Debra Prinzing: Rethink your Business, Share Your Story

I am quite honored to have Debra Prinzing as my guest for my third Conversations in Sustainable Floral Design!  Click the video link below to listen & learn.  There’s a lot of insight in this episode!

Debra Prinzing is the champion of the Slow Flowers movement.  She is a business journalist turned garden writer turned flower enthusiast/farmer advocate.  In 2012 Debra penned The 50 Mile Bouquet, and founded shortly after that.  Debra’s work through Slow Flowers has helped us reclaim the domestic flower industry.  Her close connection to American flower farming movement gives her a valuable vantage point to observe what is happening with our industry now, and what farmers can do to help themselves.  Here are some key takeaways from our conversation.

Recessions inspire us to connect with domestic arts & farming.

After 9/11 and the 2008 recession, gardening & the makers’ movements were two big lifestyle trends that emerged.  Food security was top of mind, leading to a focus on pollinators.  This paved the way for flowers to have a place at the table, and the modern floral renaissance ensued.  Given the toehold flowers held in fashion and pop culture prior to the pandemic, we are hopeful that people will remain connected to the value of the blossom.  But no doubt that the road ahead is going to be difficult for many.

This pandemic has given us permission and time to hit the reset button.

In order to move forward in the wake of this, “the mother of all recessions”, florists and flower farmers are going to have to get creative and reevaluate our businesses and business systems.  It is time to adopt new models, and to release ourselves from doing things “because that’s the way we’ve always done it”.

This is a good time to ask yourself “if you were starting your business right now, what would it look like?”  What was working and what needs to be changed or discarded?  This is a great time to unlock our patterns and take control of our own destinies.  Debra urges everyone to be courageous.  Choose one thing that wasn’t working for you, and work at changing it for the better.


woman with flowers

Debra leads students of the 2018 Whidbey Flower Workshop through a creative writing exercise describing flowers.

 Own your story, and share it.

The only thing we can control is our own story.  It is what makes us unique.  Dig into what that story is, and polish your About page.  Debra has generously provided her Floral Word Toolboxdownload this guide to help keep your language fresh.  Also, make sure your full name and location are on your about page and in your social media profiles.

Help influence change.

There are harmful practices and products in the floral industry.  Debra’s preferred way to manifest change is to share solutions.  Let others know what you are doing or using instead.   Educate your customers!  Help build the demand at the customer level to help drive change up the supply chain.  You can also contact the makers of toxic products and let them know you oppose the product and want an alternative.  If you haven’t, sign my petition asking for a 100% compostable floral foam alternative.  Last, connect with local lobbyists and illuminate them on the harmful aspects of the product or practice.  Legislation against poor practices and products only happens if the lawmakers are aware of the problem.

Join Slow Flowers!

As a thank you to our listeners, Debra is generously providing a discount code.  Join the Slow Flowers Society now and get a premium membership valued at $200 for only $50.  If you listened to the video, you will have the inside scoop on the best way to leverage this membership.  I can personally vouch that my Slow Flowers membership has have value far and above what I have paid for it over the years.  Details are in the image below – we can pretend we received this lovely bookmark at a conference we attended!

slow flowers membership discount

Thank you for listening, reading and watching!  Please keep in touch – follow @sustainablefloraldesign and @myslowflowers on Instagram or Facebook.  Leave a comment below, or there, or send me an email.  I would love to know what your thoughts are on anything related to this!

Last, during the conversation I mentioned that I had listened to a podcast about restructuring our business pricing etc.  That podcast is The Wedding Biz – the episode with Sean Low.  I like that podcast overall but that episode really stands out.

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