In this week’s blog post, we caught up with Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, of Design 358 in Vancouver, British Columbia, who recently conducted a European Master Certification program in Atlanta with partner Tomas de Bruyne. Titled “Intimate to Ultimate,” the event focused on weddings.
Most children embrace summer vacation as a time to be lazy. Not Claire and Bridget Geary.
On Friday, June 26, the girls went to work with their mom, Jen, owner of Sterling Rose Design in Avon Lake, Ohio, to shock and awe some locals with the joy of flowers.
Across the country, hundreds of florists joined the Gearys in Lonely Bouquet Day, a goodwill campaign organized by Mayesh Wholesale Florist. The concept is simple: create gorgeous bouquets for strangers to brighten their day with a floral surprise.
The bouquets, typically left around town —on a park bench or in a hospital waiting room, for instance — have tags attached explaining why they exist (to make people happy). The tags also include a hashtag, #Mayeshlonelybouquet, encouraging the lucky recipients to share their experience on social media, so their friends will see the power of flowers and Mayesh can track the project’s reach.
Florists showed up at all 16 of Mayesh’s warehouse locations to design bouquets with donated product from Sun Valley Farms, Paseo Farms, Joseph & Sons, Florawest, Ocean Breeze International, and Skyline Flowers.
Jen Geary invited her girls to participate so they could get a behind-the-scenes view of the floral business and do a good deed at the same time. The girls picked flowers in their favorite colors (Claire is a blue girl and Bridget loves orange) to make their bouquets.
After leaving the Cleveland Mayesh facility, the family drove around, discussing where to leave the bouquets. In the meantime, they decided to grab a bite to eat. At the drive through window, the cashier spotted Claire in the passenger seat holding her bouquet and remarked, “What lovely flowers!” When the cashier turned back to retrieve the food, Claire said, “let’s give them to her!” The family agreed: “Yes, let’s make her day.” She was delighted to receive the flowers and called her manager over to see. “There were smiles all around!” Jen Geary said. “It was a great immediate response.”
For Bridget’s bouquet, they went to St. John Hospital. “She loved the idea of ‘launching it up an elevator’ hoping a sick person would find it,” Jen Geary said. “The girls had such a great time trying to be sneaky as they placed the bouquet in the elevator.”
The third bouquet they left in the Avon Lake Public Library.
Two days later, they saw a post on Facebook about the bouquet in the elevator:
“The flowers delivered to St. John’s were delivered to mom’s hospital room. She had just received a diagnosis of cancer and had to have surgery. You brought a smile to her face that day! Thank you so much!!”
“Bridget was so happy to have her bouquet make someone’s day,” Jen Geary said. “I got so much out of this beautiful, fun day with my daughters doing good deeds!”
Florists distributed more than 400 Mayesh lonely bouquets. Click here for more heart-warming stories.
If you want to be known as a florist who’s chic, creative and cutting edge, you need to be educated on the latest trends. That means tuning into the fashion world, synthesizing what you see and applying it to your designs.
That can be a lot of work. Fortunately, there are a few experts in the industry who’ve taken it upon themselves to do the heavy lifting. Among them: J Schwanke, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, CEO of uBloom.com, host of Fun with Flowers and J, and author of Fun With Flowers, Bloom 365 and the uBloom Trend Synthesis.
He’s also a designated “design expert” for the Dallas Market Center, where he recently spent several days soaking in the latest trends. This week, he’s stepping in as a guest blogger, taking us on a virtual trip to the Lone Star state for the inside scoop of the latest trends:
As a design expert for the Dallas Market, I have the opportunity to view the marketplace from a completely different perspective. My “job” is to relate new trends in colors, displays and merchandising during walking tours of the January and June Markets.
This means lots of walking and lots of watching. It’s about honing my observation skills. Kelly and I try to make it into as many showrooms as possible. That makes my job different from the typical buyer who may visit places they like, enjoy, or are comfortable visiting. I, on the other hand, try to visit them all, seeing as much as I possibly can.
It’s interesting when you start to see common products and ideas in so many innovative displays – how certain colors seem to bubble to the top, for instance. It definitely makes an impression. I also see things that may never make it any further, or items that suggest a glimmer of a new fashion. It’s fun too: Having someone to bounce ideas off of, to speculate, to discuss.
At the June Market, I was lucky to have the opportunity to sit down with Michelle Lamb of the Trend Curve for some great observations and discussions. Michelle and I discuss color, new trends and concepts. I got to say, her job is more challenging than mine. She is looking for the next new trend, whereas I’m analyzing trends that have stabilized themselves and are available now for the floral industry.
Make no mistake: we do not set trends; we react to them. Sorry to break that news, but it’s true. We should stick to trends we can bank on, those that have trickled down and are embraced by the public.
This is a blessing… be thankful! As a designer, especially a floral designer, it’s important to know what trends have stabilized so we can execute them for multitudes of customers. Take the “Farm to Table” trend, for instance. I call it “Fleur le Table” because it has French overtones. It also includes elements such as wildflowers, farm tables, lanterns, mason jars, burlap, and local resources.
Mason jars may not be the newest trend, but they are as hot as even. Check out Pinterest, where you will find about 1 million pins about mason jars. This look has definitely gone mainstream, it’s one that’s easy for us to translate, and it’s definitely a good idea to cash in on it. Good news for those who’ve grown tired of mason jars: they’re evolving. (Stay tuned for the next year-18 months to see broader applications.)
So I get asked a lot, “What’s the NEW color?” “What’s the hot NEW trend?” Now, I definitely have opinions, but I also caution everyone who asks to test them out before marketing them. As my friend Michelle Lamb says, “dip your toe in a trend and see what your customers think.” That’s always a good idea.
That said, I’ve created a short list of current trends and colors. These are styles you can bank on.
Think: princesses, “Game of Thrones,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Into the Woods,” and definitely “Frozen”
Elements: flower crowns, owls, crystals, opulent garden roses, dahlias
Colors: burgundy, navy blue, black, chrome, and, of course, “Elsa” aqua
FLEUR LA TABLE
Think: local, organic, sustainable flowers
Elements: wildflowers, farm tables, mason jars, baskets, farm gear
Colors: yellow, basil green, tangerine, terracotta, wood tones
Yes, this vintage look is still trending…
Elements: lace, hydrangea, delphinium, open roses, Queen Anne’s Lace
Colors: peach, pink, coral, lavender, light blue, sepia
And here’s a “watch list,” based on what I saw in Dallas. These are trends that haven’t yet stabilized yet. Still, we should keep a watchful eye on them.
Grey: it goes with everything and everything looks good with it
Farm animals: horses, pigs, owls and rabbits all seem to be important going forward, perhaps it’s an evolution of “Farm to Table”
Foliage and ferns: the full flower look is being eclipsed by beautiful foliage mixed with flowers or even foliage by itself
Fragrance: gardenias, garden roses, freesias, eucalyptus, herbs…I see people desiring to smell their flowers again
My best advice: keep your eyes and ears open. Observe the evolution of color and trend happen around you. Merge—gently—the new trends with past successes. It’s not an exact science, but you’ll be surprised how keen your senses are. Just take note and observe!
This week, all eyes have been on Charleston, S.C., the latest site of senseless carnage. The murders of nine people at a bible study at Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has stirred up many emotions — sadness, fear, anger, disgust — not to mention a fierce debate about South Carolina’s legacy with slavery, secession and the Confederacy.
The tragedy has also proved, as Anne Frank said, that “despite everything … people really are good at heart.”
I used to live in Charleston and still have many friends there. Thus, I’ve been privy to many behind the scenes social media posts showing a city in mourning. Locals have held dozens of memorial services; walked hand in hand to symbolize unity, covering the Ravenel Bridge (2.5 miles long); and blanketed the sidewalk in front of the church with flowers. Florists know that flowers communicate what we cannot, and it’s a small comfort to see the public grasp this concept to show their compassion and respect.
Here are a few snapshots of the floral displays to honor the parishioners:
Manny Gonzales, who owns Tiger Lily Florist with his wife, Clara, in downtown Charleston, has had about 10 people a day stop in to buy bouquets to place in front of the church. The most touching gesture, though, has been a 10-year-old boy who stopped in with his mom for some care and handling instructions. “He wanted to take care of the flowers on the sidewalk,” Gonzales said. “We gave him buckets, flower food, and a watering can.”
“He said he’s going every day to make sure the flowers look good.”
Last week, Jacob McCall, AIFD, competed against 25 of the world’s top florists in Berlin for the Fleurop-Interflora World Cup, the industry’s preeminent design competition held every four to six years. (Consider it the floral Olympics.)
Participation in World Cup is by invitation only and competitors must have already been successful in competitions or shows and exhibitions at an international level. FTD selected McCall to represent the U.S. due to his impressive design competition credentials and his passion for positively promoting floral artistry through his role as a member of the FTD Education Team, work at The Elite Flower in Miami, Fla., and involvement with the American Institute of Floral Designers and the Society of American Florists.
We caught up with McCall to find out what it was like to compete on the international stage.
KH: Did you spot any design trends from other countries/cultures while you were abroad you plan to bring back to Ft. Lauderdale?
JM: Of course natural organic designs are always trending. However I did notice a focus of lots of color and interesting color combinations. Orange was the really hot color this year; almost every competitor used it in some way.
KH: How many design competitions have you been in? Which have been the most memorable?
JM: Gosh — hundreds at this point in my career! My most memorable is the World Cup. It’s like the Olympics of floral design. Years of competing, winning and tailoring my craft led to the ultimate design competition on the world’s stage.
KH: Do you remember what inspired you to start competing?
JM: Yes, a mentor of mine (Len Morgansea, AIFD) pushed me to do my first competition. I’m so happy that he did that because it honestly has led me down an amazing journey to meet worldly designers, learn trends, share my knowledge and, of course, make some of my closest friends!
KH: What do you do in the weeks leading up to a competition to get your head in the game?
JM: PLAN! I start it not weeks but months prior to the competition. I practice and play with flower combinations that will work for the creations.
KH: How do you stay calm in the heat of the competition?
JM: This one, fortunately, is very easy for me. I’m one of those people with a poker face, I guess! When I compete, I zone the world out and focus on the task at hand.
McCall may have been the only American competitor abroad, but there were others in the audience. Pittsburgh florists Jim and Linda Ludwig were there, cheering him on. The couple, who own Jim Ludwig’s Blumengarten Florist, won the Berlin trip through FTD.
Linda Ludwig called it the trip of a lifetime. “FTD has contests all the time, for free vases and such, and I enter all the time and never win,” she said. Her first reaction was astonishment; her second, “How can we leave the shop in the midst of wedding season?” (The shop has done close to 25 weddings in the past five weeks.)
Fortunately, her staff and part-time helpers banded together so the Ludwigs could travel.
“I’m so grateful,” she said. “We had a wonderful time touring Berlin and watching the competition.” The contestants created some “truly cutting edge” designs she would never have seen otherwise.