard to measure whether it pays off or not, but I feel like it does. 

Kelly Perry - 14:43 - Yeah, yeah, absolutely. There's so many different. That's the thing, there's so many different things in business that are kind of like the recipe, you know, um, and they're all, you know, some things are, some things you end up ruling out because it's, you know, too much to do. But this is a, this is a really simple thing that we can do that I do feel like is 

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Kelly Perry - 15:57 - Debora, who was that farmer, I'm just, I'm so curious, you know, you're so passionate about telling their stories. You do that through the slow flowers journal that's in florist review and you are, um, you are an advocate for the stories of, of the farmers. Like who, who was that farmer went? What was the moment when you were like, I want to give my life to tell this story? What was that like? 

Debra Prinzing - 16:22 - Well, actually I have two farmers who, so you've done this for me and people will not believe it, but the first farmer that got me ignited and excited about realizing that there was an opportunity as a journalist to, to dive deep into this world was Erin Benzakein. I met her in 2006 when she was a very young mom. Her kids were very small and she was basically just growing sweet peas and trying to figure out flower farming. And uh, I was on a scouting trip to scouting gardens with a photographer in up in what kind of the area where she lives. And we met and just became friends and she told me what she was doing. And, you know, at the time, I'm not even sure she had a website and just so just that, but that, that drive and that passion that Aaron had about a leveling the playing field for, uh, the florists, the farmers who are trying to grow flowers domestically was incredibly inspiring. 

Debra Prinzing - 17:21 - And also because my background, I was a business journalist for 10 years so I could see that I see the beauty and the design part of it. But I also see that sort of, um, David and Goliath story that, you know, the farm is trying to make it, make it, make a go of it. And then, um, another farmer who really, I'd say had a huge influence, especially on my first book, the 50 mile. Okay. Was Diane Szukovathy and Diane and her husband Dennis Westfall own Jello mold farm, which is also here in the Pacific northwest in Mount Vernon, Washington. And uh, Diane is the farmer on the cover of that book, the 50 mile bouquet. Okay. Um, along with a florist, uh, who, who she was doing business with. But um, you know, I kind of wasn't an embedded journalist with this movement, especially dating back to 2010 when the first conversation among farmers in the northwest took place about starting their own wholesale market and Diane's, that was the founding president of that cause Seattle wholesale growers market and she's actually still a cochair today, so I kind of just show shadowed them and got to be involved with everything that this group, intrepid group of flower farmers was doing a to try and create a living from their land and create, you know, a viable business around their flowers. 

Kelly Perry - 18:43 - Yeah, that's a really a really neat story. It just kind of evolved in and took off from there. And since then you've written some other books because you just named the titles and in case if somebody is interested in. 

Debra Prinzing - 18:53 - Well I'm, my most recent book is called slow flowers and that came out in 2013 and they run thing is I've written 10 gardening books. I compost flower books as part of it. And that was a huge part of my life for about 15 years. And um, I feel like I'm not sure I have another book in me, the 50 mile bouquet. And slow flowers are the two that are mostly about, um, about the local floral movement. Um, I actually did a book called stylish sheds and elegant hideaways about the architecture of garden sheds, 

Kelly Perry - 19:29 - So many, so many talents that I have yet to be revealed. 

Debra Prinzing - 19:33 - I'm a sucker. I'm a sucker for sheds too. Believe me. Um, but, uh, that came out in 2008 and a anyway, but I feel like my big journalistic project right now is working with florists review because that is basically doing 12 sections a year is like the equivalent of doing a book. So I don't really have any other bandwidth. 

Kelly Perry - 19:53 - Yeah, yeah, yeah. And some day maybe the compilation of all of those things could become, you know, could be when 

Debra Prinzing - 19:53 - We joke about that. 

Kelly Perry - 20:02 - Yeah. Yeah, I think it totally could. Well, you're, you're really interested in gardening. I wonder, have you ever. Have you ever thought, this is, this has been like new on my mind, um, in the last year or so, but as I started growing seeds here and just thinking back to like whenever my mom grew seeds in her garden and my grandpa and just like how big and being at flower farms and things like that and seeing how big the plants get whenever they're grown from seed versus, you know, as, as a wedding florist, you know, especially when I was, you know, really cranking, cranking out weddings, one right after the other, there was not a lot of time to get involved and really growing a lot of things. 

Kelly Perry - 20:46 - Um, and I would find myself, you know, Lowe's hardware, the garden center or wherever, and I'd pick up plants and I'd snip on them for that little touch of maybe that's something seasonal if I needed some little last minute thing and then they would get put in the garden. And that's how the garden got started. Um, whenever we did, you know, we pulled the big, the big ugly thing out of the front yard and that's how the garden got started. One wedding at a time, um, but now now after having been a little bit more involved with this seed starting and getting some raised beds up and things like that and paying closer attention to it, I think it's so interesting. Like, like the other day the weather was beautiful and so I of course there's, there is something about that instant gratification of being able to go into the garden center and you're just like, ah, it's blooming. 

Kelly Perry - 21:36 - It's beautiful. It's there. But I know that the bleeding heart that's blooming right there that I picked up like I have for bleeding hearts in the garden and none of them look anything like that right now. Like they're forced to bloom out of their seasons so that as a consumer we can know what the plant looks like, but really that should have been in the ground before it had the flower on it. And my friend Kathleen is the one who really like opened my eyes to that and help me like just start thinking through how consumers really demand the products that we give. But we're not really always giving the very best thing they could, could have. Does that make sense? I'm developing this so it's, it's no. 

Debra Prinzing - 22:20 - Yeah, no, I worked in the nursery industry for a long time and um, uh, it, it just is a common practice in the retail nursery industry to give people instant gratification. So that means you've got this. Everything that's been forced to bloom, I'm just in time for mother's Day or just in time for Easter. And so that plant is kind of, in my opinion, is kind of weakened and as gardeners it's our responsibility to get it in the ground as quickly as possible and just give it the nourishment and moisture it needs and hopefully place it in the right spot where it's, gets the shade versus Sun. And then the reward Kelly is like two or three years later when it's starting to perform like a normal garden plant. Exactly, yes. And then, and then you really appreciate it. I actually, the House I'm in is only a year. We've only been here a year and the garden's new and the very first shrub I planted about this time last year was a lilac that had just one bloom on it from the garden center and you know, it didn't give me really any gratification for the last 12 months, but now it's starting there is ready to bloom again and it has two flowers on it. We've doubled our production in one year. 

Kelly Perry - 23:38 - That's so funny. Yeah, I mean, yeah, I just, there were Dahlias that had a stem length on them that were blooming, blooming and had a stem length of three inches two three inches. And there was euro that was blooming that was like more of like a carpet. And I'm like, you're supposed to be much taller than that. Like just how dwarfed in link stunted. Um, the plants are, you put them in the ground, they, like you're saying they really don't do a whole lot for a while versus. I mean it was like a miracle when I planted the seeds. And then the Zinnias were like three feet tall and I was like, you know, like what on earth is happening over here with these monster seeds. So anyway, I really, I really feel like everybody should have a little garden and I know that there are seasons of life where that's not possible, but just put dirt in one pot and sprinkle some seeds in it and just be surprised by something that comes up, you know? Um, I just think it's such a miracle and we should all kind of be a part of it. But that's just something that I've been thinking about lately. Just how that business aspect of it and how it's kind of forcing what is available to us and kind of how do we, you know, how do we get back and what does that look like and how are we a part of it. And so anyway, there's just some things I've been thinking about. 

Debra Prinzing - 24:49 - But yeah, I think it's addictive too for florists because once you get, you get a little taste of that. I'm cutting garden product. So maybe you grow yourself or a neighbor or your, your mom. Then you just realize that it is that special in a kind of secret sauce that you can add to maybe some flowers that are more uniform and style it. It doesn't take much to just kind of soften. That's kind of predictable, you know, common flower with something that's just a little bit more wild and I don't mean comment too common to degraded. I just made like uniform. 

Kelly Perry - 25:27 - Yeah, absolutely. Financial support for this podcast is brought to you by growing for fall weddings, an online class by Tina flowers. In this fast track class, you'll discover 24 essential fall in late summer flowers that are excellent for bridal work and how to grow them. Dahlia sunflowers, lisianthus, and more earl cupboard here. With this class, you'll be on your way to growing. Must have bridal. This class is taught by Linda, don't amt. Willie's wildflower is a business providing a pool service. See pc experience for brides. Linda will guide you through root tips and tricks for growing popular late summer fall flowers and how they can all work together in bridal designs. In addition to instructional videos. This cost also comfortable planning documents and sources, so you'll be fully prepared to plant your garden and create planting schedule resources. You need to see your dream of growing. Wedding planners come to life right here in One of the flowers that I think if you're listening and you're like, 

Kelly Perry - 26:29 - maybe I will put something in. Um, Erin had sent me several years ago when she first launched her seed line, she'd sent me some loving a puff and I just, you just put that right into the ground and let it go and it shoots out all kinds of nice vines. But I like living of hope because it's not really Super Tangley, at least in my experience. It hasn't been some, some vines can really tangled together and are tough to get apart. But I think love and Improv is really nice for ranging and centerpieces and things like that. I think the, the tricky thing is, is that you see the seeds and you're like, I want to buy all of them. And then as a florist you just get really overwhelmed because they all have different needs. And you can't learn to meet all of their needs at one time. So just pick one thing and try that one thing until you get to know that and then add another one into the mix. They all have special needs, very categories and things. Yeah. Well, um Debra. What, what kind of encouragement or advice might you give to a flower farmer who's listening, who maybe is struggling finding florists to purchase their flowers or you know, just which farmers to grow. Like how would you speak to, to have a farmer who might be listening today? 

Debra Prinzing - 27:44 - You know, there's, we know that the number of people growing flowers, uh, as a, as a business is increasing and um, it's exciting because there was an, you know, uh, definitely, uh, after the early nineties when the US trade policies, uh, kind of tip the scale to incentivize South American growers to enter our market. It kind of wiped out some US firms, but that there's a rebound going on and it's really among the farmer florists and the small entrepreneurial new farmers. Not to take away from what the big farms are doing, but I think what the most exciting thing that's happening in our world is when flower farmers collectively come together to create their own floral hubs and it be at a farmer to Flores wholesale operation like Seattle wholesale grower's market, which is just about to celebrate their 7th anniversary at the end of April. Um, but there's some newer hubs like the twin cities flower exchange and St Paul, they're in their second year, sonoma flower mart in California's wine country. 

Debra Prinzing - 28:50 - They're in their third year, a Piedmont wholesale in the Raleigh, Durham Chapel Hill area. Um, they are in their second season and, and there's so many others in small and large places like Missoula, Montana and New Orleans and there's these sort of hubs are created being created but their farmer driven. And I love that the farmers are taking charge of their own destiny in a way by creating these places for florists to find flowers. And I think it achieves a couple important goals. It's very much sort of self, this sort of little upstart, you know, a little engine that could type of operations, but first of all it creates a story and I've seen this successful small business story that the local media definitely want to write about. They want to document an industry trend or they want to check more boxes in a, in a industry profile than just profile than just reading about one farmer florists. 

Debra Prinzing - 29:48 - I mean, it's just such a positive story. So it. I think that that's for, for a good storytelling reason. That's exciting. Of course, that's my media hat that I'm talking from. But the second thing is I think at these hubs eliminate other barriers that florists may have experienced in trying to buy direct from a farmer because it's all about that location and transportation and, and you know, farmers have to be creative and getting, you know, Flores who are used to getting a box shipped by Fedex have to really be motivated to get in their car and drive somewhere and buy flowers. Although I have to say wedding and event designers like you, I know that you're, you're not necessarily satisfied with just receiving flowers. You want to go pick them out yourself and you know, I know that when you can, you probably, 

Kelly Perry - 30:42 - It is one of those things that you're saying though, where it comes down to being a time issue, like if it's being delivered either by a truck on a route or you know, um, or via Fedex or whatever it is, that simplicity and that, that's what I feel like is powerful about the hubs. Like being able to go to one place, but to have the variety of all of the different growers in the area. There's the trouble that we run into, I feel like is, you know, we might get to a farm and there's just only 10 stems of something. And for me, you know, that's okay, but I can't go first to a farmer because there's just 10 stems there. So just has to be kind of like ice icing on the cake I guess. Um, I guess you could say because it's a little bit. I'm virtually, and I live in, I live in a pretty remote place. I'm pretty far away from the Piedmont or whatever, so I know that in terms of, of where it can go and all that kind of stuff, um, you know, that can be a barrier for some people, but I, that's what I do. 

Kelly Perry - 31:39 - I do love about the concept because it's, I remember being at a conference with farmers and they were like, it's just so hard to get the flowers to all the different florist and I need to be out in the field and just pulled in so many different directions and then it's like, and be on instagram all the time. Ended it all the time. It's just like too much. So any opportunity to streamline our processes, like these are the kinds of conversations that I love having because there are simple ways where we can meet each other's needs. Um, we think we have to meet them in the way that, that has been happening. But there are other ways that we can be more efficient and thoughtful about how we're doing things and our processes. 

Debra Prinzing - 32:20 - And I think smart women will see a problem and find a solution. And uh, you know, I can just think of one example. There's this a member, so flowers named Sarah Rias. She owns unfurled, which is a studio in Oakland and she is literally driving to Sonoma, which is about, I think probably almost two hours, uh, especially with San Francisco Bay area traffic. She's driving up there once a week, buying flowers, not only for her shop that she works for, it's, it's daughter, she doesn't own it, but she's the manager of it. She also buys flowers and like on consignment for other florists in the Oakland Berkeley area who can't get up there and she's creating this sort of like, she, I think she's calling herself like the floral concierge. Like she's figuring out, okay, the flowers are there, the designers are here and I'm going back and forth. So if I'm just buying for myself, that's not efficient. But if I, if everyone pitches in and pays for my gas, I'll bring their flowers back for them. And it's really, it's really an early stages. But I think that that's another model that's a collaborative as well. 

Kelly Perry - 33:27 - Yeah. Yeah. I like that a lot too. That's really good. And it is this whole concept of, of these hubs, like it goes back to like the power of together and what we can accomplish and it puts us to in a place where, where we are coming together to, to, you know, exchange goods or whatever it is, but there's conversations that can kind of happen in the hallways and you know, in, and out of the parking lot or different things like that. Just being able to have that kind of interaction I think is also a really powerful aspect of, of what's happening with that. So I'm glad that you brought that up. I mentioned that for sure. 

Debra Prinzing - 34:02 - It's continuing every, every week I hear about somebody new is trying this, so it's cool. Absolutely. 

Kelly Perry - 34:09 - Tell us about American flowers week. Um, what that is kind of how people can be involved and participate.  It's something I love being involved with this. So I want it to come straight from you. Tell us about it. Thanks Kelly. Why is it happening? Yeah. 

Debra Prinzing - 34:28 - And Kelly, I didn't really even know you and last year you just took it upon yourself to do so much personal advocacy for American flowers week. I just have the public. 

Kelly Perry - 34:37 - I think it's so important. It's so important. Yes, you're welcome. Of course. 

Debra Prinzing - 34:41 - Well, it, it got us started. American flowers week as it is in its fourth year. Uh, it got to start actually in London, if you can believe it. I was at, I was at, uh, the Chelsea flower show in 2015 and the, I was given a tour and like a private back behind the scenes session at Duke, new covent garden flower market, which is like the biggest wholesale hub of flowers in all of the UK, but it's in London and I'm actually some slow flowers members were with me. 

Debra Prinzing - 35:10 - It just happen. They happen to be in London. And I invited them, Jimmy and Laura and Jonathan Weber from green center in Pittsburgh. And we were all just having coffee and tea and with this lady who was talking about British flowers week and we all just looked at each other and Jimmy's like, you need to start this in the US. And I'm like, yeah, I think I do. And that's how good ideas happen. Right. And, and I just have to give credit to the women at, at the, in London, at the new new covent garden flower market. They were so generous. They gave me all the resources, all their, like kind of a strategy for this campaign that they're doing for one week. And there's this. Usually it had been in early June. It fluctuates within the first, second or third week of June, but we've never had a direct conflict. 

Debra Prinzing - 35:53 - Um, I came home and decided to create American flowers week to encompass July fourth. And I'm really glad I did that for a couple of reasons. So it's really, the actual dates are June 20, ninth to July Fourth, which is always some wacky thing because it's not like a Monday through Friday. It's a Thursday or Wednesday or whatever. But it, it ends on July fourth and first of all, of course, that's very patriotic and it kind of back to this, I think like a media person, I was very literal. I can have people post flowers, flower images of red, white and blue flowers, which sounds very tacky and Cliche, but it's definitely something that catches the eye of the media and it helps bridge that gap of, you know, oh, it's something I could write about during July fourth. Um, also it's, it's July, so that means every state in the union has flowers growing, including Alaska. So that's a nice part of the story. It's not something that's taking place when half the country's under snow.  It's been wonderful.  

Debra Prinzing - 36:57 - And then, and then you know, where I'm just basically every year we've been able to have a website. It's called American flowers And we have lots of free resources that people can download. We haven't put up the 2000. We have some of the 2018 branding up, but not our, our, um, our month of some of the things we're holding off to release until June first, but um, our, our floral fashion shoot for example, but um, people can download coloring, like coloring maps of all the state flowers and different badges and banners and graphics that they can use and it's just, it's just truly meant to be a celebration to raise awareness. Yeah. It's raise awareness about American flowers and the fact that there's people who grow with them and design with them and um, uh, just keep the conversation going I guess. 

Kelly Perry - 37:51 - Yep. Absolutely. Kind of like, it's kind of like the birthday of, you know, she's like the birthday celebration each year of flowers. They're grown in America and the people who are growing them. And I'm just being a part of that. So that's what I love about it, is this thing that's like, it's the thing that's bigger than all of us. You know, what happens whenever we all come together and a big part out, I'll just say is kind of the social media presence. And so just posting with the Hashtag, um, it's American flowers week or what, what is the Hashtag you're going to use 

Debra Prinzing - 38:27 - Hashtag America and flowers week. And actually we, we measured the growth of that in the very first year. We had about 400,000 impressions, um, during the month of June because it's sort of a law. You have to start promoting it in the beginning of June to get people hyped up and ready by July fourth. So it's grown to last year it was 5 million impressions in that same period of time. Um, and so thank goodness for social media so we can actually track this and kind of, not that I don't want to be competitive or anything, but I just think having those numbers validates what we're doing sometimes. And when I'm talking to a grocery store for example, or a, um, a sponsor, then I can demonstrate to them that there really is engagement and interest in, um, this campaign. And, you know, that's just something that helps reassure people that it's worth their while to promote American grown flowers and do it just for this wonderful one week period. 

Kelly Perry - 39:23 - Yep. Absolutely. And it's not a big commitment at all. I mean, like last year, I mean, just practically if you're thinking like, you know, how can I be involved or you know, I, I really do care about this, but I'm busy or you know, whatever. I get it. Um, I just would pick a flower from the garden. It was kind of just a part of my little morning thing, just pick a flower from the gardens, something that I, you know, something that I grew, um, and I would just post about it and Hashtag about it and share just a little. Yeah, just a little personal sort of thing. Yeah. Yeah. 

Debra Prinzing - 39:55 - And people not hurt people and people are already telling me what they're planning and what they've got cooked up. I'm Kelly Shaw who's a, a florist in Maryland. Um, she has a business called pedals by the shore. She's hosting a flower crown workshop during American flowers week. I'm at one of the farms that she typically buys flowers from and she's inviting, you know, basically customers to come and learn how to make a flower crown with the flowers from that farm and just just have it like a tea party, you know, it's just a fun thing to do. And also for her, she sees it as a way to educate people about the, the extra steps she's goes to to source flowers for weddings and events and she knows she'll photograph it and she'll have lots of ways to promote that and the farmer gets, gets the bonus of having to, you know, a chance to show off a, it's a couple. They get the chance to show off their farm to customers who typically live in the city and they don't get to be on a flower farm. 

Kelly Perry - 40:56 - I love that. Thank you for teasing that out a little bit because that's an idea. I would've never. It would've never occurred to me that, you know, there's all kinds of different ways that we can celebrate this. I'm just, you know, depending on where we are and what's, what's going on with our business, but I love how that's kind of like just a full circle, um, you know, mutually beneficial for all air, you know, for everybody who's involved. Um, that's a really great way to do it. So I'm glad that you shared what she's doing. That's really neat. 

Debra Prinzing - 41:22 - Yeah. I'm excited. I'm going to get to attend. So I'm very excited to make my flower crown with Kelly. Yeah. 

Kelly Perry - 41:27 - Yeah. That'll be super good. Financial support for the production of this podcast is brought to you in part by the team flower conference where flower lovers from all over the world gathered together for education, connection and celebration here. Stage presentations from industry leaders on inspirational and educational topics in both design and business. Connect with like minded professionals and think tank discussions and share your own question. Is Dreams and advice with your peers and network with industry support? Enjoy flower theme. Celebration will receive encouragement or where ever you are in your journey with flowers at the team flower conference. You'll have the opportunity to make history as together we create the future. We want to see in the industry one step at a time, whether you're a farmer, florist, wholesaler, floral artist, or someone who just loves flowers. You welcome here. There's something truly magical that happens when we all come together and we'd love for you to join us. You can find the latest information at Well, we're going to come up and see you for the flow. The slow flowers summit, which takes place during American flowers week. Um, tell us a little bit more about the summit. 

Debra Prinzing - 42:36 - Yeah, I'm so glad that you can come. That'll be so wonderful to have you and Jessie there, uh, just being guests and not having to be responsible for anything. 

Kelly Perry - 42:46 - Right. Well, you know, we're, you know, we're going to be there if you need anything at all for us, so we appreciate it. 

Debra Prinzing - 42:55 - Yeah. So I started the summit last year, um, as a one day symposium during American flowers week. It was in Seattle, a less summer on July second this year. It's actually going to be in Washington DC on Friday, June 29th, which is right in the heart of American flowers week. And I'd like to call it sort of a ted talk for flower levers. And what I mean by that is, uh, you know, the Ted talks or take place in cities all across the country and this sort of becoming a global phenomenon, but it's a place where you can hear a lot of ideas presented by a number of speakers in a short period of time and be inspired to know here from progressive I people with progressive ideas in floral design or a sustainable practices or pioneering, um, you know, role models that we might want to learn from. 

Debra Prinzing - 43:45 - Um, will this year we'll have a floral demonstrations using all local flowers, will, we'll have a big group floral installation that will happen kind of during the transition periods. The breaks between the coffee breaks and lunch break. And so everybody can touch flowers even though they're stuck in a hotel ballroom. Right? Which you did very well in the team flower conference. 

Kelly Perry - 44:10 - I do know what that feels like. 

Debra Prinzing - 44:12 - Um, we have, um, the famous mud Barron will be in attendance with his performance art flowers on your head so everyone will get their personal portrait looking like Frida Kahlo for their social media. And our keynote speaker is Christina Stembel from farm girl flowers and I'm so excited that she's going to be there and just, She's devoting the time to come and share her personal story about the highs and lows of scaling her business that started basically at her kitchen table seven years ago and it's now grown to $15,000,000 a year. Um, so, you know, the best part is really the chance to come and network with the speakers and with each other. Um, it's really just a thought provoking day when we can sort of stretch and aspire to be better versions of ourselves and encourage one another. So I'm excited. I've got, I'll give you the links and I've got all the details up at And um, it is, um, it is dovetailing with the American Institute of Floral Designs National Conference, which may or may not be of interest to people, but it's, they invited me to collate to low co locate the summit with their conference and Kelly that is like the biggest affirmation that this term slow flowers in the idea of slow flowers is me being really excited, kind of moving from the fringes to the mainstream in the industry. So I applaud them for doing that. 

Kelly Perry - 45:47 - Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah. We're hoping to pop in and maybe get a day pass or something for the conference as well.  

Debra Prinzing - 45:55 - You can do that. Yeah, you can buy a day pass. Um, and I believe also attend the, like the trade show. I'm a as well and not have to register for the whole conference. 

Kelly Perry - 46:05 - Awesome. Yeah, yeah. Well they always have a good lineup and so many things going on. So I'm excited. All of this sort of coincides and dcs really one of my favorite cities. Like I, I love all of the museums. And I saw there was an imax movie about the monarch butterflies and it was just me in the imax and there's no one else in there at all. Um, but that movie really, that, there was something about that. Like I had one of those like, you know, lump in the throat, I'm in tears in the imax watching this man, like follow his dream to discover how the monarch butterflies, you know, find each other and, you know, like what their pattern. Anyway, that whole thing. I mean it was just, it was so beautiful. And I always think about, you know, kind of how the floral community, how we are kind of like the monarch butterflies, you know, there's seasons where we're kind of flying alone or um, and then we sort of meet up, we'd bump into somebody at the flower patch or whatever, you know, and we're flying, we're flying to Mexico. 

Kelly Perry - 47:07 - And then we all have these moments in life where we're just like all together. Um, and that's definitely a place where I feel like, you know, where my, my role or my passion and all of this is, is definitely in just bringing all the butter, bringing all the butterflies together, um, for a little while. So anyway, but yeah, DC is an place and there's the garden there that you can go and see right there at the mall and um, yeah. And what a great place to celebrate our freedom. And Yeah, one of my, 

Debra Prinzing - 47:40 - One of my members who attended the summit last year who lives in Ohio, she emailed me and said, I, I never go anywhere if I can't, like have three things to do. So I've been researching what to do in DC when I come to the summit and she actually, her name is Nan Mattson and she owns Queen City flowers and I'm uh, I'm going to get the city wrong, but I think it's, it's Cincinnati area. 

Debra Prinzing - 48:00 - I believe she said that the National Arboretum, which is the garden you're talking about on the mall is heavy as having a huge botanical art exhibition during that period of time have botanical illustration. Yeah. So, um, I mean I'm going to add that to my, to do list too because I could allocate and use you supported so many amazing artists at the team flower conference. I, I'll send you that info because it seems like something you'd want to do too. 

Kelly Perry - 48:30 - Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I would love that. Well, everybody who's listening, we're gonna. Um, we're gonna of course. You can hop right over there. We're going to put everything, all the links and everything on the blog as well. Um, so if you're looking for any of this, just pop over there. The website connect with Debra. Um, but yeah, just and we're, we're so honored and thankful that you've been here today and you've shared, um, all these stories and connections and just kind of got us thinking, you know, um, that's what I think is so fun about the podcast to be able just to have conversations and I don't know, just to see what stands every. 

Kelly Perry - 49:06 - I think what's interesting is that something different will stand out to everybody who's listening. You know, there's the couldn't of a different piece that we cling to. And that kind of helps us figure out our direction in life and where we're headed next, whenever we pay attention to these things that really kind of ignite a second thought or just, you know, a moment of, of passion or excitement or, or whatever, really help us inform where we're headed on our own paths in life and how they might intersect and all work together. Oh, it's been lovely to have you here. Thank you so much, Debra, for what you offer to the flower world. 

Debra Prinzing - 49:42 - Thank you. This has been great. And I think I got more time with you just now than we ever did in Orlando.

Kelly Perry - 49:50 - I did too. I really did too. As we sign off today, I want to remind you that your work with flowers matters. It's about more than the blues. You're loving the world. You make magic happen. You're creating memories. You're following a dream, delivering light and grace here at team flower, cheering you on one limited time. Thank you for listening to the podcast. And until next time, remember that we're so thankful for each bucket that you wash in each bag of garbage that you take out of your studio that makes all of this possible. If you're looking for more education, that's free conversation or inspiration, just visit [inaudible] dot org slash [inaudible] to see their library of helpful videos and articles per Florida growers and fire business owners. You'll find helpful tips on everything from creating flower walls to hiring freelancers and much, much more.

Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat

The Bloom Project