The search is on for Mayesh Wholesale Florist’s 2018 Design Star.
The contest, now in its eighth year, officially opened on Tuesday, August 1. The winner will lead five workshops (four domestic, one international), star in monthly videos, and receive a variety of benefits, including a trip to Quito, Ecuador; a one-year subscription to StemCounter; a discount on Mayesh product; a percentage of workshop registration revenue; and regular promotion via social media.
Florist 2.0 caught up with 2017 Design Star Christy Hulsey to discuss her tenure and August video.
F20: Now that your year as Design Star is winding down, how would you describe it?
Hulsey: It’s been really fun! I was nervous at first. I’m shy and thought people would rip me apart in online comments, but that hasn’t been the case at all! It blows my mind that 50,000-plus people watch these videos. It’s really increased my confidence.
F20: What are your goals with your videos and workshops?
Hulsey: I always try to emphasize that an arrangement doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I also encourage florists to figure out their “purple cow,” that is, what is it that distinguishes you from the competition? For my shop, Colonial House of Flowers, it’s doing garden style arrangements.
F20: Profitability seems to be a big talking too. How do you keep your eye on the prize in your own business?
Hulsey: I remind my staff constantly that we have to make money on every order. If we can’t pay our bills, we can’t design flowers anymore. To reinforce this point, we write down flower prices as soon as they come in in two different places: on the bucket and on a chalkboard. This helps them remember the value of each stem. It’s tempting to stuff in extra flowers when your mom or best friend stops in the shop, but this helps us resist.
F20: Your latest video shows garden arrangements at five different price points. Why is this important to you?
Hulsey: It shows how you can stay true to your aesthetic but also appeal to a wide range of customers. We definitely get a lot of people who come in and want to spend $10 or $25. I don’t want to turn them away and I don’t want to stuff a bunch of cheap flowers in a vase. So, for these customers, we suggest a bud vase with one or two high-end blooms.
F20: You seem to be a big proponent of premium products. Why are they beneficial?
Hulsey: They instantly increase your perceived value without adding labor costs. It doesn’t require much creativity or skill to make top-notch flowers look good. And quality containers are the answer to that annoying phrase every florist hears: “but flowers just die.” They give customers a lasting gift. They’re great selling points.
F20: Anything else you’d like to teach your fellow florists?
Hulsey: Don’t fear the DIY movement! Things like succulent bars and build-your-own-bouquet can be very profitable (when given options, customers can’t resist picking your prettiest product), plus it’s a great gateway to get regular floral customers.
There are two remaining workshops on the Mayesh Design Star tour: one in Portland, Oregon on October 17 and another in Detroit on November 14.
Want to be the next star? Click here to learn more and to register.