Waiting for Irma

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News and Inspiration from the world of foliage and tropical plants GrowerTalks MagazineGreen Profit Magazine

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Debbie Hamrick Subscribe
Tropical Topics
The Waiting
Nat'l Indoor Plant Week
Costa’s Marketing Director
LiveTrends Breaks Top 500

The Waiting

Just two weeks after Hurricane Harvey caused unthinkable damage in Texas, we now await what Harvey’s younger but brawnier sister Irma will do to Florida. With storms this size and scope, truly the first matter of concern is the safety and welfare of people, pets and livestock. The state of your business won’t matter if you and your people aren’t around to run it.

I emailed Beatriz Garces at Nature’s Way Nursery of Miami. Every South Floridian has a story about surviving Hurricane Andrew 25 years ago, and I remember her telling me about it just this past spring. I asked Bea about storm preparations. Water is scarce and lines at the gas pumps are long. As for the nursery, “It’s tough to prepare,” she said. “We have our crop insurance in order and that’s the most important detail. We back up and protect our servers and technology, board up our offices, organize and tie down any farm equipment that we can and hope for the best.”

FNGLA’s Linda Adams said it was a “big waiting game” as no one knows exactly where that storm will head. And with that in mind, foliage growers throughout Florida are preparing the best they can. Landscape pros are also preparing for cleaning up from whatever Irma brings their way. As of yesterday (September 6) FNGLA’s The Landscape Show in Orlando was still a go for next week. “Like everyone else, we are part of the waiting game to see which parts of Florida (if any) will get the brunt of this and make our decisions about the show accordingly,” Linda said.

I heard from Marcella Lucio of Silver Vase in Homestead today. They’ve been busy protecting their orchids. “We are finalizing shipping of product as I write this,” she said. “We wanted to ensure we had as much out as we possibly could.” Several employees have already evacuated, and the company closed down today to reopen as soon as it’s safe to return.

GrowerTalks’ Chris Beytes barely missed the wild ride that was Hurricane Andrew (his nursery was 200 miles north of where it made landfall). He and I were emailing  yesterday about how prepping a business for a hurricane is really a giant gamble, especially for big growers. “Suppose you decide to lay down every plant to get it out of the wind. And take down every bit of shade to protect it, so you have something to put up after the storm … Can you imagine that amount of work? And maybe for nothing? Or for everything … you can’t take a chance, I guess.”

Be safe, Florida.  

Indoor Plant Week Coming Up

National Indoor Plant Week (NIPW), always the third week of September (17-23), may take on a different tone this year, depending on what happens in Florida this weekend. Promoting foliage plants may turn out to be a way for retailers and consumers to support growers recovering from Irma’s damage.

I had spoken with Costa Farms’ Justin Hancock early last week to ask if they had any plans for NIPW. They’ll be doing a bunch of plant giveaways and engaging end consumers via social media, and they're also working with a few social media influencers to that end. “Since houseplants are trendier than ever, I expect this will generate some excitement.”

I’d be interested in knowing what folks have planned for product promotion around National Indoor Plant Week. If you have something in the works, drop me a note about it at ewells@ballpublishing.com or weigh in below.  

Costa’s New Marketing Director

Costa Farms has a new marketing director, and it won’t take her long to get acquainted with the industry or the company. That’s because they’ve promoted Damarys Mora Crawford—a 5-year veteran of Costa Farm’s marketing department—to the position.

But as we all know, a little experience from outside the industry goes a long way in informing where and how a company and industry strive for greater market share. And Damarys has that experience, too. She has more than 20 years of experience in consumer marketing with some pretty well known brands as diverse as L’Oréal and Black & Decker.

Not only does Damarys have a business degree but she also has a passion for plants. So I emailed her to ask if she had a favorite tropical plant. “That’s a hard one!,” Damarys replied. “I keep my house decorated with orchids, bromeliads and succulents. I LOVE my Ficus lyrata and one of my most prized plants is a Jungle Queen hybrid anthurium that I keep in the corner of my living room. It’s a real stunner and everyone comments on it as soon as they walk in to my house.” If you ask me, she’s qualified! 

LiveTrends Breaks Top 500

LiveTrends came in at Number 256 in this year’s edition of the Inc. 5,000, the magazine’s annual listing of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America.

Yes, you read that correctly—256 out of 5,000. And breaking the 500 mark is a big deal! With a 3-year growth rate of 1,662% and revenue over $12 million for 2016, it’s not surprising the Apopka, Florida-based, four-year-old company that “sells living plant sculptures for use as interior home décor” (as Inc. describes them) is doing so well.

Why do I think they're doing so great?

  1. They sell a skillfully and mindfully designed product that people want.
  2. Their timing into the market was perfect. People want succulents!
  3. This guy right here, Bisser Georgiev, company founder and owner. He’s thoughtful about his people and how the business is run. Pick his brain—he has a lot of great experience to share!


Congratulations, Bisser! Well deserved, indeed. You can go online to see the full ranking HERE.  

Thanks for letting me in your inbox this week, folks. Much appreciated! Meanwhile, comments, questions, quandries? If so, just drop me a line at ewells@ballpublishing.com.

Ellen Wells
Green Profit

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