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September/October 2018

Is Your Shop Decorated – Or Merchandised? 8 Hallmarks of a Good Display

Anatomy of a Logo


• Twitter Tips • Going Green • Trend Scouting


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• Our best-in-class technologies, including our award-winning POS and web-hosting solutions, are built to run your business efficiently – connecting you with consumers and the largest network of florists. • We invest heavily in robust consumer advertising campaigns and develop unique and effective marketing programs and products – all to help you acquire and retain new customers.

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We’ve made all the arrangements so your business can blossom. • We have industry-leading experience and knowledge, and are always available with the support you need – allowing you to stay focused on your business. • With over 80 years of partnership with florists, we are 100% committed to ensuring that every single order in our network goes to a local florist.

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features Is your store merchandised or is it decorated? A store that’s decorated is appealing to look at and enhances the shopping experience—but it’s not necessarily causing a behavioural shift in your customers. A store that’s merchandised does work for you by encouraging shoppers to become buyers. There’s a psychology to the manner in which you should arrange products and stage your shop to deliver the right experience at the right time in the customer journey. Michelle Brisebois



Best Practices for Visual Merchandising


Increasing Conversion with Merchandising Magic


How Our Logo Helped Us Move Up Market


In the Know: A Design Expert Dishes on Latest Trends

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Coast to Coast


Florist Spotlight


The Social Florist


By Design


Jennifer’s Journeys


How to With Heather


Grow with Joe


Ask the SEO


On the Level with Neville

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By Katie Hendrick Vincent



Hi, my name is Katie and I am a shopaholic.

To put a finer point upon it, I have weak impulse control when it comes to attractive things. There are certain boutiques in town that are styled so well that I simply have to avoid them, because I know I will inevitably cave and wind up opening my wallet. When catalogues arrive in the mail, they go straight to my recycling bin. Emails from fashion companies? Deleted immediately. Lifestyle bloggers and Instagram influencers? I definitely can’t follow them. Yes, I really would “like to know” what they’re eating/drinking/ wearing/using in their homes, etc., but I’d also like to own a house one day and send my future kids to college. Alas, admiring their picture-perfect lives — and discovering how I can replicate them — makes following a budget about a thousand times tougher than it should be. I am hardly alone in my susceptibility to visual merchandising. There’s good reason why the world’s most renowned department stores invest months designing window displays — for the holiday shopping season, many start planning more than a year out — and thousands of dollars in supplies and manpower to create something spectacular. Or why designers and companies will handsomely pay people to hock their products in lifestyle Instagram posts. (Editorial aside: how does one get that job?!) Don’t take my word for it. Last year, CrowdRiff, a marketing company in Toronto, conducted a consumer study on visual decision making. It found that most people admit that visual cues really impact what they buy. A few excerpts from that study: • 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual • 63 percent of consumers said good visuals are more compelling than product descriptions • 75 percent of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website after looking at a sponsored Instagram post • 88 percent of consumers have purchased something they pinned • Including a photo next to an item on a menu increases its orders by 30 percent In honour of the approaching holiday season, we’ve dedicated this issue to visual merchandising. Soon, shoppers will be out in droves, ready to spend. But the competition is steep. As I know all too well, there are literally thousands of things to spend money on — and the vast majority of us have to be picky. Want to entice people into your shop? You need an alluring window, interior displays, logo, website, and social media snapshots. Overwhelmed by that list? Stop, take a deep breath, and read on. Our writers spent the summer compiling best practices to help you improve your image and increase your sales. We hope you enjoy the content and that it brings you success.

Vol. 113 No. 5 Editor Katie Hendrick Vincent 800-314-8895 ext 106 Advertising Manager Publisher Ryan Freeman Media Designer Ruby Coles Publication Mail Agreement #42919543 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO Strider Media, 6-6150 Highway 7, Suite 400, Woodbridge, ON L4H 0R6 Printed in Canada ISSN 1700-5043


e-mail: Tel: 800-314-8895 ext 2 Fax: 800-755-7032 Mail: 6-6150 Highway 7, Suite 400 Woodbridge, ON L4H 0R6

Subscription Rates Canada - $30/1 Yr, $48/2 Yrs, $65/3 Yrs + HST USA - $69/1 Yr, $111/2 Yrs, $163/3 Yrs International - $99/1 Yr, $160/2 Yrs, $233/3 Yrs Occasionally, Canadian Florist will mail information on behalf of industry-related groups whose products and services we believe may be of interest to you. If you prefer not to receive this information, please contact our circulation department in any of the four ways listed above. No part of the editorial content of this publication may be reprinted without the publisher’s written permission. ©2018 Strider Media. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the editor or the publisher. No liability is assumed for errors or omissions. All advertising is subject to the publisher’s approval. Such approval does not imply any endorsement of the products or services advertised. Publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising that does not meet the standards of the publication.

Dedicated to the memory of Bill Martin, and all those who gave of their time and resources to build up our industry.

Have a topic you’d like us to cover? Drop us a line at or in the Canadian Florist Community on Facebook.

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©2018 Smithers-Oasis Company. All rights reserved. OASIS® and VERTICAL BAR DESIGN® are registered trademarks of Smithers-Oasis Company.


©2018 Smithers-Oasis Company. All rights reserved. OASIS® and VERTICAL BAR DESIGN® are registered trademarks of Smithers-Oasis Company.

a romantic backdrop

This is not your typical cake table arrangement. Creating a lovely, draping floral backdrop is actually a piece of cake when you use OASIS® RAQUETTES® holder to give the arrangement structure and nourishment. And this was the perfect “out of the box” design solution for the hot, dry climate where the wedding was set. It makes a beautiful statement that adds to the romantic sentiment and ceremony surrounding the cake. Let our featured designers inspire you at

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You too can be featured in the Inspire Design Showcase! Follow us on Facebook for the upcoming themes. September/October 2018 CANADIAN Florist 5

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Toronto Gift Fair

coast to


Delights and Inspires

More than 25,000 buyers, representing Canadian retailers of all sizes, descended on The International Centre and Toronto Congress Centre August 12 through 15 for the Toronto Gift Fair. As the leading national trade show for giftware, the Toronto Gift Fair offered buyers access to thousands of brand new products in a range of categories, including housewares, home décor, gourmet items, and fashion accessories. For more than 25 years, the show has attracted likeminded business professionals interested in networking, celebrating ideas, engaging in new business opportunities, and learning how they can make their retail business succeed. The show was not open to the general public. More than 650 exhibitors participated this year. “They worked hard to bring shoppers an innovative product selection,” said Anita Schachter, President & CEO of the Canadian Gift Association, which oversees the event. Complementing the shopping experience were seminars presented by the country’s top experts in merchandising and sales including Erica Kirland, editor and publisher of InStore Magazine; Ani Nersessian, a retail solutions coach; entrepreneurs Patrick Leroux and Michel Falcon; and acclaimed designer Andrew Pike. In addition, the fair included three special sections: Welcome Home: Toronto Gift Fair Ambassador Andrew Pike and his team designed these cozy living and dining room-inspired vignettes styled with some of the most

interesting and innovative exhibitor products featured at the show On The Runway: At these gallery-like displays, attendees got up close and personal with on-trend products inspired by fashion runways around the globe, as well as new favourites to excite and delight Canadian consumers St. Nick’s Holiday Shops: Creative merchandisers found inspiring ideas for store displays and windows filled with unique products, innovative display ideas, and whimsical merchandising concepts For more than 40 years, the Canadian Gift Association has been the voice of Canada’s $10 billion giftware industry. As a not-for-profit association, CanGift works to empower its members to strive and thrive in today’s competitive marketplace by introducing exhibiting members to buyers bi-annually at the Toronto Gift Fair.

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Canadian Designers ‘Discover’ New Ideas In DC Canada was well-represented this summer at “Discover,” the American Institute of Floral Designers’ annual symposium, one of the industry’s largest and most advanced design programs. Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, EMC; Andrea Strachan, EMC; Aniko Kovacs, AIFD, EMC; Louisa Lam, AIFD, CPFD, PFCI; and Donald Yim, AIFD, CPFD, trekked to Washington, D.C., for the four-day extravaganza, which ran from June 30 through July 4. “I had a fabulous time at the Symposium this year,” said Yim, creative director at West Van Florist in Vancouver and an education specialist for the Floriology Institute. He led one of the symposium’s business sessions, “How to be an Internet Superstar,” with Renato Sogueco, AAF, PFCI, and assisted Korean florist Alex Choi, AIFD, the Interflora World Cup Champion, in his mainstage program and workshop. “Every presentation and design was crazily amazing and creative,” he said. “And it was great to meet up with old friends. I loved it all!”

Agri-Business Confidence Drops Amid Trade Tensions Small business confidence took a nose dive this summer, following an upturn in late spring. In July, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Business Barometer index dropped five and a half points to 56.8. “This was the second-weakest confidence level we’ve observed since the resource price crunch of 2015 and 2016,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice president and chief economist. “It’s likely that small business owners are losing confidence as a response to international trade tensions, such as the US tariffs on steel and aluminum and Canada’s retaliatory tariffs on US products.” Industry results: Significant confidence drops in a majority of sectors Agriculture and retail experienced significant confidence drops to 40.3 and 54.2 respectively, likely due to trade concerns. The wholesale trade, transportation, and information sectors also saw noticeable declines. However, manufacturing and many parts of the service sector remained optimistic. An index level between 65 and 70 normally indicates that the economy is growing at its potential and a majority of owners expect their business’s performance to be stronger in the next year. Provincial Results: Ontario Experiences Sharp Loss of Confidence Ontario lost 6.1 points, the biggest confidence drop in all the provinces. New Brunswick and BC also experienced confidence drops to 55.3 and 56.1 respectively. Quebec lost 3.3 index points, but remained the second most optimistic province after PEI. Newfoundland & Labrador and Saskatchewan experienced confidence gains but remained below the national average. Nova Scotia experienced a healthy 2.5 point gain to 65. Confidence in Alberta and Manitoba remained largely unchanged at 55.8 and 60.1 respectively. Small Business Owner Outlook Forty-four percent of owners reported that their business is in good shape, compared to 13 percent who say they are in bad shape. Full time employment plans are also muted, with 17 percent of owners expecting to add staff compared to 12 percent who plan to cut back in the next three or four months. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses, with 110,000 members across every sector and region.

SEPTEMBER 12-15: Society of American Florists annual convention Palm Springs, California

16-17: Florists Supply Fall & Holiday Design Show and Celebration of Life Workshop with Sharon McGukin, AAF, AIFD, PFCI Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

16-17: Florists Supply Fall & Holiday Design Show, Woodland Centrepieces and Botanical Jewelry Workshop with Francoise Weeks Edmonton, Alberta

19-21: Agriflor Quito, Ecuador

23-24: Florists Supply Fall & Holiday Design Show, Body Flowers & Garland Design Workshop with Loann Burke, AAF, AIFD, PFCI Winnipeg, Manitoba

26: CanWest Hort Show Abbortsford, British Columbia

OCTOBER 3-4: Canadian Greenhouse Conference Niagara Falls, Ontario

7: Society of American Florists’ 1-Day Profit Blast Portland, Oregon

14-15: Canadian Academy of Floral Art fall show, featuring David Ragg Toronto, Ontario

16-18: Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association Floral Distribution Conference Miami, Florida

NOVEMBER 14-16: Expo-FIHOQ Drummondville, Quebec

Organizing an upcoming event readers should know about? EMAIL

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Short of Stature

Long on Success


By Christy O’Farrell

Standing only 5 feet, 2 inches tall, CC Roa recalls feeling intimidated when she walked into the conference room at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver 14 years ago with her floral design proposal for the hotel’s special holiday decor. Nine “tall gentlemen, all wearing suits,” waited to see how she planned to adorn their space, home to the annual Gingerbread Lane display in December that attracts thousands of visitors and benefits Make-A-Wish’s British Columbia & Yukon chapter. “My knees were shaking,” Roa said. Spying a phonebook, she sat on it to raise herself. Her booster seat added confidence, and the managers’ laughter over her unconventional use of the thick directory broke the ice. “I got the job as their holiday designer and I have been doing it for 14 years now,” said Roa, CAFA, CFD, a member of the World Flower Council and the Canadian Professional Floral Designers Association. Her ideas and photos must have impressed the executives, but she still marvels at conquering what seemed like such a long shot, given that she had floral design education to back her up, but not much experience at the time. Since then, she has carefully burnished Roa Floral and Event Designs’ brand, working for other high-visibility clients such as the Juno Awards, Fairmont Chateau Whistler resort, and several other upmarket hotels, as well as numerous discerning brides. Trust and referrals make contracts easier to come by now, but Roa never takes them for granted. She continues her “concierge walk” that she started years ago to drum up business. In January and February each year, she schedules as many in-person appointments as possible

with both current and prospective clients to discuss ways they can collaborate. “The clients are not going to come to you, especially when they don’t know you,” Roa said. “You have to come to them.” Sometimes, that even means traveling great distances for events in Maui and the Caribbean. Roa and her daughter, Jamie, specialize in tailoring each event Roa (left) with daughter Jamie to the individual’s needs and preferences. For instance, for the 2018 Juno Awards in Vancouver, the client wanted driftwood for its “West Coast” theme. So Roa drove five hours each way to Hornby Island to gather driftwood from the beach. While setting up 165 centerpieces, bands were rehearsing for the music awards show so

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the Roas got to hear the celebrities. Their company handled all seven private events for the Junos. This year was Roa’s third working on the Junos. In 2011, she helped with the 40th anniversary show in Toronto. And her first Juno experience was as a volunteer in 2009. For the many hours she put in, her mentor, Joel Marc Frappier, then the president of the Canadian Academy of Floral Art, offered to waive the fee for her to start the two-phase process of joining the academy, which requires an exam. To pass the evaluation of her floral artistic abilities, Roa drew on her training that began in the early 1990s, when a friend gave her an early Mother’s Day gift, a certificate for a floral design class. Roa was working in nursing administration at the time, and her friend, who enjoyed arranging flowers as a hobby, knew Roa needed new hope for herself and her two daughters after a difficult divorce from an abusive ex-husband. Over the next two years, she took class after class in design and event planning. Some were with Margaret Peters, a teacher at Burnaby Community & Continuing Education in Burnaby, British Columbia. “I was just falling in love with it,” Roa said. “It became like a therapy from my normal life.” With her training complete, Roa wanted to start a business, but she struggled with shyness. So Roa practiced talking to strangers at a local McDonald’s. Remembering her work in geriatric care, Roa spoke to a group of elderly people who met there regularly for coffee. It For the past three years, Roa has designed flowers for the Junos, Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards.

Roa’s big break was providing holiday decor for the Hyatt Regency Vancouver

There, she did everyday, all-occasion work, though never anything “standard.” Her clients always wanted “funky.” “They wanted something different,” she said. “They wanted their friends to be wowed.” After five years, when her lease expired, she became homebased. (With a steady book of established event clients, she did not need to continue with daily sales.) Three years ago, needing more storage, she, Jamie and six seasonal employees moved into a 1,200-square-foot warehouse and showroom, where she conducts consultations today. Her family is extremely supportive. Her husband of 14 years, Bruce McKinnon, custom built her first cooler and continues to lend a hand, such as building an armature for the Junos. Her younger daughter, Sarah, is pursuing an acting career, but loves to help as often as she can, especially when there are floral halos to be made. And Roa credits Jamie with helping her expand the business. “Without her the last five years, we would not have grown this big,” she said. “I respect her … because she has that millennial thinking. I look up to her.” For example, when CC once asked Jamie why a consultation didn’t work, Jamie told her mother that she might have been too “old school.” Roa knows her mother is proud of her, but wishes her father, a painter, was still alive to see her success in an artistic field, and “happy at last.” She’s reached her goals “with a little help from flowers,” which have taken her many places and allowed her to meet many people. “I am full of drama and full of comedy,” she said. “The only time I actually shine and sparkle is through my floral blog and Instagram. My flowers speak for me … for my company.”

must have worked, she jokes, because now she’s so talkative, some people tell her she went too far in the other direction. In 2005, Roa opened a bricks-and-mortar shop in Coal Harbour.

Christy O’Farrell is a freelance writer in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Best Practices for Visual Merchandising

By Mackenzie Nichols

Clever merchandising decisions, from window displays to in-store tablescapes, can attract foot traffic and inspire customers to go on a spending spree, buying your goods to replicate your designs in their own homes. Visual merchandising is an art, one that the world’s biggest retailers pay mightily for and plan out months (or years) in advance. Here, experts in the fashion and visual consulting industries offer hallmarks of a great display. COLOUR BLOCKING Colour blocking, grouping flowers and products by hues, is “an easy way to catch attention and make a clear change,” said Marisa Lowenstein, senior director of Global Creative Services at Ralph Lauren. You could create a trendy monochromatic window display; a tablescape with lots of small arrangements, organized by colour; or a big, show-stopping design presented like a Cobb salad. Eyecatching and aesthetically pleasing, this technique will entice customers to walk in your shop and purchase your merchandise.

SYMMETRY People like balance. Studies show that people rate people with symmetrical facial traits as more attractive, and

the same principle applies to design. Melissa Hernandez-Erickson of MH Style Consulting recommends symmetrical displays not only because they appeal to passersby but also because they teach people how to style your products. “Your display should inspire them to consider what else they should put the product with in their home,” she said. Have multiples of products? Put them to good use with this technique.

CONTINUOUS ALTERATIONS As a general rule of thumb, you should switch up your shop’s visual layout once every quarter, and make small alterations to interior and exterior displays once or twice every month. “You want to add new, trending displays in addition to the new arrivals. This keeps them wanting more and keeps them interested,” Hernandez-Erickson said. “In terms of a window display, which is the ‘first impression’ of your shop, you want people to know what new items you have to offer. This will entice them to enter the store and keep them coming back for more.”

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REPETITION Swimming in leftover containers or giftware from Christmas 2017? Take advantage of materials you have in backstock and use them over and over in your window displays. “Repetition is something we all use in visual merchandising and I think it is a great tool for showcasing multiples of the same item,” said Denise Foley, who has worked with several luxury brands, including Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman. “It’s a clear and concise way to focus on a particular product or idea when communicating with customers.”

options for inexpensive props. Venture into second-hand stores or stop by garage sales to find cost-effective additions for your inventory. This is one of Hernandez-Erickson’s favourite tactics with her clients. She spends a lot of time consulting Pinterest and fashion magazines to stay abreast of current trends, then she heads to local thrift stores to find items that embody them, as well as miscellaneous, eccentric pieces.

LONG-LASTING, DURABLE MATERIALS Natural elements feel like, well, a natural choice for florists. But be prudent in which products you choose. Delicate blooms that require a lot of care and handling will drive you crazy. Instead, stick to product

LIGHTING Lowenstein, who started her career as a set designer, knows how important lighting is to make a design sing. “I tend to start with a more theatrical, dramatic approach and then tone it down,” she said. If your display features a pastel or muted colour palette, for instance, you want to keep the mood “soft,” so you’ll want to use subdued lighting to stay cohesive with the theme. Decorating with jewel tones or primary colours? Pump up the drama by putting your design in the spotlight.

INEXPENSIVE PROPS You don’t need to have pockets as deep as Chanel or Saks Fifth Avenue to create head-turning displays. From makeshift risers to thrift store furniture, there are many

with an incredibly long vase life (like chrysanthemums, carnations, proteas, succulents, or plants). Also consider pieces usually used as accents. “Leaves and branches last much longer than flowers and can evoke a bigger gesture on less of a budget,” Lowenstein said.

FIND YOUR MUSE Pulling from the fashion, beauty, architecture, and art industries can add impactful diversity to your visual merchandising techniques. Consistent research on multiple platforms such as Windowswear, Pinterest, art books, and exhibits can open your mind to all of the possibilities for window and interior displays for your flower shop. Going outside and studying your community can also provide inspiration, helping you define your town’s unique character. “I believe that you have to feel what is happening around you, in the city you are in, and in the world,” Lowenstein said. Mackenzie Nichols is a freelance writer who specializes in the floral industry.

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Lifestyle Photography on the


What You Need to Know


For florists, Instagram is a boon. It’s an excellent platform to display your goods as well as your flower arranging skills. There are two broad categories of pictures that brands post to Instagram: professional, studio shots of products and more casual shots taken out “in the real world.” While it might seem that sticking with just studio shots of your flowers is the right move, many Instagram users gravitate towards pictures that show how products work with their lifestyle. In this article, we’ll discuss how florists can leverage this tendency for their benefit, as well as best practices for non-professional photos. THE RISE OF LIFESTYLE EXPERTS ON INSTAGRAM (AND THEIR IMPACT) Although people love following celebrities on Instagram because they represent their aspirations, Instagrammers also enjoy viewing images taken by regular folk. They feel they can relate to “lifestyle experts” on Instagram, because these are real people doing everyday activities such as cooking, eating, and walking their dogs. One of the reasons that lifestyle experts have become so popular is because they know their audiences incredibly well. They don’t guess what kind of photos will work well – they’ve already learned this through building their personal brands. Lifestyle experts post what their audiences want to see.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU? What does the rise of lifestyle experts on Instagram mean for florists? You might take it to mean that photos can be far more casual. However, simply because a professional photographer doesn’t snap the shot in front of a white screen doesn’t mean you can afford to be sloppy. When it comes to taking lifestyle photos, there are a few principles you need to keep in mind. For starters, you need to keep your photos visually consistent. Your Instagram account should have an overall theme and feel, and that should reflect your brand’s personality. You want your photos to be instantly recognizable, which is why you should use the same filter to edit all of them. Moreover, maintaining a consistent colour palette enables that coherence. Lifestyle photography shows that your business is run by real human beings – in other words, your flower shop is not a faceless corporate entity. To that end, you should share photos and videos that put your processes, people, values, and flowers in the spotlight. This type of content gives people a deeper look into your brand. On that note, your Instagram content must also reflect who you are. If your content doesn’t match what customers encounter in-person, you’ll come off as inauthentic. Inauthenticity repels Instagram followers and customers.

How do you ensure your Instagram content is authentic? Ask yourself if a photo feels natural to you. If you rock an edgy haircut, a prominent tattoo, and your style leans more Bohemian than preppy, a monochromatic arrangement on a coffee table in a living room styled by Pottery Barn would be out of place. You’d probably be better going to an industrial setting to capture young people holding whimsical bouquets or sporting flower jewellery. The most appealing photos are the ones that look effortless. Your audience can tell if you’re trying too hard to come across in a particular manner. They can also tell if you’re trying too hard to sell them something. While Instagram is a great platform for marketing, you have to be subtle to be successful. Additionally, these effortless shots are also the least cluttered. You don’t want to put too many items in a single shot – it will distract and ultimately drive away your followers. Your goal should be for your audience to form a connection with your shop. Photographer Jennifer Wu, whose work has appeared in dozens of major newspapers and magazines, recommends shooting photos at eye-level, so your followers feel that they’re next to you as you look at your flowers.

FLOWERS BY JANIE: AN INSTAGRAM SUCCESS STORY Flowers by Janie is a Calgary-based flower shop run by Janelle “Janie” Gerestein. She posts photos on Instagram using the handle @flowersbyjanie. Gerestein has nearly 7,500 followers. Some of her most popular photos have been lifestyle photos. “I think that even though people want to see pretty, they want to see authentic images that aren’t as staged and feel more real-life,” she said. “My followers like seeing real couples and real flowers for those couples.” She posts lifestyle photos and videos often to her IG stories, which always garner lots of viewers and comments. What is one piece of advice that Gerestein has for florists? “Invest in a good camera!” she urged. “I just bought the iPhoneX and it takes amazing photos. I also have a professional DSLR Sony Digital camera. It’s important that the photos look aesthetically pleasing or there won’t be much interaction from followers.” Instagram success is possible without staged photos of your flowers. As long as your photos are authentic, consistent, and attractive, you’ll gain followers, increase engagement, and likely attract some new customers. Rachel Levy Sarfin, is a freelance writer in Toronto who covers technology and social media.

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Increasing Conversion With

MERCHANDISING By Michelle Brisebois


Is your store merchandised or is it decorated? A store that’s decorated is appealing to look at and enhances the shopping experience but it’s not necessarily causing a behavioural shift in your customers. A store that’s merchandised does work for you by encouraging shoppers to become buyers. There’s a psychology to the manner in which you should arrange products and stage your shop to deliver the right experience at the right time in the customer journey. Having a series of solid merchandising tactics in your arsenal can deliver more profit to your financial statements in a very cost effective way. Strong merchandising is one of the most effective ways to attain a good conversion rate and achieve retailing bliss. STORE LAYOUT Grocery stores are traditionally built upon a grid layout with aisles designed to shepherd customers through the entire store. This layout allows merchants to showcase a large amount of product but it doesn’t really deliver a stellar shopping experience. Florists often default to using a free-form layout not organized in any specific way. While this encourages the customer to explore the

store, the cues for the customer to make a purchase may be lost in the shuffle. The “spine layout” offers the best of both worlds. It has a main aisle in the middle, for ease of navigation, and end cap displays with grids or free-form display areas branching off of the main aisle. This layout makes it easier for staff to get to customers and products, which aids in sales conversion.

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CATEGORIES THAT ALIGN WITH CUSTOMER NEEDS What is most important to the customer when buying flowers? Does a customer ask for “a yellow flower” or for “flowers for a friend in the hospital…and please make them yellow?” By arranging your store by occasion, you’ll be in sync with customers’ priorities. Consider sections for sympathy, friendship, new baby, romance, home decor, and weddings. Ikea does this same kind of merchandising very effectively. The furnishing giant arranges its stores so customers can zoom in on the type of room they want to address and then see the products displayed to inspire them to purchase products to recreate the look at home.

A store that’s merchandised does work for you by encouraging shoppers to become buyers.


with the others — but does not fit exactly. It may align in terms of colour or texture but be a wild card on theme. Converting a shopper to a buyer involves first getting their attention, so make sure you’re working at this.

Display your prices clearly. Every customer dreads having to ask how much something costs. Many people would be embarrassed to admit they can’t afford something, so if pricing isn’t displayed, they will avoid asking even if they are attracted to the product. Customers may overestimate the cost of something and would be surprised to discover the item they covet is actually well within their means to afford — but they’ll never know unless you post the number. One effective method to increase your sales conversion is to convey a sense of scarcity. In his book “Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy,” Martin Lindstrom reports that the sales of canned soup were stoked by simply by adding the line “maximum 8 cans per customer.” Customers purchased more cans even though the soup was the same price as the previous day. You can use similar verbiage with your products, be they grab-and-go bouquets or giftware. You should also play up the seasonality of flowers — promoting that certain buds may only be available for a few weeks.

LEAD WITH YOUR STRENGTHS Fragrance is a powerful retail conversion asset. An abstract from a 2014 research paper by the International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research reports that number and size of transactions in a retail flower shop increased when a lavender scent was present in the store. If your customers can’t physically pick up your flowers to sniff them, then be sure your signage describes the fragrance notes like a fine perfume label would. If you’ve ever been in a restaurant where the server details the presentation, flavours, and scents of the food when you ask about the menu, you know the power that beautiful descriptions have to stimulate your senses.

THREE’S COMPANY As a floral designer, you understand the power of odd numbers. The brain notices imbalance, so make sure to leverage this knowledge in your store merchandising too. Displays should be staggered at different heights. Group three items together and don’t be afraid to be whimsical by including an item that agrees

USE PRICING TO YOUR ADVANTAGE Once a customer has decided to purchase, their “giving in” muscle has been exercised and their resistance muscle weakened. If you place popular but inexpensive items front and centre in your store, the customer will grab one and psychologically become primed to buy other things as well. Likewise, by placing a more expensive item beside an item you want to move, your featured item will appear more attractive because it’s perceived to be a better value relative to a similar item at a higher price point. Consider establishing a different font and colour for your promotional signage so customers will easily process that an item is on sale. Show the original price, the sale price, and the total savings on three separate lines of the price tag. If you simply show the sale price, the customer won’t know that they’re getting a deal. If you show the original price with a “$2 off” note underneath it, you’re still making the customer work way too hard to calculate the spend.

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS Conversion rate is calculated by total transactions divided by total store traffic. Data from Retail Next cautions that conversion varies by industry but pegs in store conversion rate typically about 20 to 40%. According to Monetate Statista, the online conversion rate is much less at typically 3%. If 20 people come into your store in one day, four to eight of them will purchase something. If you could even get one more customer to purchase every day (assuming an average sale of $25), then that’s an extra $600 per month to your bottom line. By monitoring this metric as part of your regular dashboard, you’ll know if your merchandising strategies are working. Michelle Brisebois is the founder of Textrix Consulting a freelance writer who specializes in retail strategies, with experience in luxury goods, restaurants, financial services, and ecommerce.

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By Anne Leeson, CAFA, AIFD, CPD Photos by Timothy Muza

For her August 2017 wedding, Gillian Hewson envisioned décor that reflected her low-key personality. However, her florist father — the owner of Monte’s Place in Guelph, Ontario — (naturally) wanted the big day to look like a floral wonderland. “I think we found the perfect blend,” said lead designer Anne Leeson, CAFA, AIFD, CPF. “We followed the bride’s mandate of ‘simple, pretty, and elegant’ but made sure we didn’t skimp on the flowers.” Here, she discusses some of her favourite designs from that wedding, which took place at Cambridge Mill.

The bride adorned her hair with flowers. We used unusual greens, brunia berries and dusty miller in shades of grey and green to complement the peach roses in the bouquets. For the bride’s bouquet, we went for a soft combination of ‘Patience’ and ‘Juliet’ David Austin roses, white peonies, and dusty miller. For texture, we used brunia berries, various eucalyptus foliage and seeds, and tiny air plants. We accented it with trailing jasmine vine, supplied by the bride’s favourite uncle.

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We used a romantic combination of peach, blush and ivory flowers to soften the stone pillars and walls in the chapel.

Overlooking the river, the Cambridge Mill Chapel was a stunning setting for the ceremony. We didn’t need to do much to accent the vista — just three tall glass vases with mixed foliage and white orchids. We placed about 30 Boston ferns around the entrance, seating, and stage area.

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This was a special young guest from Norway, made to feel at home with hair flowers.

The bride had requested low designs down the middle of each table. We achieved this look by combining three low designs and attaching end garlands that draped down to the floor, which we accented with silver votive candles and hurricane lamps.

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Stunning grouping of vases and low designs, starring hydrangeas and peach garden roses, flanked the head table. These were all used previously in the chapel. In front of the place settings, we set the bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets in glass vases, accented with a eucalyptus garland.

Grooms always want a masculine look. To fulfill that request and keep the style in line with the rest of the wedding, we used grey-green eucalyptus and dusty miller, accented with peach hypericum berries and tiny succulents bound with peach raffia.

Anne Leeson, CAFA, AIFD, CPF, was the manager of Monte`s Place in Guelph, Ontario for 28 years. She recently retired from retail work and now consults with private clients. Leeson has competed nationally and internationally in floral design shows, representing Canada at the FTD World Cup in Brisbane, Australia in 2004.

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How Our Logo Helped Us

Move Up Market By Ryan O’Neil

When my wife, Rachael, and I first started our St. Louis flower shop, Twisted Willow, it was hard to imagine that we would one day land five-figure weddings. We started out doing rather intimate events, with a focus on the ceremony. Now, our average is around $6,000 USD, we’re doing half the weddings we used to, and we’re more profitable. We pursued the high-end niche because we had a growing family and we love to travel. We knew we needed a business model that would pay for our lifestyle and also allow us time off to take family vacations. One of the biggest steps in our move up market was allowing potential clients to self-qualify (assess if we fit in their budget) through the marketing materials we presented to them. We changed out the images on every piece brides evaluate, from our website to our brochures, to reflect the type of event we imagined ourselves doing regularly. If a potential client desires an elegant look with grand details, such as hanging installations or cascading designs, she will connect well with the materials we provide and move toward

scheduling a consultation. On the other hand, if a bride-to-be is looking for something simpler, she’ll see that our style isn’t quite a match and move on. To achieve this reputation, we knew we needed a major overhaul to our logo. Even though we had worked with a professional branding company when we started and absolutely loved the result, our initial logo was no longer connecting with the clientele we wanted to attract. Our revamped logo (pictured) immediately communicates Rachael’s aesthetic. In the process of honing our branded materials, we picked up a few tips. As you aim to develop a visual identity that is as unique as you are, keep these four pointers in mind:

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Pull up your note app or a sheet of paper and list these out. Your final design should be legible in the smallest and largest of presentations. For instance, a logo that is too vertical or horizontal will become difficult to read when you enlarge it or shrink it. It doesn’t matter how amazing your logo looks if it’s not legible. To ensure versatility, a logo should be designed in vector format. This will ensure that you can scale it to any size without compromising image quality. I recommend using Adobe Illustrator to design your logo — not Photoshop. Worried that your new logo might not be very versatile? You can download our logo checklist to analyze everywhere it might go. Visit we.curate. co/wedding-florist-logo-placement.


MAKE IT SIMPLE Far too often, businesses try too hard, making their logo busier than it needs to be. They add a variety of visual elements — all of which may look good individually — but together, can be distracting. Furthermore, they do not help distinguish one florist from every other business on the block. Often, the busier the logo, the less professional it looks. Consequently, potential clients will likely turn away before ever seeing the quality of product that can be delivered. Logos should be clean and simple if you want your brand to be recognizable, timeless, and versatile. When a logo is simple and

Your logo should be geared towards your target audience. If your target audience includes high-end brides, your logo should avoid overly bright colours, a “fun” font, or an emblem that proclaims “DIY.” However, if your goal is to help clients with tighter budgets develop beautiful floral arrangements for their special day, you can have a logo that is a bit whimsical. Very few clients consciously know whether a florist is mainstream or high-end; yet, most have seen enough logos to figure out what end of the market you serve. Whatever people you wish to attract, it is important to know what design elements will resonate with them.

MAKE IT A SINGLE COLOUR Keeping your logo to a single colour forces you to look at the effectiveness of the overall concept and shape of your logo rather than considering how much “better” it would look in a different hue. This is the ultimate test of a logo’s strength and versatility. A good logo will also use negative space to make the design interesting and dynamic. While your logo can use multiple colours, the core shape should still work for situations when you can only use one. This means the logo should be carefully designed to make sure its detail does not disappear on smaller screens. Having a single-coloured logo prepares you for one-colour printing processes for business cards, letterhead, and packaging, as well as black and white copies. It also frees you to create rubber stamps, foil-embossed labels, embroidered merchandise, and laser-cut products. While you could choose your favorite colour or the colour of your favorite flower, you should proceed with caution as certain colours will resonate more within different communities and different client demographics than others. For instance, the Hispanic community gravitates to yellow, orange, and red. The colour you choose should appeal to your target audience to optimize the level of trust between you and potential clients.

memorable, people can easily recall what it represents, which is key to surviving in such a competitive market.

MAKE IT VERSATILE You'll want to use this logo multiple places. One of your tasks should be to identify every single place you’ll use it. Every. Single. Place. Business cards? Brochures? Postcards? Stationary? Website?

With these four key points in mind, you’re ready to tackle the job of branding (or rebranding) your company effectively. Ryan O’Neil , and his wife, Rachael, launched a wedding and event floral company a few years ago and found that one of the most time intensive aspects of the business was putting together accurate proposals and wholesaler orders. He created Curate to help florists and other event professionals save time and money with a streamlined end-to-end solution.

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In the Know:

Design Expert Dishes on Latest Trends By Jamie Birdwell-Branson | Photos courtesy of uBloom. com and Dallas Market Center

As a fourth-generation florist, J Schwanke, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, knows a thing or two (thousand) about flowers. But did you know that the CEO of and host of “Fun with Flowers and J” is also a certified design expert for the Dallas Market Center — one of the largest wholesale trade resources in the world? Here, he dishes about some of the latest trends and how florists can incorporate them to attract and delight customers. CANADIAN FLORIST: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A CERTIFIED DESIGN EXPERT FOR THE DALLAS MARKET CENTER? JS: At least three, sometimes four times a year, I go to the Dallas Market’s shows. One of the things that I do there is lead discovery tours of 20 to 100 people. One of the tours is about the best — and the worst — of visual display and merchandising. It’s about showing retailers examples of what they can do big or small in their shops to create visual stimulation for their customers. When I first started doing this 20 years ago, I focused pretty exclusively on floral ideas, but that has evolved over the years. At the last show, we had a program called “Style Eyes,” hosted by Adam Glassman, editor of O Magazine. The Market picked 12 design experts from all different fields. I represented floral and holiday, but there was somebody there for jewellery, interiors, floor coverings, and lighting. And we chose our favourite five things throughout the marketplace. Then we sat down for a round table discussion, where we gave our ideas of what trends we detected in the marketplace and what colours we were seeing that were hot. We had cards that we put in front of items that stood out to us in the marketplace. What that said to visitors was “this is something a Style Eyes person would pick for you to have in your stores.” Obviously, a lot of mine had to do with flowers, but we each tried to cross over to different categories.

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CF: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR THEMES YOU’VE BEEN SEEING AT GIFT SHOWS? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FLOWERS THAT CORRESPOND WELL WITH THESE THEMES? JS: Number one, hands down, stronger than I’ve ever seen anything in 10 years, are monstera leaves. In the uBloom Trend Synthesis, released in January, we called monstera out as foliage of the year. It has done nothing but build in popularity in the ensuing months. We saw it all over the marketplace – in permanent botanicals, containers, embossed metal plates, clothing, upholstery, jewellery, paintings and other artwork, floor coverings, wall coverings, and more. Monstera lends itself well for displays and merchandising. For a theme, I’d say go for something all green, with lots of foliage. This look is huge. I think that’s because we’re so darned worried about our environment. Because of this, we’re seeing more natural looking materials, like kraft paper, unfinished wood, and rocks gaining popularity. Another new, upcoming thing that we’re going to see more of in display and merchandising is a Dutch Masters look with floral design. Those were the paintings that had one of every kind of flower in a big, glorious arrangement. That’s already popping up in artwork and upholstery. CF: WHY IS IT CRITICAL TO KNOW THE DOMINANT COLOURS, MOTIFS, AND TRENDS? JS: We have to visually tell a story about what it is that we do. A florist might be a bucket shop that is simply there to sell stems, or a company focused on weddings and events, corporate, or sympathy work, or a full-service store that’s very trendy — or very classic in nature. Displays help us tell our stories. Customers want to be a part of something — to have a personal experience when they shop. We want them to see unique and different things when they come into our stores. CF: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR MAKING THE MOST OUT OF A GIFT SHOW VISIT? JS: The Dallas Market Center has more than 5 million square feet of product! And it can become overwhelming very quickly. If I were going to buy things for a flower shop, I would think about things I want before I left. I’d look through magazines. I’d tear out things. I’d write myself notes. “I wish I could carry a line of candles.” “I want to bring in a line of stationery.” “I want to bring in some candy.” Make yourself a list so that you have set goals because you can get distracted very easily! A lot of people wind up spending a lot of time shopping for jewellery — for themselves, not their shops! The Dallas Market Center, for one, offers several opportunities to help you navigate. There’s a thing called a first-timers tour. It takes 20 minutes. Also, people like me lead discovery tours to discuss new colours and new trends. The other thing that’s interesting is that vendors tend to put their new stuff in the back of their showroom, not their windows. Florists should go into a showroom and ask someone, “What do you have that’s new?” Also, when you see something you like, take a picture of it along with a picture of the sign in the store so you know where you saw it. Because, at the end of the day, you’re not going to be able to remember. I promise you! I also think it’s smart to have “a walking day,” when you cover as much of the market as you possibly can, making notes and making lists. Then you go back and buy. Also, wear comfortable shoes, for heaven’s sakes!

CF: WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO BLEND NON-FLORAL MERCHANDISE IN WITH DISPLAYS? JS: It’s good to stick with a theme. For instance, if you’re following our Rainforest trend, which embodies all things green and tropical, then you’d want to pick a candle that’s tropical in nature — maybe something in a pineapple or plumeria scent rather than, say, white linen. Just try to tie your things together because, when something goes with something else, that’s a great reason to take pictures. That said, an eclectic mix looks much trendier and cooler than if you simply buy a complete collection styled by someone else. There are a couple of people out there who offer a package where you can get the vase, the balloon, and the teddy bear, etc., but to me that looks too homogenized. I think our consumers are smarter than that and they want to get something that’s unique. Scale is also really important when you’re building a display. If you have little things, remember they need to be with other little things. CF: CAN YOU DISCUSS YOUR RESEARCH PROCESS? WHAT GOES INTO CREATING YOUR UBLOOM TREND SYNTHESIS? JS: At uBloom, we’re not simply looking for new products—we’re looking for trends that have developed a real footing with consumers and have new, cool products that correspond with them. We want to showcase how a trend gets to the flower industry and what that means. So, when we go to market we look for things that are bubbling up. June is our scout time. We make extensive notes of what’s coming. In January, we check to make sure these trends “are stabilized” to move into our process of curating distinct themes. We want to make sure there is product in the marketplace — hard goods, ribbon, containers, things like that that support that trend — and also that there are flowers, foliage, and colours that are supportive of that trend. Our process is largely based on attending major markets. It isn’t just the Dallas Market. We also attend the International Floriculture Expo in Miami, Florida; Fun ‘n Sun in Carlsbad, California; and the World Flower Expo (which changes locations every year). We want to see how colours and types of flowers and foliage are shifting in the world. Additionally, I follow trend experts, including my long-time friend Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, and Michelle Lamb, editor of The Trend Curve ( I also buy lots of magazines, watch television, scour the Internet, and follow growers, suppliers, and trendy designers in the floral industry. Jamie Birdwell-Branson is a freelance writer in Santa Barbara, California. She enjoys antiquing, biking, and binge watching HGTV.

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Welcome, The Stalk Market

Ok, everyone, it’s time to get excited! Our industry has been on a huge upswing for a few years, and I say, without a doubt, that we in the floral industry are killing it! By Jennifer Harvey, CAFA, CFD Look around. Flowers are back in fashion. People are wearing them and decorating with them whenever they can. Despite the DIY mania (spurred on by Pinterest) that hit us hard earlier this decade, we survived, navigated, and prevailed! More clients are using flowers to elevate their occasions. Floral communities share information on Facebook constantly, with new groups forming every day! Educational opportunities overflow for those entering our industry, as well as those who want to take their skills to a higher level. The Canadian Academy of Floral Arts sees higher numbers of applicants than ever before. The true sign of our industry’s upswing, however, is the emergence of new stores! Not only are stores NOT closing (a victory in itself), but more studios and shops are opening all the time! On my journey as a freelance designer, writer, speaker, and consultant, I have the advantage of seeing our industry bloom first-hand. Many moons ago I was hired for holiday relief at a shop in Ottawa. As a freelancer, you never know what you are walking into — whom you are working for or with. This contract changed my life. Inside the walls of this store I met the most amazing people — strong, powerful, talented women determined to realize their dreams. Those days working in that shop are some of my favourite memories. I kept in contact over the years. Last March, I received a call. One of these women, Caity Paine, excitedly explained she and another soul sister, Krista Evans, a veteran designer with years of experience and an unquenchable passion, were opening a new store in the heart of our capital. I was over the moon! Then she dropped the bomb… they were opening it the NEXT MONTH! I wished her luck and held my breath. Then a few weeks later, I went to check out this incredible new store in the heart of the hottest neighbourhood in Ottawa and congratulate them in person. Here’s a Q&A I did with Caity and Krista. Please join me in welcoming The Stalk Market to our ranks! Q: HOW DID THE STALK MARKET COME TO BE? A: We met while working at another shop. As we chatted about our dreams, we discussed always wanting our own store but never wanting to do it alone. Sharing our ideas, we saw that our visions lined up exactly. We wanted to create a space that was different than what we had experienced before — super funky designs, different flowers and foliages, and a space where flowers and plants have a place to speak for themselves. With the same visions of a contemporary space where talented artists are welcome, educational workshops are ongoing, community involvement is paramount, and inspirational floral art converges with them all, The Stalk Market was born. Q: WHY DID YOU PICK THIS LOCATION? A: Located in the corner unit of Dalhousie and St. Patrick in the famous

ByWard Market in downtown Ottawa, it was a no brainer. In a short time, we have become the cornerstone florist in this community and we are gladly filling the niche. A revitalization is happening on Dalhousie Street. Before opening our doors we reached out to other local businesses, artist communities, retirement homes, women’s shelters, community centres, and outreach programs — and the neighbourhood has been very welcoming in return. Q: LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR SLOGAN. A: The Slogan “Flowers to the people” is a playoff of “Power to the people.” The Stalk Market represents two girls with grit and grace giving back to the people, communities, and neighbourhoods that have always been there for us. We’re paying it forward in inspiration, education, and empowerment. Q: HOW DO YOU INTEND TO PAY IT FORWARD? A: There are so many ways our shop is already doing this. We have workshops for women’s shelters and community centres. There are no local educational institutions giving floral classes, so we provide those monthly. We are also active in local charities, like hosting pet adoption days in the store. The biggest activation space is our “wall for all.” We invite art students and local artists in our community to exhibit art, and we charge no fee or commission for them to sell their art in our space. They can show their fabulous pieces in our store for up to six weeks! Q: WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR SHOP’S DISTINGUISHING QUALITIES? A: Our space is open and inviting, focusing on client and customer experience. We have a resting couch where people can sit comfortably during consultations, or simply rest during a shopping trip. We offer a different kind of service to our clients. Working in so many stores over the years we have learned what works and what doesn’t. Client and customer care are our top priorities. This creates the loyal following it takes to last in this industry. It’s easy to lose sight of that. Q: WHAT’S THE SECRET TO YOUR PARTNERSHIP? A: We are very different designers and offer different things to the business. Krista is a contemporary designer and handles the plants and Caity designs with more of a garden-like, organic flair. We trust each other’s strengths and we work with a cohesiveness and vision. We have worked within the limitations of past employers and we want more for ourselves. We are free. And together we have given that to each other. Check out or connect with them on Instagram, @thestalkmarket613. Jennifer Harvey is a freelance designer, television and radio personality, consultant, writer, speaker, teacher, and president-elect of the Canadian Academy of Floral Art.

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Reproducing Dream Designs For the Real World

How To With


By Heather de Kok, AAF, AIFD, PFCI

I know you were glued to Facebook and Instagram back in July, enjoying all the posts from the American Institute of Floral Designers’ Annual Symposium held in Washington, DC. (Because I was doing it too!) Were they not spectacular? Didn’t they make you drool?! Oh, to be able to do that kind of work for clients! But let’s face it; clients don’t generally order over-the-top giant designs. So what do you do with your new found excitement of advanced floral techniques? There are several ways you can use all the exciting ideas you have now seen at various floral events. If you are lucky enough to have a storefront, make one of those showstoppers for your window! Create something lavish and dramatic to wow your passersby. These designs may not sell  but, if you bring in new clients or book a bride impressed with your skills , then you have won the war! That window space is an invaluable tool. It is so important, as it makes the first impression of your shop. So make it count!

Photo s by B ruce W right

and pearls. So now I add rhinestone hearts on the leaves when I have an anniversary order. Clients love it and it makes me a bit different from competitors. I also like to wrap the root ball of orchids in moss and lay it on the top of the container (a tip I got from Hitomi Gilliam during her Neotropical design show)  and that is selling like hotcakes on my website! We florists are a very imaginative bunch of people. Remember, you do not have to replicate what you see exactly. But using elements from the creative designs at the forefront of our industry, you will get more for your investment of attending design programs, and you can bring in a bit of the bacon to boot! Heather de Kok, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, is the owner of Heather de Kok Floral Design and Grower Direct in Edmonton, Alberta. She also founded The Maple Leaf Cup.

Secondly, let’s talk about the inside of your shop. Have you given much thought to your consultation table? Enhancing it with a jaw-dropping centrepiece or garland can nudge a client to sign on the dotted line. One of my favourite designs from a recent AIFD Symposium was a (pictured, right) table Jenny Thomasson, AIFD, PFCI, EMC, designed during her stage presentation in 2015. It made such an impression on me that I went home and built a smaller version for my wedding room. The intention was to use it to wow my clients and get 100% of all event proposals. Well, by golly, if I did not sell that table to one of my clients! Can you believe it!? You can also incorporate advanced techniques from AIFD, the Canadian Academy of Floral Arts, Fleurs de Villes, etc., into your daily work. Perhaps just that one decorative detail can separate you from the next guy! At a show a few years ago, I saw a florist decorate the leaves of an orchid with rhinestones September/October 2018 | CANADIAN Florist 26

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Why It Pays To Go


Joe With

By Joseph DeLarge, CAFA, CFD

Going green is an opportunity that many florists continue to overlook. It’s a business approach that can help you cleverly trim your bottom line and give you a marketing edge. It’s often just about being more efficient and getting more out of less. You can then use those smart, environmentally conscientious practices to appeal to a discerning clientele. Encouraging a culture of sustainability in your shop will only work if you lead by example. You’ve gotta walk the talk, as they say. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to make changes in your operations and processes to see results. Once these changes become routine, they can pay dividends. The environmentally conscientious consumer of the 21st century looks for these signals in your marketing messages. Here are some practical everyday ways you can reduce your business’s impact on people and the planet, while saving cash! Many of these initiatives are also great marketing strategies, if communicated the right way. 1. Buy used before new when you can. You can find equipment like display furniture, coolers, carts, etc., in great condition at flea markets, garage sales, and architectural salvage stores. Don’t be afraid to stop for an amazing curb find! Second hand shopping allows for frequent display changes with one of a kind finds to keep your merchandising fresh. 2. Support suppliers that use less packaging. Consider rethinking your own packaging and its impact on the planet. Institute a container reuse program (more on this in a second). 3. Avoid single use plastics whenever possible. Our planet is choking on plastic.Offset the unnecessary waste of vases entering landfills by offering a discount or small gift to customers who return containers from past orders. 4. Don’t allow receipts to print automatically. Instead, offer customers the option to receive receipts by email. Bonus: this is also a great way to collect emails for marketing campaigns. 5. When you do print, print double-sided and in greyscale, when possible. This can be up to a 50% savings in paper, and a measurable savings in colour ink that adds up over time. 6. Reduce electricity waste with efficient LED lighting, using only Energy Star- certified electronics. Use power bars to avoid “ghost power” usage with unused electronics. 7. Maintain your cooler in optimum condition so it runs efficiently, saving electricity and flower supply costs.

8. Take full advantage of your municipality’s Green Bin and Blue Bin recycling program and avoid the costly expense of landfill. Sort your waste properly; most florist waste is compostable or recyclable. 9. Use eco-friendly cleaning products and low/no VOC paints and adhesives. There are thrifty options that allow you to avoid the fumes. You can find 100% recycled content paper towels and bathroom and facial tissues for the same price or less than conventional options. You could also use old cloth towels in the shop to avoid the unnecessary use of paper towels. 10. Water rates are always going up. Reduce wastewater as much as you can. Keep a bucket in your sink to catch any unused water; save it to water your plants. During the warmer months, use wastewater from vases and buckets to water the street trees and vegetation in front of the shop. Even the condensed water from your cooler can be saved and used for plant watering. 11. Group deliveries by neighbourhoods to minimize the number of trips you take to cut gas costs and to reduce emissions. 12. Choose local flowers whenever you can. They help support the local economy and require fewer fossil fuels to transport. They are often grown with little to no pesticides through the use of Integrated Pest Management. 13. With imports, choose fair-trade or organic options. They are often available at similar price points as conventional flowers. Most florists already stock these certified flowers but don’t tell the ecostory behind them in their marketing messaging. 14. Consider 100 percent recycled content stationary and packaging, vegetable ink printing and biodegradable cellophane. Don’t be afraid to proudly share these accomplishments with your customers! These initiatives make for great social media posts and email marketing content. With time and dedication, you’ll be doing your part for the planet and everyone will know about it. Joseph DeLarge CAFA, CFD, is the owner of eco|stems in Toronto. September/October 2018 CANADIAN Florist 27

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How To Dramatically Increase the Value of Your Tweets

Here’s a simple tactic that I don’t see used very often in the florist industry, even though it results in claiming a big chunk of the Google search results. Even better, it leverages some work that you’re probably doing already!

Ask The SEO

BY: Ryan Freeman

Google has a special feature in its results page called the Twitter Carousel. Simply put, if Google thinks your Twitter account is useful enough and relevant to the search query, you can get a big piece of on-screen real estate filled with your content.

worry if you aren’t there yet, just keep working), and posting some content that has a high probability of attracting likes, comments, and retweets. Quotes, funny images or GIFs, and random but interesting thoughts are all standard fare for seeking engagement. You may also want to take a well-thought-out dabble in interacting with current affairs. Even if people don’t like what you said, their comments still count as engagement; you might even have some of your fans come to your defence! Interacting with other Twitter accounts is another way to build Twitter loyalty and engagement. Cheer on your local team, celebrate wins or great plays, promote local cause-based events, and talk up other businesses. People love this stuff! Recent studies tell us that 87% of consumers are drawn to brands that share their values and show them loyalty. 3) FIGURE OUT WHAT WORKS. DO IT AGAIN. What tweets get the most interaction? Do quote pics get the most retweets? Do current event comments draw the most replies? There’s no standard formula, so you need to review your own tweets for the answers.

Since you’re probably already on Twitter, and your tweet content features messages you want to share with potential or current clients, this approach will let you exponentially increase the exposure of your Twitter work. It’s estimated that Twitter reaches almost 35% of Internet users — and now you have the opportunity not only to reach the Twitter users who don’t normally see your tweets, but also to expose your messages to the other 65% of people who are non-Twitterers. Here’s our three-step plan for enticing Google to give you your own Twitter Carousel. 1) TWEET FREQUENTLY & CONSISTENTLY You’re already posting on Twitter, right? You might just need to step up your game. Tweet regularly, aiming for three to five times per day, each day. That might seem like it will suck up a lot of time, but keep in mind that you can schedule tweets in advance, and it’s acceptable to occasionally repeat a tweet because of the real-time nature of Twitter’s feed. For example, if you publish a new blog post you can tweet about it right away, and then again later that day to reach different segments of your audience. (Think of your local news station, which often runs the same stories at say, 6, 7, 8, and 9 a.m.) A post published on Monday morning could get an immediate tweet, another mid-afternoon, and then a third “in case you missed it” message on Thursday. If your blog content is good, don’t be shy about sharing it. 2) ENGAGEMENT IS KEY Twitter accounts that earn carousels usually have moderate or high levels of engagement. This will typically require having a few hundred followers (don’t

BONUS TIP #1: LINKS COUNT! Each tweet is its own web page. That means you can build links to highvalue tweets, increasing the chance that Google will consider it to be valuable. You can build links by embedding the tweet in pages you own, linking to it from your website or blog, and by soliciting (but never buying!) links from third-party sites. BONUS TIP #2: EMOJIS! (IN MODERATION) Emojis are eye-catching, and creative use of these icons can convey some interesting messages. Even Twitter’s blog ( twitteremojis) has some great tips and examples on how you can use emojis to attract attention and engagement.

Ryan Freeman is president of Strider Inc., founder of Florist 2.0, and publisher of Canadian Florist.

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Submit your work anytime before June 30th. Visit E S T.



2 0 0 5



2 Categories: Everyday / Wedding Bouquet



First Place:

A trip to Alexandra Farms - All expenses paid to Bogota, Colombia (airfare / hotel / meals) for 2 people; 4 days, 3 nights or monetary equivalent.

Second Place:

1,000 stems of Garden Roses (includes freight) or $1,000.00

Third Place:

500 stems of Garden Roses (includes freight) or $500.00

Readers’ Choice Award: Prize TBD



1 member from Florists’ Review Winners announced 1 member from Alexandra Farms in Florists’ Review’s Floral Designer: Linda Miller David Austin (305) 528-3657 September Garden Roseissue! Varieties: White Cloud, White O’Hara and Sabrina Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD Photographer: You Are More Photo & Video 305-528-3657 • CanadianFlorist.indd 29

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on THE

LEVEL with



Have you ever been phone-shamed for not having the latest device? It’s ridiculous when you think of it, although it reminds me of back in the day (gosh, I am SO old, I am using the phrase, “Back in the Day”!) when people would snicker at the poor dear still wearing her hair in a “going to the mall” flip. We hate to be out of touch or living in the past, so why is that what so many of us do with our businesses? I have a long way to go when it comes to technology and all that — in fact I swear my till will go to a museum soon (we have a POS system coming, so calm down!) — but we’re spending a lot of time researching and deciding the best tools to suit our needs. You may not know, but we recently moved to a bit of an upand-coming mixed-use neighbourhood after 25 years in our previous location. When we first opened, we sold a lot of dried flowers, candles, and lots of things that we would never carry now. We did well with these items, as we did with different plants and permanent arrangements, but as time passed and the street evolved, we knew we had to as well. I have seen SO many businesses come and go because they were steadfast in their belief that what worked for them in the 80’s still will today. Well, sorry, dear, the world isn’t flat anymore! I work with a talented bunch that has guided me — sometimes pushing or dragging me — into the modern day, and for that I am thankful. Poor Sarah! (She’s under 30, so she grew up with a computer in her hand.) So much of what is “new and mindblowing” to David and me is “meh” to her, and I find that funny! We are constantly “upgrading our systems,” a concept that strikes fear and anguish in the hearts of many, but if this doesn’t happen, we may as well close shop. When we saw the space we are in now, an empty room with lovely hardwood floors and massive windows, we started thinking, sketching, planning, and talking. We involved our co-workers, of course, as they would often better know the needs and wants for this space. And then once we were good to go, we did just that! Thankfully, the store was being built from November to December, so we were still at the old place for the Christmas season and could move everything that was NOT holidaythemed to the new space , which allowed us time to fiddle with placement. The counters and walk-in fridge were the only fixed

pieces, so once they were placed, the rest was just getting it all pretty! Now, I know many of us don’t have a lot of cash to fork out on a whole new up-do for our store, but remember what a little lipstick and paint did for RuPaul! Paint a wall, add a “design your own” table, and, if you can, start a curbside pick-up service. (This is fabulous for us!) Make it personal, too. We have a counter that is covered on the front with wood from my Dad’s old hunting camp and an old family picnic table. (The top is stainless steel, so it’s not so country!) We also use a jelly shelf from my Mum’s root cellar to display our chocolates. We all got lovely new tops to wear, as well as aprons and name tags, as this gives a more modern and clean look, and took the time to improve our online shopping presence. “Upgrade” is a word we all know and what we must all do if our businesses are to survive and thrive. I am so fortunate that I get to work with the best in the business from around the world, seeing all sorts of new ideas and techniques, as well as discussing what’s hot and what’s a flop. As a design director with SmithersOasis, I get first crack at incredible innovative ideas, tools, and new products. Boy, talk about going full tilt to try new things! Smithers-Oasis launches hundreds of new products every year for us to enhance our designs. Keep current with what’s going on in our industry, because believe me, your customers are in the know! Learn about topics like the advancement in biodegradability in products such as Oasis Foam, how flower food makes arrangements look their best for as long as possible, and design trends like “Tropical Nouveau” to discuss with your customers. And use words like “floral jewellery,” which aren’t gender-specific and appeal to the younger generation. If nothing else, stop calling permanent flower, “fake” — that’s a personality trait! Right, girls? Neville MacKay, CAFA, PFCI, WFC, is owner of My Mother’s

Bloomers in Halifax, Novia Scotia and a design director with Smithers-Oasis North America. He designed flowers for the 1988 Winter Olympics, as well as a long list of celebrities including Glen Close, Sir Elton John, and members of the British Royal Family. MacKay appears regularly on Canadian TV and travels internationally, giving presentations about the impact of flowers.

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A Website As Unique as Your Shop Part of the Essential Marketing bundle by Striderorists 800-314-8895

Your Canadian SEO Experts September/October 2018 CANADIAN Florist 31

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Take your ™ business further. We’re in the business to help grow your business. With our worldwide florist network, technology systems, marketing tools and customer support, you can focus on what’s most important—delighting and inspiring your customers with handcrafted arrangements.

Visit to keep up with the comprehensive ways our partnership takes your business further. If you need anything, call us at 800.788.9000. ©2017

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Profile for Strider Media

Canadian Florist - September 2018  

Is your shop decorated? Or is it Merchandised? Proper merchandising can dramatically boost sales ... so how does your store measure up? The...

Canadian Florist - September 2018  

Is your shop decorated? Or is it Merchandised? Proper merchandising can dramatically boost sales ... so how does your store measure up? The...