Florabundance News

Tom Bowling 2009

Tom Bowling AIFD, PFCI ~ Tom entered the floral industry as part time help in 1979. While teaching elementary school and running a retail flower shop for 8 years simultaneously, Tom found the floral industry to have the stronger calling. Tom owned a floral retail operation for 20 years before moving into the wholesale market as a design center manager for a large mid-west wholesale chain. He has been involved with the California Cut Flower Commission since its inception in 1997 and is an industry leader representing Teleflora as an Education Specialist throughout the country for the past 14 years. Tom has designed for the Presidential Inauguration as well as Rose Parade. Tom currently serves as a the Floral Director for Charisma Floats and this marks Tom’s 13th year at the Academy Awards serving as assistant floral director. He also presents educational seminars for Continental Floral Greens and Ocean View Flowers. Tom is still active in the floral industry marking his 30th year and is still discovering opportunities to bring the floral industry forward in a positive way. Tom is a member of the American Institute of Floral Design and currently serves on their National Board of Directors as Vice-President. He has presented two programs for AIFD’s National Symposium and has presented design programs for regional AIFD chapters as well. As a member of the Professional Floral Communicators International, Tom has commentated numerous local, allied, and state programs.

During the hot dog days of August, most of the country is sweltering under the blazing summer sun. Wherever you go, people are making reference to the weather. For those who like it hot, they should be very happy! For those who’s likes favor colder weather, they are counting the days til the weather breaks and winter is back. And then there are many who would enjoy going from spring temperatures to more spring temperatures. I think they all live in California!
Taking the temperature can also be applied to what is happening in your shop. The most obvious is the physical temperature. Is it comfortable for your walk in clients to escape the outdoor heat for a while to be able to enjoy the shopping experience you offer? Same consideration should be for your staff as well. Is it comfortable to work in or too hot or too cold? In most shops, if you ask two different people, you will get three different answers!
In talking about the staff, when was the last time everyone sat down and discussed the likes and dislikes of what is happening internally? We all know that this personal happiness or sense of satisfaction helps keep a harmonious working environment. While it may be easier to walk to the sun than to make everyone happy, at least being aware of issues and challenges is the beginning to make a solution that keeps both sides in a more comfortable situation. Not only do other staff persons notice the difference when everyone is happy, but your customers do as well. This positive energy is catching and very noticeable. No one is without conflicts, but getting them out for discussion is a positive step for amiable solutions.
What about the taking the temperature of your clients? Why do your customers continue to patronize your business? We can all sit and think of answers that we think are correct, but when was the last time you ask your customer? Perhaps sending out an on line survey might give you some new or validate your answers you think are correct. Then, think about those customers that have drifted away for whatever reason. Why are they no longer placing orders on your web site or stopping by as frequently or if at all? While there are some customers who may have passed, relocated, or could not find resolve in a situation, there are many who have drifted out of your customer base or their frequency has diminished. Again, either an on line survey of a personal phone call might be in order to remind them of your high level of service, diverse level of Florabundance product, or some other specialty that sets you apart from the other retailers in your market area. Hopefully there are many differences in your shop that you can brag about and validate as to these being good reasons to patronize your shop. Just a reminder that a good question needs time for a good answer. Don’t forget the most important skill in communication is to LISTEN! Is is an eye opening experience to solicit feedback both positive and negative. Often times we get so hurried that we don’t think we do all the good things for customers and at the same time, we may think we are doing enough and the customer does not see it that way.
Taking the temperature of the product mix you offer is another area that you will want to examine. Are your flowers and foliage’s as fresh and unique as you and your customer want them to be? Or, are you stuck in a rut of keeping the same selections because you think that is what your customer wants or maybe it is a comfort zone for your sales staff to sell, your designers to design with and the flower buyer to buy? When was the last time you ask your Account Manager to send you something unique and different? Trying different components keeps a high level of excitement for your staff and your customers. Post your new ‘finds on your website and monitor the response. You may be surprised how it brings renewed attention to your website and daily business. While McDonald’s may not be your favorite restaurant, take your cue from them. They still offer their hamburgers, french fries, and milk shakes from decades past, but notice how many new items they rotate in and out of their offerings on a seasonal basis. Arctic Orange milk shakes in the summer give way to Peppermint shakes at the holiday season and then go to Green Mint shakes in the spring. A good lesson to promote flowers that have a strong seasonality.
Just like taking your body temperature, it reinforces good health and helps identify health challenges.

As the new year begins, it is a good time to spend a few minutes to see what categories in your overall sales are doing well and which areas need some additional attention. Post holiday analysis can be as beneficial as all the pre planning for a holiday. If executed properly, the post report tells the entire story.
One of the most important executions to be performed is a post holiday inventory prior to any discounted sales. This is one of those key pieces of information to gage your buying and selling success. If there were large numbers of a particular item or component left over, a red flag should go up and questions asked as to why. Were there too many of an item purchased? Did customers not embrace a color or component? Did designers shun a component due to personal dislikes? All of these answers will give you a total picture and help eliminate a future mistake. On the flip side, it is important to know if you ran out of an item or component too early in the holiday season. Ask the same questions. Were not enough ordered? Did customers fall in love with a color or did the design and sales staff really enjoy selling and using a particular item? Were they priced to move? How many more might I have sold if I had them available? These are all viable questions to complete your post holiday analysis.
Coming up in 5 weeks is one of the most challenging holidays. Valentines Day can be very profitable if managed and marketed properly. Historically when it falls on a Sunday, it presents a slightly different set of variables for consideration. Generally, more advertising will need to be done to make customers aware that you are open and ready for business. Consider staffing needs such as sales, delivery and design. How much will you need and what days will need the most attention for extra help.
One of the most important considerations you can work on now is prototyping your Valentines Day selections. This will allow you to photograph your stylings and post them to your web site so your customers can place their orders early. You might even think about offering a special incentive for those customers who place their order by February 1st and a slightly different incentive for those who place their order by February 7Th.
Another advantage of prototyping now is it allows you to figure how how many components you will need and place your order with your Account Manager in a timely fashion.
Having a plan that works and working your plan helps ensure a successful holiday. Be cautious of those fly by night suppliers that market to you only during the holidays.Teaming with a quality supplier like Florabundance is most important. Why would you risk your reputation that you have worked so hard to establish on a supplier that you have never dealt with in the past and have no history with for the sake of a few pennies? Isn’t your reputation and peace of mind worth more than a few pennies? Put your trust in those you know and who will be here to help you through this and many more holidays to come.

Take a look at post Christmas analysis to ensure more successful Valentines Day sales. Learn from both the good and the bad to strengthen the operation for future success.
Get ready, get set, and GO with Florabundance for a winning Valentines Day!

During the holidays many customers order floral centerpieces. Some have candles, some have figurines, and many times they represent a theme or a celebration. But what happens when you and objects that move, wheels and a driver? The answer is it becomes a float! This year, Florabundance was the source for several entries in the Pasadena Rose Parade. Their product was the first floral that many people saw as it adorned the City of Pasadena Police motorcycles that opened the parade and welcomed millions of viewers world wide to the exciting parade to follow. The giant rose that flanked the famous Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena featured over 5,700 red and white carnations from Florabundance.

The largest float that featured floral product from Florabundance was the “Tuskegee Airman, A Cut Above” from the city of West Covina. Constructed and decorated by Charisma Floats , it featured the flowers and foliage’s from world wide recourse’s. Hundreds of red and yellow roses, yellow gerbera, red ginger, blue iris, red anthurium and yellow oncidium orchids were flanked by 8 floragraphs of the original Tuskegee Airmen. The floragraghs were constructed from sesame seeds, rice, onion seeds, flax, rape and millet.

The float also featured a shield of red and white carnations and a field of blue iris on which 5 stars covered in twice ground sweet rice were placed. Soaring above the shield were two 1/3 scale Mustang airplanes that the airmen flew in WW II. The planes were covered in poppy seeds and thousands of individual red carnation petals applied one at a time by hundreds of volunteers.

On the rear of the float a giant eagle was constructed out of papyrus grass, blended yellow straw flower aspidistra foliage and thousands of magnolia leaves. All the leaves were covered in cocoa mulch that had been pounded, ground, and sifted to get multiple textures of material to apply to each leaf. The tips of the leaves were covered in shiny flax seeds to capture the New Year’s Day morning sun light and the judges eye. The legs were covered in more ground yellow straw flower and top dressed with grapefruit rind to give the appearance of scales. Giant pinecone scales were applied one at a time to make his talons appear life-like. The eagle was flanked on each side by 17′ American flags made from red carnations, white rice, ground purple statice and sweet rice stars.

The team of 3 judges awarded Charisma the Mayors Trophy for their entry this year! Congratulations to Charisma Floats and Florabundance for producing an award winning combination! This is definitely not your average holiday centerpiece!

With Christmas being just one week away, now is the time to put the attention to the details and efforts for strong selling. While many retailers are out of product and the thoughts of heading out to a mall are just shy of the worst nightmare, customers are seeking easy solutions to last minute gift ideas. Here are a couple considerations to make sure you are ready to handle these last minute requests.
First, take a look at product availability. Do you have enough fresh flowers to handle those last minute requests with style and panache? If not, get with your Account Representative today to place your order for next week. Remember, customers are still looking for fresh and wow not tired and tattered. Maintaining highest quality is very important even at the last minute.
Second, make sure everyone who has customer interaction is aware of what is for sale and how much it retails for. Prices often change at the holidays as well as product mixes and availability. Maintaining the professional image is very important to help eliminate customer frustration and being given incorrect information. Also, make sure everyone is aware of delivery schedules that might be altered for the holidays.
Third, take a look at your website to make sure it is current and updated with the latest seasonal stylings and featured bouquets for the holidays. Remove any that are not currently available or have sold through and replace them with new offerings for this week. Now is a good time to include any New Year’s bouquets you might be showcasing. With New Year’s on the weekend, you can bet many will be ringing in the New Year in style that should include fresh flowers.
Remember that when a customer calls, visits your website or comes in, they are looking to you for help and guidance. Making suggestions for add on sales is not a bad thing to do. Without the suggestion, a customer may have not known that you feature another vases, gifts or services that are available. Help them with options and suggestions to make the season bright.
And, above all, celebrate the holidays with family and friends! Have a great holiday season!

Tom Bowling 2009 > Winter white

December 11th, 2009

Whether you are having a white Christmas or just dreaming of one, white is still a favorite choice for many clients. Achromatic, or all white floral designs make for a stunning compliment to many homes and festive parties.
Because the holiday decorations tend to be on the colorful side, presenting a bouquet in all white provides sharp contrast to the colors that surround it. Color is the first design element that most people embrace and recognize. Judgment of like or dislike is often made only on color. By removing that element, you can now move on to enjoying strong line, forms of flowers, contrast of textures between flowers to flowers and flowers to foliage. The appreciation for strong design is more enhanced without the interplay of colors.
Generally lighting is more subtle for the holidays. Often ambient lighting from strings of lights or candles are used to enhance the mood, so placing an all white floral styling brightens the decor with minimal use of lighting required. By augmenting the floral design with either silver or gold accents, the white allows for additional color to be explored without detracting from the beauty of a tone on tone presentation. Gold paired with whites and creams gives a soft warmth to the design while silver creates a sharp crisp addition. Both work well and can be complimented with faux berries of the same color harmony for additional strength and beauty.
Explore the endless possibilities of hydrangea, paper whites, roses, carnations, stock, tulips and so much more at the new Florabundance web site. Also, be sure and check with your Account Manager for their recommendations to make your winter wonderland merry and bright!

At this time of year, lots of treats are shared among friends and co-workers. These goodies are usually sweet and full of flavor…and unfortunately calories. Mother Nature and Florabundance have teamed together to share some wonderful treats for you to share with your customers and the great thing is that they will not add any additional calories!
This is a great time to share the gifts of beautiful foliage’s that Mother Nature has been working on all year long. The sight and fragrance that the evergreens provide heralds the Holiday Season is here!
Begin with a stunning door wreath that welcomes friends and family, Florabundance has a wide selection to adorn any door. From the traditional plain evergreen wreath that is perfect to enhance with ribbons and cones to some more unusual combinations, what customer would not be impressed with all the choices. Also featured are wreaths of Baby Eucalyptus and Safari Sunset Leucadendron, Magnolia, and Seeded Eucalyptus and Pepperberry. Check out the exquisite and fragrant Rosemary and Lavender wreath for that special friend or family member. What a decorating memory that would create!
Once the door has been trimmed, it is time to explore the vast selection of garlands that are available as well. Choices include Douglas Fir, Douglas Fir and Cedar, Green Boxwood, Western Red Cedar, and fresh Magnolia. Who could resist highlighting a door frame, enhancing a mantle or using a section of garland as a table runner this holiday season.
Complimenting the wreaths and the garlands are the wide selection of cut foliage’s to combine with the unique selection of specialty cut flowers such as Hyacinths, Tulips, Paper Whites and majestic Amaryllis.
All these treats and more are available from Florabundance this holiday season. Call you Account Manager today for a selection of Holiday Treats!

As holiday music fills the stores and another Black Friday goes down in history, it is officially the Holiday Season! Whether you embrace it with open arms or guarded anticipation, it is here for you to make the best of. This year, customers are going to be ordering and decorating early, so you need to be ready for those clients needs.
The holiday season is slightly shorter this year due to Thanksgiving being later in November, so it will force a quick turn from Autumn’s influences of color to whatever color harmonies are being chosen for the holidays. Also, with corporate cut backs and downsizing in the professional arena, many clients will be hosting more private and smaller intimate home gatherings that still will need floral accessories.Fewer weekends between now and Christmas.
Being ready with suggestions and product will be the key to success this season. Having on hand inventory will work for those instant gratification customers who are always last minute and always in a hurry! Centerpieces, grab and go bouquets of flowers and foliage bouquets make for an easy order fulfillment.
Another idea is to examine the regular hours your store is open to see if with some minor modifications you could extend your customer availability by an hour or two. Maybe some of your current staff would enjoy coming in slightly later in the morning and then be available for those evening customers who want to stop by on the way home from work or other activities. By shifting your current staffing, it does not cost you any more payroll dollars but still keeps you customer accessible.
The potential for a successful holiday season is still in place. It means we now have to work a little harder and smarter to make the sales. One of the best resources you have at this time of year is working with reliable suppliers such as Florabundance. With the wide selection of holiday and everyday product, those unusual and last minute requests can be answered with “Yes we can” versus “No, I am sorry, we do not have that”. Be ready to Deck the Halls this holiday season!

Nature is one of the most skilled artists when dealing with color. One never finds colors that clash or do not compliment each other in nature. So, it is nature’s beauty that we should look to to find inspiration for color harmonies.
We are on the edge of analogous colors of red, orange and yellow golds that we generally associate with autumn. This does not mean however that we cannot take these rich colors and carry them forward in the holiday season. This can be done successfully by adjusting the intensity (amount of color saturation) or by altering the shades used. Winter colors are generally devoid of much sunlight and often more color saturated as opposed to summer’s more bleached or lighter colors due to excessive sun. Rich red-browns, metallic golds and red-oranges all work well in Tuscan home decor. Adding a touch of gold or copper is an excellent way to add a touch of reflective interest; capturing the least amount of light that is available in the winter season.
Along with analogous colors, complimentary colors are often seen used at the holiday season. Reds and greens are still one of the most popular color harmonies to be chosen. So how do you add excitement to a traditional palette of red and green? Simple, just vary the shade or intensity of the colors. For example, pair vibrant Christmas reds with lime green for a high color impact. China Berries, chartreuse Hydrangea, and green Hypericum all ad a wow factor to a traditional color palette.
Grab your color wheel and have fun this season creating some new and exciting color harmonies to entice your customers. Remember that color is the first element that customers see, and we all know that first impressions are the strongest, so make an impact!

In this fast paced world in which we function, time is the most valuable commodity that we sell. Customer’s time as well as your staff’s time cannot be taken for granted. When clients come in or phone your shop to place an order, they are probably multi-tasking and trying to make the business happen in a relatively short amount of time. Most retail floral shops now offer some type of website to allow customers to shop and place orders in their own timeline. We often find activity at all hours of the day and night. How important is that web site? Many customers will be on the web site prior to making a call if they need further clarification on an order. Web sites are the direct reflection of your business. It is important to keep them fresh and current.
Now the same can be said for Florabundance.com! This new and exciting format is waiting for you to visit and to experience the ease and web friendly interaction! You can review product selections, check availability, place an order for product, see what is happening with other designers and visit the Flora Features section all at your own convenient time.
While the staff of Florabundance is still eager and willing to assist you in your floral needs or to answer questions, you now have the expanded options that are not time restricted. Take a few minutes and explore the comfort and ease of the new web site and have fun exploring and experiencing the new and improved Florabundance.com! Don’t forget to take advantage of the discount by placing your order on the site before December 10th to receive a 10%discount.

Tom Bowling 2009 > Less is more

November 10th, 2009

November 10th, 2009
When considering a floral composition, many factors need to be considered before executing the design. Cost, type of floral materials, accessories, foliage, function, and color harmony are but a few. When the determination has been made for the function, the rest of the considerations take on a level of most to least importance. One consideration that is often overlooked or under considered is how many insertions or placements there will be in the final execution.
A composition that requires 50 to 70 insertions versus 20 to 30 or less is going to be labor intensive and take much longer to execute compared to the styling that uses less insertions. From a production output for the same selling price, the floral design with the less amount of placements is actually more profitable as more arrangements can be produced in the same amount of time. How do you accomplish this you ask? Simply by using more impactual placements with both foliage and floral materials often gives a cleaner more sophisticated presentation. Consider an area in a floral styling that might require an area of white. It would take far longer and more product to fill in this area using 3 to 4 stems of chrysanthemums versus 2 stems of spray roses. Not that chrysanthemums are a bad choice, it is that the spray roses are a quicker and easier insertion. Another example would be covering an area with one insertion of a hydrangea versus 5 to 8 insertions of carnations. Both might give the same coverage and somewhat equal in price, but the single insertion is going to be much more efficient.
While designing this week, look for ways to simplify and reduce the number of insertions going into your everyday design work. Using less insertions will create more time for other projects and increase the bottom line!

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