One World Flowers Featured in ‘The Produce News’ Publication

Alaina Paradise, owner of One World Flowers, staffed a table at an Earth Day celebration in Albuquerque, NM. One World Flowers gave away 1,500 roses at the event.

The following article was featured in the Floral Marketing section of The Produce News, June 2010.Click here to view the original article.

BY JOHN S. NIBLOCK

Alaina Paradise is happy to go from zero to 90. That’s the number of customers her One World Flowers import and distributing company has attracted with its Fair Trade offerings in its first two years. The economic skies were cloudy when Ms. Paradise began operations in May 2008, but as she put it, “we could only go up.” Not only were times hard, but she was beginning a new company with a premium product yet to find a reliable niche in retail markets.

One World Flowers is a licensed importer of Fair Trade flowers from Ecuador and Colombia. The company sells them nationwide to supermarkets, co-op grocers, and retail florists who have customers loo

king for more than just green options in the floral department. “More consumers are becoming aware of the human rights issues surrounding the products they buy,” said Ms. Paradise, “and they’re learning to look for labels that take care of people as well as the environment.”

The Fair Trade label is what Ms. Paradise calls a “complete sustainability” label. It guarantees not only environmental protection, but also human rights standards. Components include controls on pesticide use, safe working conditions, and fair wages for workers. “A big part of the Fair Trade program is direct and long-term relationships between the farms and importers,” Ms. Paradise stated in a phone interview. “W

e work together in marketing initiatives, sales efforts and in daily operations.”

 

In addition to the fair wages and benefits that are paid to workers, One World Flowers pays an additional 10 percent of the purchase price into a separate fund managed by workers, who vote on how the money will be used to improve their communities. “So far our farms have built an on-site daycare center, paid for lots of scholarships for workers and their children, and started a micro-loan program,” she said.

Awareness of the benefits of Fair Trade has grown, and One World Flowers sales have grown with it. It offers retail customers a way to compete on the basis of sustainability by offering customers products that match their values. “I am a Christian and Fair Trade is my way of taking my values to the marketplace,” Ms. Paradise elaborated. “Every human being does the same thing in their own way. Those who value money will look for a good deal. Those who value fashion will buy the best brands. Those who value human rights and well-rounded sustainability will buy Fair Trade. An increasing number of customers are demanding well rounded sustainability and we sell flowers that achieve that.”

Many of her competitors h

ave found Fair Trade to be a much harder sell than their regular green products, she said. There are limited Fair Trade varieties, the cost is higher and there is a lot of reporting involved to stay compliant. “We remain committed to making the program work,” she said. “As a result, our margins are much lower than those of the average floral importer. That’s so our Fair Trade flowers can be available to as many people as possible.” To help its retail customers communicate the benefits of Fair Trade, One World Flowers offers free point-of-sale posters and signage, customized tags for flowers, and staff materials like “Ask Me About Fair Trade” buttons and training sheets with answers to frequently asked questions. The company also provides press releases, and photos for use in newsletters or on retail web sites
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Published on Friday, June 11, 2010