Florabundance News

Tom Bowling 2012

While many people live in areas of the country that never experience colder weather and snow, for some unexplained reason, it sees more people enjoy the thoughts of having a white Christmas than having snow at any other time of year. Maybe it’s the songs and images we see and hear through music, movies and television that make us think snow for the holidays.
It is easy to create that Winter Wonderland effect no matter if Mother Nature is cooperating or not simply by choosing the right components to create your Winter Masterpiece. Start by visiting the Florabundance website to examine all the fantastic selections available in whites, creams and ivories. While a true winter effect stays more on the pure white selection, an elegant look is achieved when you give the floral styling dimension by adding the rich elegant dimension of color depth with creams and ivory tones blended together. This variation in color adds depth and visual interest to the arrangement.
Once your pallet of achromatic components have been chosen, it is time to assemble the flowers and foliage’s together for your desired effect. Winter can be full of beauty and elegance or can be the complete opposite and be whimsical and fun. The effect will be influenced by both the components and the styling. For instance, a traditional footed compote based with evergreens, seeded eucalyptus, and holly sets the mood for style and sophistication. An easy compliment to this base is to use a few white Amaryllis zoned high above the foliage will provide dramatic impact to an elegant environment. Keep in mind when using hollow stemmed flowers such as Amaryllis, it is best to add an internal support to keep the heavy headed flowers upright longer. River Cane with a damp piece of cotton inserted through the stem works great and allows for easy insertion into the floral foam. When arranging softer stemmed flowers in floral foam, take your knife and X score the foam about an inch deep to allow for easier insertion of the stem into the floral foam. The X will take away the tension when inserting the stem. If Amaryllis are not the flower of choice, consider using mass Paper Whites. Again, these flowers too need stem support, but instead of River Cane, insert a chenille stem into the hollow stem of the Paper White. Leave about an inch exposed to allow for easy insertion into the floral foam. The chenille stem will also help wick the water into the stem to ensure enhanced longevity. Top dress the evergreens with artificial snow for a more winter effect, Iridescent glitter on top of the ‘snow’ will give more winter’s morning ambiance.
Another easy Winter Wonderland centerpiece is to use foam spheres cover in white flowers. Button chrysanthemums, miniature carnations or standard sized carnations are excellent choices to make ‘snowballs’ to arrange as a centerpiece. You can show them casually combined with snow men for a cute whimsical look as a centerpiece arranged in a clear tray or placed on a runner of clear food wrap to protect the table surface. Add in some artificial snow made from Styrofoam, a few fun snowmen or whimsical penguins and viola`, you have a winter snow scene to be enjoyed by both young and old alike. For a more elegant look, take the same base set up but replace the snowmen with crystal candlesticks, votive candles and crystal snowflakes for an elegant presentation. Elevate some of the snowballs on clear extenders, cut out a hole in each of the snowballs big enough to set a votive cup in or for a battery votive for even more drama. The possibilities are endless!
Winter’s Wonderland can be a theme to be enjoyed before and after Christmas. The elegant white serves as a blank canvas to allow other dramatic colors such as lime green and/or hot pink to be added for the perfect New Year’s decoration. Post all the snowball possibilities on your web site and consider imbedding a short how to video to enhance your site and also be seen on You-Tube! The more your clients understand the usage of the product, the more value is given to it.

Happy Holidays!

As the song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. While children young and old wait for a visit from Old Santa, we florists wait for the coming of holiday clients ready to place their orders for friends and families both near and far. ‘Tis the season for many special celebrations and we can help make those occasions be extra special with floral arrangements featuring the seasons best and freshest.
Let’s start with what most people have come to embrace and request, “Christmas Greens”. Evergreens provide the base for many holiday arrangements. They add a wonderful fragrance and provide hope for a quick winters passing. There are many additional foliage’s that work well in combination with the evergreens to provide visual interest.
Supplementing contrasting leaf forms provides added interest in holiday stylings. They also provide a nice subtle change of color as well as texture. Silver Dollar and Seeded Eucalyptus, Salal, Huckleberry, Boxwood, Oregonia, Lily grass, Bear Grass, Magnolia, and Pittosporum are just a few “everyday” greens that can be added to the traditional seasonal selections to create a new and varied presentation.
Remember that most evergreens are very thirsty and will need to be styled in a container that has an ample water source for these thirsty foliages. Keep in mind the needles will need to be shaved off about an inch or two to allow for easy insertion into the floral foam. Removing the needles to decrease the bulk of the stem lessens the chance that the floral foam will break apart. Using one of the commercial malleable plastic rose strippers is an easy way to remove the needles and foliage from most evergreens.
Your foliage bases can be prepared well in advance provided they are kept in a cooler and watered often.Keeping them stored under a plastic covering will help retard the transpiration process. Many florists have found success in preparing 4-5 bases to accommodate the more popular arrangements. Round single candle, round double candle, oblong triple candle, novelty containers, wicker baskets, and glass cubes are all ideas that might work for you. Visit last year’s sales history to help guide your decision as to which were the most popular styles and the strongest in sales. DIY customers who want to make their own holiday stylings will be in search of a resource for their special projects. You can be that resource by letting it be known that you have packages of foliage’s all pre-bundled and priced in a cost effective way to ensure a successful holiday styling. You may want to even consider having some general directions on your website as a resource. The phantom fear of losing a customer is eliminated as the DIY customer now comes to you for their foliage, flowers and accessories. They will repeat time and time again not only this season, but for the years to come as they have success with flowers and think of you when it comes to resourcing product. Wouldn’t you rather have a repeat customer that buys multiple times a year versus those who maybe only make one or two purchases a year or worse, none at all? Remember, the only product you are not selling them is labor and you have not invested any so you don’t have to charge for any. Pre bundled bouquets of fresh Florabundance flowers ensure a successful addition for the DIY customer along with ribbons, berries, and the other additions that complete the holiday stylings.
So, as you prepare your arrangements for this holiday season, remember to add the magic of color, texture and contrast to your holiday stylings with mixed foliage’s and beautiful flowers from Florabundance.

Autumn is the time of year when texture becomes a major consideration in floral design. While texture is always present in any floral styling, fall has a definite association with textural components. Grasses and foliages change character, giving a stronger presence in arrangements. Richer colors, more substantial forms, and strong linear contributions enhance floral stylings with texture. With so many available choices, we can group the materials into categories of grasses, foliages, accents, fillers, and forms.
Grasses add color, line, form and texture to an autumn styling. Broom corn with its strong linear stalk has plume like tops that add visual texture and a rich earthy brown tone that is popular at this time of year. Love grass has a silky, feathery texture with a subtle contribution of ruby coloration. Wheat, rye, and millet are generally associated with a harvest which is a perfect addition to invoke the gathering season. Also available during the fall season are mixed bundles of assorted grasses. These make great topiaries when inserted upright into floral foam. Most grasses create more impact when grouped together versus being spread throughout the composition. Since many of the ornamental grasses maintain their integrity after drying, it is easy to use them in bundles that are placed on top of the floral foam and held in place by wooden picks or S-pins. Grass bundles can also be used by adding a bit of ribbon and gluing on some faux floral trims such as pumpkins, gourds, or other seasonal trims.
Foliages in the autumn season are a major contributor to the overall impact of the composition. Often foliages are used as a mechanics cover without much additional consideration to the impact of the design. Many of this season’s foliage have a subtle gray tone which acts as a melding or blending color for colors that may be more difficult to unite. Acacia, eucalyptus and gray bark melaleuca are excellent examples of gray foliage. Rosemary also has a blue-gray color and adds an excellent fragrance too. Myrtle, boxwood, and steel grass contribute a rich green color to a composition as well as add textural interest. Aussie pine, with its feathery texture, has flame like orange tips that coordinate wonderfully with the analogous colors often used in fall designs. What a great time to explore this broad selection of foliage choices!
Accents are the spice or unexpected find that gives interest in a design. Ornamental pepper, pumpkin vine and safflower all contribute interest forms as well as autumn colors to an autumn styling. Leucadendron’s such as safari sunset, jubilee crown, and salignum cones give a cone like interest to designs and color enhancement too. They vary from deep rich red-browns to vibrant yellow-green. Pin cushion and pink ice protea are often used as focal interest and are very long lasting. Ornamental kale is also a great choice for a more unusual focal interest. Kale with its rounded form can be used as a passive focal area. Craspedia with its sphere or orb form provides much interest because of its golden coloration. These too are best used in groups or with multiple placements to avoid looking too poka-dotted in a floral composition.
Linear accents have abundant choices too. Curly willow, hanging amaranthus, cat tails, and silver tree give visual strength to a floral styling. Honey bracelet, kunzea, and melaleuca have a linear quality with a more subtle contribution of line and color.
Fall fillers include Bupleurum and many tints of wax flower. Bupleurum has vibrant green foliage with a bloom of golden yellow at the tip when mature. It makes a great alternative to the traditional fillers that many of our clients are used to seeing. Queen Anne’s lace has a subtle creamy white coloration that works well especially in event work such as weddings. It helps blend both colors and textures. Wax flower has multiple delicate florets that can be used in the natural colors of lavender, pink and white, but also have been expanded to include tints of orange, golden yellow, raspberry and sapphire blue. They make great additions for color and texture and perform well in both water and foam based stylings.
With all these great choices for fall, it’s no wonder Texture Triumphs!

We have been focusing this past month on brides and some of the great impacts they can have on your wedding and event business. We all know just how important an event can be both on the positive side, but remember it too can have a negative impact if the details and COG’s (Cost of Goods Sold) are not attended to. After attending a recent seminar at SAF (Society of American Florists) in Florida recently, a seminar was presented by Ms. Kathy Dudley and Ms. Heather Waits. They co-presented a program with the focus on Brides on a Budget. They shared many wonderful ideas for both bouquets and décor, but what really made the impact were the 10 Core Commitments for their Bridal Success. While most business owners ‘love’ to do wedding work, we all know that an events such as a wedding can make or break you as a business owner or service provider. Here are their ideas that resonate well for all shops or design studios to follow to ensure your success.
Remember, it’s all about the bride! It belongs to no one else but her and SHE is the one that should be making the decisions about what SHE wants. Not moms, girlfriends, aunts, or anyone else that happens to wonder in off the streets. Make her feel special by maintaining eye contact and keep smiling through thick and thin! While you may have an opinion, remember it is just that and it is up to her to make the decision that she feels that is right for her.
It’s all about the details! It’s imperative to be organized and keep well documented notes and exchanges of information. E-mail is what the ladies suggested that works best and to keep all correspondence filed in her folder for any future references. Providing timely information for proposals, changes, and clear definitions of what they can expect from you and what your expectations are from them. While it may be your 18th wedding this week, it is probably her first. Defined expectations avoid future disappointments.
Make the strong commitment to follow up after you have met with her. This can be for proposal review, detail reviews; periodic ‘hand-holding’ to make sure everything is going as expected. Remember that all the other vendors are making her feel special. You don’t want to ‘Lose That Loving Feeling’!
Communicate with her how she chooses. E-mail, cell phone, phone calls, face to face conversations are all ways of getting the job done. Let her chose the best way for her. Keep her informed of what and how things are progressing. While you will not want to burden her with every small glitch or hick-up that comes along, however, she will love when you send her a picture of all the beautiful flowers when they start to arrive. Share the news so she can share your name with all her friends and family!
Attitude has a dramatic impact on both you and the bride. Be courteous and friendly. If you don’t enjoy working with the brides, you probably should let another staff person do that part. Your smile is contagious so be sure you share it with her often. It is amazing how even unpleasant news sounds nice when it is delivered with a smile!
Your best work is what they are coming to you for so make sure they are not disappointed. From the first consultation to the last thank you exchanged, your best is the only thing good enough. When you exceed their expectations, the recommendations flow freely!
Being accessible and available means a great deal when brides have questions or concerns. Be definitive that you will be checking back on a regular scheduled basis and perhaps give her a notebook to write down the questions that come up along the way. E-mail is a great form of communication for quick answers, not major changes. Save those face to face meetings for those challenges.
Personal taste is just that….it’s personal. While you may know that green hydrangea and pink roses look great together, don’t be offended when she chooses color harmonies that are not YOUR personal favorite. Save your good ideas and good taste for when it is your time to be the customer! There may be many personal reasons why you are not hired, or embraced. Learn from the opportunity and move on to the next opportunity. Don’t beat yourself up over not being booked or your suggestion was not embraced. Learn from the experience and move forward.
Easiest way to make a lasting memory is to under promise and over deliver. No one is ever disappointed when someone over delivers on service! Do more than what was expected and you will be remembered!
These are great ways to learn from other experts in the floral industry and make their success your success!

There is good news for those who want to increase their wedding business in the year to come. The average wedding spending according to USA Today is increasing to a little over $26,500.00. This is up about 11% over last year’s spending and the article goes on to say that while most brides do have a budget in mind when the planning process begins, most exceed their budget as the big day approaches.
The question often asked in the retail floral world is “Where are these people spending this amount?” because as most of us know, the majority of those dollars don’t seem to make it down to the flower budget. Why you ask? It is quite simple that most brides to be spend a majority of their budget long before they visit the floral stylist. In the hierarchy of the planning process, floral décor falls behind, dress, shoes, ceremony venue, reception venue, cake, photographer, limousine, tuxedo rental and possibly a dozen more dollar draining options. It’s no wonder there is not much left by the time the flowers are chosen. The key is to position you higher in the line-up of needed services and to attract the brides early on.
There are many ways to attract new customers. One of the best ways is to focus on your website. Research shows that 72% of brides shop on the web prior to visiting a store or securing a service. That is almost ¾ of all your new customers have visited your business before you have had the opportunity to visit with them personally. It is time to take a focused look at your website to see what your customers are seeing. Ask yourself if you would be impressed if you were only looking at what they are seeing. It is important to maintain your site and keep it fresh and attractive. Since most brides are looking 9 months to a year in advance, remember to keep a sampling of seasonal work so they get a big picture of your style and creativity. It is important to remember that YOU are the wedding expert and brides are looking to you for ideas and practical information about your business. Photos of previous events, letters of recommendation, thank you notes, areas serviced are impressive. Also, think about listing your polices on delivery, payment terms and any other general helpful information so the brides will be better informed when the first consultation is made.
Along with your website is your Pinterest site. This is overtaking many traditional forms of communication between brides and vendors. Brides ‘shop’ your Pinterest boards to see what wonderfully creative ideas you might suggest. They are’ test driving’ your business as a potential service provider long before they make contact. You want to” Pin to Win”!
Bridal fairs are still a huge draw in many areas, but remember the goal is not to book the event there but to gather as many contacts and then follow up with immediate contact to schedule personal time together. When participating in these expos, keep in mind that action draws attention. Something as simple as creating small hand tied bouquets generates an interest and draws a crowd. Pass them out with your name printed on a ribbon so other guests will know where they picked them up.
Wedding Ambassadors are another way to increase your business. These ambassadors are those businesses in your family of wedding service providers. The ceremony administrator, the reception venue administrator, the wedding co-coordinators, photographers, bakeries, jewelers, and limousine companies all have the potential to increase your wedding business. Contact these services and ask if you can recommend them on your website and ask them to do the same for you. You want a hot-link to your site from their site so it makes it easy for a bride to shop on line.
Referral’s or word of mouth advertising is still a very powerful and effective tool when it comes to new customers. Make the impression whenever the opportunity arises. Servicing a wedding is a great way to be seen with your CLEAN delivery vehicle with your shop’s name & logo parked where all the guests can see just who did all the beautiful décor. Anytime you have the opportunity to do a demonstration for a group, make sure you demonstrate at least one wedding bouquet. You never know who in the audience might know of a relative or friend that is planning a wedding or event. Offer a ‘finder’s fee’ for anyone who refers your name when the customer books the event from that person. $25.00 – $50.00 is a nice incentive for someone to pass your name along and can be easily made up in the wedding costs.
With the focus on increasing your wedding business, have a brain storming session with everyone in your shop to gather, filter and put into action some of the great suggestions gathered from the group. You will be pleasantly surprised just how much business is available with just a small investment and a lot of creativity!

With fall in the air in many parts of the country and a promise of cooler weather for the rest right around the corner, it is the time of year when many brides have planned their ceremony to take place. Whether at a traditional religious venue in which 64% of brides still have their ceremony or perhaps a less formal venue such as an outdoor setting or even rustic barns, wedding season is in full bloom!
The wedding industry is now a 9.8 BILLION dollar industry in the United States. It has now out grossed the NFL in dollars which is pretty amazing! The average wedding cost is $25,478.00 which is up slightly from 2011. The average number of guests according to the Wedding Report is 138 which are down from previous years. This information is guiding us to know that today’s brides are more concerned with quality than quantity. The direction that many brides are taking is they would rather spend their saved dollars with a fewer number of close friends and family and spend them wisely. This is good information to know when consulting with a bride. The more information you can gather, the better informed you will be and the greater chance you will book the wedding. The person most prepared usually gets their goals met.
Before you start, it is important to ask yourself several questions to determine if you are the right fit. First, ask yourself if you really want to be the one to give up nights and weekends to service this clientele. If the answer is no, then stop right there and do not proceed to be the wedding florist or event person in your area. If the attitude is not positive, it will show in every aspect of the service. If the answer is yes, then the next question to ask is what size event fits your operation best. Are you better equipped to create smaller budget weddings and service them well, or do medium sized events suit your operation better? Very few florists are set up to tackle the large and grand events because to the high level of service and rentals needed to execute this type of event. While we all may dream of that $50,000.00 event, in reality, most would end up losing money because of expenses incurred that were not expected. Best advice is to start slowly and to crawl before you walk, before you run. The worst case scenario is to not provide the high level of service that the bride is expecting. Your reputation is based on your last wedding or event and you definitely want it to be the best one ever!
Once you decide on what is the right fit for you, several other questions are now up for consideration. How many weddings and events do you want to do? How many can your current staff handle before you have to add additional staffing? Remember, if all are overlapping on a few weekends, it makes sense to hire temporary help for those events and keep your staffing at a minimum the rest of the time. These temporary staff persons may also be available for your holiday staffing needs too. Another consideration is to figure out how much profit you want to make on your wedding work and then develop the pricing formulas to achieve that goal. There is no benefit to being busy but not making any money. Keep in mind that there are often different mark ups and different labor charges depending on what you are doing. For instance, a bouquet with a lot of wiring and taping should have a higher labor charge than ceremony or reception decorations. Make sure everyone involved in executing the work is clear on pricing and labor charges. Adding just a few extra blossoms or not assessing the correct labor charges can be financially devastating over time.
Being known for your creative and beautiful wedding and event work is something most retailers desire. It does not come easy nor quickly. Best advice is to establish who, what and where you want to play the wedding game. Set your goal then work to successfully accomplish that goal. When you feel you have mastered that level or performance, then reevaluate the next level and move in steps toward it.

Watch for next week’s article for tips on how to increase your wedding and event business.

When we hear the expression of thinking outside the box, it means to approach a challenge with solutions that are not the common or normal way of solving the challenge. Thinking outside the box can also be applied to floral design as well in unique and interesting ways.

One of the most popular containers for floral design these days is the cube. Square has become the new round and has made its mark for several years now and continues to stay popular because of its friendly shape. While round cylinders are also popular, square or ‘squareular’ ( a square with rounded corners) as the young generation refers to them has replaced the older more traditional flared vases of the 60’s and 70’s. But when an item is popular, the challenge becomes how to keep it fresh and new looking. After a customer has received sever floral stylings in the same container, what was once new and fresh becomes old, tired and predictable. Here are some solutions to help keep the cube alive.

Color is the easiest way to make an impact on a customer. Many sources are available to provide cubes in translucent colors. Translucent colors allow the appreciation of the stems or decorative mechanics to still be seen, but the color provides color impact that can either coordinate or contrast the floral styling. For a fun ‘specialty’ look, go to your local craft supply store and go back to the 70’s Mod-Poge adhesive. It is a thick glue that dries clear and hard and allows you to apply tissue paper or other fabrics to the container and holds them in place. What a great way to apply a custom finish for a special customer or event! Just a couple reminders – the surface will have to be sealed with a watertight finish and, you will want to make these contains in advance to allow for drying time.

Another solution for enhancing the cubes is to use natural materials such as Bear Grass, Horse Tail, Steel Grass or Birch Branches They can be secured by either using the strips of U-Glu or by rubber band. When using the U-Glu, simply run a strip of the adhesive around the cube and remove the protective second layer of paper. Start by pushing the material of choice into the tacky adhesive in a orderly fashion ensuring that all the glue is covered with product. When using a rubber band, slide the rubber bands around the cubes. I like to secure the material with two rubber bands in two different locations to ensure the materials stay in place. Next slide the material you have chosen under the rubber band in an orderly fashion. You can let some of the cube show through or completely cover it depending on the desired effect. After you have finished covering the cube, cover the rubber band mechanic with a ribbon, bark wire, or other decorative enhancement. For a more modern whimsical look, try using brightly colored drinking straws and vibrant rubber bands and let the mechanics show to become a part of the decorative enhancement.

Decorative accessories such as stones, colored wire, or vase fillers can be added to the inside to give a patterned appearance to the container for a unique look too. Loops of Bear Grass, Steel Grass or Flexi Grass can also be secured and placed into a cube to act as a natural mechanic to hold the flowers in place. Keep in mind that any fresh product placed inside the vase will cause bacteria to grow and reduce the flowers shelf life. Be sure to use a preservative that has a water clarifier with it such as Aqua-Plus or another commercially available product.
Thinking outside the box ( or cube) can be lots of fun and very creative. Next time you pull a cube to design in, think of the endless possibilities it will allow you to have!

As the 2012 Olympics wind down, viewers from around the word have routed for their favorite athlete to do well or, ‘Go for the Gold’. Going for the gold has many different connotations. For some, it means doing your very best performance at an event. For others, it might mean recognition for a job well done. Or, it might reference the color in the spectrum.

Gold is often associated with late summer and the fall season. Many of summers brighter yellow flowers and grasses begin to darken and dry as the harvest season approaches. The same holds true for other colors such as reds, oranges, and violets. What once was a brighter, more intense color is now deeper , less vibrant in color. When combining all these harvest hues, a composition can appear to be too murky or dull and lacks visual appeal. What is needed to wake up these sleepy colors is some contrast of color. Here are some ideas to wake those colors up and bring them to life.

The easiest is when working with deep shades of gold, red, and orange, add violet or lime green to the color harmony for an awakening for the eyes. Both violet and lime green are considered melding colors that blend colors together and provide high contrast. Purple stock, purple Statice or Phlox might be some of the ‘waker uppers’ that a sleepy arrangement might benefit from. Lime green is found in Kermit chrysanthemums, Jade roses, Hypericum, or hydrangea. All of these selections give the contrast of color that is needed to change dull into more vibrant.

Another way to bring a composition to life is to choose a container that has a higher reflective quality about it. Containers finished with copper, brass or silver reflect the light and appear brighter and shiny versus an acrylic container or piece of pottery that often absorb the light and therefore appear dull.

Accessories such as ribbons that are woven with iridescent or metallic threads are another good choice for adding visual impact to the composition. Remember, ribbons and accessories are like a good perfume, a little goes a long way. We do not want to overpower the floral design with accessories making it hard to see the flowers and the total composition.

Going for the gold and reds, oranges and all the other colors associated with fall should bring much recognition from your customers this fall for a job well done. As the season changes, remember to take advantage of flowers and foliage’s that are generally associated with the autumn such as Sunflowers, Chrysanthemums, Safflower, Artichoke, and Kale. These seasonal signature favorites will get your customers in the mental season even if the weather outside still says summer has not left us yet.

Florabundance took Miami by storm to make Caliente even hotter at this year’s AIFD symposium. Caliente was the first time AIFD had been to Miami in the history of symposia and it was very well received! Floral designers from all over the world converged and convened for a 4 day conference showcasing all the best in floral design and product support from the leading vendors and suppliers in the country!
Caliente started off with a product showcase that was presented by Jerome Raska AIFD and numerous students from several SAIFD student chapters. They did an excellent job of featuring the products for the Elite Partners that support the stage programs for all to enjoy. After an hour of well executed and presented floral art, the attendees were then brought to the much anticipated Partner’s Expo. Here over 40 table top displays were presented with the newest and finest products available in the industry. From floral products from all over the world to containers, services and there was even a floral fashion show showing the latest in wedding and prom accessories.
Florabundance showcased beautiful blooming flowers from California, Holland, and South America. The attendees were fascinated with the beautiful choices that they may not have been exposed to prior to attending the Partner’s Expo. Not only did the attendees see the products up close and personal, they could also place orders for future deliveries. It was great having so many of the attendees stop and visit at the tables.
After a full Friday of Partner’s, Saturday started off the design portion of Caliente with a moving motivational and design program presented by Marie Ackerman AIFD, PFCI. Everyone who attended was challenged to look inside themselves to find the ‘Little Light of Mine and Let it Shine’. There was not a dry eye in the house after the presentation was given! Beautiful floral designs and wonderful motivation graced the stage from the beginning of the day until the very end. We were treated to Christmas in July featuring design themes suitable for every type of décor!
Textures tangoed across the design stage as did flowers and foliages from all corners of the world! Tropical flowers were in abundance this year being shown in sympathy, wedding and event work. From small to large scale and everything in between, it was all about mixing and layering textures, forms and colors.
One of the most popular programs is always well anticipated and that being the Trends Forecast presented by Talmage McLaurin. Talmage along with several students brought us the color and decorating themes that we will be seeing in the next two years. While some colors disappear all together to allow for those newly embraced colors to take center stage, others are slightly modified in value and combined with additional options for a brand new fresh appearance. Since color is the first element in design that customers recognize and react to, it is important to stay current on all these trends.
The symposium concluded with an over the top wedding extravaganza presented by Ian Prosser AIFD of Tampa FL. Not only did Ian wow us with themed venues and décor, he also presented over 90 bouquets and headpieces to inspire all those in the audience. Grace Ormonde shared her vision of her magazine and reiterated just how important floral décor is at an event and pledged to keep the consumers eye focused on the flowers!
If you would like more information on AIFD, Caliente or to watch a short recap of the week, go to AIFD.org to visit their website. You can even order the DVD’s of programs you might have missed or those you want to watch again and again. Watch for additional information as AIFD presents Passion next year in beautiful Las Vegas! It too will be a week to remember, so register early; you won’t be disappointed!

Every summer, the weather heats up and bring us many surprises. While the grass and trees may be drying out and the days and nights are warmer, it is still a great time to be in the floral industry. One of the most exciting events that happen in the summer months is AIFD’s National Symposium! This year it is titled Caliente’ and nothing could describe it better!

Caliente’ will be happening July 10th through the 16th with an assortment of exciting events scheduled each day. The first event is the opportunity for those registered candidates to test for the PFDE process. They are given 4 hours to complete 5 floral arrangements specific to the floral industry such as wedding, sympathy, personal flowers, duplication and designer’s choice. These wide ranges are narrowed down to a more specific presentation such as a casket spray or bridesmaid bouquet or whatever the committee has established for this year’s category. After the design process has occurred, the next morning it is time for a team of evaluators to evaluate (not judge) each candidate’s work. The floral designs are evaluated 7 times and then the high and low are removed. The remaining 5 are then tallied to get the final score. Those candidates who score 4.0 or better are then extended an invitation to join AIFD upon competition of a few additional requirements. Candidates who score 3.2 – 3.9 are qualified to be a Certified Floral Designer. It is an honor to be either one of these and lots of hard work goes into this professional achievement.

Day two and three is filled with many committee meetings and behind the scenes tours of what is to come for the rest of the week. It is always interesting to see what the designs look like prior to being seen on stage a few days later. Friday is always a highly anticipated day. Once the Annual Members Meeting has completed, the Partners Expo opens to showcase the newest and coolest product available in the floral industry! AIFD Partners such as Florabundance will present colorful and unique products for people from all over the world to see and enjoy! Along with all the other vendors from growers to container manufacturers to wedding and prom fashions, this year will be the first ever to have a mini fashion show presented for the attendees to enjoy!

Saturday, Sunday and Monday are filled to the brim with educational opportunities presented by designers from the US, England, and Puerto Rico. From inspirational programs, to business, to sympathy and of course a wedding extravaganza featuring the incomparable Grace Ormond along with Ian Prosser AIFD will finish the symposium with an over the top presentation!

Two exciting evenings of floral décor that will likely never be seen before will happen for the newest members being inducted into AIFD this year and the Leadership Gala to honor all the leaders, committees, and boards of AIFD. It will be floral decor to the most superlative degree! Be sure to watch the Florabundance website next week for photos of what is happening at AIFD.

Florabundance and AIFD joining forces to make this symposium a hot, hot, HOT time to remember! If you can’t make Miami, remember you can purchase the DVD’s of programs to enjoy later. Visit AIFD.org for more information on ordering the DVD’s and all the other educational opportunities that are happening around the country.

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