Posts Tagged “Interview”

Interview: The Little Branch

The Little Branch


As many of you probably know, last week The Little Branch took over our Instagram for a few days! They shared some of their favorite designs and events with our followers and continued to inspire our community with their beautiful work.  We hope you enjoyed their takeover as much as we did, and if you were curious and wanting to find out more about the lovely ladies behind the photos, you’re in luck! We asked Meg a few questions to get a deeper look into The Little Branch. Enjoy!


So tell us a little bit about who The Little Branch is, and how you got started in the flower industry.

The Little Branch was started by Annie and I eight years ago. At that time, a lot of our friends were getting married and realized that they weren’t finding what they were looking for as far as floral design so we decided to do it ourselves. It kind of snowballed from there, one friend to another, then a friend of a friend and before we knew it, we were doing multiple events a month.


The Little Branch

Photo by @brdsofafeather


The Little Branch


Working with friends always sounds amazing, but I can imagine it can get tough at times! How has it been for the two of you?

Actually it has been so easy for us! Eight years in and we are still great friends and are currently working on a new business venture together.


How would you describe The Little Branch’s style?

Our style is very organic and natural. We love working with heavy greenery and lots of texture and we are super sticklers when it comes to colors and hues. Nothing drives us crazy more than colors that just don’t work well together.


The Little Branch

The Little Branch

Photo by @hazelnutphoto


What trends do you see happening in wedding flowers right now?

Ha! It’s so funny, because when the trends first start you think “oh, what a great idea, I can’t wait for this wedding!” Then by the end of the season you are begging to do something different! This year we have seen a lot of neutral color schemes, garlands and a lot of mixed metallics, brass/copper.


The Little Branch

Photo by @love_is_a_big_deal


Okay, I won’t ask what your favorite flowers are, because that’s a really hard question! Instead, which varieties are you really excited about this season or upcoming seasons?

I absolutely LOVE the product that comes from Japan. Their Ranunculus are out of control. I also love to see new varieties of roses.


Let’s talk tools. Favorite florist tool, and favorite social media app for marketing yourself?

My favorite tool would be chicken wire and twist ties. You can work a lot of magic with those. Especially when building arches. As far as social media, we rely on Instagram. I love being able to take photos in the studio or on site and be able to show our followers what we are doing as the day progresses.


I noticed that you offer some workshops! In the DIY culture that we live in today, they must be super popular. What are your workshops all about?

We are only able to offer a few classes a year during the off season Jan-Mar. Each workshop is different, we’ve done ombre, bouquets, hair wreaths, modern, garden organic and wood box arrangements. Each workshop is two hours long and we go over all the different types of florals and greens, discuss proper processing and then on to actual arrangement construction. We switch up working with tape, foam, hand tie etc. so yeah, each class teaches a different technique.


What is your favorite or most memorable event you guys have done flowers for?

I don’t think we have an all time favorite. There are always a few really fun weddings each year. We are lucky enough to get some really cool clients that have some fantastic ideas/themes and we just run with it.


What is one piece of advice you’d like to go back and tell yourselves during your first year of designing?

Work smarter not harder!


The Little Branch

The Little Branch

Photo by @love_is_a_big_deal


The Little Branch

Photo by Diane McGregor

Thanks again to Meg and Annie for letting us take a peek into their world, and be sure to follow them on Instagram, @thelittlebranch! Stay tuned for more fun interviews and takeovers with some fabulous designers!

Interview with Sarah Winward: Where is She Now?

Sarah Winward


Photo by @kychellephoto


We’re super excited for this interview (for many reasons), but mainly because we have admired this designer’s work and influence on the flower industry for the past few years. It has been so fun to follow her journey, from a small, young florist to hitting it big and becoming one of the most sought after wedding floral designers out there. You have most likely heard of Sarah Winward of Honey of a Thousand Flowers in Salt Lake City, UT, and we were able to catch up with her and find out what’s been going on since our last interview in 2011!

So it’s been four years since Sabrina interviewed you, and in that time, a lot has changed for you! Can you tell us a little bit about how your business has grown since then?

Everything has changed! When Sabrina interviewed me I was in my first real year of business and I was still finding my style, my clients, and getting used to the wild floral and event world.

Since then I think I have narrowed in on who I am, what my style is, and I have found “my client”.  I made my way through a few years of just making lots of beautiful flowers and sending them off to events that weren’t really that interesting to me. Since then, I’ve worked to find clients that are hiring me to make flowers for their events that also match the aesthetic of my flowers. I feel so grateful to finally have clients who are hiring me for my look, and trusting me to do what I think is best. It feels so wonderful. I actually cried four years ago (around the time of my last interview) while I was sitting in a meeting with a future client ( I played it off like I had something in my eye) when she was telling me how she wanted her flowers to look. I was so overwhelmed with joy that this bride was verbalizing to me how she wanted her wedding to look and feel, and trusting me to interpret and execute that, rather than sending me a Pinterest board and asking me to copy it. I cried with joy because I felt like I had finally been hired by someone who was hiring me to be creative, and that is why I was attracted to working in flowers in the first place.

I travel for most of my events now, and I love that. I love working in different environments and with different materials as I travel.


Sarah Winward

Photo by @heathernan


Sarah Winward

Photo by @kateosborne


Sarah Winward

Photo by @heathernan


Going off the last question, how has your design style evolved over the years?

I think my style is constantly evolving, and that is what keeps this job alive to me. I love that the seasons change and bring with them new flowers, textures, and color combinations. I take most of my inspiration from the individual blooms that are in season, and the environment that will be their final destination. Since I have been traveling for most of my work I think my style has picked up pieces from everywhere I’ve been. I have always loved greenery, and seem to always be incorporating more of it and smaller more textural flowers into my work.


Being a destination-wedding florist, you must have traveled to some pretty incredible places! What have been your favorite wedding destinations?

Before I worked in flowers I made traveling a priority in my life, and I spent all the time I could out exploring the world. I am so happy that my job has brought me to a point where I can combine two of these things that I love so much. Ireland and Thailand are probably tied for my favorites so far. Ireland was incredible because I was there in the fall and we caught all of the foliage in its most colorful stage. It was my personal heaven to be able to use so much colorful foliage!

Thailand was incredible too! Though most of my flowers were imported, I used all local and mostly foraged foliage from the small isolated peninsula in the South of Thailand that I was working on. It was incredible to watch ordinary roses and tulips take on a jungle look by mixing in the local foliage.

And of course, working in California is always amazing because there are so many wonderful resources for flowers, and I don’t have to have them shipped!


Sarah Winward

Photo by @kellylenard


You have recently added workshops to the mix! Tell us a little bit about those, and why you decided to expand to the educational side of things.

Teaching gives me new life, and makes me see things in that simple, beautiful way that I did when I first started working with flowers. I love the energy in the room when students are really loving their work. I feel like I am at a point where I do have a lot of knowledge I can share, and I love sharing it. I love keeping in touch with students and seeing what they do with their style and business after we meet. In general, I feel like teaching flowers spreads happiness, and I love that. It is a nice contrast to the quick paced and stressful event world.


Sarah Winward

Sarah Winward

Photos by @kychellephoto


So I won’t ask what your favorite flower is since we already know it is the Indian paint brush (unless that has changed?) Instead, what flowers are your favorites to work with and why?

I do love indian paint brush! (Of course I love a flower that doesn’t last well as a cut and isn’t cultivated in the floral world!) I love spring blooms Foxglove, Hellebore, Fritillaria, Allium Sicilum, etc. I love the small, intricate bell shaped blooms. I love the texture that they give to arrangements. A garden rose is nice and luscious, but I love indulging in all the small stuff and experimenting with mixing them together and still making strong focal points.


Sarah Winward

Photo by @kateosborne


What trends do you see surfacing in wedding flowers right now?

Wild and natural looking is definitely front stage right now. People are wanting more moody color palettes instead of the really soft, subdued stuff everyone was into for a while. And last but not least, installations! People want stuff hanging everywhere.



Sarah WinwardPhoto by @jon_upchurch


I loved your story about the bees! With your busy floral life, are you still tending to your backyard beehive and making wild honey?

Yes! It doesn’t take that long to “keep” bees. They pretty much take care of themselves, but I check on them every week or so and then harvesting takes some time. In the late summer we harvest honey if we are lucky. It is such a wonderful thing! The honey tastes like all of the flora that was blooming with the pollen and nectar were collected and I love being able to taste my surroundings. It is a whole different way to experience flowers.


And last but not least, knowing what you know today, what would you tell your younger self, as you were just starting out and beginning your floral adventure?

I have really enjoyed my flower journey, and am really grateful for how smooth it has been. From the beginning of it until now has been a very organic process. It felt a lot like a tornado that I was sort of thrown into, not knowing what I was doing, but it was a beautiful tornado!

I do wish I would have photographed more of my work. Sometimes I send a really beautiful piece away, and never get photos of it. That hurts! I wish I had just made the time to photograph them so that they could live on forever.

I would have also been more selective about the work I took in the first few years. In the beginning you have to take work because it is work, and not necessarily because you love it. But, I found that work I did not love drained me of my creative spirit, and being able to use that creative spirit is the whole reason I got into this. The second I started being more picky about the work I was taking, was when my business took off in the direction I wanted it to. If I had valued my own time a bit sooner I think I would have saved myself many exhausting jobs that did nothing for my love of flowers or bettering my business.
We hope you enjoyed our follow-up interview with Sarah, and that you followed along with her Instagram takeover on our page!

Interview {Video}: Beth O’Reilly AIFD

Last month we revealed our 2015 Mayesh Design Star, Beth O’Reilly AIFD.  This month, get to know Beth a little more in this video interview! Get ready to watch her first design demonstration in January – we promise that you don’t want to miss it!



Interview: Tony Medlock AIFD


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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Interview: Beth O’Reilly AIFD, TMF


A brand new mother to a darling little boy, an amazing floral artist, and one of our Mayesh Design Star Finalists this year, Beth O’Reilly AIFD, TMF really shines!  I’m excited to give an insider scoop into another one of our finalists.  I always learn something new with each interview, and this one does not disappoint.

If you are #TeamBeth, please be sure to watch this month’s video and stay tuned for her final installment in September!


When did you realize this was the career for you?

I realized this was my calling when I went back to school in 1999 for my art degree. I had been working in a shop for about seven years, taking a break from school here and there…but when I went back to finish my degree, I was very serious and still a little undecided as to what discipline in art that I wanted to focus on. It only took one sculpture class for me to realize that what I had been doing with flowers all along was just another form of sculpture. In fact, I often used floral mechanics on many of my pieces and still do. I fell in love with mixed media sculpture and even had a few professional showings, but in the end I always went back to flowers as my media of choice. I became very passionate about bringing floral design to the high art status and set out to do a series of sculptural floral works that brought me a lot of joy and satisfaction. My goal with these fine art sculptures was to bring to the viewer a new experience of the natural world. I wanted them to experience flowers in a way that they had never imagined and in doing so I wanted the public to see floral art as a viable form of high art, albeit ephemeral. The fact that it withers and dies and is only a temporary installation makes it all the more meaningful. The most notable sculptural installation that I have done is entitled the “Circle of Life” and I believe it captures the essence of what I believe my mission is as a floral artist. It was created as part of a national AIFD stage program and is what I like to call Floral Street Art. It’s a short documentary film. The concept was to create a floral sculpture and install it at various locations around the city of Austin and capture people’s reactions to it. My team and I had no idea what we would encounter and the end result is something that is quite dear to my heart (watch video below). I hope to bring more installations like this to the public, it is where my true artistic passion lies.


Why do you want to be the next Mayesh Design Star?

I think that now, more than ever, it is important to share professional knowledge about floristry to fellow florists. Being the next Mayesh Design Star will provide me with the opportunity to not only expose others to the amazing products and services Mayesh has to offer, but it would be a journey that I would love to embark on for the sake of other floral designers. I see so many trends in our industry and some of them can be pretty scary. From grocery store competition, to the ever so popular loosely gathered and poorly designed Pinterest inspired designs, and the young designers that come into the industry not knowing what to expect….. I think I have a great deal of creativity and knowledge to offer in the hopes of elevating our stature from mere tradesman to professional, accredited, highly skilled designers. It is so important for the future of floristry. We learn from each other and it’s important to share it with others. I love developing new ideas, tips and tricks, re-discovering varieties, and putting together projects that others can take bits and pieces of to make it their own. Should I be chosen as the next Mayesh Design Star, sparking new ideas and giving other designers the confidence to take these ideas and run with them is my ultimate goal.


Tell us a little about your floral extracurricular activities?

On a local, grassroots level I have spent a lot of time volunteering in the community exposing people to the joy and positive impact that flowers and design can have on individuals. I have always seen my job as a florist as a very important one, after all…we get to touch people’s lives at some of the most important times and sharing that gift with others has always been very fulfilling to me. I have given design workshops to the local Boys and Girls Club, which was awesome to watch children take to floristry with such enthusiasm. I have also presented and taught classes to local garden clubs and I am always impressed with their organization and dedication to the botanical world. I am an active member of The Texas State Florists’ Association, a past Teleflora Unit Treasurer, and I served on the American Institute of Floral Designer’s South Central Board for many years, eventually becoming President of the region. I garden at home and I also love to get involved in social media with other florists. I belong to several social media groups that talk publicly and privately about our industry and help each other in business, design and other related issues. It’s great to have a community of individuals to call upon for professional advice and there are so many florists out there willing to help and share with each other.


How would you describe your design style?

My design style varies from architectural, soft and romantic, contemporary and edgy, to organic and rustic. I think it’s important to have a well-rounded repertoire of design styles but above all the most important thing in any design style is that it follow the principles and elements of design. As long a composition follows these rules (and yes you can break the rules once you have mastered them) than any design style becomes inarguably masterful…..but if I had to pick just one style that I couldn’t live without it would be sculptural design, of course!


What or who inspires you?

Nature is my biggest teacher and inspiration. I get inspired by things like double headed mutant tulips or the changing colors of the leaves in the fall. I love to watch how things grow and I try mimic Mother Nature in unexpected ways. As far as people that inspire me….Andy Goldsworthy, a British Sculptor who became known for his environmental site specific sculptures using only natural materials. His work made a huge impression on me in my 20’s. Daniel Ost, an amazing floral artist whose work is also very site specific and totally amazing gave me a vision of what it meant to be a master of floristry. Hitomi Gilliam for providing not only wonderful floral design inspiration but for starting a dialogue about floral artistry in the U.S. on an unprecedented level. She is the first modern designer I ever heard speak about flowers as if she were a museum curator or art historian, a much needed dialogue, especially for young florists to hear. I am always inspired when she talks! My mentor and teacher Coby Neal who I worked with side by side for almost 20 years, learning a great deal from being pushed to my limits by as well as Michelle Perry-White who has taught me how to survive in the world of product development and trend development working in China. Without these influences, I would definitely not be the person I am today.


What floral tool can you not live without?

Definitely my knife. A good, sharp floral knife. It not only provides protection and peace of mind when tossed at the bottom of my purse, I can do so many things with it on the fly if I need to make an impromptu design. I can carve foam, cut stems, and even use it to curl floral wire. I am not so much a clipper/cutter designer because I love the feel of my knife in my hand. It’s quicker, easier and more precise than any other tool I have ever tried. Love my knife.


If you had to pick just one (I know it is nearly impossible) what would be your favorite flower and why?

Orchids, hands down! It is hard to pick just one…but since orchids come in so many varieties and colors it is one flower I would always choose to work with. Phalo’s, Dendrob’s, Vanda’s, Mokara’s, Lady Slipper’s, Cymbid’s, Butterfly’s, Oncidiums…yummy….it doesn’t get much better than that! They are the Queen of flowers, no doubt. They usually have a long life span once cut, they are great for gluing and hold up really well, and there are so many ways they can be used in a design….it’s endless. I have much love for the orchid.


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?

In my career I have had many strange requests. We used to joke at the shop that you never knew what you were going to get when you opened the doors and started answering the phone! A few situations that come to mind would be creating an impromptu floral display (just minutes before guests started arriving) at a super upscale wedding reception where the towering 8 tier cake fell right before our eyes. We saved the day with flowers and no one knew the better. The chef was still able to serve the cake. Another time we carved a 5 foot fish and covered it with lush blooms for a sushi station at the McNay Museum of Art in San Antonio. I can also remember many occasions riding in the bed of my pick-up truck precariously holding on to some monstrous floral creation to an install. What we must have looked like riding down the road? And then there’s the client who always wanted floating pool arrangements in the middle of winter and I would have to brave the frigid waters to install them properly. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths that we go to…all for the LOVE of floral design!


What trends do you see emerging within our industry?

I see a trend, especially in event work of florists taking on larger roles and becoming “event designers”. This is an important difference between just being the florist and actually creating the design and flow of the event alongside the event planners. Many event designer florists are even starting to carry their own collection of props and rental items…above and beyond what is needed for just the floral décor. I think this is a smart step for anyone basing the majority of their business on weddings and events. I feel like “event designers” are important shoes for us to step into, especially in demanding more respect for our knowledge and craft. If we do not step up to the plate and fill this need, someone else will and the florist will be left at the bottom of the totem pole just following directions and making arrangements instead of actually taking part in important design decisions that we are perfectly capable of. As far as specific floral trends…..this year the trends are already in full swing. Romantic styles with French influences, muted blush tones, gold accented vessels, the continuation of the emergence of the Steampunk trend that has been growing in popularity over the last few years and the Radiant Orchid color palette (Patone’s color of the year), as well as a trend I call Salvaged Elegance where everyday items are repurposed in new ways to display floral and other decor. One of the biggest trends that I am eager to see take hold is a movement away from gold accents to Rose Gold. I think we will begin to see this in vessels, paint colors, and accents of all kinds. It’s a very soft metallic that is in between the champagne gold and soft coppers. The most exciting thing about trends is looking forward to the future and not only forecasting trends but creating them. We are all capable of creating trends within our communities, shops and clientele. The challenge is having the courage to come up with clever ideas and promote them in ways that the general public can relate to. My hope is that florists take more of an active role in actually creating trends instead of following the ones pinned on Pinterest. While DIY has it’s place in the heart and minds of the public, it is up to us to come up with options where they need to hire professional to execute them….again elevating design and upping the bar.


What is your best piece of advice for new comers into the floral industry?

Just be a sponge and absorb all the knowledge you can. Take advantage of educational opportunities, head the advice of elders in the floral community, become a great business person as well as a designer and always try to uphold high standards in floral design. Don’t give your services away or sell than for lower than market value….this hurts the industry as a whole and it will also give the designer a name for being inexpensive and that is a category you don’t want to be stuck in. I think it is important for them to realize that there are many ways to accomplish their goals and that learning is an endless process. They will never and should never come to a point in their career where they feel they “know it all”. Being able to take constructive criticism and use it to their advantage is important. Also, if they find a community of like-minded florists, there is strength in numbers…so embrace those communities and don’t be afraid to add your knowledge and ideas into the melting pot.

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Interview: Patience Pickner AIFD PFCI SDCF

I interviewed all of our Mayesh Design Star Finalists so that you may get to know them a bit better.  Patience is first up, and I have to say that I really enjoyed her interview.  I mean, how many times do you get to read about panties relating to wedding flowers?!  Patience is a breath of fresh air, and like our other 2 finalists, she is truly inspirational.  If you are #TeamPatience, please be sure to watch this month’s video and stay tuned for her final installment in August!


When did you realize this was the career for you?

Well, I’ve always been artistic….painting, drawing, etc… But my sweet daddy told me “you cant make a living being an artist”, so I went to school for nursing for 3 seconds, where I was shocked to discover that I had EVERY disease we learned about, even testicular cancer!!!!  Soooo, when a struggling shop came up for sale in my town I purchased it, fell in love with designing and the rest is history… dad, you were wrong, but I love you anyway!!! EmojiEmojiEmojiEmojiEmoji


Why do you want to be the next Mayesh Design Star?

I love doing design programs, it’s half “paying it forward” for all those that helped me get to where I am, and half loving being on stage and presenting.  While I’ve been blessed to be asked to do lots of programs throughout the Midwest, I would love to get my name out to the rest of the country as well and Mayesh Design Star is definitely a great way to do that.  Plus, I get to work with all those AWESOME BLOSSOMS!!!


Tell us a little about your floral extracurricular activities?

hmmmmm… lets see…. I’m currently the President for the South Dakota Floral Association.  I’m past president for Teleflora Minndakota board.  I was excited and honored when I was given a position on the North Central AIFD board and asked to be on Tim Farrells AIFD national board. I was super excited to be asked to be on the Fitz Design Team recently – all that gorgeous bling is SO MUCH FUN!!!! I will travel great distances to get to see an educational event or take part in any learning experience to better my designing skills. I work with local FFA students to prepare them for state. I love to mentor up and coming designers and I am EXTREMELY excited to say I recently launched my new website,– a fun place to share my love of flowers, and my passion for the floral industry.  I have started a blog on there as well as a gallery, which is tons of fun!! Team Florgasm includes myself and Ace Berry TMF, and we are currently searching for a third equally passionate, equally insane member for out design team.  Lots of fun, check it out and of course, if you are in need of an incredibly fun design team, well give us a call!!! Emoji


How would you describe your design style?

Probably organic with a bit of ADD.  I often say its pretty hard for me to design without a branch or moss covered rock or something from the outdoors… But having said that, my fave design style is formal linear.  I love simple monobotanical/monochromatic designs, yet I adore yummy, lush over-the-top Victorian inspired bouquets.  So IDK, is ECLECTIC a design style?!?!?!


What or who inspires you?

Pat Gustaf, he was/is my mentor – sweet, talented, kind.  Pat took me under his wing 17 years ago, welcomed me into SDFA, and we’ve been the best of friends ever since!  Jim Johnson, I find his passion and enthusiasm for flowers absolutely endearing!! Tim Farrell – simply stated, the NICEST man in the industry! I look up to him in so many ways, but especially how he is as an educator – kind, encouraging, and an amazing man! Gerry Toh – he mentored my when I was studying for AIFD.  I love his style of presenting and love his humor.  Kevin, Marie, Hitomi, Jodi – so many super amazing people in our industry!!!


What floral tool can you not live without?

Ummmm…. hellloooooo… Pink Teleflora knife!!!


If you had to pick just one (I know it is nearly impossible) what would be your favorite flower and why?

I CANT!! I’ve been asked this question many times.  I love too many – peony, tulips, stock, garden roses, fun seasonal flowers.  Right now I’m addicted to eryngium thistle…yum!!


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?

hmmmm. Probably the funniest thing that’s happened to me was the bride who brought me in a pair of lace panties in a zip loc baggie.  She handed them to me and said, this is the EXACT color of my wedding, she wanted all roses, and they had to be that EXACT color of coral. This was many years ago and to this day I still shudder when I see Peekaboo roses!! My poor salesman didn’t know what to do when he received that color swatch!! Anyhow it ended up being a gorgeous wedding, to this day, the biggest I’ve ever done – nothing but thousands of coral roses.  I think brides are the ones with the most unusual requests and who wants to tell those sweet ladies no – not this girl!!

Then there was the time a family came in with their loved ones ashes and wanted them inside latex balloons so they could release them up to heaven after the services.  I quickly learned as I was breathing in Mr. X and soon sweeping him off the floor that ashes aren’t really ashes at all, but shards of bone that are sharp and pop helium balloons.

I’m not very Mac Gyver-ey…I really don’t even like to pump my own gas…(don’t judge….I do…but I don’t like it! )  but living in the middle of no where.. I feel I can make  some pretty cool designs with very little.  I definitely can throw down with what’s in my cooler!


What trends do you see emerging within our industry?

Funny you should ask!! I just wrote about this on my Florgasm blog.  I find it interesting that with every trend out there, there seems to be an opposing trend.  Anyhow, there’s lots going on in our wonderful industry but one of the most interesting to me is the whole field to table/bohemian/pinterest-ey trend.  Very organic, just picked looks – “un-arranged”, uncommon flowers, lots of unique “fillers”.  Anemone, and ranunculus, fragrance is important, garden roses, stock, sweet pea and herbs…. vintage inspired, loose,  low centerpieces in old  china, mercury glass compotes… unusual earthy containers. Just as the floral community at first loved to hate and then accepted and then embraced Martha….. the same is developing with Pinterest…….but please….enough with the burlap and baby’s breath!!! EmojiEmojiEmoji


What is your best piece of advice for new comers into the floral industry?

That’s such an easy question for me to answer!! Never stop learning!!! Don’t be afraid to charge for your artistry!! Take every single opportunity you can to learn about this wonderful industry we are in!!!


How can our viewers connect with you?

Please friend me on Facebook!!!  Like myFlorgasm page on facebook.  Follow my blog  I love all  my floral friends, they are my second family!! I may slightly biased, but  I think florists are soooooo cool!!!!


Interview: Bill Schaffer & Kristine Kratt

Bill Schaffer & Kristine Kratt


I had the pleasure of first meeting Bill and Kris at the 2012 The Special Event.  It was my first year attending our industry events and our first year bringing the video camera along.  I was thrilled that when I asked, Bill agreed to do a little video for us and he choose to speak about our Mayesh Destination Events service.  (P.S. Bill introduced me to our then future Mayesh Design Star, Jodi Duncan during this time too).  I’m always inspired by what I’ve seen from Bill & Kris – from their flower design sessions at the shows, to their Stars Project, the Philadelphia Flower Show, and more – that a book from this dynamic duo just feels like a natural next step.  I’m excited to share the interview below with you about the authors and their book, Taking the Flower Show Home !!


We’re on the ground floor in an elevator. Tell me the gist of your book before the doors open on the top floor.

(ok – I am assuming this elevator is in Dubai in the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world) ::::: deep breath :::::  In Taking the Flower Show Home we share an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at our creative process during the 2007 through 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show where we were awarded 3 Best in Shows. It takes the reader from the moment of conception to the placement of the final stem.  The book includes many of our original sketches and drafts, in addition to over 300 photographs by some of the most talented photographers.  At the end of each chapter of the book, we include a “How To” section.  The “How To” section uses each Exhibit as inspiration for learning techniques that we actually used for the reader’s own designs.


Turns out this car is stopping frequently. Let’s avoid uncomfortable silence. Flesh out your favorite point from the book.

Our absolute favorite point from the book is page 137.  Page 137 is why we do what we do.  It is a list of the designers and friends who make it all happen each and every year.  It is the Schaffer Designs Team – our Tribe!  As our Team grew with each and every year, our designs improved exponentially and our experiences became better and better.  We dream BIG and it is this group of people that make our dreams come true.


Why did you decide to write “Taking the Flower Show Home”?

Deciding to write Taking the Flower Show Home is different than why we wanted to be authors.  The story of this book has written itself.  It just needed to be organized and put on paper.  The individual people and companies involved in the 6 years that the book encompasses needed to be recognized.  The #1 question that we had received year after year was; “How did you do that?”  We thought that it was time to reveal it to the world.  The trials, tribulations and failures and the friendship, joy and successes come together in what is essentially a love story.  The love of what we do and a love for each other that came together as each year of the Flower Show passed and culminated in our actually getting married on the center stage of the 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show in front our family, friends and almost 10,000 Flower Show attendees.  It was televised to over 1 million people in our Tri-State area and seen by millions around the world on an episode of “The Cake Boss”.  OK – a little secret:  we pitched a series of ideas to a Schiffer Publishing and we were offered a multi-book deal – but – the owner of the company is actually a fan of the Philadelphia Flower Show, seemed to love this story and wanted this to be the first book of the deal.  Who were we to argue?


When did you know that you wanted to be an author?

We have been inspired by so many design books throughout our lives that became integral parts of our learning process, which made us want to share what we do in hopes of giving that same experience to others.


Who is the intended audience for your book?

Designers, Gardeners, Floral Enthusiasts and anyone who loves a good story of how an idea can come to fruition no matter what it takes – no matter how many obstacles it faces – that persistence, talent and a team working together can make anything come to life.  Though there are over 300 amazing photographs that tell the story; this book is about the story – the actual thoughts behind our process and the thoughts of many who helped us along the way.


How can our audience buy your book?

Taking the Flower Show Home, Award Winning Designs from Concept to Completion can be purchased through:

  • Schiffer Publishing
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Florists’ Review
  • Fusion Flowers
  • – you can order directly from Kris and Bill for your autographed copy of the book … We would love to sell it to you this way – BUT – it is probably the most expensive way for us to sell it – we don’t charge for the signing, but we do charge full price + shipping and packaging charges.  Now – if you happen to see us anywhere and have the book with you – we will sign it for free!!!


Bill Schaffer & Kristine Kratt Bill Schaffer & Kristine Kratt Bill Schaffer & Kristine Kratt Bill Schaffer & Kristine Kratt Bill Schaffer & Kristine Kratt Bill Schaffer & Kristine Kratt Bill Schaffer & Kristine Kratt


Don’t forget to leave your comment below to win a signed copy of Taking the Flower Show Home!

2013 AIFD Symposium Interview: Julie Reed, AIFD


My next AIFD Symposium designer interview is with Julie Reed, AIFD.  She has been in our industry since 1978 and has her own book called “Beauty of Life”.  Pretty awesome!  Enjoy her interview below and we hope to see you at her AIFD program!


When did you realize this was the career for you?

When I went to a craft class to make ribbon roses and sold multiple arrangements in my parents grocery store.


Describe your journey in becoming CFD/AIFD?  

Upon arriving in the United States I was familiar with AIFD and wanted to be the 3rd UK person to have the credential. Unfortunately coming across some designers that did not seem worthy of the AIFD credential made me feel it did not hold the credibility I had thought. Once the testing policies changed for the better, a friend convinced me to join – I did and have really enjoyed the journey.


How many symposiums have you attended?  If you have attended multiple, why do you keep coming back?

All, since I tested in 2001.


Please describe your symposium program and what the audience can expect to gain from attending:

My program is about Illusion and the Passion we have to create – the Illusion in every room and every setting for our clients needs and enjoyment.  Hope the audience enjoys getting to know me and what I love to do, along with taking home a few tips.


Tell us a little about your floral extracurricular activities? 

Gosh, I have been honored to work for Phoenix Rose Parade Float Company for over ten years, created designs for the Emmy awards, Golden Globes, many celebrity events and weddings, movie and TV shows.  Travelled on privately owned cruise ships, creating decor for events. Enjoyed demonstrating for garden clubs.  Own and teach at the Las Vegas School of Floral Design.  Look forward to many more opportunities.


How would you describe your design style?

My personal style is minimal and contemporary.


What or who inspires you?

Many things inspire me: architecture, photography,nature,colors, my boyfriend.


What floral tool can you not live without?

Oasis Glue


If had to pick just one (I know it is nearly impossible) what would be your favorite flower and why?

Gloriosa lilly because it has such a unique form.


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 many times.  On example:  I turned a garden rose into a giant anemone by filling the middle with black painted trachelium. My Bride was over the moon.


What trends do you see emerging within our industry?

Hope the DIY trends fizzles out soon, “its killing me”.  I just cannot get into the vintage bottles and mason jars. Moving into bird cages.  Please bring back the art of floral design.


What is your best piece of advice for new comers into the floral industry?

If you don’t LOVE it find something else to do.



How can our viewers connect with you?

Have it all Julie Reed Facebook, Twitter

Prefer to talk 702-435-9783

2013 AIFD Symposium Interview: Tomas De Bruyne


My third AIFD Symposium designer interview is with Tomas De Bruyne!  I’m sure many of you know of Tomas and are a fan of his work, so I’m pretty excited about this interview.  I’m a big fan of Hitomi and I’ve become familiar with Tomas’ name from her.  And if you are hearing of him for the first time, well, I’d like to introduce you to Tomas De Bruyne, a Belgian floral designer and member of the company LIFE3 – enjoy the interview!


When did you realize this was the career for you?

When I worked with the flowers for the first time, I could express my creativity through flowers, they became my medium to communicate nature.

How many symposiums have you attended? If you have attended multiple, why do you keep coming back?

This is my 3th Symposium. The first I did a presentation with my two colleagues – Per Benjamin and Max van de Sluis – from my company LIFE3 ( followed with a hands-on in Palm Springs. This was my first experience and contact with this organization. The bundled creativity and passion I could feel on this symposium was new to me. A place were colleagues and friends gathered with the same purpose: enjoy flowers. The second was in Kansas City were I did a short presentation and again a hands-on. This time I return to give again a presentation called ‘The Seduction of Passion’ followed by giving a workshop on the last day.

Please describe your symposium program and what the audience can expect to gain from attending:


‘Seduced by the passion for flowers, its powerful language and magic…. ‘

The intent is to share some of the secrets which drive my passion. Through intriguing combination of rich colors, textures, forms and other attributes, the potential of communicating eloquently and poignantly with flowers will be revealed. Being passionate about creating and introducing new, inventive designs can be a useful marketing tool to position yourself as a leader in the marketplace.

See my program in attachment:


How would you describe your design style?

Through the many years I have worked with flowers and natural materials, I have developed and grown into a different person. Flowers do that with people: they throw you back upon yourself and upon what really matters.

Nature is the most sincere form of life, showing sheer beauty in all its simplicity and honesty. It is unavoidable when working so intensely and closely with nature not to be swept off your feet and loose yourself in the intricate pattern of what real beauty can accomplish.

Unintentionally, your perspective of life3 changes and adapts itself towards more in-depth feelings and emotions.

The thin layer of lacquer that normally covers our lives and our society slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of what nature has to offer.

There is a steady tendency from all of us to want to go back to a closer proximity to things that are real. Never before has there been more interest in alternative medicine, in alternative forms of belief, in back-to-nature holidays, where you can feel one with nature and the universe and draw upon this strength.

Travelling to other continents, experiencing and learning from other people’s ancient cultures and histories has brought the understanding of my own tiny existence on this fantastic planet.

As a floral designer, I feel privileged to be able to spend a large amount of my time working with nature and let myself be inspired by it.

My urge for creating cannot be quenched, and will remain as long as I feel I am able to touch people in their hearts and souls by the creations I am making.

What or who inspires you?

Many mediums. Each medium has its strength to inspire me. Going from Sculpturing, architects, painters, music, colleagues, but most of all nature. It is more what your are open for it at a certain moment, you are not searching, are only open to receive what moves you in a certain way.

What floral tool can you not live without?

my sharp knife

If had to pick just one (I know it is nearly impossible) what would be your favorite flower and why?

This is indeed impossible, because we are living creatures with a changing mood, changing emotions, etc. besides the personal approach we have as well the different seasons. As a designer, you develop your own style and this is always an evolution, never stops what counts as well for your personal taste and interests.

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?

I guess in the floral business we all had those situations. Once I had a big interior decoration in a classified building. I and my team were waiting from 10 AM to hang up a flower chandelier with a diameter of 3 meters on the Art-Nouveau ceiling of the Solvay Library in Brussels. The permission to hang it was promised and would be delivered by the government.

We wait and wait and the stress started at 3PM because we still did not have the permission to hang it and had to finish the job at 5PM. After some calls finally we could start to make up the chandelier and I did this job in 1 hour and all my assistants were handing me the flowers. I never made an arrangement that quick. When the first guest entered, we were just finished and closed the backdoor.

What is your favorite color combination right now?

Emerald green together with blue tints and shades with a touch of pastels.



What trends do you see emerging within our industry?

1. Vintage is certainly ‘in’. We can see 3 different vintage styles: POP, ROMANTIC (Victorian), and FARM.

2. Green and blue-ish combinations are the modern trends.

3. ‘respect for Mother Nature’

4. The will ‘to focus’ ourselves on quality time, friends, family

5. Craftsmanship becomes so important – what is good for our floral ‘meter’

6. From global we go back to local (knowing where the product, food is coming from)

What is your best piece of advice for new comers into the floral industry?

To realize nowaday’s we do not only sell flowers anymore, we sell emotions, we sell a craftsmanship by translating the wishes of the customer through our works.

A combination of a skilled florist with marketing and managing knowledge is needed.


2013 AIFD Symposium Designer Interview: Marisa Chanel Guerrero, CFD

I have a new AIFD Symposium interview for you!  I am pleased to introduce you to Marisa Chanel Guerrero, CFD.  What I like about her interview is that she is unlike many of my interviewees … she is fairly new to floral design as a career and I loved hearing about her journey thus far.  For anyone who is thinking about becoming a floral designer or you already made up your mind on your floral career, I think Marisa would be a great point of contact.  Enjoy!



When did you realize this was the career for you?
About 5 years ago, I started taking the art of floral design seriously. I had been in a flower shop since my mom bought Debbie’s Bloomers when I was 8, so I knew lots of basic design concepts and mechanics but never really though it was what I would be passionate about. Then all of the sudden, I realized how much knowledge I had and I saw so many things I wanted to learn about and it was on!


Describe your path to CFD/AIFD:
Once I started taking floral design seriously and really looking at what being a floral designer meant, I knew that I had to get those letters after my name. All the designers teaching education programs and working on product development that I admired had the AIFD letters behind their names and that’s where I want to be. My first step was to get more formally educated. Mom, a Texas Master Florist, taught me how to design so that was a great start. I went through the AIFD web classes and hands on classes, and have been a couple times to the Teleflora Education Center (fantastic!), plus I’ve been on the New Mexico Wes-Texas Unit of Teleflora, so I had the opportunity to learn one-on-one from so many of the talented designers I admire while working on education programs. That focused attention to designing (I usually do the back office stuff) was really critical to my being accepted into AIFD. The tips and tricks were as important as the confidence building. I really have to give lots of credit to Marie Ackerman, AAF, AIFD, PFCI and Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI who teach the Testing…Testing…1,2,3 class to the Teleflora Education Center. Without their amazing class I would have been to scared to attempt AIFD and I probably wouldn’t have done as well, if I had. It was a real game changer. A big, giant, public, THANK YOU!



How many Symposiums have you attended?
I have only been to one Symposium, last years in Miami, and it was an awe-inspiring event. There was the test, and the shows and getting to volunteer (helped with Dan Miller, AIFD’s Christmas program), then the dancing and dinners and flowers EVERYWHERE. Plus, so many people to meet and faces I have seen in magazines and new ideas. It was great and I can’t wait to go again this year for all of those reasons, except I won’t be testing, I’ll be inducted! Yay!


Please describe your AIFD program:
I have the privilege of working with 4 other inductees on Sharon Sacks’ wedding program. We were invited to design a bridal bouquet for her presentation that includes a “personal keepsake”. I wish I could say more but my part of the program is so tiny compared to all the knowledge Sharon and the other designers are sure to share.


Are you involved with any extracurricular activities?
I am currently Vice President of the New Mexico Wes-Texas Unit of Teleflora, so I get to spend time planning design programs for our area to be presented by the great Teleflora Education Specialists. Just recently the New Mexico Regional Florist Association and the West Texas Florist Association invited me to present with three other designers at a joint educational event which has lead to invitations to present for them again. It’s so exciting to me because I didn’t know how to get my foot in the door as an educator and now it’s wide open. It’s almost too good to be true.


How would you describe your design style?
My style is very commercial. I want to design for the customer and just make pretty arrangements. I love tropicals, so I always try to incorporate a few into my designs but otherwise I want my flowers to be easy to appreciate and reasonably affordable.



Who/What inspires you?
My mommy is my biggest inspiration. She has created a wonderful business, the biggest shop in the city, with a great reputation and she did it with tons of hard work. And she encouraged me to pursue attaining AIFD accreditation, and showed me how to be an active member of the industry.


What is your favorite floral tool?
My first thought was my knife, but I could live without that, there are always scissors for cutting, so maybe I couldn’t live without scissors. Okay, my answer is scissors, really sharp (good for cutting ribbon), Teflon covered (good for cutting Uglu), scissors.


What are your favorite flowers?
For a long time my favorite flower was a Cool Water lavender rose, so pretty and sweet smelling, but I have a new favorite, Oncidium orchids. Those tiny little florets of bright yellow are lovely and when you look at them closely they look like little flamenco dancers. Love ’em!


What is your favorite color combination at this moment?
The peach, pale yellow and creme combo that brides are loving right now is really pretty. Usually, I lean towards brighter colors since I like tropicals so much, so I guess I needed a change and that combo is so soft and pretty. Plus, peach felt like such a dated color for so long but now it’s coming back and it’s not as over powering, and there are so many flowers in pretty shades of peach.



Do you have any advice for floral design newcomers?
Our industry is in need of talented new designers who are ready and willing to carry floral design to the future and the best thing they can do is learn from their flower idols. There are so many experienced designers just waiting to teach you their tricks and skills. Ask them questions about every area of the business, from how to write proposals to the best care and handling practices. There is a very warm community of florists who are willing to teach newcomers so that our industry can stay relevant. Your job is to take their advice, use what works for you and create the best business you can. A hard task but someone has to do it!



Marisa Chanel Guerrero, CFD
Debbie’s Bloomers

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