If I could narrow down the reasons why designers throw their hats into the Mayesh Design Star contest to just one, I would say it is because they want to give back to their industry and Tony fits the bill! He is truly passionate about floral design and has a drive to give back and inspire others around him – his floral extracurricular activities attest to that. Please read on to get to know this month’s Mayesh Design Star finalist, Mr. Tony Medlock AIFD!
If you are #TeamTony, please be sure to watch this month’s video and stay tuned for his final installment in October!
When did you realize this was the career for you?
After only being in the retail floral industry for 4 months it was Feb 15th. We had received I would call less than great advice from the previous ownership and had boxes and boxes of roses left over. It was a total disaster, or it seemed so at the time. On the 16th, I knew I wanted to get back to the flower shop and start designing again and that has never changed. That was in 1997.
Why do you want to be the next Mayesh Design Star?
I love to share what I’ve learned over the years with others, this is another way to do that. Also, I’ve been a Mayesh customer for over 10 years and believe in the company and want to let others know about the amazing quality, customer service and that if it’s growing anywhere in the world, Mayesh can get it for you.
Tell us a little about your floral extracurricular activities?
Hats I have worn:
Past President of AZ State Florist’s Association
Past President of Teleflora AZ Unit
Past President of SW Region AIFD
AIFD Student competition committee
Things I bled for:
Designer for Fiesta Parade Floats for 6 years at Tournament of Roses Parade, Was a Team Leader for 4 years.
Designer at Philadelphia Flower Show, with Schaffer Designs winning Best in Show, Best use of Flower, and the Orchid award.
1998 AZ State Designer of the year
2000 Inducted into AIFD
2005 Inducted into PFCI
2006 Inducted into AAF
2004-2008 SAF Design Team (2 years as leader of team)
2012 SAF Vase Off Challenge Winner
Hats I’m wearing:
Currently serving 2nd year as the Chair for AIFD Industry Partners
SAF Retail Council member
AIFD SW Region Board of Directors
AIFD SW Region co-chair of PR/Marketing Committee
Advisor at Metro Tech High Schools Floral Design Program.
How would you describe your design style?
clean and structured.
What or who inspires you?
Architecture and Nature. I like the lines and geometry of buildings. The beauty of nature is a constant source of inspiration for me.
What floral tool can you not live without?
Other than a knife, just a simple pair of needle nose wire cutters. So much you can do with them.
If you had to pick just one (I know it is nearly impossible) what would be your favorite flower and why?
Heliconia! It makes a statement and has so many different sizes, varieties and colors, it’s very versatile.
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?
Strange requests: There was a contest and the winner would be a Phoenix Suns Cheerleader if she won. We created a $1,000 arrangement and delivered it to her door, when we heard the cheers from inside we rang the doorbell and delivered the arrangement.
Was decorating a clients home for the holidays, which would be published in Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine. On day 3 of the 6 day install, she walked by and said “Wouldn’t it be cute to have a life size Santa sitting at our Grand Piano?” We built from the ground up and installed 24 hours later.
Best or Worst Ever: Client walks into the shop late on a Tuesday afternoon and wants a basket for $100 of carnations because he was in trouble. While we were working on creating this large arrangement we asked what happened. We could smell and tell that he had been drinking. Turns out he went out on Friday to a bachelor party and was finally now on his way home. Never heard how that worked out for him.
What trends do you see emerging within our industry?
Less retail florists in the US will continue. The large will get larger and the small will get smaller. Big box stores and mass market will continue to effect retail florists. Event companies also will continue to increase their presence in larger markets. Designers need to showcase high quality floristry and floral art to make a difference.
What is your best piece of advice for new comers into the floral industry?
There are less design programs, but go to every one you can. Also, get involved any way you can. It could be joining the board of your state association or volunteering next time a designer comes to your area. I still offer to help out designers when they are going to a program in my area, and learn something every time. You can take a piece from here and a trick from there and create your own idea, design or creative piece of floral art.
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