What do the BFA do?, What is it all about? and Why should I be a member? These are all very valid questions, and ones we are asked all the time. We thought we would address these during lockdown and hopefully give people more understanding of how we operate and indeed the work that goes on. The BFA is for business to be members. The Institute of Professional Florists is for individual florists to join and represents your professional standard.
British Florist Association Mission Statement
The BFA is dedicated to support the floral industry from root to tip. We work on projects that benefit the whole industry and bring us closer together. Our aim is to build a stronger unity within the industry with a powerful voice. Our core values are to have Honesty, Trust, Integrity and Passion at the forefront of all our actions.
The BFA have 6 voluntary Directors and cover a wide range of industry. We are all voted in at AGM meetings by the members. We are made up of retail shop owners, freelance and studio based florists, corporate and international sectors and educational experience including tutors and UKFJG Judges.
Chair: Brian Wills-Pope
Vice Chair: Sandie Griffith Manager/Director: Tracy Tomlinson Retail Director: Nikki Meader Membership Director: Kate Whelan Director: Lorraine Key
So what is the BFA and a Trade association all about?
Every Industry needs an official Trade Association which provides a voice for a particular work sector. It gives us a status as an industry and means that government will consider our input as a group. By working together with members, the association ensures that their trade is well represented and at its strongest. Trade associations play a crucial role in promoting best practice, and helping companies to become more competitive. They have a duty to ensure that training and qualifications for their sector are both current and appropriate. We want to help, share ideas, organise meaningful events, create connections, build our profile together and show everyone that Flowers and Plants are essential as part of our life. We all work hard in our industry and we love to showcase that fact, whilst having fun along the way.
How do the BFA operate?
We meet 4 times per year in person (as well as virtual meetings) to discuss actions and how to help our members who consist of Florist business members, Corporate members, College members and IoPF members. We have Claire who works for membership and she monitors, rings around and checks everything is up to date. Ann also works in membership for the IoPF side. Everyone works remotely from their home or shop offices. Currently our manager Tracy, Claire and Ann are the only paid members of staff along with Nina who edits the magazine. All other Directors work as volunteers. Directors are paid for the board meeting days they attend as well as our BFA conference days, unless their business covers the days they are away from the work because they are helping to further the industry. All Directors work across everything to make sure that we help each other cover everything needed. That being said we all have differing skill sets.
Brian: Generally tends to look after corporate members as well as approaching new ones. He has great links in government both UK and Dutch, to get the answers we need to relay to everyone. He is also our link with Florint who are the international association for Florist trade associations. Brian also plays a major role in organising Vision business conferences.
Sandie: Looks after everything educational. Represents the BFA as competition organising partner with WorldSkills UK running the national heats and final floristry competitions. Chairs the Training and Education committee connecting floristry businesses, colleges and tutors. Administers the Institute of Professional florists membership and Chairs the floristry trailblazer apprenticeship committee.
Tracy: Our Manager looks after our website, answers all the emails and queries that come to us, assists members with any issues, connects all the directors, organises meetings, ticket sales, book sales, our accounts, works on the magazine, and the list goes on and on!
Nikki: Focuses on the retail shops needs. She has been putting together the online members tool box as well as looking at new ways to make members aware of the benefits of memberships to them. Nikki also organises the technical side of putting on our events such as Fleurex and Vision.
Kate: Creates social media content and wording. Working on building relationships and engaging with people/members, creates website content, working on corporate membership with Brian, creates floral displays for the BFA events, helps to find books for the online shop, sits on the Training and Education board and is a manager in the IoPF.
Lorraine: Has a wealth of UK and International floristry knowledge and works in a corporate setting. Lorraine shares her knowledge, brings with her a variety of different view points, ideas and gives the BFA world wide insight on the position of global floristry.
What are we doing right now?
- Trawling government statements for floristry related news
- Contacting Governments for clarity to make sure we are all operating legally as an industry during this time
- Reorganising Vision business conference which was postponed
- Monitoring the situation for Fleurex Trade show in October
- Organising the industry awards
- Creating a Think Tank of our members who can feed back to the Board of Directors about what is needed for the industry
- Creating Virtual meetings called Bloom Rooms which are led by a variety of industry professionals and aimed at connecting members and sharing ideas
- Ringing around members to discuss memberships, renewals and how they are coping with the current situation
- Creating meaningful and useful content for Social Media and our website
- Working on a members Toolbox for easy access to information and documents relating to Employees, HR, Social Media and much more
- Building a private facebook group for members to create a strong community and healthy place to share for corporate, business and IoPF members.
- Working with Dutch embassy and corporate members to meet/ discuss supporting our industry. Including how to get back on our feet and grow stronger as we emerge from the pandemic.
What is the plan for the Future?
- Workshops and refresher courses to run all over the country in conjunction with the Bloom Rooms which will cover both business and practical floristry skills
- Building stronger links to members and better industry links from grower to consumer
- Creating an advanced membership which could be applied for and set another level of standards for membership. This will need further membership focus groups discuss the way forwards.
- Find ways to be involved with current campaigns which are pushing the sale of flowers with regards to wellbeing and mental health. Effectively communicate these to members for use.
- Growing our membership across all areas. Corporate members, Business members, IoPF members. To include more Growers and Wholesale members
- Finish the Toolbox for members
- Promote and create a best practice guide for business and IoPF members by gathering industry information on average wages etc
- Get the Professional florist manual book into a digital format
- Create and circulate a consumer newsletter to promote the BFA branding and our fabulous florists/industry
What are The BFA dreams for the future?
• More full time/part time staff and premises dedicated to assisting the floristry industry
• BFA workspace or premises to hold events, workshops or retreats
• To create an infrastructure able to put into action multiple ideas from the industry and board with the funding to back us and work on new projects.
Why should I be a BFA or IoPF member?
The big question. As a small team we are guilty of not sharing everything we do. Not because we don’t want you to know, but because we sometimes get caught up in getting the work done. We haven’t had time to shout about it before we are racing off to the next thing.
In addition none of the board members are very ‘showy’ and it’s because of this that we have perhaps let sharing achievements and actions fall by the wayside.
We really want to fix this; you’re membership will allow us to continue the work we do. If we can grow membership we could have a larger permanent staff dedicated to making life easier for all. Campaigns and content for consumers to digest as well as more for members to use. We could create bigger events, more consumer brand recognition and pass more information on. We would like to spend more dedicated time to getting to know you, your needs and looking at the industry issues. Working on projects that we can all benefit from, such as national flower focused days could be given the time it deserves .
Especially at this time we realise that business, wellbeing and mental health must be focused as we move forwards.
This might all sound ‘pie in the sky’ but it’s time we told you how committed we are to you, the industry and each other. We want all these things to come to fruition but we simply cannot get some things off the ground without growing our support. Just like you, with every order of flowers we get as excited with every new membership. We promise to be working very hard for years to come with your help to do so.
Apply to be a BFA Business Member Here
Apply to be an Institute of Professional Florists Member Here
If you have any questions please just ask!
General: firstname.lastname@example.org Tracy: email@example.com Membership information and renewals (Claire): firstname.lastname@example.org Brian: Chair@britishfloristassociation.org Nikki: Nikki@britishfloristassociation.org Kate: Kate@britishfloristassociation.org