SAF Convention Things I Learned


I recently attended the Society of American Florists convention in Florida in early September. There were many good sessions on a variety of topics. The one I saw the most benefit from was a talk given by two successful florists, Kate Delaney of Matlack Florist and Charles Ingrum of Dr. Delphinium Designs & Events titled “There’s an App For That.” The title was a little misleading. The talk really wasn’t about smartphone apps, it was really actually a presentation about a bunch of human resource websites. One is called This site allowed you to streamline your job application process for new hires. It had several different features that I thought were really valuable. There was a test taking section for a new applicant where you could test their aptitude in certain skills. There was a section on suggested interview questions, and also a background check section. Application are filled out online by applicants, and this can take a lot of paperwork mess off of your desk There was a similar site talked about called, which did a lot of the same functions as snagajob. Bamboohr had a section about training that looked fantastic. You can keep a list of training topics online for each applicant and track the progress of the training.

There were also payroll services that were discussed such as  You can also use the site and skip the payroll portion and just use the site to keep track of schedules for employees and also time and attendance and paid time off.   Another similar site was called When I Work. If your shop has 3-4 designers and you are struggling to maintain schedules, this is the website for you. What’s great about a lot of these sites is employees can now have a login so many of them where they can review information pertinent to them, schedules, time off, time-off request, availability, and much more. You can also refer to past schedules as you prepare for an upcoming holiday. There are lots of reports available.

Another site that was talked about at this session was . Gliffy allows you to build an organizational chart so people can see who they are supposed to report to. If your shop only has a few employees then gliffy has other features that are interesting such a flow charts. Flow charts can be helpful in organizing processes through the flower preparation process through making the design. Or possibly a flow chart can be used to help your staff ask the right questions in the right order when taking a phone order for flowers. You get 5 free charts from gliffy before you have to start paying them.

Kate Delaney talked extensively at the end of the session about a site she uses for weddings, called  Insightly helps you organize the project. Assign a person to be in charge of the wedding. Lay out a timeline of tasks. Flowers need to be ordered on this date, table linens need to be ordered on this date etc. It allows important follow-thru not to be missed. It allows management to view details of weddings at a glance. You can track what ancillary vendors (cake, linens, photography etc) were attached to what wedding. Later on you can run reports to see what weddings certain vendors worked on. It also allows you to take all this paperwork off your desk and keep it online in a much more organized fashion.

There were other very valuable sessions at the Florida convention. I only saw three florists from our N.Y. metropolitan area. Its kind of sad that all the rest of the florists in this area are missing out on so much good data. One NYC area florist I spoke with at the convention told me she had so many ideas floating around in her head she was having trouble deciding what to do first. But that’s a good problem to have. Having too many good ideas. If you are an SAF member, you can download powerpoint presentations from the various speakers at the convention from the SAF website. Surf to, then events and education, then click on annual convention, then 2015 convention handouts. You will probably need to log into the site with a login and a password. If you aren’t sure what your login and password is - call SAF at (703) 836-8700.

Next year’s SAF convention will be in Hawaii, Sept 21-24, 2016.


Eric Levy
September 29, 2015