Posts Tagged “creativity”

AIFD2012: Sympathy Flowers – A New Day

Who knew thinking about sympathy flowers and funerals could be enjoyable?  Not being on the retail end of things, I’ve not really given much thought to this subject, but Chris Collum AIFD and Randy Wooten AIFD made their 2012 AIFD Symposium session on this topic quite …. fun.  Yes, fun is a good word as the program started with Chris popping out of the casket pictured below as Randy was talking.  We were so surprised that we didn’t think to snap a picture quick enough!


Here are some highlights from Chris and Randy’s program:


  • Know your market and embrace industry changes.  For example, with the increasing number of cremations, many florists feel that the end of their sympathy sales are near, but Chris and Randy think just the opposite – they see opportunties.
  • Open your mind to the possibilities of memorials.  Below are some great ideas for a woman who loved to knit and quilt.
  • Sometimes you need to swallow your pride and design what your client wants.
  • Work on creating strong relationships with your local funeral home.
  • Another beautiful idea that Randy and Chris presented was the concept of creating an art gallery tribute for an artist that had passed and always wanted to see his work in a gallery but may have passed at a young age.
  • Pet memorials are an upcoming sympathy market that you need to be aware of.  With over 750 pet cemeteries, pet funeral services are happening more often.
  • Use social media to let your clients know what is available to them.
  • Throw the notion out of stepping outside the box because there should be no box. “Don’t box me in.”
  • Have a private consultation area to make the process a little easier on on your clients.



The beginning of the program started with a surprise and the end of Chris and Randy’s session was amazing.  A gospel choir came out and then Chris and Randy presented what their own tribute and funeral designs would look like.  A little strange, but, again, it was a whole lot of fun!

We may not be able to control changes that affect our industry, but we can control how we adapt to the new situations in which we find ourselves in.  What sympathy changes do you see in your local area and how are you adapting?

AIFD2012: Be the Best Designer You Can Be


Have you heard the name Pim van den Akker? I did not up until my trip to the AIFD National Symposium. My first experience hearing of him was from a customer, Kim Frys (winner of our 2012 National Design Contest) who was very excited to see Pim and said that he was one of her all-time design favorites! Well, that got my attention and then once I witnessed Pim on stage, I knew we were in for a treat! I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else work, create, and talk to an audience with such vigor – so much so that Pim became short of breath and sweaty, especially when he was crawling around underneath this tent like structure (it will make more sense when you see the pictures below). Not only were his designs super cool, but it was great fun to watch!

Throughout Pim’s design demonstration, he made some great points about design

  • Trust your capabilities and always have your safe zone.
  • “Enjoy and created with a smile”.
  • What is the reason you went into floristry? Always go back to that.
  • Favorite materials are dangerous because you always grab that material – you start to have tunnel vision.  Always give yourself space to learn to love other products.
  • Do you have an identity and value that you create in your work that your customers know about?  This point is important with super markets as you cannot compete with them, so you need to come up with a floral DNA that is totally yours and make your customers fall in love with your work.
  • “If you are struggling then you are doing it wrong”.

So the focal point of Pim’s program was “objects” – to play with materials and objects to design.  Below, we hope you enjoy the pictures that we captured of Pim creating all of his objects.


AIFD2012: D & D Designs

What do you get when you combine flowers with 40 years of experience, 11 RHS Gold Medals, 3 UK Forist of the Year titles, and 2 David’s?  D & D Designs!  David Ragg & David Denyer to be exact. They brought to the AIFD Symposium stage some really fresh and exciting works of floral art!  What was even more exciting for me is when I got home and started to do a little research, I realized that I was already a fan of their work.  In particular the exhibit “A Sense of Perspective” at the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show.  I actually have a miniature version of the “doors” that stands a little over 2 feet sitting in my dining room!

Now on to the program designs.  Again, the pictures do not do these designs justice, but you can imagine how wonderful everything looked from our pictures that we had to take from the stadium seating in the auditorium (so thankful for zoom camera lenses).

Now on to the program designs. Again, the pictures do not do these designs justice, but you can imagine how wonderful everything looked from our pictures that we had to take from the stadium seating in the auditorium (so thankful for zoom camera lenses).


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AIFD2012: Tea Luncheon Flowers

My personal favorite video that we captured at AIFD’s National Symposium is from the time we spent behind-the-scenes in the design room with Ron Mulray, AIFD.  He was so gracious to spend time with us in the midst of working with the design team to complete the flowers for the “Afternoon Tea With Friends” luncheon.

In this video, you’ll see silver, china, and glass tiered centerpieces displaying wholesale California grown garden flowers.  The tiered pieces are all custom made and unique.  In addition, learn about the box centerpieces created from old pallets/skids and check out the petit fours, candied fruits, cupcakes, and desserts.  Ron reviews all of the major components and gives some insight on how all of it is put together.

Ready to be inspired?  Watch now!


AIFD2012: 2012-2013 American Floral Trends Forecast – Part 2

As promised, I have Part 2 of our coverage on the AIFD’s “American Floral Trends Forecast” which is a video (Part 1 contains loads of pictures of the 5 trends presented during the program).  But before you watch it, please be aware that I’m in the video.  So be nice – I’m not used to being in front of a camera as I gladly sit in the shadows for most of my work! 😉

The premise of this video is that we wanted to find out from florists, like you, what their favorite floral trends are.  You’ll hear about the following trends: New Victorian, textiles, Garden Club, Sea to Shining Sea (blues, gray, corals), all white weddings, American Gypsy, gray, succulents, purple palettes, monochromatic, and botanicals.

What is your favorite floral trend that inspires you?

P.S.  Thank you to those of you who willingly went in front of our camera.  I know most of you were a bit nervous, but you all did great!  Thanks!


AIFD2012: 2012-2013 American Floral Trends Forecast – Part 1

During the 2012 AIFD National Symposium I had the pleasure of attending Talmage McLaurin’s, publisher of Florists’ Review, program on the 2012/2013 American Floral Trends.  Talmage presented the following 5 upcoming trends:


  • Rural Route
  • Garden Club
  • Sea to Shining Sea
  • American Gypsy
  • New Victorian


Below, I have tons of pictures to portray each of these trends.  For Part 2 on my report on American Floral Trends, I’ll share with you a video that we created of Symposium attendees sharing what their favorite floral trends are.


Rural Route

For the first trend, Rural Route, think shades of red, white, and blue Americana mixed with everyday products, farmers’ market/local buying trends, and upcycling.  For example, the red, white and blue bouquet below was crafted with an armature created from an old tractor gear hardware piece.


Garden Club

I love the bright color palette of the Garden Club floral trend!  According to the AIFD program book, garden clubs have been a part of American culture since the late 1800’s.  As a side note, I live in the city of Cleveland and have seen the recent trend of “urban gardens” really come to life as we are home to one of the country’s largest urban farm.  I also live across the street from an urban garden and awake each morning to a rooster’s crow.  But back to the flowers – you’ll see bright colors combined with birds/butterflies, garden tools, abstract shaped containers, and terrariums.


Sea to Shining Sea

This nautical palette is perfect if you are looking for something soothing and relaxing.  Natural elements combined with light blues, greens, grays, and muted blush colors really bring this trend to life.  I’ve been seeing drift wood elements at pretty much every show that I’ve attended and love seeing this object used in this natural look as well.


American Gypsy

The American Gypsy trend is really on par with the whole “Anthropologie” trend that I reported on from earlier shows and again, we are seeing birds/owls.  If you haven’t jumped on the bird wagon (peacocks, owls, everyday birds, etc.), you may want to rethink your stance.  This trend utilizes bright colors, quirky accents, and flowers used in unexpected ways.  This is your chance to break those design rules!


New Victorian

The New Victorian trend is bringing opposites together – masculine paired with feminine; Victorian paired with industrial; leather paired with lace.  This is where you will find the term “steampunk” used or “neo-Victorianism”.  In terms of flowers, you’ll find garden varieties mixed with exotic florals, like the picture below in which  you see pastel colored garden roses mixed with black Tacca (aka Bat Flower) and Ivanhoe garden roses.


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I want to hear from you!  What is your favorite American Floral Trend?

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