ESIF2012: Preston Bailey’s Floral Sculpture Demo

Preston Bailey with Yvonne Ashton & Jenn McJunkins

Yep, that’s me on the left and our layout designer, Jenn, on the right with THE Preston Bailey!  (I promise you that we didn’t plan on wearing super similar jackets … it just happened!)

This was by far one of my more favorite sessions that we attended at the Event Solutions show in Vegas just because Preston’s work is really fun and over-the-top, and he was really a great presenter.  People were taking pictures and notes constantly … with everyone holding up that giant iPad in the air.  That does get a bit annoying after a while, but I need to get used to it and sure I will succumb to this habit very soon!  One other random tid-bit that I wanted to share:  Preston uses the word “idear” for “idea” and I love it!

While the picture above is the only time I got to meet Preston, we were fortunate enough to hang out with Preston Bailey’s CEO, Xoua.  He too is super cool and allowed us to take a few behind-the-scene’s pictures before the session.

The first 2 pictures is of a design that the Preston Bailey’s Floral Design students created for a dinner party and other students doing some prep work.  The next four photos is Preston’s team prepping for the floral sculpture session.

floral sculpture  preston bailey design students   framingfresh flowers prepped in water picksprepping floral sculpture screenprepping floral sculpture screen 

Before starting the sculpture demo, Preston gave his audience a little insight on his journey and a few tips:

  • From day one, always said he wanted to be different.
  • In NYC, he always saw flowers done one way.  It took three years in showing different options to get clients to try something different.
  • Preston decided to use only high quality flowers.  By using the best flowers available, his clients always expect the best.
  • Try to always do something unique.  As a florist, you need to develop your own identity.
  • Important that you use others’ work as an inspiration, not copied completely.  Always change up the “idear” and give your own twist – “Don’t be afraid to experiment”.
  • In 32 years of business, Preston has only turned down 1 client.
  • “Part of our job is to deal with difficult clients”. It is a powerful learning lesson.
  • Yes, he has a minimum and only does about 2 events a month.
  • Gives his clients a cut off date where nothing can be changed. If there are changes then there are extra charges.
  • Have to learn to teach your clients the value that they are getting by using you by showing clients designs they have never seen before.  Don’t forget that you are selling artistry!

One way Preston has created his own unique look is by using flowers to sculpt.  From chandeliers to sculpted vases to animals like his signature dog.  Someone asked during the session if he used silk and he said that if the client can reach and touch the design then it needs to be created using fresh cut flowers, otherwise he does use silk.

For this particular demonstration, Preston showed the audience on how to create oversized floral screens and walls.  These stunning pieces are created by using stretched printed screen with flowers coming out of the picture. Printed trees, monograms, logos, and so much more, you are only limited to your imagination.  What I love about these pieces is that at first glance they just look like a pretty picture, but then you realize it is something much more and so special!

Preston charges $10,000 for one of these with the hard good costs looking something like this

  • Art work design $300
  • Print work on scrim material $1000
  • The framing $1000

In terms of the cost, Preston says that his clients love it.  He has one in his office, they fall in love, he tells them the price, they faint, and then about 80% end up paying for it.

Jenn took a ton of pictures during the session and I have a ton more notes on how to put together these gorgeous floral screen sculptures, but I am limiting myself on how much I share today because the audience all had to pay a substantial amount to learn from Preston (I think $150 per ticket).  But what I will say is if you have been debating on attending some industry shows, I highly recommend that you do.  There are great sessions and networking with people outside of your typical circle.  The shows are great resources for new ideas/inspiration, and I hope to see you at one soon!
 Preston Bailey Preston Baileyaudience participating in demo tree floral sculpture  floral sculpture 

Preston left us with some great comments:  “If you are creating crap then no one will copy it”.  If someone is copying you, take it as a compliment, don’t compete with anyone and just do your own thing!

P.S. We were one of the fresh flower suppliers for the session and we received a great big thank you at the end of the session – check it out here:

Mayesh provides wholesale flowers for session

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Tags: ESIF2012,Event Solutions Idea Factory,CaterSource,wholesale flowers,wholesale florist,preston bailey,event industry,floral design,floral sculpture,demo

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