Interview: Jodi Duncan AIFD, 2013 Mayesh Design Star

A little more than a month ago, we revealed our next Mayesh Design Star, Jodi Duncan AIFD.  Today, I’m super excited to present my interview with her, so that you can get to know Mayesh’s 2013 fresh face a little better.  I have had several conversations with her in preparation for our next season and I truly cannot wait to begin filming because she has so many great ideas!  2013 is going to be an AMAZING year!

P.S. Stay tuned because Jodi will be attending our upcoming National Open House & Design Contest on January 23, 2013 at one of our local branches!  More details to come soon on the whole event!



When did you realize this was the career for you?
At the age of 7 I started hanging out at the neighborhood florist. As a single parent, my mother had to juggle work and child care. She worked at a bank across the street from the flower shop, and the owners helped my mom out with me & my sister. When we got out of school, they would look after us at the shop until my mom was off from work.


How did you start your business?
My first job at 15 was in a flower shop. I bought that 30 year old business from the owners when I was 19. That ended poorly, so I wound up working for a competitor for 3 years. My sister & I opened a shop together after that, which was eventually sold. By that time (13 years ago) I had figured out that specializing in events & interiors was my niche, so I struck out on my own.


Why did you decide to enter the MDS2013 contest?
I love a challenge & enjoy competitions. I never want to stop growing or trying new things, so I always look for ways to stretch and grow personally & professionally. The contest was a perfect opportunity. I had tried out the year before, but I never want to quit something until I win. Giggle….


What other organizations are you involved with – floral and/or non-floral related?
I serve AIFD within the regional chapter level as vice president, and also am the AIFD marketing chair. I am very excited about the NeoFlora project supporting them with my membership. Locally, I am active in supporting Aurora, which exists to prevent & end homelessness


How would you describe your design style?
Whimsical. I love to experiment with the tension between opposing materials and textures.


What or who inspires you?
Nature, fashion, art, a heap of clutter on my design table, the lint from my drier trap…inspiration is everywhere!


What floral tool can you not live without?
That’s easy…needle nose wire cutters. I am wild about wire.


If had to pick just one (I know it is nearly impossible) what would be your favorite flower and why?
Asking me to pick my favorite flower is like asking me to pick my favorite child. I can’t do it. I love different flowers for different reasons. Tulips & mini callas just beg to be played with. Stock longs to be touched and smelled. Orchids demand awe.


Tell us a short floral story. Have you ever had a strange floral request? Created something wonderful out of a sticky situation? Have you ever felt like MacGyver and used your mad floral skills in a non-floral situation?

Yes, Yes, and Yes.

Once when doing a wedding on location in North Carolina, we used orange construction cones as vases! Hear me out: the venue for the reception was brand new, and with it came barricades and all that ugly caution tape. We made sure to take it all down the day of the event, and it occurred to us that the cones could have the ends taped up, be filled with water and placed upside down in the stone column planter boxes at the entrance! Voila! Cone becomes a vase, nobody can see it, and the extra flowers are used in a glamorous, impressive way! No one ever knew that orange cones were holding those bouquets together…until now.


What is your favorite color combination right now?
That’s a tough question too, almost as tough as the favorite flower. I love seeing peach again in many combinations. I lean toward monochromatic designs so I can explore textures in a dramatic way.


What is your best piece of advice for new comers into the floral industry?
EDUCATION! EDUCATION! EDUCATION! Expose yourself repeatedly to schools, shows, hands on classes and professional accreditation. AIFD is the best way to gain the skills and friendships necessary to success. Everything good in my life professionally I can trace back to my affiliation with AIFD.

No one can take away what you know. You can sadly lose your position with a company, your car, your house, relationships, a business, but no one can every take what you know. Education is an investment that stays with you forever, regardless of our ever-changing lives.


What are you most looking forward to with your upcoming Mayesh Design Star season?
The new friendships & connections. Coming together with flower enthusiasts through videos & real life conversations will be a blast. Sharing inspiration, beautiful products, creative ideas, & compelling concepts through flowers is something that thrills me to the core.


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