The Society of American Florists (SAF)’s ninth annual Petal It Forward event on Oct. 18 drew in participants from 580 floral businesses in all 50 states (and seven countries) — all helping to spread the joy of flowers.
The event, in which floral businesses give away two bouquets — one for the recipient to keep and another for them to give away — shares the powerful message of how flowers are scientifically proven to help reduce stress and stimulate positive emotions.
“Hi everybody, it’s our favorite day of the year here at Brilliont Blooms. It’s Petal It Forward, the florists’ national day of kindness — in a sense, for random acts [of kindness],” said Tami Gasch, owner of Brilliont Blooms in Brillion, WI, in an early morning Facebook post inviting the community to her store’s parking lot to claim the free flowers.
While many florists focused on the feel-good nature of the day, the event is also a powerful marketing tool that bolsters the brands of retail stores, wholesalers, growers, suppliers, and other industry groups. Many used their giveaways to form community partnerships with other businesses, nonprofits, hospitals, and local government entities including police, firefighters, and schools.
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The efforts were captured in local media stories, and the thousands of social media posts tagged #PetalItForward.
“Free smiles, free flowers — what a combination,” LaToya Ferguson of Sweet Psalms Florist in Conyers, GA, exclaimed in her Facebook Reel inviting people to come to her Petal It Forward event set up outside her shop.
In the Sunshine State, Floridians were treated to numerous giveaways from Miami and Fort Lauderdale to Orlando and Jacksonville. Beneva Flowers in Sarasota, FL, dropped by area businesses to distribute its blooms, while In Bloom Florist in Orlando sent a team into the community to pass out bouquets.
In Texas, more than two dozen florists handed out bouquets. Country Flowers & Gifts in Emory passed out 500 roses– red, white, yellow, orange, and pink – as they spread joy at the local elementary and intermediate schools.
Iowa’s Flower Power
No state had more participants that Iowa, where 49 businesses spread joy with colorful stems. Fudge’s Flowers and Gifts, in Jefferson, IA, welcomed a new business to its area with two bouquets as they blanketed the community with blooms.
“So far one guy didn’t know what to think, one didn’t want a photo but said, ‘I’m trying to think of someone more deserving than me,’ and two were overjoyed,” they wrote on their Facebook post. “We are all deserving of flowers!”
Northeast and West Coast
Lilies Florals in Galloway, NJ, cheered up teachers and students by taking its event to area schools. Students shared lilies and sunflowers with teachers, while the store also handed out flowers from its store to ensure the event was community wide.
In Skowhegan, ME, Boynton’s Greenhouse Skowhegan partnered with a local restaurant to pass out buckets of bouquets.
Having participated every year since its inception, J. Miller Flowers and Gifts in Oakland, CA, volunteers prepared 422 handtied bouquets which were given away.