From the Blog

The STARS Act or “Simplifying Technical Aspects Regarding Seasonality Act of 2014” has finally been introduced in the House of Representatives after months of intense lobbying by the Society of American Florists and other partners.

So what is the STARS Act and how does it affect the cut-flower industry?

Under the current law there are varying definitions of what constitutes a “seasonal worker” which has created some confusion.  The STARS Act would create one simple definition of a “seasonal worker” in order for small businesses to more easily comply with the Affordable Care Act.

This act would help small businesses which have been hindered by having to offer health insurance and other benefits to employees who would normally fall under part-time employment laws.  This confusion has put seasonal employers (like flower producers) at risk for serious tax liabilities.

The STARS Act would provide a clear definition of a “seasonal worker” as “a worker who is employed on a seasonal basis for six months or less during the calendar year, consistent with Department of Treasury regulations.”  It would also make it clear to small seasonal employers as to what extent they are subject to the Affordable Care Act mandate.   This could give them the tools and understanding necessary for compliance.

The actual Library of Congress summary as written by the Congressional Research Service is as follows:

Simplifying Technical Aspects Regarding Seasonality Act of 2014 or the STARS Act – Amends the Internal Revenue Code to exempt seasonal employees from the definition of “full-time employee” for purposes of the employer mandate to provide employees with minimum essential health care coverage.

Defines “seasonal employee” as an employee who is employed in a position for which the customary annual employment is not more than six months and which requires performing labor or services that are ordinarily performed at certain seasons or periods of the year.

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The Society of American Florists (SAF) kicks off its annual convention in Marco Island on August 13th.  It’s one of the longest running floral conventions in the country, now in its 130th year.  It’s a distinguished, weeklong event that brings florists and buyers from around the world under one roof.

It all starts on Wednesday, August 13th with a series of networking events including a First-Timers Reception and SAF President’s Welcome Party.  The next day is when the event really gets into full swing.  This day includes:

  • State of the Industry Breakfast – Speakers will educate visitors to macro trends within the industry, how the floral industry affects a country’s economy, and how consumer behavior impacts the entire floral industry.  Speakers include Peter J. Moran (SAF CEO) and Robert Williams (SAF Chairman).
  • Outstanding Varieties Exhibition – An in-depth tour that will showcase varieties that have taken top honors at previous SAF’s annual competitions.
  • Fashion Forward: 2015 Floral Trends – The co-owners of Schaffer Designs will discuss the top trends in floral design and how your shop can use these trends to reinforce your brand and capitalize on consumer demand.
  • Groovy! It’s That ’70s Premier Products Showcase! – The Professional Floral Communicators are showing you how to bring the blossoming trend of ‘70s style to your shop.
  • American Floral Endowment Annual Reception and Fundraising Dinner – An evening with industry professionals that will help raise money for research, scholarships, and education that will promote growth in the floral industry.  $175 per ticket.  Register at

Friday, August 15th continues with the eye-opening events including:

  • Floral Management’s 21st Annual Marketer of the Year Award – This convention tradition will honor the most unique and successful marketing effort that have increased sales.  The winner walks away with a $5,000 prize.
  • Who Let the Dogs Out? The Art of Selling What You’ve Bought – Learn from Mary Liz Curtin, owner of Leon & Lulu, how to sell slow-moving items at full price through merchandising tactics not markdowns.
  • Unleash the Power of Online Advertising – Josh Glass from Peoples Flower Shops will show you how online pay-per-click advertising (Google AdWords, Facebook ads, Bing) can help you make your mark in search results and stay ahead of your competition.
  • Networking Reception – The night ends with casual conversation between professionals and entrepreneurs.

The highlight of the final day of the SAF convention is the 47th Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition sponsored by the California Cut Flower Commission.  Dozens of designers are given the same flowers and supplies and compete to create something original in a live demonstration.  It’s the longest running live floral design competition in the country.  The night concludes with an After Glow Party for all attendees.

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