If you’re in Atlanta this week for AmericasMart, be sure to stop by Accent Decor booth. The company responsible for a long list of the industry’s most intriguing containers and accessories (including the Celfie vase) will be celebrating its 20th anniversary at the annual wholesale gift show.
Co-founder Margaret Hofland took a few minutes to chat with Florist 2.0 about Accent Decor’s history, growth and philanthropic endeavors.
The journey actually began in 1956, when John G. Hofland, a young entrepreneur from Holland, and his wife Hendrika, opened a small greenhouse operation in Mississauga, Ontario. The couple sold their flowers to the Toronto market and, as the business grew, began importing flowers from Hofland to complement production. In the 1970s, Hofland expanded into hard goods, with basic pottery items and floral supplies.
Early in his career, “Frank saw a need for more than basic containers in flower shops,” Margaret said. “His father trusted him to travel the globe to find, import and sell unusual products to complement the quality and selection of flowers Holland was known for.”
In 1997, Frank and Margaret took a leap of faith and started their own company dedicated to containers and accessories for the floral industry. They chose Atlanta, Georgia, Margaret said, because the AmericasMart showroom attracted buyers, the city was a good location for shipping, “and the weather was much warmer!” They packed up their kids and their belongings, said goodbye to their family and friends in Canada, and headed south.
Accent Décor began with a 1,500-square foot showroom, an empty 6,000-square-foot warehouse, no employees, no inventory, “and 7 days till the first market!” Margaret said. Nonetheless, the company’s debut was a success.
“Then, with a laptop, and boxes as makeshift desks, our girls playing roller hockey in the empty warehouse, and a vision of changing the floral industry in America, we got started and hired a handful of employees,” Margaret said.
A lot has happened in 20 years. Accent Decor has grown into a group of more than 80 talented people, four showrooms with more than 30,000 square feet, a 240,000-square-foot warehouse, and more than $35 million in annual sales.
Frank continues working with a team scouring the globe for new items, always keeping the floral industry on the forefront. Margaret has now moved to a new position as Director of Philanthropy. Daughter Sarah Bagle has taken over Margaret’s role as Creative Director. She and her talented team work the Accent Decor line from concept to completion, finding and developing the items. They are also kept very busy building inspiring presentations, and new concepts for marketing, and changing perceptions by integrating video with social media marketing.
Accent Décor’s success is made possible by dedicated team members working together, along with a stream of loyal customers. Team leaders and members work hard picking products, designing and showing them off, taking orders, receiving shipments and sending them off to florists. “They are passionate about making our customers happy and AD fans,” Margaret said. “And that is the key to our success.”
“We hope that Accent Décor has changed the floral industry with amazing product and awesome customer service,” she continued. “We are proud to serve our loyal customers who have made it possible for us to grow and support our local and global communities. Our customers allow us to feed, food, and house homeless families and get kids off the street and onto the beach for a summer break. You are even helping build tiny heart valves, physical therapy for brain and spinal injuries, and teaching kids in West Africa how to read! Thank you for being a part in our journey.”