On the second Wednesday in September, The Triton is networking with The Neptune Group and Yacht Flowers. All yacht crew and industry professionals are welcome to join us on September 19, from 6-8 p.m. at two of Neptune’s rental properties at 400 and 404 SE 21st Street in Ft. Lauderdale 33316.
Until then, first learn more from Neptune president and charter sales agent, DJ Parker.
Q. How did this project get its start?
The birth of The Neptune Group was impromptu in the late 1990s when I assisted a yacht captain and his fiancé whom I had met at the Antigua Boat Show. In the charter season, Capt. Mike, didn’t know he was wanted by Interpol as the result of a scrap with a previous Greek yacht employer. He was asked to surrender his passport after clearing customs in Turkey and found himself in a Turkish jail. His fiancé flew back to the United States to raise attorney fees. To help them raise capital I volunteered to buy their house, complete with tenants, a rough crew of Maxi sailors. One of those sailors was Dwight Ledbetter, now vice-president of the Neptune Group and my lifelong partner.
Capt. Todd Kaufmann worked on the house in exchange for rent and commented, “This will make a great crew house”… a new term for me.
In 2004, Dwight placed his career on hold and stepped down from his position as captain of a motoryacht to assist with the accommodations that had grown from the shanty cottage industry to an emerging collection of clean, safe residences for maritime students and yachties. Today, it is more the face of Dwight that crew are most familiar.
Q. That’s the Neptune Group, what about Neptune Group Yachting?
In 2006, we launched Neptune Group Yachting, an international yacht charter and management company. Although the companies complement each other in many ways, Dwight and I run the individual companies separately, including the websites. I am president of both, however, we are equal partners who believe in hands-on management.
Q. What do you do best?
The Neptune Group today is a gateway for many of today’s crew to find jobs and start careers in yachting. The Neptune Group is an integral part of Ft. Lauderdale’s marine industry. We offer a well-run, clean, reasonably priced home in which to stay while attending one of the several maritime schools or conducting business in the yachting capital.
In addition to overseeing these two companies, DJ is recognized internationally as a successful charter agent. She also is president of the American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA), a board member (liaison for superyachts) of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF), a member of the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) and treasurer and acting secretary of a local civic association. Both Dwight and I were appointed by Ft. Lauderdale city officials to represent the marine industry as it relates to short-term rentals and we work to support and improve the marine industry.
Yacht Flowers will co-host the event. Learn about the business from owner Eileen Cheng.
Q. How did you get your start working with flowers?
I started when I was 15 and have continued through the years. I take seminars twice a year to update. I used to do freelance but with this business, I thought I could extend the passion and create something people don’t ordinarily see. I bought this business when I realized if I’m working for someone else, I don’t get the opportunity to do that.
Q. What is the background on Yacht Flowers?
Hilary Frischhertz started the business and ran it for nine years. I bought it two years ago.
Q. What do you offer yacht crew?
Service, that’s what we do best. Plus, new flowers, new trends from Europe, and we share what we know about how to take care of your flowers. It’s important that crew know how to prolong the life of flowers on a yacht. If a yacht wants something, even Sunday delivery, we can work with them.
Q. What’s expected in the future of the flower world?
Styles will be the same, but the colors and tones are changing. Hot pink, orange and green are coming for this fall. Yachts often don’t use new colors, they usually repeat theirs because they don’t change their decor often. Floral fashion is tied into interior design, as well as color and tone, especially on yachts.
Q. What are your favorite to work with?
Calla lillie, they are elegant.
Q. And least favorite?
The hardest to work with is the lily. They have smell and pollen, which a lot of people don’t care for. You have to be gentle with the tips. You have to be perfect.
Q. What do crew do that make you nuts?
They don’t water, they forgot the flowers. And they put them under vents. Cool temperature is good, but the floating air on them is not good.
For more information contact The Neptune Group at www.TheNeptuneGroup.com and Neptune Group Yachting at www.NGYI.com. For more information contact +1 954-763-1050 and info@NGYI.com.
For more information on Yacht Flowers, call +1 954-720-1090 and visit www.yachtflowers.com.