Two Stars Are Born

Mayesh Wholesale Florist recently announced the winners of its annual Design Star contest.

This year, Jerome Raska AIFD, AAF, PFCI, CF and Shawn Michael Foley outshine a field of 17 talented designers to earn the coveted title.

Shawn Foley, a designer at Hothouse Design Studio in Birmingham, Alabama (owned by another Design Star alum, Mandy Majerik, AIFD, PFCI), had been following the competition since its inception in 2011 and decided he was ready to give it a shot.

“I’ve always loved sharing and educating in the floral industry, so this was a great platform to pursue,” he said.

For his submission, he made a mockup tablescape for a rehearsal dinner using sunflower centers, equisetum, hellebores, scabiosa pods and bell eucalyptus in simple glass cube vases.

Foley can’t wait to see where the journey takes him this next year and said his “responsibilities” were more a joy than a chore.

SylviaCupJudge-RaskaRaska, who, at press time, was away at a design show in Seattle, is co-owner of Blumz…by JR Designs in Detroit and a seasoned floral teacher. He’s led (literally) hundreds of presentations through local, state and national organizations (including the American Institute of Floral Designers, the International Special Events Society, and the Society of American Florists). He served as chair of SAF’s Professional Floral Communicators International from 2009 to 2011 and, in 2013, won its prestigious Tommy Bright Award for excellence in floral education.


Public speaking skills and a love of education are essential to become a Design Star, said Yvonne Ashton, Mayesh’s director of marketing.

“Our Design Stars need to have mad floral design skills, of course, but we also look for people who are comfortable in front of a camera and who possess a desire to contribute to the floral community,” she said.

The position entails coming up with six design concepts and demonstrating how to do them with video lessons. Foley and Raska will coordinate with their local Mayesh reps concerning what flowers they will need and Mayesh will set up the video shoot and handle production, Ashton said.

“We’ll give them complete creative freedom,” she said. “This is their opportunity to share their favorite design techniques, tips and tricks with the world!”

Check out Foley’s and Raska’s winning video entries here.