Last month I was a judge for our local Apprenticeship awards that are run through the Federal MP. We get nominations from across all sectors. Some are good and some are outstanding and they are nearly all nominated by their employer who usually then accompanies them to the awards. The winners and finalists are all really proud to be there. Sometimes for the young people these awards are just what they need to re-motivate them and it shows that whatever we are doing it is the relationships and the recognition that makes our jobs enjoyable.
Last month I spoke of the friendships we have made and how sad it is when we lose a fellow nursery person. We find our place in the industry and tend to make close friends with others with a similar mindset. They may be suppliers, customers or competitors but we enjoy their company and will often share our good times and bad times.
As our customers and suppliers are often friends it is important that we communicate well. We need to talk about what we expect in the way of quality and service as a customer and what we need as a supplier. One of those things that we all hate is when we can't supply. It is often a lost sale that we can never replace and sometimes it creates a disappointment for both our customer and theirs. It is especially annoying when there is only a short production window each year so that the customer has to wait a full 12 months.
So often this can be avoided by some simple communication and forward planning. 2014 has been a crazy year for dried lavender. Due to some fortunate publicity at Bridestowe in Tasmania, the Chinese market has gone crazy for lavender bears stuffed with dried lavender. This happened in late summer and resulted in a huge demand for particular cultivars to be planted for farms supplying the Chinese with the lavender. So much so that we sold out early in the year and would be pushed to supply in 2015 if we didn't increase stock levels. However through regular discussions with the farmers and forward orders we can plan for 2015 production.
I am sure there are many producers who wish this was the case with all plants. Who hasn't seen tenders for huge numbers of easy to grow plants going begging because there is simply not enough lead time. Really aggravating when you know the designer had the plans sitting on their desk for months.
Our industry needs to be strong and make good sales whenever possible. We can't afford to lose sales to the general public as their money won't stay in their pockets whilst we propagate or source material. Spring 2014 is looking good so let's maximise the benefits by communicating with each other about future trends and predictions. Try and keep as much retail money in the nursery industry as we can.
Have a great spring and remember Christmas is less than 90 sleeps.