Florabundance Blog

This past January we hosted the Florabundance Design Days here in Santa Barbara, California. You can read a wrap up of the workshop here.
Now we would like to showcase the beautiful work of the Florabundance Design Days attendees. Florabundance provided beautiful wholesale flowers for attendees to play with, each arranging a unique bridal bouquet. From lush garden roses, spring tulips, winding clematis and orchids, attendees created so many beautiful bouquets!

Above, from left, Katie Noonan of Noonan designs, Nicole Chapman of Hint of Chic, and Rebecca Raymond of Sunnybrook Floral.

From left, Peggy Meyer & Carol Young of Celebration Florals, and Melody King of Fleurish Floral.


Jenna Hanson and Christine Cater of Christine Cater Wedding & Events.


Amy Schoenbaum of Bride and Bloom Wedding Flowers, Denise Benda of Flowers by Denise, Leslie Armendariz of Pixies Petals.


Robyn Rissman of Bare Root Flora, Erin Hornstein of Plum Sage Flowers, and Margaret Lloyd of San Roque Florist.


Shannon Neels of Ruby + Romeo, Cheryl Brill and Jennifer Stout of Royer’s Flowers.


Jill Elmore of Royer’s Flowers, Crystal Schachter and Davida Buggs of Flowers by Lady Buggs.


Catilin Caldwell of Plum Sage Flowers, Laurie Garza of Fleurie, and Sheri Jentsch of Blumen Meisters Flower Market.


Kate Minelian of Kaleco Design, Laura Cogan of Passion Flowers, and Tricia Jones.


Ingrid Sarrat of Bloemen, Sarah Selzer of Santa Barbara Wedding Flowers, Jenny Kleven of Maven Floral & Event Styling.


Holly Heider Chapple and Joost Bongaerts, owner of Florabundance

dos pueblos ranch santa barbara
Tricia Fountaine welcomes everyone to Dos Pueblos Ranch and kicks off the design show!


Ian Prosser AIFD talks to the designers about his business, Botanica.


Ian Prosser AIFD with Chuck Graham in the background.

Florabundance Flower Show
Holly Chapple discussing the business side of things.


Chuck and Alicia of Flirty Fleurs discussing Social Media for floral design businesses.


Ian and Jordan Prosser of Botanica preparing for presentations.


The last evening the attendees enjoyed a lovely dinner at Dos Pueblos Ranch!

We hope you can come next year to this amazing, hands on, flower workshop.

Photographs by Genevieve Leiper Photography.

Susan Mcleary of Passionflower Events in Ann Arbor, Michigan shared these lovely photographs with us, we love the way she designed these beautiful pieces using flowers from Florabundance!

My arrangements are made to complement a gown, a ceremony locale, a reception hall, but are also made to be individual works of art…to delight the senses and infuse the tranquility of nature into a event.
I am continually amazed and inspired by the ephemeral beauty of flowers, and see each event as a chance to inspire others.
—SUSAN McLEARY

Photographs by: © First Comes Love Photo

Susan designed the bridal bouquet and centerpiece with green lady slipper orchids, muscari, white sweetpeas, purple lilac, hellebores, green & burgundy ranunculus, fritillaria, fig branches and poppy pods.

green purple white bridal bouquet

lady slipper orchid lilac hellebore fritallaria

ranunculus lilac lady slipper orchid

ranunculus sweetpeas fritallaria

ranunculus sweetpeas purple green white

green figs purple centerpiece

green fig centerpiece purple flowers

The 2013 brides will once again be following current fashion according to The Wedding Report, A market and research forum for the wedding industry. Layering their dreams of traditional choices they have dreamed of for years with the “latest and greatest” considerations is where many brides find themselves when making choices for their special day. While traditional gowns still are the most popular choice, bridesmaids and tuxedos are seeing more trendy fabrics, colors and accessories. Subdued classic choices for the ceremony are often contrasted with colorful blasts of color for the celebratory reception.
For the ’13 brides, Personal taste is where it is happening. Brides are using Pinterest now more than ever to gather ideas and formulate the looks they want to express. Bright pastels are still in vogue for this summer’s color pallet. Antique white mixed with layers of candlewhite, ivory and soft metallics make a trendy statement for this summer’s selection of color.
Sophisticated form and architectural emphasis are being shown on the runways for 2013. Elegant strapless gowns are still the rage but we are seeing more figure flattering halters and v-necklines, empire, and A-line silhouettes are making a comeback. These provide the perfect background for showcasing beautiful cascading bouquets.
For bridesmaids, the soft shades of 2012 have given way to bold and bright colors for 2013. Subtle Turquoise, soft Butter Yellow or Electric Blue and Fashion Fuchsia are making quite the impact. Pale Peach mixed with Shocking Orange is gaining too in popularity. Geranium red and coral pink are also making their presence known this year. Look for gray; both flat and metallic, as the new neutral. The ‘Little Black Dress’ is still popular for bridesmaid’s choice of gown; making black and white weddings still popular for yet another season. Some major department stores are trying to lure the brides back by moving away from the traditional bridesmaids styling in order to compete with the traditional bridal stores for the dress sales.
Burlap combined with lace is making their presence known for aisle treatments to table linen and accessories for the guests table favors. Textures play a dramatic role for accenting dresses, hair treatments, and decorations throughout the wedding; both ceremony and reception. Vintage bottles, faux jewelry and antiques are popping up to be used as reception decorations. How fun is this and still allows the use of fresh flowers to compliment the personalized choices of today’s brides.
Brooch bouquets are still in high focus especially when combined with vintage flowers such as garden roses, hydrangea, sweet pea, and clematis. While hand tied bouquets still hang on in popularity, architectural cascade bouquets are creeping forward in popularity. Get ready to start to see the return of bouquets in holders with beautiful finished handles of elegant ribbon and rhinestone accessories. The recent release of ‘Gatsby’ will have an effect on fashion and events bringing style and elegance back in vogue once again.
The one thing you can be assured about wedding and event work is that is all about making a personal statement and listening to what the bride has for her dream day!
(Cascading bridal bouquet of Phalaenopsis Orchids and Jasmine designed by Alicia Schwede & Chuck Graham of Flirty Fleurs Flower Blog while attending Florabundance Inspirational Design Days in Santa Barbara, California)

Recently Joost headed North to Alaska! He was off on an adventure to discover the best Peony Farmers in Alaska, searching for the biggest and best blooms to offer to Florabundance customers. Joost traversed the Peony growing region in a big ‘ole RV, taking in the sites of the various farms all while surrounded by the amazing Alaskan landscape.

Have you heard about Alaskan Peonies? There is a lot of excitement surrounding them as they will now be available to Florabundance customers during July, August, September and even a bit into October! Alaska’s long and cool growing season will now allow peonies to be offered on the market when no other peony farmers have them available.

 

 

While out cruising the Alaskan Countryside Joost saw these beautiful bears off hunting. If you look closely you will see it’s a momma bear and two cubs. So beautiful!

Joost was invited to speak at the Alaska Peony Grower conference in Palmer, where he discussed how peonies are now one of the most desired and requested flowers for weddings; especially the white, cream and blush pink varieties.

Joost with Sue Kent, owner of Midnight Sun Peonies

Here Joost stands in front of one of the Peony Flower Fields at Midnight Sun .. rows & rows of huge, gorgeous full bloom peonies!

It took Joost two years to find the perfect farms to work with, lots of exploring and examination of quality product. Florabundance will be working with farms such as Midnight Sun Peonies,They start in July with an awesome quality of Red Charm peonies. Other farms Joost visited and will be working with are Scenic Place and Alaska Perfect peonies,Chilly Root farm and Aurora Blooms.
alaskan peonies

 

Coral Charm and Burgundy Peonies

Shirley Temple

Festiva

Peony Coral Supreme

Festiva Maxima

Red Charm

Duchesse de Nemour

Blush White Frost

Dark Pink Kansas

Festiva Maxima

Red Charm

Florabundance welcomed Beth Ann van Sandt of Scenic Place and Rita Jo Schultz of Alaska Perfect Peonies to a visit recently where they viewed our packing methods and learned more about the wholesale flower business.

floral cooler

Beth Ann Van Sandt of Scenic place and Rita Jo Schultz of Alaska Perfect Peonies

Speak with your floral consultant for more information. Florabundance will have the peonies shipped directly to you from the farm to ensure the freshest product possible and save on shipping cost!

Florabundance blooms were featuring in a spring entertaining story in the latest Santa Barbara Magazine! Check out the story online here. And to see more of this table, check out the feature on Style Me Pretty Living, right here.

Photographer: Nancy Neil

Flowers: Kelly Oshiro

Food: Ayda Robana

As an industry, we tend to focus on the holiday times that drive our business for the year. When you think about holidays, there are really 4 main holidays and then depending on your market area, the 5th is really a collection of the smaller ones lumped together. The top 4 are Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Prom. Collectively, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Professional Administration Day make up the rest. Christmas is the biggest as it is really almost a 45 day holiday for selling now as it happens earlier and earlier each year. Valentine’s Day is for many the biggest single day for sales while Mother’s Day is spread out over 4 – 5 days. Prom is more about a season depending on where you are in relation to your schools. So as you can tell, Mother’s Day is a very important time to make a positive impact on your customers. Think of it as the ‘Last Harrah’ that has to take you financially through the next 5 months of tighter cash flow and customer contact.
If we look back at Valentine’s Day, there was an air of positive spending so we can look forward to a holiday of positive spending. Most shops beat 2012 sales for Valentine’s Day in 2013, so we are riding the wave of positive spending. Paul Goodman, floral consultant, CPA and Editor of Teleflora’s Floral Finance is optimistic about 2013 Mother’s Day sales. Paul predicts at least a 5% increase in sales for this holiday season based on stock market trends which have been positive for the past six to nine months. SAF predicts that 72% of consumers will purchase some type of floral product and will collectively spend nearly 2 BILLION dollars! Now you need to ask yourself how much of this can I capture.
It is important to remember that not all of these 2 billion dollars is spent on cut flowers alone. 37% is spent on bedding and garden plants, 38% is spent on flowering house plants, and 23% is spent on green plants. While this is a sizeable market, there is still plenty of revenue for cut flowers in vases, and wrapped bouquets. Having floral stylings ready for those customers who want to shop and go is extremely important. The second biggest objection from consumers about flower shops is not having the ability to choose a floral styling and personally deliver it. The first biggest objection is having florists take their phones off the hook to prevent further orders from coming in.
Mother’s Day is just a few short weeks away. It is time to start planning now to be ready for one of the greatest opportunities to help touch the lives of so many customers and help them honor of the greatest institutions! Plan now to be ready in advance for all your customers’ needs and yes, even those last minute delivery requests. Call your Florabundance Account Manager to place your order for the holiday. Visit the website for a great selection of floral and assorted foliage’s to make this holiday a magic one for you and your customers!

All winter long we have been embraced by winter’s influences…heavy clothes; short days of sun if any, dark heavy bare branches at rest, and a time when all of nature seems to be asleep. But now, that is all in our past and it is time to lighten up!

We are celebrating more plentiful and longer days filled with sunshine that warms the air, our hearts and heads. Everyone seems to be in a much better psychological mood and glad to be out and about. Spring repair projects are being executed and decorating ideas both inside and out and being formulated and put into place. What a great time to step up and help with these DIY projects in your store. Think about hosting a spring fling open hose to showcase what a great addition fresh floral stylings, green house plants, and permanent botanical designs can add to the ambience of any home décor.

Team up with other ambassadors in your community that also could benefit from this idea. Local paint and hardware stores can demonstrate painting techniques and feature the latest ideas for interior wall décor. What a great place to showcase your line of home décor wall accents of wreaths, swags, and perhaps accessories that your store carries for the wall. Furniture stores could demonstrate the impact of lighting or show how to choose fabrics for a desired effect again giving you the perfect opportunity to present your design talents by featuring some trendy floral stylings that are ready for spring or everyday enjoyment.

This time of year is a great time to host a make-it take-it workshop that might include a series of classes. Wreaths, simple centerpieces or topiary trees might be a great way to create good traffic flow within your store in between the regular spring holidays. While April may traditionally be a slower month, use this’ down time’ to spark some interest in upcoming events such as Mother’s Day, Proms, and spring formal dances. You can offer some promotions for bounce back customers such as offer deep discounts only to those customers who attend the open house or workshops. Be sure to put a time limit on those offers so customers will return often in a short amount of time…getting the idea that your shop needs to be visited often! With that said it will be important to keep your shop looking fresh, new and clean. Galvanized buckets of fresh flowers and flowering branches out for impulse self-serve walk in traffic. Nothing is more appealing than to see that European Market display in a flower shop.

Keep in mind that the color pallet for spring also undergoes a radical change. Gone are winters color saturated heavy tones of color. They are being replaced by spring’s light and airy colors. Pastels this season are bright and saturated. If you’re not sure about what colors are trending in your area, go to any major department store and look around at ladies clothes or trendy stores such as Target or Anthropology for some help and ideas. By shopping where your customers shop, it makes you aware of what they are seeing and buying and you can ride along on their marketing dollars for free!

Remember how wonderful it felt when you were a child to open up that magic box of Crayola Crayons and see all the endless possibilities of color combinations? THAT is the way you should think about the possibilities of flower combinations! It’s time to make the magic happen!

While the calendar doesn’t officially say it is time for spring for yet another few weeks, once Daylight Savings Time is here, most feel it is ready to celebrate the change of seasons. We have been seeing a majority of red and white for the past 3+ months and it is a welcome change to see other color pallets with vibrant colors as well as softer pastels. Whether displayed in a mono-botanical styling or integrated and fused with other non-seasonal components, traditional spring time flowers are a welcomed sight!
Due to the wonderful resource of growers and shippers, what once was considered a ‘spring time only’ flower; most are available throughout the entire year. If we polled the average consumer, most would probably be surprised to find that Tulips are now available pretty much a twelve month flower and Iris are not just for May! They are still harbingers of spring along with Daffodils, Pussy Willow, and multiple choices of blooming branches.
Making a floral display in your store sets the tone and provides ambiance for your customers to enjoy interacting with the different selection that are available for purchase. Tall vases or French Galvanized containers with a liner inside make for a great display of blooming branches and other tall offerings. Curly Willow, Forsythia, Apple and Cherry branches are best displayed this way. You may need to add a little base weight to some of the more light weight containers to keep them from spilling or getting turned over as self-serve customers interact with them while making their selections. Remember to change the water as needed and add a good floral preservative to keep the branches blooming.
Assorted sizes of clear vases filled with Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Muscari, all bundled ready to grab and go gives your shop a real European feel. Also by having individual stems priced for mix and match looks keep everyone coming back for mire. It is important to use one of the preservatives made for bulbs as their needs are different than the traditional cut flowers. Vases of Hydrangeas, Ranunculus, and Snowball Virburnum also add interest and round out the selection nicely. Keeping a different selection of spring flowers each week keeps your customers coming back time after time to find out what is the new flower of the week. Keeping a mix of color also adds interest. Some like pastels of pinks, peaches and soft yellows while other customers will be drawn to bright and bold intense colors such as orange, shocking yellows and saturated hot pinks.
Consider hosting a DIY class focusing on spring flowers. What a great way to share all the tips and tricks that dispel all the wild and crazy homemade post harvest care misnomers that customers think are helpful such as slitting the stem keeps a tulip closed. While it may do so, it is because you have just injured the tulip and it will not have a chance to fully mature because of its shortened shelf life. Another incorrect assumption is that it is ok to mix Tulips and Daffodils in the same vase. While they may look pretty for a photograph, the Daffodil actually emits a sap that prevents the Tulips from hydrating properly because their stems clog and they die prematurely.
Brighten up your design work with bulb flowers this spring. Welcome the change of season visually even if it is not quite time on the calendar or the weather outside still has a bit of winter’s bite. Everyone will welcome the brightness in the home or office!

My favorite time of year is upon us! SPRING! Here come all the lovelies for us to design with:

Helleborus
When you receive your Hellebore flowers, trim a bit off the stems and immediately plunge the stem ends (1/2”) into hot water containing a floral preservative for about 15 seconds. They last for about a week or longer!
order Helleborus flowers

Muscari – Grape Hyacinth
We suggest you get a few extra stems because they are delicate. Great for wedding bouquets!
Blue Muscari Grape Hyacinth

Daffodils & Narcissus
Gorgeous “Erlicheer”, also known as Early Cheer are pleasantly fragrant and long-lasting. Yellow daffodils add a great pop of yellow to arrangements and a lovely way to announce spring has arrived!
double narcissus and yellow daffodils

Forsythia
Add some height to your flower arrangements with yellow blooming Forsythia branches.
Flower yellow branch forsythia

Fritillaria-Meleagris
Meleagris also known by the common name of checkered lily. Colors in the bunch can vary depending on the time of the season, burgundy with bronze tints and some yellow and cream, they do have short stems. They are imported from Holland, please order in advance for following week arrival.
Fritillaria Meleagris Checkered Lily

Hyacinth
Hyacinths are available in purple, light blue, pink, hot pink and white and they add the perfect spring touch to flower arrangements
pink white purple hyacinths

Pieris Japonica
A unique texture to add interest to your flower arrangements is flowering Pieris Japonica, also known as Andromeda. This long lasting flower is mainly available in white, however some pink is also available during the season.
Andromeda Flowering Pieris Japonica

Tulips
Last but definitely not least in our spring-time round up is the Tulip! Tulips come in just about any color imaginable and a variety of shapes, the classic tulip shape, double petals, parrots and fringed edges! Ask your floral consultant for advice in picking out just the right ones!
tulips for sale

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s available for spring, please ask your floral consultant what else might be in this week!

Post by Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs

During the week of Valentine’s Day, one often wonders if you are going to make it through to the end with all the demands and stress that are heaped on this week. Let’s face it, there are no other floral holidays where we are asked to quadruple or more the output in the same amount of time. With customer demands ever on the increase and their ability to replace customer loyalty with convenience, it makes it ever increasingly difficult to maintain the super-human level of required customer service.

So, the good thing is you survived and made it through the maelstrom, but Valentine’s Day is not really over. What, you ask? How can it not be over days post Valentine’s Day? Let’s first start with some critical analysis of the entire holiday. The most common question most ask is what went wrong? It is easy to beat yourself and others up for what went sideways. So fire up the coffee pot, bring out a plate of fruit and Danish and sit down for a time to slice dice and mince the holiday while it is still fresh on everyone’s mind. Start with making a list with the entire staff of what went right. Physically list all the acts that went well when analyzing the whole holiday experience. Review broad topics such as: weather and how it impacted customer ordering and delivery systems in place, how you did measured to the original goals that were in place prior to the holiday, flower availability, production successes, delivery successes, and any other area that needs to be examined as a group. Review from everyone’s viewpoint. Ask the sales staff’s point of view, the designer’s point of view, the delivery staff’s point of view and even get your Florabundance Account Manager’s point of view. What you will find is that success is measured in different ways. One person might see success from a different perspective so remember, “It’s all good!”

Once you have celebrated all the successes – and the list can never be too long, now go in and start looking for ways to take those successes and make them better for next year. For example, the sales team identifies that they successfully sold out of your premium feathered bouquet. Great! Now, ask, if there had been more of those to sell, how could that have impacted your total sales in a more positive way? The delivery team reports that less drivers got lost less times than last year….all good, except, that with Smart Phone technology and navigation devices so common, perhaps it might be a requirement in the future that all delivery vehicles be equipped with technology. Your floral processors are proud to share that they processed the fresh product in record time…Kudos to them!! So you ask how they could best interface into other departments to contribute to the overall success of the operation. These are all again positive ways to analyze the good of the whole holiday success.

It would be naïve to think there were no glitches and areas for improvement. The goal is to deal with them in a positive and productive way. For instance, your sales staff remarks that pink roses were gone by 2:00 o’clock. Good in some ways but perhaps next year you might consider bumping up the number ordered from this year. Delivery stated that all the deliveries were completed by 3:00 o’clock. Excellent, however, next year consider taking deliveries for a longer period of time or increase the total number of deliveries accepted. You want to constantly look for ways to better serve your customers without causing an in store melt-down. If too much pressure is put on any of the departments, that can easily cause a system failure that impacts the total operation and have a negative effect in the end.

One of the most important pieces of information you need is a post-holiday inventory record. This way you can compare the amount of product ordered to the amount sold to the amount not sold to get a feel of where you ended up for the holiday. If there were excessive amounts of something left, take a look at what and find out why. Did the customers not buy the items? Did the design team not incorporate the item in production? Did the sales staff not stress those items enough? Were they properly featured on your web site? There could be lots of reasons, but the idea is to zero in and learn not to repeat the same mistake next year.

One of the most important factors in the success of any holiday is the mindset of the staff. Keeping a positive attitude should be foremost in importance. It is contagious to the other staff persons and also transfers to your customers. Keeping a positive spin on what is happening increases production and keeps the work environment light and pleasant. Look for ways to make this happen and remember it is for the good of the whole to make and keep things moving in a positive and productive way. Neither the staff nor the customers should ever see what challenges that are happening backstage.

Take time to celebrate the success and start the planning now for next year’s success!

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