2022 Sponsor Q&A with Amelia Ihlo of Rooted Farmers
We're thrilled to welcome Rooted Farmers, a returning Slow Flowers Summit Sponsor for 2022, joining as a Presenting Sponsor. Founder Amelia Ihlo and Director of Marketing Carla Eberle will be in attendance at the Slow Flowers Summit, and you'll want to meet them to learn more about Rooted Farmers. On Sunday, June 26th (Day One), visit the Rooted Farmers display during our lunch and coffee breaks. Make a point of saying hello and get the inside scoop on selling and buying local flowers on the Rooted Farmer platform. Debra Prinzing recently sat down with Amelia to discuss broader industry trends:
Amelia Ihlo, Rooted Farmers (above)
Q. Can you share why you are supporting the Slow Flowers Summit? A. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to spend a few days connecting and learning from individuals within the industry and to take a moment to celebrate all the growers, designers, and farmer-florists' successes over the past several years. It's really exciting for those of us in the Slow Flowers and local-flowers movement to see designers committed to blooms they can source from local and domestic growers!
Q. What are changes in the industry you’re seeing this year compared to previous years? A. We're impressed by designers' willingness to play with a lot of new floral and botanical offerings we didn't even see on the market a few years ago! When we compare our data year over year, we are seeing a dramatic increase in the breadth of floral product that designers are purchasing. In 2020, we had 300 unique floral product IDs that sold; in 2021 that number increased to 1,300, and in 2022 we are seeing the number of unique flower IDs continue to grow even more. There are infinitely more unique items being sold – both in small and large quantities. To us, this is exciting from both sides of the equation - from the buyer's perspective, it shows a willingness to experiment; from the grower’s perspective, you don’t necessarily have to have large volumes of specific product to sell to wholesale buyers as long as you’re communicating your availability well.
Q. How do you see the increased demand for flowers impacting the Slow Flowers Movement? When you look historically at the timeline of U.S. floriculture and specifically look at the past decade (2012 to today), domestic production is trending upwards. Data from research companies, like Nielsen, point to the rise in eco-conscious shoppers and consumers purchasing more fresh-cut flowers, and thousands of growers are maturing into a period of real mastery across the country and people are taking notice. The local flower movement, as you know, is gaining real, mainstream traction. We see this in marketing and advertising campaigns of companies like Duluth Trading Company that are featuring our local flower farmers, as well as local and national news coverage. At Rooted, we’ve also seen a significant increase in the number of individuals seeking ways to purchase local product and finding us through organic Google search – so many trends are moving in the right direction for our community!
Q. What can you share about the supply chain issues we keep hearing about? A. Collectives are the biggest shift we’re seeing that comprehensively addresses supply and demand. Individual growers are figuring out how to streamline operations and scale their business – and for many, the answer is to form or join a collective. There are innumerable benefits to the collective model but one of the biggest is increased efficiency and centralization of logistics – relationship management, order management, deliveries. Having the ability to move perishable product from point A to point B without increasing your workload is critical. For buyers, having access to multiple suppliers increases the reliability of the supply chain. Rather than going to one farm to pick up product, you can shop from 10 or 15, or 25 farms.
Q. What are some of the victories you have heard about from florists or flower farmers? A. The victories include hearing how Rooted Farmers empowers people on both sides: buyer and seller. Our sellers and buyers are mostly women-run businesses – entrepreneurs who wear a lot of hats. When we hear from folks who say our platform allows them to run their business and focus on what they really want to be focused on -- it's the ultimate win for us.
Q. Where can buyers and growers learn more about Rooted Farmers? A. Our website! www.rootedfarmers.com