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Time is now to prepare for International Women’s Day

Tuesday, March 8, is Women’s Day 2016 and this floral event is maturing into a serious sales opportunity, so retailers are already starting to prepare. Since the holiday comes three weeks after Valentine’s Day, retailers and wholesalers understand that it is essential that their Women’s Day offerings and marketing are in place for a smooth rollout.

Women’s Day was first celebrated in New York City in 1909 and was called National Women’s Day and then quickly spread across the globe. Women’s Day has its roots in inspiring change and building on the advances women have made toward equal rights and equal opportunities in our society.

WOMENS-DAYA Women’s Day promotional display in the GEMS International booth at the 2015 PMA Fresh Summit in Atlanta.The theme of the day is to honor and respect women, so it is a great opportunity for men to give flowers to the women in their life — wives, mothers, daughters, teachers and colleagues — and also for women to share flowers with all their friends, family members and colleagues. The other wonderful part of Women’s Day is that you can give flowers to all the women you encounter throughout the day, such as baristas, taxi drivers and even strangers.

At the recent PMA Fresh Summit it was very apparent that Women’s Day has arrived as a floral occasion. Walking through the Floral Pavilion I saw Women’s Day bouquets and display boxes from some of the largest and most respected flower companies in the industry, such as Sunshine Bouquet, USA Bouquet, Gems and, of course, Sun Valley Floral Farms.

We also heard the question from buyers, “What are your Women’s Day offerings?” and “Do you have a Women’s Day bouquet?” We fielded these questions all weekend.

I asked Aaron Pickering, vice president of West Coast operations at Sunshine Bouquet, his thoughts on why Women’s Day continues to gain traction with consumers.

“The International Women’s Day trend is growing because of a renewed emphasis on gender equality, especially within the workplace and in countries where females risk their lives to receive an education,” said Pickering. “I think floral will recognize this market trend through increased floral sales on March 8.”

Last year, a Women’s Day working group was formed by 10 organizations including farmers from Ecuador, Colombia and California, as well as representatives from AEF, AFFIF, AIFD, PMA, SAF, WF&FSA, CCFC and CalFlowers. For 2016, this group is again offering free Women’s Day posters. Last year these posters were utilized by Von’s/Safeway, HEB, Roundy’s, Andronico’s, Bristol Farms, Raley’s and Longo’s, as well as the nation’s leading wholesalers and numerous florists. Here is the link to request your free posters: http://www.womensdayposters.org.

This year will also see increased Women’s Day promotions from both FTD and 1-800 Flowers. The combined reach of these two organizations is immense and the impact will be felt throughout the retail floral world.

Women’s Day 2016 is on a Tuesday, which is ideal for sales since flowers will be bought for and by women for both the home and the workplace. In contrast, Valentine’s Day this year lands on a Sunday, so a Women’s Day promotion will ensure that your first quarter sales goals are achieved.

Women’s Day is taking its place as a great sales opportunity across all floral channels, and the time to prepare is now.

Bill Prescott is a marketing and communications specialist at Sun Valley Group in Arcata, CA. He can be contacted at bprescott @tsvg.com.