Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bouquets to Art

"Yes, I was an engineer, but I gave it up to do what I love."
"No, I'm not making money, but I am happy."

Those were the words of the floral designer, here with her design.

Every year, I look forward to the opening night gala of Bouquets to Art at the de Young 
I always admire and appreciate the beautiful interpretative floral designs, 
and am very mindful of the hard work behind the amazing finished WOW. 

Simply put: a night of wonder shared with friends... 
(catching up with old ones and making new ones)

For the entire album, like us on Facebook 

Thanks for this picture Jenny! Jenny Tabarracci AIFD
City College of San Francisco Students and their floral fashions. Thanks Jenny!
Carol & Stuart Kitayama

Linda Nguyen

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Join KB in 2016

Do Good, Feel Good (repeat)

I stole this quote from one of my managers Linda Nguyen who loved this campaign.  
She spent extra time working on it, because it really touched something in her.  
This is the best part of how we chose to promote Women’s Day. 
We wanted to put together a campaign that benefited women and women’s causes; 
and a huge by-product was that it made a very positive impression 
on employees, customers and the community.

Cause Marketing:
The idea for our Women’s Day campaign came from a discussion with my older daughter Maya who said, “She could support a new holiday that helped women.”  

She is a freshman in college but during her senior year as one of the editors for the high school paper, she focused on women’s issues especially sexual assault on campuses.  With this idea in mind, we decided to support local non-profit groups who specialize in women’s issues.  

KB pledged to donate 10% of the sales on March 6th to these local groups.  Also with support from CalFlowers, we partnered with 12 of our customers who also pledged to donate part of their Women’s Day proceeds to women’s causes of their choice. In return we offered to put 4 advertisements in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and the Watsonville La Ganga (Spanish language paper). These were the customers who participated and the causes.

In total between KB and our partner customers we were able to donate over $6000 to all the different groups. KB also dropped off flowers to many of these groups to hand out to their staff and clients during the Women’s Day weekend. There is nothing more gratifying than helping people who appreciate it. Every one of these groups were gracious and thankful for the support, and listening to what they do, we realize how much is needed in our communities.  At Jacob’s Heart in Watsonville, who supports children with cancer, I was toured by Mariela Medina who had been helped when she was diagnosed with leukemia at 14.  She is now back as a staff member to help families who don’t know where to turn when they hear the sad diagnosis.

Join KB in 2016: The More We Sell the More Good We Can Do...Together

We will continue this campaign next year, it was successful.  However it will be a long road to make Women’s Day a national holiday. We believe if we can start locally promoting Women’s Day as a day to promote women’s causes, it can grow in a grass roots fashion to be a significant holiday. For a younger generation like my daughters, a belief that what they buy can do “good” resonates strongly. This is exactly the identity that we want flowers to have. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The World of Flowers (WFE 2015)

Flowers have always been an important part of my life, and I was overwhelmed at the sight of the World Flower Exposition held in Los Angles from March 11th through the 13th.  Under one roof there were close to 500 flower growers from around the world.  

This was the first time that Kitayama Brothers participated in such an event of this scale.  
I was proud that the flowers we grow in Watsonville were among the best in quality at the show. 

There is heated competition with flowers grown in California and South America, and it was so encouraging to have the both of us at the same show.  I spoke with growers from Africa, Israel, Australia, Holland, Thailand, Canada and more.  

There was a common bond among growers with similar challenges: clean water, disease, extreme weather, transportation and politics.  A few growers told me that at times the difference between a good and bad year is just luck.

Over 2,000 flower buyers attended the show in Los Angeles.  The show was not only a success for our company but for the Flower Industry as well.  

Next year we hope to have the World Flower Exposition in California again.  
Kitayama Brothers will be there and invite all of you to come, you will not regret it.

Dave Kitayama

Friday, March 13, 2015


It was a family affair at the World Flower Expo in LA on Wednesday.  Cousin Dave and Wendy (Dave’s wife) set up the booth which looked great.  Brother Scott (no picture) came to town to talk to his Ecuadorian rose grower; he made a little time for his brother.   Here is Wendy with Ben Dobbe at the HAL booth, we like the patio furniture; we are going to steal that idea for the Fun N Sun booth.

A nice surprise was young cousin Daniel came to visit us at the show.  He was great. 
He talked to the customers, posed with a flower hat, pretended he was in the flower business; acted interested and overall left a good impression. 

Cousin Janet from Green Valley, she won’t admit she is related to us (she is not, but we like her that much), and a Japanese flower importer, Hiroyuki, who was interesting.   

For a first time show, we think WFE was worthwhile attending.  It will be back and so will we.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Women’s Day 2015

Confess, who knows when and what Women’s Day is?  
(March 8th is International Women's Day) It was first celebrated in the early 1900’s as a way to start recognizing women’s rights. The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New YorkIt is celebrated mainly in Europe and Asia where people buy flowers and other gifts for the women in their lives.  

The American flower industry wants to make this an American holiday. We were not sure how to promote this holiday but according to my daughters, if the holiday benefited women and women’s causes they could support it.  I thought that was a great suggestion.

Therefore on this first Women’s Day promotion, 
KB is donating 10% of our sales on March 6th to two groups: 
Monarch Women’s Center in Watsonville.  

KB is also advertising in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on March 1, 4 and 6 
listing our customers who are also donating to local women’s causes on Women’s Day. 
IF possible, please support one of these businesses.

Whether you buy flowers or not, on March 8th let the women in your life know 
how much you appreciate them.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Flowers in the City

Flowers for Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year collide in San Francisco

This past weekend I was in San Francisco on Friday and Sunday. 
When the weather is in the 70’s, there isn't a more beautiful city in the country. 

SF Flower Market
On Friday morning, I went to SF Flower Market to check out how business was, and how our customers were feeling.  Our good friend and customer, Karman Kwan seemed pretty happy about the holiday.  He said he was sold out and was glad that he didn’t have as many roses like his neighbor Shibata Floral.  Hopefully Shibata sold out, too. 

Karman Kwan

Around the rest of the market there was a good selection of branches, spring flowers and ranunculus; all are now in good supply.  Everyone seemed to be in good spirits which is nice to see around Valentine’s Day.

Chinatown Flower Fair
On Sunday 2/15, my family and I took a trip to San Francisco to see what was going on at the Chinatown Flower Fair.  Chinese New Year is Thursday 2/19 and this is the year of the Ram/Sheep.  As you can see there were a lot of shoppers, it is the biggest holiday of the year for the Chinese and Vietnamese communities.

I was a little disappointed with the flower offerings.  There were a smattering of gladiolas, orchids and some nice pots of narcissus, but otherwise it was all fake flowers and plastic stuff.  There is great potential for flower sales, someone step up!  You can get your flowers from KB.

Kung Hei Fat Choy & Happy Tet!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wedding Flowers

In honor of Valentine’s Day... the holiday of romance

We want to show off flowers and photos from my cousin’s daughter wedding.  
Rachel Cathcart and Scott Daley married in Palo Alto on January 24.  
Rachel is my cousin Monica’s daughter, Uncle Tom’s granddaughter and cousin David’s niece.  

It was decided a few years ago that Kitayama family weddings should have nice flowers.
I thought the flowers for this wedding were very nice.   
Cousin Dave usually procures the flowers and he did a great job; 
considering it was just a few weeks before Valentine’s Day.  
Brides want what brides want, and that often means garden roses. 

Rachel and Scott met in Philadelphia while attending college.    
They will both be living in Philadelphia; I guess the cold doesn’t bother them.  
The arrangements and bouquets were designed by Yasuko Solar of DeYoung Florist, 
and a friend of the family.  

Rachel’s sisters Naomi and Rebecca were the bridesmaids.

We had a nice time at the reception, funny toasts and heartfelt speeches.  
Kitayama is a large family and celebrating family milestones is a big part of what is important…

Stuart, Scott and Robert

Stuart, Dennis and Ted