The Society of American Florists invited floral professionals, 45 and younger, to Miami, FL this week for the highly anticipated Next Gen LIVE Conference. The event was a celebration of educational and networking sessions led by floral experts and “up-and-comers” in the floral industry. From Sunday’s setup to Tuesday’s closing ceremony, attendees experienced fun activities and renewed connections. We were proud to have 11 team members attend the 2nd annual Next Gen LIVE, here is a REWIND & RECAP of the event.
Sunday, June 11, marked the beginning of the conference as sponsors and vendors busily set up their company tabletops in the main conference room. The event was the perfect opportunity for us to debut our new “That Flower Feeling” refrigerated van which we parked in front of the host hotel.
“It’s important for us to support “That Flower Feeling”, wrapping 1 out of our 6 refrigerated vans is the perfect way to spread the message throughout South Florida.” – Mike Black, Jet Fresh Head Coach.
The Jet Fresh Table took all the attendees on a blast to the past with our booth design. Our team created vases from old VHS tapes (which we named “VHses”). We then designed and printed matching boxes and cases of classic Jet Fresh Movies. The tapes were also flipped and used to display our beautiful and unique flowers. The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement as everyone prepared for the days ahead.
After a relaxing poolside gathering, attendees seamlessly transitioned from drinks to business discussions, engaging in thought-provoking sessions like “How I Did It.” This session provided a platform for industry leaders to share their success stories. In the hallway, Jet Fresh Flowers sponsored an interactive basketball floral display in honor of the NBA Finals and the Next Gen Confessional decorated with our Gypsophila Garland.
During the welcome reception on Sunday, an exciting flower arch challenge took place, sponsored by Syndicate Sales, showcasing the creative talents of all the teams. Each team put their skills to the test, and the results were nothing short of remarkable. The flower arches were stunning, displaying a fusion of artistry and innovative design techniques.
Monday morning commenced with a rejuvenating mindfulness exercise led by Jena Gizerskiy from RosaPrima. Attendees were encouraged to take a moment to center themselves and find inner peace before diving into a packed day of activities. A quick breakfast fueled the participants before they boarded the buses for the highly anticipated tours.
With eight packed buses, attendees split into two groups for the Airport Tour and the Progressive Retail Tour. The Airport Tour offered a behind-the-scenes look at the logistical and transportation aspects of the floral industry. Participants witnessed the movement of thousands of flower boxes (Including some Jet Fresh Flower Growers boxes), from storage facilities to loading them onto planes, gaining valuable insights into the complex supply chain.
Meanwhile, the Progressive Retail Tour took participants to visit our local floral friends, including Trias, South Floral, and Petal Productions—esteemed partners of Jet Fresh Flowers. This tour allowed attendees to observe firsthand how these businesses excelled in retail and learn from their experiences.
Upon returning to the hotel, the conference shifted into education mode. A standout session titled “Communicate like a Pro” captivated the audience. Corinne Heck from Details and Adam Havrilla led an interactive discussion on effective communication strategies with colleagues and clients. The SAF table was full of Next Gen Merch, designed by our Marketing Director, Ryan Black. All proceeds go to help fundraise for the Seed Your Future Foundation, which helps promote horticulture & careers working with plants.
After the education sessions, it was time to let loose and celebrate. The SAF team, along with sponsors like Jet Fresh Flowers, Flower Clique, Accent Decor, Flower Shop Network, and Mellano, organized a fantastic party at the Doral Yard. The highlight of the evening was a networking flower game, where participants had to find their complementary flowers and form teams to build the most impressive bouquet. We set some roses apart by adding the logos of the sponsors with our “Rose Tattoos”. It was a fun and engaging way to encourage interaction and creativity among attendees. To top it all off, the night concluded with a special celebration of Mike Black’s birthday, adding an extra touch of festivity to the event.
As the NextGen LIVE ended, attendees left with a renewed sense of community and inspiration. With an abundance of insightful sessions, behind-the-scenes tours, and engaging activities, this event will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the floral community.