Luxflora Wants To Create A Lifestyle Movement

Read a profile on the women behind Luxflora, Kate Santos (left) and Rebecca Lusk, in our Women In Horticulture web series at bit.ly/womeninhorticulture.
The women behind Luxflora, Kate Santos (left) and Rebecca Lusk,

Where is our industry going and how can we change its direction?

That was one of the questions a group of women set out to answer in 2014, during an inaugural women-only trip to the European Flower Trials. The result, one year later, is the formation of a visionary industry group, Luxflora.

The women behind the organization, Rebecca Lusk and Kate Santos, happen to both work for Dümmen Orange, but Luxflora is an independent entity that’s completely separate from the breeder. The organization aims to bring women together from all areas of horticulture to collaborate on two goals:
• Identify solutions and strategies for the end consumer to promote plant usage in their everyday life
• Promote women and develop a network of women in the horticulture industry

These goals unite to define the mission statement: “Luxflora is a leading group of female professionals in the horticulture industry. Our mission is to promote the usage of flowers in everyday life.”

Industry Women Collaborate On A Common Goal

The trip to the European Flower Trials in 2014 was a good gauge for the industry’s need for a group like this. Despite the timing of the trip, at the height of the spring season, all of the women who attended said they found value in it, and were enthusiastically willing to support it.

“We wanted to try something different, and we felt that it was a good opportunity to see how a group of women in all different aspects of the industry — from marketing and research and development to production, owners and managers — could come together and collaborate,” Santos says. “Particularly in this case, in week 24, when new introductions were coming through the market, it was really insightful because we saw what new products the women gravitated toward. With their industry background, it was a nice marriage of the two aspects. We were pleasantly surprised with how well it came together.”

During the group’s think tank session on the last day of the trip, conversation ultimately distilled down to a common passion — promoting the industry’s products and making daily flower and plant purchases second nature for consumers. When the women examined where the horticulture industry is in terms of profit, and what needs to be changed to promote flowers to consumers, they were willing to put aside any notion of competition to work together for the common good of the industry.

And who better to drive an initiative to connect with our current consumers, the majority of whom are women, than women who breed, grow, market and sell flowers for a living?

“There is that point of understanding and association that women inherently can help provide in the industry, because we can relate on that level, to a certain degree, to our target customer,” Santos says. “That gives us an opportunity to leverage.”

Naming the organization Luxflora came from two words and ideas — flora, for floriculture and the tagline, women in flowers, and lux, part of the word luxury, because “most women want to be associated with luxury, and be considered stylish and smart,” Lusk says.

Women Strengthen One Another

Another common thread during the Flower Trials trip was the comfort the women in the group said they felt speaking up among their peers. Creating a group to promote women’s careers in horticulture will hopefully offer networking opportunities, provide a central place to share stories and backgrounds and increase women’s confidence to present their ideas at their own organizations, Lusk says.

“If we as Luxflora can offer opportunities that will strengthen women’s ideas through collaboration, and give them more confidence, I think that is a wonderful thing,” she says.

Strengthening women’s voices could be just what the industry needs — to hear ideas that could provide the next big gamechanger in promoting our products, Santos says.

“With any individual, you have different perspectives, and so if there are women in the industry who have great ideas but don’t feel that they have a voice or a platform to share them, maybe this organization gives them that platform to get their voices heard in a louder and more concerted way. And now we get to bring some of those ideas to the forefront that we haven’t thought of yet as an industry.”

Building The Dream; Launching The Network

Luxflora’s website will launch this month, and includes information on events and networking opportunities and will eventually profile different careers and women in horticulture.

“We want to build out the website to help tell those stories that will resonate with women, of how women in our industry have gotten to where they are in their careers,” Santos says. “We are still the minority in our industry, so our stories don’t always get out as often and as frequently, so centralizing them all in one place gives a little bit more power to that and also gives women a footpath for where they can go to find some opportunities.”

The organization will debut to the broader industry with its first event at Cultivate’15, where Luxflora will host Ketty Maisonrouge, the owner of KM & Company and an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Business School, where she teaches Luxury Strategy. The author of The Luxury Alchemist and an expert on innovative marketing strategy, Maisonrouge also serves on the board of directors for many start-up companies.

Once the foundational framework for the group is built and membership is developed, Santos and Lusk say they see many possibilities for Luxflora, including a platform for recruiting young women to careers in the industry.

“Networking will be a big aspect of this group; a lot of good can come out of networking,” Lusk says. “When you get a group of women together and they have the opportunity to talk, they naturally connect and share ideas and from there, it catches fire. We want to identify and focus on strategies that will help solve some of our industry issues with women, and one of those being bringing women into horticulture. At some point, this group could have the opportunity to sponsor a mentorship program.”

Ultimately, Lusk and Santos say they hope their enthusiasm about Luxflora catches on among women and men in the horticulture industry.

“We are really excited about Luxflora and what has inspired us to build this is the opportunities for women. One part of it is building a network or platform for women to connect and inspire one another, but then it’s a bigger picture than that,” Santos says. “It’s about focusing on getting people inspired to garden and decorate with flowers. And while it’s a women-led group that’s helping to push that, at the end of the day, this isn’t something any one singular person or company can do alone. This needs to be a large-scale effort, with many different directives and efforts to accomplish it.”

If you are a woman currently working in horticulture or pursuing a career in horticulture, you are invited to join Luxflora for its first event during Cultivate’15, on Monday, July 13 from 10 to 11 a.m. in Rooms C-223-225 at the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Speaker Ketty Maisonrouge, owner of KM & Company, adjunct professor of Luxury Strategy at the Columbia University Business School and the author of The Luxury Alchemist, will present her ideas and expertise on luxury strategy marketing, and how it applies to horticulture.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

More From Greenhouse Grower's GROW...

December 15, 2017

Your AFE Donations Will Be Matched Between Now and the End of the Year

Between now and December 1, any donations made to the American Floral Endowment will be matched up to $20,000.

Read More

December 9, 2017

Southern California Wildfires Narrowly Miss Most Grower Operations

Here’s an update on horticulture businesses in the areas affected by the California wildfires.

Read More
Weigela Czechmark (Spring Meadow Nursery)

December 8, 2017

Spring Meadow’s New Logo Highlights Focus on New, Colorful Shrubs

In a move that highlights its commitment to developing new, colorful flowering shrubs, Spring Meadow Nursery has unveiled a new logo.

Read More
Latest Stories

December 15, 2017

Your AFE Donations Will Be Matched Between Now and the …

Between now and December 1, any donations made to the American Floral Endowment will be matched up to $20,000.

Read More
HortScholars

December 8, 2017

HortScholars Program Now Accepting Applications for 201…

Do you know any college students currently in a horticulture-related program? This unique program gives them a chance to connect with industry leaders and make new connections at Cultivate.

Read More
GROW-Summit-2017-Group-Photo

December 5, 2017

GROW Summit 2017 Tackles Marketing and Business Managem…

This year’s think-tank style event brought together leaders from across the green industry to deliberate on topics such as disruptive marketing, cost accounting, and Millennials, to name a few.

Read More
Photo-with-Endless-Summer-Hydrangea

November 27, 2017

Why It’s Important to Get to Know Consumers at th…

One way to learn about consumer behavior is to get boots on the ground and engage with them.

Read More
Seed-Your-Future-feature

November 9, 2017

Dümmen Orange Throws Support Behind Seed Your Future In…

Dümmen Orange has announced it will pledge $450,000 over the next three years to Seed Your Future, the non-profit organization whose mission is to promote horticulture in the U.S. and inspire people to pursue careers working with plants.

Read More

November 1, 2017

Thanks to the 2018 GROW Sponsors

There are a number of industry organizations that help make Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Initiative a success.

Read More
Marshall Dirks, Proven Winners

October 28, 2017

5 Rules for Creating a Lifetime of Outdoor Garden Memor…

Many customers are time starved. Their most important asset is time, not money, so be realistic about the investment of both when they are buying plants.

Read More
Living Umbrellas

October 25, 2017

Why Living Umbrellas May Have a Bright Future

Sometimes innovation strikes by chance. Such was the case with David Tilley, developer of the “Living Umbrella.”

Read More
Luxflora Paris Trip

October 20, 2017

Luxflora Paris Trip Offers Insights on Trends Shaping H…

Each year, Luxflora hosts an international trip that allows participants to gain insights on trends and gather inspiration that ultimately will shape and support our industry in many ways. This year’s event took the group to Maison & Objet and Design Week in the City of Lights – Paris, France.

Read More
Steve Garvey, Dallas Johnson Greenhouses

September 23, 2017

Producing Quality Plants in the Greenhouse Starts From …

It's common for growers to make mistakes. What you learn from those mistakes is what sets you apart as a grower and where quality starts.

Read More
Quality in the Greenhouse

September 21, 2017

Two Head Growers and a Retail Live Goods Buyer Talk Bes…

Ultimately, the quality of the plants you grow will be responsible for the success of the consumer, and consumer success will ideally translate to repeat sales. That’s why quality must be a top priority for all growers, according to Brad Julian, a Live Goods Buyer for Lowe’s Home Improvement, and Head Growers Dennis Crum of Four Star Greenhouse and Joe Moore of Lucas Greenhouses.

Read More
Jan Gulley, Gulley Greenhouses

August 25, 2017

Why It’s Important to Educate and Engage the New Hortic…

Young adults entering the workforce have more professional choices than ever before, and many want to work in environments in which their work has a clear purpose for both the organization and society at large.

Read More
Seed Your Future feature

July 26, 2017

Seed Your Future Aims to Inspire Careers in Plants

Who will be the next generation of horticulturists? The answer lies in helping to change the perception of horticulture and using contemporary new language to tell our stories.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

July 8, 2017

How You Can Use Lifestyle Marketing to Sell Plants

Should we be trying to educate consumers into loving what we like to produce, or should we allow consumers to educate us into producing what they love?

Read More
Metrolina Make a Wish Greenhouse

July 7, 2017

Metrolina Builds, Decorates Greenhouse for Young Cancer…

When Michael VanWingerden and his wife Courtney heard through their work with the Make-A-Wish foundation that 11-year-old Jason wanted a greenhouse to grow vegetables in, they knew Metrolina Greenhouses could help.

Read More
Metrolina Greenhouses Dig and Swig Event

June 25, 2017

Consumers Revel in Gardening at Metrolina Greenhouses’ …

Metrolina wanted to promote plants, gardening, and creating a sense of community, so it decided to host Dig & Swig events at a local brewery.

Read More

May 23, 2017

6 Simple Ways to Acquire New Customers

Even the most successful brands need new customers if they want to grow their business, or stay profitable.

Read More
Tyler Beasley

May 21, 2017

Final California Spring Trials Thoughts From Allan Armi…

“I went home from California Spring Trials realizing that the students enrolled in our Greenhouse Management program at Spokane Community College need to experience the trials. Attending opened many doors of opportunity for me.”

Read More