2022 Sponsor Q&A with Pat Dahlson of Mayesh Wholesale Florist

We're pleased to partner again with Mayesh Wholesale Florist, joining us as Slow Flowers Summit's Premier Sponsor for 2022. Several Mayesh team members will be in attendance at the Slow Flowers Summit, and you'll want to meet them, including Mayesh CEO Pat Dahlson, flower buyers David Dahlson and Molly Sadowsky, and marketing writer Ali Dahlson.

Pat Dahlson, speaking at a Mayesh Design Star Workshop in Portland, Oregon (c) Nicole Clarey

Debra Prinzing recently sat down with Pat Dahlson for an update on the floral industry:

Q. Pat, thanks so much for joining me today. Can you share why you're supporting the Slow Flowers Summit? A. Slow Flowers Society and its constituents are part of the bigger floral industry, which is important to us. It's important that there are flower lovers, flower growers, who are willing to stake their livelihood on this business. Local growers are special to us and while it's important to have the bulk flowers from the giant commercial farms, or from larger ones we import from, we think focusing on locally-grown flowers is also a great spot on the menu for us.

Q. What are some of the ways you're working with smaller, local, domestic growers? A. We have (local flower expert) Molly Sadowsky on board in our Portland branch, and we're cultivating more and more growers domestically, both in the Pacific Northwest, and in other areas as well. We love differentiation! We're even planning crops with some farms and making commitments to collaborate on what they will put in the ground for us, too.

Q. What is the appeal to smaller, local farms to sell to Mayesh and what makes it possible for you to buy from them? A. We can pick up flowers from individual growers who sell to us. We also stage trucks that move flowers down the west coast to San Francisco, to Los Angeles, to San Diego, and to other places. This gives growers a pipeline that they don't otherwise have or for which they don't have the capacity to pack and ship orders. Many of the flowers grown by small farms don't do well packed in a box for a couple of days, given lack of cooling. So our "wet bucket system" of moving product up and down the west coast is working well.

Q. We are well into 2022 and by the time this story appears, it's going to be close to Mother's Day. Can you give us a snapshot of the floral marketplace as you see it? A. There's still a big wedding demand and that creates some scarcity for certain flowers. It still seems like the entire world requires the exact same color scheme for weddings -- beiges, whites and off-white flowers. It happens every year. And 2022 will be another big wedding year because of pent-up demand from the pandemic. In general, some flowers are scarce and logistics remain damaged. Moving flowers, shortages of planes, shortage of cargo, shortage of truck drivers . . . all of this is still an impediment to overcome.

Q. How do you handle this pressure at the customer level? A. (laughs) I'll give you an example. It's not a perfect one, but kind of true. There's a saying about what the sales rep tells a client: "Hey, there's good news and there's bad news. The bad news is that nothing you ordered made it in. The good news is the pull I made for you is better than what you ordered." And, hopefully, the client walks out smiling. My point is that people have to be flexible, more amenable to substitutions, to working with what we have. And in general, that has worked out, because people need flowers.

Q. What other shifts are you seeing in the floral marketplace?

A. I think we are continuing to ride that surge of personal consumption. It's not all weddings and events requiring flowers these days. During COVID, flower sellers became the winners when it came to consumers understanding self-care includes flowers in the home and personal use of flowers. My gut tells me we'll continue to see more people buy flowers more often for personal consumption


TOP SUMMER FLOWERS FROM LOCAL FIELDS AND GREENHOUSES

We asked Mayesh for a preview of their favorite seasonal blooms. Here's a roundup: Hanging Amaranthus, Dahlias, Daucus Carota (Queen Anne's Lace), Echinops, Lavender, Nigella (Love-in-a-Mist), Ninebark, Orlaya, Oregano, Poppy Pods, Rudbeckia, Sanguisorba, Scabiosa atropurpurea, Smokebush, Strawflower


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