With Valentines day just around the corner I have to pose the question......Is romance dead? Is Valentine's day an overinflated commercial holiday? and what are the consequences of this feast of red roses in the middle if winter?
With the UK total spend at around £1billion and around £260 million on fresh flowers consumers are definately still loving the event. With year on year growth having excelarated over the years it will be interesting to see if 2018 will be the year of a slowdown just like the rest of the British economy.
The day comes at just the right time of year for the industries involved. Right after Christmas consumers are holding onto their cash and spending slows down considerably. So if you had to re invent Valentine's it's exactly what every business would choose. For some florists it really can be (together with mothers day ) a make or break event, which can be the differece between a good and a bad year. However the romantic notion of beautiful british garden rose which many consumers have in their minds is not quite reality. Roses just don't grow in the UK in February so around 70% of the roses sold in the UK come from Kenya where the climate is ideal for growing the long, luscious and perfect stems needed. They are flown thousands of miles around the world with carbon footprint literaly being burned away in jetfuel. As a passionate UK flower farmer it pains me to even think about it, but there are just some battles you will never win and I think this is one of them. The British apetite for this luxurious bloom shows no sign of receding.
For this I think the Kenyan Flower Farms and economy are truly greatful. The investment and econimic development have created major industry, one which employs up to 2 million people, mainly women. Poor, less educated and vunerable with families to feed, and this is why we shoudl all be thinking more about fair trade . Fairtrade aims to "protect and benefit workers on flowers farms by working with certified farms to ensure decent working conditions for their employees and protecting workers’ rights."*
Red is the colour of love and passion which is why teamed with the love flower - the rose - it is so popular for Valentines. However it really is a cliche. There are so many other flowers in such pretty colours out there at this time of year that I would like to encourage my clients to go for something with less airmiles and buy local. Beautiful Tulips, Anemones and Ranunculus. So spread the love this year and think about buying local.
*Source - The Fairtrade Foundation. To find out more about Fairtrade flowers visit https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/