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Women’s Day gaining traction as U.S. floral holiday

International Women’s Day was founded on March 8, 1917 to celebrate women’s suffrage and after 100 years of evolution, it is coming into its own in the United States. In the last decade, the floral industry has promoted Women’s Day as a time to honor all women through giving flowers as tokens of appreciation.

In briefly recapping floral sales results for 2018, it appears the holiday is both solid and gaining strength.

FEARLESS-GIRL‘Fearless Girl,’ a 250-pound bronze sculpture that stares down Wall Street’s ‘Charging Bull’ statue, was installed a year ago to honor International Women’s Day and this year, was draped with a flower cape for Women’s Day 2018.Lane Devries, president and chief executive officer at Sun Valley Floral Farms in Arcata, CA, and one of the leaders in promoting flower sales for Women’s Day, told The Produce News, “For 2018, our sales for Women’s Day were up strong and tulips in spring colors were the main driver. Watching the news, it seemed that Women’s Day was being celebrated like never before. McDonalds turning the golden arches upside down and Old Navy decorating statues of women in New York City with flowers, speaks to American pop-culture embracing this day.”

Sue DeMuth, floral category manager at Coborn’s in St. Cloud, MN, told The Produce News, “This year I noticed a lot more media attention on the holiday. The local news stations talked about it a lot and it was really trending on social media. We also promoted it —actually, for the first time. We did a spot on our blog about Women’s Day and in our stores we had a rose sale. Having a rose sale in March was a great shot in the arm. And along with that, we promoted tulips in our Women’s Day ad program. I am thinking that Women’s Day offers a lot more potential than just flowers; next year we will encourage the other departments in our stores to promote the day along with floral — it’s a natural.”

Ashley Dimmit, floral manager at Hy-Vee in New Hope, MN, told The Produce News, “This year we had a very good Women’s Day — much better than last year, with all the political distractions going on. People were buying arrangements, mixed bouquets and bundles of mixed flowers. We did have a floral ad in our Hy-Vee flyer but we didn’t have a lot of big signage around the store. We do have a large European population in our area and a lot of people were specifically coming in for the holiday.”

And Liane Mast, floral director at Stater Bros. in San Bernadino, CA, told The Produce News, “This year, Women’s Day was very good for us with strong floral sales on the day. Last year, the political climate really affected the day but this year that wasn’t the case.”

“I think that Women’s Day is gaining a lot of traction,” Lauree Lincoln, vice president of marketing at Sunshine Bouquet Co. in Miami, told The Produce News, “I heard about it mainly because of the #metoo movement and all that is going on in our environment — the political environment and the social environment. I think it has become stronger; it was not huge, but there was a lot of interest in it and I think it is something that is going to grow.”

And Bradley Gaines, business director of floral at United Supermarkets in Lubbock, TX, concurred. “I saw huge traction this year on the holiday, especially since there were no political issues. We had a nine percent sales increase, comparing day to day,” Gaines told The Produce News.

“This year, we pushed the holiday on social media, on every platform that we had on two of our banners — United Supermarkets and Market Street. We didn’t push as much last year, but we plan to keep pushing Women’s Day for next year,” Gaines added.

Carlos Oramas, chief executive officer and co-founder at the Gems Group Inc. in Miami, told The Produce News, “In a word, I think it is evolving. I was out in the stores that day, and I did see a lot of activity. And as I would go up to women and say, ‘Hey, happy Women’s Day!’ they didn’t look at me and say, ‘What is that?’ they’d say, ‘Well, thank you.’ I think the momentum is in its favor. Last year, was a very politically charged year, but this year, women’s topics are more positive — they are about strength and advancing and moving forward, and accomplishments, and contributions to society and the workplace, and the role of women in so many different ways. And I think people in general are raising their daughters to be more like that. Although this is a very old event, this is an event that is growing at a time that really connects and makes sense in our country. Now I think it can be called an American holiday.”