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WHAT’S INSIDE

VOL. 2 NO. 1 | OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2010

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Mark Nance, AAF President, BloomNet PUBLISHER

BloomNet, Inc. www.MyBloomNet.net (866) 256-6663 SENIOR EDITOR

Lisa Carmichael MANAGING EDITOR

Fred Russell

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ASSOCIATE EDITORS

Nicole Gandini John Parkinson ART DIRECTO R

Shane Hickey CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Mike Pucci

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EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS

Ted Marlowe Jerry Rosalia

floriology is published monthly by BloomNet, Inc. Printed in the United States, Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. No material contained herein may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher or editor. Permission to reproduce portions of this publication should be obtained through BloomNet, Inc. Publications.

floriology | October/November 2010

All statements are those of the person making the statement or claim. The publisher does not adopt any statement or claim as its own and any statement or claim does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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Although published material is intended to be accurate, neither floriology nor any other party will assume liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on this material. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of BloomNet, Inc. Subscription Rate is $71.88 (plus applicable tax) in U.S. and Canada.

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Managing Editor Letter BloomNet’s Fred Russell is a familiar face with a new title.

SAF Recap

A look at this year’s show including feedback from some of those in attendance.

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By The Stats

Along with floriology celebrating its one year anniversary, meet some flower shops that are marking special anniversaries.

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Out and About

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Student Competition

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Glimpses of SAF’s conference, the BloomNet awards, and the most recent design council.

A discussion with two winners from the recent SAF Competition.

Owner’s Corner

The Rees family discusses why novelties and wine have been important sellers in their store.

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Back to Basics

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Jackie Lacey, AIFD, CFD, PFCI shows the importance of creating a strong line in relation to good design.

Customer Service

A reminder on the value of training your employees to interact professionally with customers.

Digital Diatribe

In the final installment in a series of three, Mark Nance, AAF, talks about how the iPad device can help florists in their shops.

On the Edge

Vincent Petrovsky, AIFD, finds inspiration with his customers.

Innovators

A look at this past year’s winners as well as October and November’s innovators.

Trade Shows

While the recession has shown a decrease in attendance, florists still see the value in shows.

Marketing

Contests are a fun way for florists and customers to connect.

Neighborhood Corner

How one florist is working with a local safari park to cultivate wedding business.

Correction | In the September issue, floriology inadvertently reported Jeff Bradshaw, AIFD, TCF won the 2010 Mid America Cup. Jeff was the winner of the Sympathy Category in the Mid America Cup and the overall winner was Kay Schlaefli, AMF, design manager at Expressions Flowers in Fort Smith, Ark. Congratulations Kay!

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UP FRONT

LOOKING BACK,

GROWING FORWARD

Mark Nance, AAF | President

WHAT’S ON TAP ● Grand Opening for Floriology Institute in Jacksonville, Fla. October 18 to 20 ● BloomNet’s Thanksgiving Fresh Floral Pre-Book October 18 to November 5 ● Halloween October 31 ● Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Convention November 3 to 5 ● Daylight Savings Time November 7 ● BloomNet’s Christmas Fresh Floral Pre-Book November 8 to 26 ● Veterans Day November 11 ● Thanksgiving November 25 ● BloomNet’s Valentine’s Day Fresh Floral Pre-Book December 13 to January 14 ● Hanukkah Begins December 2 ● First Day of Winter December 21 ● Christmas December 25 ● New Year’s Eve December 31

October/November 2010 | floriology

About a year and a half ago, when floriology was just a simple idea, it was hard to imagine that this simple publication would eventually grow into what I’m proud to say is now among the most respected magazines in the floral industry. And as we celebrate our one-year anniversary with this special edition of floriology, I have many to thank for contributing to its success. Of course, the people on my thank-you list include our editors, art directors, and writers. But mostly, it’s you, our readers, who have made floriology what it is today. Our mission for the magazine at its inception was to create a neutral sometimes controversial voice designed to renew, strengthen and build a sense of community within the industry we all love so much. Mission accomplished. Retail florists throughout the country and even overseas have embraced floriology and utilized these pages to communicate their own ideas and experiences—sharing practical insights, innovative approaches and best practices with fellow florists—while recapturing the joy of the language of flowers. What’s more, you’ve offered and continue to offer extensive and constructive feedback to us about the magazine each month, providing the basis for new articles, relative content, and information you want to read about. Now, as we embark on our second year of publishing the magazine, we remain committed to the floral community, using this forum as a means of helping all florists expand their profitable customer relationships and grow their businesses. Over the next several months you’ll be receiving issues filled with all-new articles exploring exciting initiatives that can increase your sales and profit potential and yes we will maintain a neutral stance, but maybe controversial. Among these are webinars and a variety of online education possibilities that reinforce the elements of design, spotlight the latest trends, expand floral and business knowledge—and help deliver a solid foundation for your success. Of course, we will continue to highlight the floriology sections you’ve told us you look forward to each month, such as “Design Center,” “Owner’s Corner” and “Innovator of the Month.” We will also feature stories about the newest developments affecting your business such as social media, mobile marketing and other technologies. Look for some new fun stuff, as well. In addition, in the near future we will be introducing an eco-friendly digital version of floriology, making it easy for you to enjoy this publication right from your computer and at the same time helping to conserve natural resources. I personally want to thank you, our loyal readers, for making this first year of floriology so rewarding for all of us who work hard to bring it to you. We look forward to the next year with great anticipation. And please keep your comments coming. We want to know how this magazine, your magazine, can get even better!

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UP FRONT

FAMILIAR FACE,

NEW POSITION About 18 months ago BloomNet President Mark Nance, AAF, forwarded me an e-mail from Jim McCann, CEO of 1-800-Flowers.com asking when were we going to start a BloomNet publication? “Oh great,” I thought to myself, just one more thing to add to my plate that seemed to be piling over already. Though the task at hand was daunting, I was excited to finally put my journalism degree to use after 17 years in the floral by wire service! Over the next few months we put the business plan together, formed an advisory board and met again and again on what we wanted the vision of this new publication to be. It was clear that our most important goal was for the publication to be the voice of the florists, a platform for florists to come together in a community atmosphere and exchange ideas covering topics ranging from design and marketing to best business practices and much more. It’s hard to believe that it’s been an entire year since the first issue was mailed across the country to BloomNet florists. Personally, the creation of floriology and the enthusiastic response to it from florists has been very rewarding for me. Before the first issue of floriology became a reality I rarely had the chance to meet and get to know the floral community. What I have discovered is what I really knew all along…this very special industry we all love so much consists of a group of passionate, dedicated and truly amazing people. As the new Managing Editor of floriology I want to emphasize that floriology is for you! It is intended to be your mouthpiece and I want to know what you have to say, always. I also want to take this opportunity to thank my boss, former Managing Editor Lisa Carmichael, for her guidance and support. Without her, floriology simply wouldn’t be what it is today. She has made it the premier magazine in the industry and I’m honored to follow in her footsteps.

Fred Russell | Managing Editor frussell@bloomnet.net, 516-237-4912

floriology | October/November 2010

THE COFFEE POT

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“With over 14 years of publishing experience (The Professional Florist) and almost 30 years of experience in the floral industry I’m always a little skeptical when I hear about a new trade publication. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the addition of floriology to my scheduled list of industry reads. The issues have been very informative, covering timely topics in a concise manner. The layout is fresh and each issue features high quality designs by some of the industry’s best and brightest designers. Congratulations on your first year! Here’s to many more to come.” ❋ RODNEY P. CRITTENDEN ~ Executive Vice President, Michigan Floral Association “floriology has had an impressive first year. Beautifullyproduced magazine with quality content and layout for the professional florist.” ❋ BOB HEFFERNAN ~ Executive Director, Connecticut Florists Association

“Congratulations to BloomNet on the one year anniversary of floriology. I look forward to getting my copy each month, as it has great marketing articles and interesting news from around the industry. The format is easy to read. I get numerous magazines and publications each month, but I always take the time to read floriology!“ ❋ MARIS ANGOLIA ~ President, Karin’s Florist “Each issue of floriology is packed with complete vital up-to-date information on design, management, technology, what’s new and what’s happening in our industry. I find every page is written to spark my interest and to keep me reading the entire volume. floriology is extremely well illustrated and designed to keep the reader well informed on a regular basis.” ❋ RICHARD MILTEER, AAF, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, TMF ~ Creative Director, Lakeland Florist Supply “Congratulations to floriology on its first anniversary! I have read each of issue cover to cover and enjoy every word. As MSNFA president, I find it a wonderful reference to keep up with what is going on in other states and keep abreast of hot button issues. If you haven’t read floriology yet, make it your next read.” ❋ KYM ERICKSON ~ Soderberg’s Florist and MSNFA president

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SAF RECAP INDUSTRY UPDATE

THOUGHT PROCESSING

Florists share ideas at 126th annual SAF Convention

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“Well organized, well put together, a great way to keep up with the changes that are taking place in the industry.”

GOOD MORNING GOOD BUSINESS SAF marketing breakfast emphasizes customer loyalty

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epeat business is the lifeblood for success in almost any industry, and the floral industry is no different. The trick though, is two-fold. First, as you would expect, you want to establish and hold onto loyal customers who will do business with you again and again. However, it’s also extremely important to generate a very positive and contagious feeling in those existing customers...so they’ll act as salespeople for you by recommending your goods and services to others. During a special marketing breakfast at SAF Orlando 2010, event visitors attended a session entitled “How to create walkthrough-fire customer loyalty.” The session’s featured speaker was Dennis Snow, a customer service expert who shared his expertise gained from a 20-year career with Disney. “Delivering world-class service requires careful orchestration of the entire customer experiences,” says Dennis. “Everything your customer sees, hears or touches” has an impact. Attendees to the breakfast learned how the experiences that customers have can be made or broken, positively or negatively, in a variety of different ways. In addition, Dennis shared strategies for elevating the customer experience from ordinary to extraordinary. He also explained that exceptional customer service should be “business as usual,” and he offered a process for making it that way. The marketing breakfast was “entertaining as well as informative and I enjoyed it a lot,” says Lorrie Anderson, owner of Country Florist of Waldorf, Md. “I realized that keeping the customers you already have is at least as important as gaining new ones. And I should look at things more as a customer than as an owner or designer to make sure our customers are appreciated so they want to come back.”

October/November 2010 | floriology

hink of Orlando, Florida and several things come to mind such as SeaWorld, golf courses and great food. Not to mention that famous mouse. For the 289 industry professionals who attended the SAF Orlando 2010 event, held in mid-September, the thoughts that likely pop up include: networking opportunities; strategies for planning the future of family-owned floral businesses; possibilities for increasing corporate customers; ways to make designs and service stand out from competitors; and maximizing employee performance. Each of these topics and many others were front and center during the event. “It was a great experience,” describes attendee Nic Faitos, owner of Starbright Floral Designs in New York City. “Well organized, well put together, a great way to keep up with the changes that are taking place in the industry.” Among the most prominent of those changes is the rapid and incredible growth of social sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Consumers are certainly becoming more involved with these online destinations every day, and the general expectation is that their local florist should have a social presence. SAF Orlando 2010 attendees also gained insights about how to create profitable low-cost designs to meet the needs of customers on a tight budget. On the agenda too were best practices for dealing with credit card companies and remain~ NIC FAITOS ing compliant with Payment Starbright Floral Designs, New York, NY Card Industry Data Security Standards. Overall, the main theme of the convention was the emotion behind flower giving and the potential for florists to sell that feeling. From beginning to end, everyone at the event was encouraged to share ideas, and that encouragement was given extra emphasis during what was billed as an “all-industry idea swap.” Retailers, wholesalers, growers and suppliers all exchanged hundreds of practical business tips taken from their own experiences. Among the “take-aways” from this exchange were knowledge about boosting productivity along with how to better connect with customers, improve business processes and simplify one’s work life.

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SALUTING MILESTONES

Celebrating

YEARS

the

HIGHLIGHTING ANNIVERSARIES AT THREE SHOPS In this issue of floriology, our regular “By the Stats” section takes a different approach. This month, we spotlight three florist shops who, like us, are also observing anniversaries.

POPLAR FLOWER SHOP Terre Haute, Ind.

by Mike Pucci

CONROY’S FLOWERS Mission Viejo, Calif.

Sonal and Dhiru Kapadia, each with a masters degree, had careers in corporate America before becoming shop owners. They celebrated 25 years in business this past June. Today, they still approach the business with the same energy they did back in 1985. “Our success comes from full-time dedication,” says Sonal. “Our customers know they can depend on us for personal service, unique designs and excellent value...which is why we have so many repeat customers.” In addition to custom-created floral arrangements, Conroy’s Flowers is known for its expansive offering of unusual floral products. Those products include tropical and European flowers, dish gardens and many upscale floral arrangements featuring imaginative styles. During the past couple of years, Sonal and Dhiru have also been concentrating on the event market, including weddings and corporate gatherings both big and small. An event venue area has been set up inside the shop, featuring a wedding display. Besides top-notch service and products, does Sonal have any other advice for fellow florists? “Local store marketing is very important,” she exclaims. “Constant marketing on a local level reminds your customers you are there for them.”

Jim Sitarski, owner, says the keys to his success and that of Poplar Flower Shop are relationships. “I like to make people happy,” states Jim. Indeed, the shop has been spreading happiness for nearly a century, celebrating its 90-year anniversary this past April. The business was recently named Best Flower Shop in Terre Haute by the Tribune Star. Poplar Flower Shop was started in 1920 by Jim’s grandparents, Mac and Myrtle Randolph. Their daughter June and her husband Jack bought the shop in 1947, and their SPECIAL sons—Jim Sitarski and his brother OCCASIONS Jack—took over in 1985. Although BY V ❋ Total number of years of operation for Jack is now retired, Jim, a former Duncanville, Texas all 3 businesses: 119 president of the Indiana State Florists Association and a Charter Eagle Co-owners Claudia Garcia and her ❋ Total years experience of owners: 98 AAF member, has held true to the brother-in-law Jay Burciaga opened ❋ Average years of owners’ experience: 19.6 values that built the business from the their florist shop 4 years ago, observ❋ Number of employees, average: 7 beginning. ing the anniversary of the shop this “Our employees are family,” he expast June. Claudia handles floral deplains. “Many have been here for a sign and Jay takes care of running the very long time. And we have had a lot of college students work business on a day-to-day basis. here part-time.” Special Occasions by V does a wide array of decorating for cusIn fact, through the years 13 students have put themselves tomers, particularly during the holidays. They also have solid relathrough college while working at Poplar Flower Shop. tionships with several funeral homes in the community, as well as Besides employee loyalty, a vital factor in the success of the many corporate accounts. Recently, Claudia and Jay leased out store has been an unwavering dedication to quality products the front of their shop and a beautiful gift store was set up. So far, and service. “We treat every order special and we stand by our the shop-within-a-shop has attracted plenty of new customers. products. We go out of our way to make everything perfect. An“Hard work and determination, and pride in our work” says other thing we do is underwater cutting of flowers...this helps Claudia in explaining the success of Special Occasions by V to our flowers last much longer,” continues Jim. this point. “We also have great clientele and we expect to double or even triple the business in the next two or three years.”

floriology | October/November 2010

Celebratory Stats

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BY THE STATS

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B L O O M N E T TA K E S T O T H E R O A D

AWARDS

Winning first place was Margaret Fleegal, from 1-800-Flowers Retail Store in Fairfax, Va.

OUT AND ABOUT

On the evening of September 9, the 1-800-Flowers.com Franchisee annual awards banquet was held at the Westbury Manor in Westbury, N.Y. Awards were given for the top three retail store sales for the year. Pictured with the winners are from left to right: Dave Goldberg, COO, BloomNet, Ted Marlowe, vice president of retail and franchising, BloomNet, Mark Nance, AAF, president, BloomNet, and Chris McCann, president,1-800-Flowers.com.

Accepting Second Place is Amy Guzzardo from the 1-800-Flowers Retail Store in Shelby Township, Mich.

Third place winner, Ray Tilton, for his store in Syossett, N.Y.

DESIGN COUNCIL The Design Council was held in September at the 1-800-Flowers.com Design Facility in Bethpage, N.Y. The designers collaborated on various concepts including the existing “Happy Hour” Collection. To find out more about the Happy Hour line changes, turn to the story, “Cheers!, Here’s to Frank” on page 25.

On September 19, Lakeland Florist Supply, Inc. hosted a Design Show and Open House at the Edina, Minn., showroom featuring a BloomNet sponsored seminar with Bill Taylor, AIFD.

1-800-Flowers.com floral stylist Andrea Ancel

works on a “tote” design.

October/November 2010 | floriology

DESIGN SHOW

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OUT AND ABOUT

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B L O O M N E T TA K E S T O T H E R O A D

THE 126TH ANNUAL SAF CONVENTION WAS HELD SEPTEMBER 22 TO 25 IN ORLANDO, FLA. HERE IS A LOOK AT SOME OF THE BIGďšş GER ATTRACTIONS AT THE CONFERENCE.

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P U C A I V L SY PETITION COM

ticiered to par l over gath Cup Design al m o fr s er Design al Sylvia given the 43rd Annu pate in the . Each contestant was given two e n io er it w Compet ent and uct assortm same prod nge three designs. ra hours to ar

GRAND PRIZE WINNER:

Kyle Roberson (left), event designer/buyer for Botanica International from Tampa, Fla. HONORABLE MENTION:

Wayne Esterle (bottom left), AIFD, KMF from In Bloom Again in Louisville, Ky. HONORABLE MENTION:

floriology | October/November 2010

Roslyn Dodds (below) of Jasmine Creek Florist in El Cajon, Calif.

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VARIO US EVE NTS

Gino Marotta, BloomNet national director of sales with Kate Delaney and Janet Scott of Matlack Florist in West Chester, Pa.

Jennifer Sparks, vice president, marketing at SAF presents Mark Nance, AAF, BloomNet president with a recognition plaque for sponsoring the Marketing Breakfast.

Tina Stoecker, AIFD, Gino Marotta, BloomNet national director of sales and Chuck Yearick, BloomNet regional vice president tee it up at the 21st annual SAFPAC Golf Tournament.

NEW SPECIES

The Outstanding Varieties Competition at SAF’s annual convention was a great opportunity for growers to show off their finest fresh cut flowers, greens, potted flowering plants, bedding plants and foliage. This year there were 238 entries from 22 companies. SAF will publish the winning entries and Best in Class in their next Floral Management magazine.

October/November 2010 | floriology

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THE DESIGNING FUTURE

by Fred Russell

Bringing Out

Talent

the

AIFD’s student competition brought out the best in young designers who are the future of the industry

O floriology | October/November 2010

One of the highlights each year at the AIFD National Symposium is the Student Design Competition which took place in Boston, July 3 to 8. BJ Dyer, AIFD, AAF, CPF served as the chair of the AIFD Student Competition Committee says, “the competition helps to give the students a tangible use for the floral design skills they are developing in class.” He went on to say, “the principles and elements of design can seem esoteric to some students until they realize that those concepts are what the evaluators will be using to judge their entries.” The competition is designed to encourage creativity while giving “real-life” experience in pressure situa-

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tions as well as get a glimpse of what they will see during AIFD certification. “This year the level of competition among the students was as high as I’ve ever seen,” says BJ. “Many of the students could step into the evaluation session for Professional Floral Designer accreditation and pass without breaking a sweat,” he adds. We all place a value on education and the goal of AIFD is to elevate the design level of the floral industry through education. A critical part of early education is the establishment of student chapters at schools where a floral design course is part of the curriculum. BJ validates the importance of education

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Bailey Anne Wilson as,“teaching students the principles and elements of design, providing them with a strong core floral education, giving them something to build on as they continue their careers. Without developing quality design in our people, the future potential in our industry will be lacking.” Recently, floriology spent time with two special young ladies who participated in the Student Design Competition. Bailey Anne Wilson and Rupali Shete finished first and second respectively in the overall contest in the competition. Bailey Anne Wilson is studying floral design and marketing at the Wooster Campus of Ohio State University and graduates this December. This was her first entry into the competition. When starting school, Bailey knew she wanted to do something creative and when she learned about the floral design program she thought it would be a great way to express her artistic side. She was encouraged by her instructor Teresa Lanker to participate in the competition and admits she was nervous beforehand. “The competition was overwhelming at first, all the extravagant designs were beautiful—I’ve never seen anything like it before,” says Bailey. She realized the importance of the whole experience and it allowed her to be creative, but at the same time learn about basic mechanics and fundamentals rather than just pumping out arrangements. After college, Bailey would like to get her AIFD accreditation and work in a flower shop to learn the ropes and someday have her own business which would include event planning. For Rupali it was her third time in the event after participating in Chicago in 2008 and Kansas City in 2009. Rupali began floral design as a hobby and then took classes at Triton College, in River Grove, Ill. She has also studied in London. Rupali says of the competition,“from my point of view, we all gather together with only one purpose and that is to appreciate art and it was a wonderful learning experience.” She adds that the competition is like a journey, which takes you to all different levels of emotions. Spending time with the other students and designers was inspiring adds Rupali. It is her dream to get her AIFD accreditation and she is looking forward to pursuing other design opportunities.

The 2011 National Symposium will be held in San Francisco (July 2-8, 2011).

OVERALL 1 | Bailey Anne Wilson Ohio State University 2 | Rupali Shete Triton College 3 | Elisabeth Hall Cal Poly State University

OVERALL SCHOOL Cal Poly | Melinda Lynch AIFD Advisor, Participating students on team: Carrie Thengvall, Jaclyn Wiley and Elisabeth Hall

PEOPLE’S CHOICE Bailey Anne Wilson Ohio State University

BUFFET/FOOD TABLE DESIGN 1 | Bailey Anne Wilson Ohio State University 2 | Rupali Shete Triton College 3 | Roni Roberts College of Southern Nevada

NAPKIN FLOWER DECOR 1 | Rupali Shete Triton College 2 | Bailey Anne Wilson Ohio State University 3 | Candace Camp Mississippi State University

FLOWERS TO CARRY / BOUQUET DESIGN 1 | Elisabeth Hall Cal Poly State University 2 | Maria Magdalena “Mady” Reese Triton College 3 | Haley Grau Kishwaukee College

SWEETHEART TABLE DESIGN 1 | Lyndsay Bailey College of Southern Nevada 2 | Shannon McCaffrey College of San Mateo 3 | Mary Coffee Texas A&M

Rupali Shete

October/November 2010 | floriology

And the Winners Are...

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OWNER’S CORNER

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THE WINE GLASS IS HALF FULL

by Fred Russell

More than

Just

Flowers The Rees family understands business is more than just offering beautiful arrangements

floriology | October/November 2010

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Mike Rees and his parents Gayle and Donna, run a thriving floral business in Gahanna, Ohio located just outside of Columbus. For over 32 years they have been providing their customers with outstanding service and diversified products that have allowed them to excel through all the economic downturns since the late 1970’s. For these reasons, they are a good choice to help round out the first year of floriology. Let’s start from the beginning. Mike’s father, Gayle, began his career working in greenhouses, which are prevalent throughout southern Ohio. He later attended the prestigious Hixson School of Floral Design in Lakewood, Ohio. He and Donna met while working at a flower shop in Columbus, and they later bought an existing store in 1978. It wasn’t long before Gayle became one of the most talented and respected floral designers in the state. During the first few years, Gayle and Donna spent most of their time at the shop, running the business and designing. Mike was just six years old when his parents purchased the shop and says, “I would spend a lot of time in the shop helping my dad sweep the floors and cleaning buckets while he finished up paperwork and any funeral work that might have to be done.” When Mike speaks of his father, the admiration and respect for the business he has built is evident. When he became old enough, Mike went to college and during his junior year, he had a moment when he realized his ambition was to run the family flower shop. “I was sitting in a business class and it just hit me that I know I want to eventually run the family business and I’ll learn more working with my father than sitting behind my desk,” explains Mike. That was in 1994, and from that day on, Mike went to work full time at the shop.

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FAST FACTS Owners:

Gayle Rees, President Mike Rees, Vice-President Donna Rees, Secretary/Treasurer

Shop:

Rees Flowers and Fine Gifts

Established: 1978

Location:

Gahanna, Ohio

Employees:

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October/November 2010 | floriology

>>> Mike Rees is standing with his father, Gayle, and his mother, Donna, seated in front.

13 PHOTOGRAPHY BY CREATIVE IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

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OWNER’S CORNER

Fave Wine Selections

Here are some varietals that Mike recommends and are all under $30:

floriology | October/November 2010

❋ Bouchaine Pinot Noir, Acacia Chardonnay, Costello di Bossi Chianti Classico, Kunde Zinfandel, Freemark Abbey Merlot, Goode-Ready Merlot, Atalon Cabernet Sauvignon

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Last month BloomNet President, Mark Nance, AAF visited Mike at the shop while he was out visiting florists. “Not only is it a beautiful floral shop, but a shop of the future. Mike has not accepted any excuses from the economy and they are building their business based on what their existing customers want,” says Mark. Himself, a wine enthusiast, Mark noticed Mike had branched into selling wines and developing this as part of their business. “They are building a

whole new clientele by providing wine tastings and wine right in their shop.” Through the years, Rees Flowers and Fine Gifts, have always looked at ways of supplementing their core floral business. Back in 1987, they received their license to sell and distribute wine in their store. “It is a great opportunity for us to up-sell a customer with a nice wine selection to go along with flowers and a box of chocolates,” says Mike. About two years ago they decided to expand this business and build a wine

tasting room so they could host wine tasting events and parties. The décor of the room is warm and inviting and makes everyone feel right at home. “We have about 2,000 bottles on site and keep our offerings very unique,” says Mike. They steer away from the everyday brands and pride themselves on finding the latest vintages for a good value. “We like to think we can find great wines that taste like the high-priced ones, but aren’t,” Mike says. Their selections include things

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They jumped in feet first and became a gold circle dealer for Disney collectibles as well as Department 56. “It’s a huge investment, but you have to take chances in this industry and my dad was right on this one.” In addition they carried the high end lines like Hummel, Faberge Eggs and Swarovski Crystals. Perhaps the most profitable line they carried was Beanie Babies, which of course became a phenomenon in the late 90’s. “We’ve always taken pride in being able to offer our customers a variety of gift lines and couple with their floral purchase—double the sale!” The shop still carries a wide variety of high end products like Franz Fine Porcelain, Badash Crystal, and Ne’Qwa hand painted ornaments. Just as important as knowing when to get into a business, it’s equally as important to know when it might be a good time to segue into other opportunities. “When things started to taper off, we kept a close eye and monitored the purchasing patterns,” says Mike. The business did very well for them and they rode the wave for as long as possible and it paid off big time. Mike says he first noticed a shift in his customer’s buying habits that pointed to a slowing in the economy. “More and more people were buying on credit, so I could foresee a possible recession coming,” says Mike. However, he didn’t panic because of the way they had diversified themselves over the years. “We were fortunate and made some good decisions; and probably a little lucky with the collectibles’ business,” says Mike. So while the industry faced challenges, they were able to survive and reinvested in things like their wine business. They also used this to their advantage in negotiating with wholesalers and other manufacturers since there was less competition. Another industry changing occurrence was the growth of the Internet in the early 90’s and the advent of order gatherers. “At the time I told my dad

this was something we need to get involved in early and we were one of the first florists in central Ohio to have a website. You could tell it was going to be a great marketing tool, but it can’t replace your business,” says Mike. “As far as order gatherers and the mass marketing I keep a pulse on what they are doing, but we haven’t swayed on our core business. We continue what we do best—provide great customer service no matter the occasion and they will be your customers for life,” adds Mike. There are some things the Internet can not replace. “Floral and gift buying is not like buying shoes, it’s an emotional purchase and our customers want to have confidence in what they are giving,” says Mike. Mike’s mother and father are still involved in the business, but spend a lot of time at their home in Florida while Mike runs shop. When Mike has free time he spends it with his wife, Diana and their three beautiful children, who he hopes will be the third generation in training! He also loves to slip in a round of golf occasionally. He takes the family business very seriously because it’s something his mother and father started. “My parents built this business and it’s up to me to continue for my children and to make them proud,” concludes Mike.

October/November 2010 | floriology

that aren’t normally found in your fine wine stores. They have a wide selection of wines that come from all over the world. Typically they throw between 1 to 2 events a month that range from corporate functions to bachelorette parties. It is a great way to get new customers into the store. During the 1980’s the collectible business was booming so this became another innovative way to complement their floral business. “My father saw it coming early, and we jumped in fast.”

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DESIGN CENTER

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BACK TO BASICS

by Jackie Lacey, AIFD, CFD, PFCI

Creating an Important

VISUAL EFFECT Using strong lines as proposed in the principles and elements of design can help florists develop arrangements with visual impact

T Designer: Jackie Lacey, AIFD, CFD, PFCI Experience: Over 27 years

floriology | October/November 2010

Exposure: Formally owned retail flower shops in Tennessee, Texas, and South Carolina.

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Education Specialist for Floriology Institute and AIFD Membership Committee Co-chair Award winner in numerous competitive floral design contests

The elements and principles of design are a set of universal building blocks that are interpreted a bit differently from art form to art form but have the same basic line of thought and application. And AIFD has established the elements and principles of design as the guidelines of how to assemble and how to understand the characteristics of floral design and to create a “oneness” of thought and to help establish a unified basis for all design. The AIFD “Guide to Floral Design” terms, techniques and traditions outlines the Elements and Principles of Design and has continuing educational classes on this vast, significant topic. I wanted to focus on the various ways lines can be developed. Listed here are representations of how lines can be achieved. From page 97 in The Principles and Elements of Floral Design book the following is written: “The term “Elements and Principles of Floral Design” is a collective one which refers to the attributes, characteristics, and artistic guidelines, tangible as well as intangible, that are part of every floral composition. ❋ ELEMENTS | Line/Form/Space/Texture/Pattern/ Fragrance/Size/Color ❋ PRINCIPLES | Balance/Proportion/Dominance/ Contrast/Rhythm/Harmony/Unity ❋ LINE | The vital visual path that directs the eye movement through a composition.” With a strong composition line, a viewer can follow the lines through the design and appreciate each element. Without it, the composition’s line becomes disconnected, and the viewer can get lost in the design and direction to follow. In the arrangement labeled #1, we can see how this could have wide appeal with its sleek and mod-

ern take on a dozen roses. Again the eyes can follow the vertically designed roses but will want to go in the direction of the beautiful flax, which adds that modern touch to the vertical design style. This is a great representation of dynamic line with its slanted directions that take your eye into the design and back out again. In arrangement #2, the line we see in this design is obvious and distinct. It is easy to see the visual path your can take with this design—both horizontally and vertically—and how they connect and carry the eye as it moves through the composition. The green bells of Ireland show the eye a vertical line rising from the horizontal plane of the container. Even with the playful curve of the bells, we still know it is purposeful and strong. The orchid travels in the same curve to strengthen the line even more. And to help keep the strong vertical line from overwhelming the line of the container a monstera leaf and roses were used to balance out the horizontal line and add weight to the base. As the holiday season is upon us, arrangement #3 is a nice festive centerpiece possibility. Almost everything about this is a study in line. Strong vertical and horizontal lines are controlled with the Lomey support columns and enhanced with floral product. The unopened lily buds are a great use of product and the greenery adds an action and reaction to the center point of the design and add lines themselves. This is a modern twist on the holiday centerpiece that is contemporary with a traditional touch. To understand and appreciate all forms of art better, we need to learn and understand these principles and elements, apply them to each design we do, and take every opportunity to advance the appreciation of floral art to all.

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� Jackie selected a few arrangements from BloomNet’s new Floral Selection Guide, which will be released this fall. These arrangements demonstrate the importance of creating a strong line in corresponding with the principles and elements of design.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE

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L E A R N I T, L I V E I T

by Mike Pucci

Silver Bells:

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY This holiday season, make your business shine with superior service

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floriology | October/November 2010

efore you know it, sleigh bells will be ringing. And hopefully, so will your cash registers. One of the best ways to prepare for the holiday selling season is to re-emphasize the importance of good customer service. Not only can this increase your profit possibilities, it’s an opportunity to make your shop stand apart from your competitors. “The holidays are an emotional and hassle-filled season for many people,” says Petra Marquart, principal, Petra Marquart and Associates and author of the best selling book, The Power of Service: Keeping Customers for Life. “If you make customers happy and give them a reason to return to your shop, they will...and you will also get a leg up on your competition.”

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tomer who is choosing to buy from you.” Conversely, many customers will come to you with plenty of holiday spirit. Certainly, that can work in your favor. You can expand on the positive energy, use it to your advantage in working with your customer to meet all their needs and make sure they leave your shop in an even better mood than when they came in. In other words, whether customers are smiling or stressing, the idea is to respond accordingly. “The real challenge is to try not to make their moment or manage it,” explains Petra. “Instead, be part of it.”

CAREFULLY TRAIN SEASONAL STAFF

At many retail businesses, the prevailing notion is that holiday workers will only be around for a short time, so why expend a lot of effort training them? The fact is, whether they’re seasonal help, or year round, everyone who works in your shop is a direct reELIMINATE OBSTACLES flection of your business. “Each perAnother key customer service apson who comes on staff needs to have proach for the holidays is to make a very clear message of this is who things as easy as possible for your and what you are, this is the character customers. Of course, most people and personality of the store and this is are running here and scrambling RESPOND TO EACH what we want every customer to expethere, generally remaining just short CUSTOMER’S MOOD rience,” states Petra. “Managers and of crazed during the holiday shopping Petra suggests that when a customer owners lead by example. If seasonal season. The last thing they need is enters your place of business, be staff see you slumping, acting tired, added tension. aware of their body language and then the thought with employees Perhaps, you could be more flexible tone of voice. Even though the holimight be, well, ‘that’s the way they are with your delivery policies. Or, even if days are joyous for most people, they here.’ Be the person you want your you don’t do gift wrapping, maybe may not be for all. staff to be.” you could make an exception for “You can’t assume that it’s a great Yet another suggestion: insist that those customers who purchase gifts. time of year for everyone,” she continstaff members take breaks to keep The bottom line is be flexible, beues. “Someone may have lost a loved them at their best for exceptional cuscause most shoppers want to make one and the holidays bring sad memotomer service. “During busy seasons, their lives easier—and they’ll tend to ries. Be sensitive to what you see in people don’t always think about this. recall the little things when they’re deeach customer, don’t fake merriment Employees need to get revived so ciding next time where to shop. because people can sense that and they can re-gain the become resentful. Above same energy for the next all, remember that the What customer service strategies are you planning to four hours that they put moment of sale is never utilize this coming holiday season? Let us know via email: into the first four,” says about the salesperson, floriology@bloomnet.net. Petra. it’s always about the cus-

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DIGITAL DIATRIBE:

WHAT THE iPAD COULD MEAN TO THE INDUSTRY

by Mark Nance, AAF

This is the final installment in a series Mark devoted to discussing Apple’s new iPad device.

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s I pondered what the iPad could mean to florists, my mind drifted back to 1984 when I purchased my first business PC, an IBM XT with all of the trimmings even a color dot matrix printer. I remember being questioned, ‘why do you need that thing when you can do it by hand and won’t it take longer anyway? And how much did you spend?’ Seems silly now, but it was a giant step for me and a small company to invest the time and money in an unproven technology. That’s really what the iPad is today, unproven technology, at least for the flower business. Maybe a better word is unknown versus unproven. Remember that thing called the World Wide Web? Who would have thought it would be the central repository where we not only acquire infinite information, but we also purchase most of our goods and services, including flowers 24 hours, a day 7 days a week. The Internet has changed everything; how we buy, sell, communicate, interact, meet, etc. So here is where the iPad comes in for the floral industry. It is lighter, faster, and much easier to use than a notebook and it is almost always connected to the Internet or can be. If our customers wants to buy flowers, than just like a retail store, you have to be there when they want to buy, 24x7. In other words, you must have a website and in particular, one best optimized for the format of an iPad and mobile apps as well. I know it seems far away from the business of flowers, floral design and takOff the Internet soap box, the iPad is ing care of your local customers, but just like an 800 number, life without a web a reality and thousands are being sold site can make a retail flower shop a pretty lonely place. You just have to do it daily. In my humble opinion, this deand embrace how your customers want to do business with you, especially vice has all the makings of a real game younger flowers buyers or potential buyers. changer. Imagine: All seems pretty far fetched, but all of these uses are available today on the iPad and a great deal more are coming. I was recently at a large retail store, checked their inventory for an item I was looking for on my iPad and avoided a ❋ A customer building their arrangecheck out line by paying with PayPal on my iPad. Seems crazy, but I will defiment online sending it to you and nitely go back for the convenience. them watching you design it; All technology continues to challenge us as business owners to understand ❋ Advertising specials, discounts, althe impact and the opportunities that exist in running our business more effiready made arrangements, excess ciently and staying in front of our customers. flower inventory, open house, a wine As I have heard many times, to catch a fish, tasting, a happy hour to only those you must fish where the fish are. Come on customers that come within a close in, the water’s fine. proximity or zip code to your shop; ❋ Wedding consultations online, while the bride is trying on her dress; ❋ Sending a picture or a video of a happy recipient to the sender on their iPad application; or ❋ Updating your Facebook page from home while enjoying some free time. Did I say free time? The downside is there seems to be little downtime with these things. The point here is there are so many potential applications for you, and your customers are buying and using them...hourly, so buy one yourself!

Game Changer

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ON THE EDGE

by Mike Pucci

Just

IMAGINE

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Designer V incent Petrovsky draws creative inspiration from many sources

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the beautiful arrangements that come from the imaginative eye of Vince Petrovsky are indeed something to behold. Vince is a gifted floral designer who owns Heaven & Earth Floral in West Palm Beach, Florida. He participated in the 43rd annual SAF Sylvia Cup Design Competition, held September 23rd, 2010 in Orlando. Top floral designers from around the country were asked to design three arrangements in just two hours. Although Vince did not win the competition, his creations were innovative and impressive. “I really enjoy the challenge, it tells me how I’m doing as a designer to work under that pressure,” says Vince, whose nearly 30-year career includes winning the prestigious nationallyrecognized Holland Cup award in New York City—a feat that earned him a trip to Amsterdam. “Inspiration for a design can come from anywhere,” he continues. “I always find inspiration in my customer.” This is especially true when Vince works on sympathy arrangements. “I talk with the family members, ask them to tell me about the deceased. I use their love of the person to inspire me to create something unique. Also, if I travel and see designs I like, I use that for new creations.” The first arrangement Vince created according to Sylvia Cup competition stipulations was a funeral tribute for a patron of the arts. “I suspended my arrangement high, raising my wreath above using easel wires...this made it contemporary, unusual, worthy of an art patron.” The coloring was kept simple, pink and brown and orange. Roses were used mainly, along with Bells of Ireland, and tea leaves covered the mechanics with lily grass shooting out. For the second arrangement of the competition, Vince needed to create a centerpiece for a 50th anniversary of a garden club. “My idea was to use arches with leaves which were reinforced with wires,” he says. In addition, a simple treatment of rosebuds was utilized and the rose stems supported the leaf arches. Gold coloring was added to signify the fifty-year anniversary. Rounding out Vince’s creations for the Sylvia Cup event was his third arrangement, a bridal attendant’s bouquet. “We were given protea blooms and I removed the outer heavy petals and glued them around an oasis holder into a cup shape so it looked like a large, composite flower,” states Vince. A turquoise wire collar was used as a backing, producing a stunning color scheme when combined with the protea petals, 2 which were deep pink. The arrangement was completed by small hot pink roses in the middle with a wire ball as the center focal point. “I think every design should include a personal challenge to make it a little different or better,” sums up Vince. “Rather than falling into the same pattern, we need to push ourselves to explore new techniques. I love to inspire people to be creative, and what more beautiful medium than flowers? We’re truly blessed to work with flowers.”

Designer: Vincent Petrovsky Shop: Heaven & Earth Floral, West Palm Beach, Fla. Experience: Nearly 30 years Exposure: Holland Cup Winner Participated in numerous competitions

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2010 INN

VATORS

A glimpse of this year’s winners

THIS YEAR HAS PROVEN TO BE AN EXCITING YEAR FOR OUR INNOVATOR OF THE MONTH CONTEST. WE ALREADY KNOW FLORISTS ARE CREATIVE WITH DESIGN, BUT WHO KNEW THEY WERE THIS CREATIVE WITH BUSINESS AND MARKETING IDEAS TOO. HERE IS A LOOK AT THIS YEAR’S WINNERS AND THEIR IDEAS. GO TO MYBLOOMNET.NET, TO READ MORE ABOUT PAST WINNERS.

❋ JANUARY Blossoms | Springfield, Mo. INNOVATOR: Ramona Christensen Ramona has come up with a clever idea. Whenever she or her employees visit a restaurant or other businesses, they give a Blossoms gift certificate in lieu of or in addition to a traditional tip. “We started thinking about ways we could drive people into our shop,” says Ramona. “So we decided instead of giving tips, we would take the gift certificates.” Ramona creates the gift certificates herself on her computer. For example, instead of a $10 cash tip on a $50 bill, they might give a server a $20 certificate. The idea has been very popular, both with gift certificate recipients and with the Blossoms staff.

floriology | October/November 2010

❋ FEBRUARY Rutland Beard Florist | Baltimore, Md. INNOVATOR: Skip Paal

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Skip incentivized his employees to upsell their customers during last Valentine’s Day rush and went to the bank to withdraw a couple hundred dollars worth of $2 bills. He gave each of his employees one $2 bill and told them that each time they sold a customer an arrangement that exceeded $100, they would receive another $2 cash bonus. “Once the customer purchased an $80 arrangement it made it worth it to upsell the customer with a box of chocolates, balloons, or a

teddy bear to increase the dollar amount over $100 and get your bonus,” said Skip. Over a two- or three-day period many of his employees made an extra $40 to $50. ❋ MARCH Bloomingdays Flower Shop | Tampa, Fla. INNOVATOR: Christine Vasconcelo It was just before Valentine’s Day BloomNet and 1-800-Flowers.com announced a partnership with Warner Bros. the Valentine’s Day movie starring a number of Hollywood’s “A-Listers”. All BloomNet florists received a Promotional Kit filled with Sweepstakes forms and posters. Christine Vasconcelo of Bloomingdays Flower Shop in Tampa, FL took the idea and ran with it. Using social media to spread the word Christine came up with a great package that included a dozen roses, Valentine’s Day card, tickets to the Valentine’s Day movie and the incentivized them with the chance to win the 1-800-Flowers.com Movie Sweepstakes with the winner receiving an all expensed paid trip to Hollywood. “When I found out 1-800-Flowers.com partnered with Warner Bros. on the movie, I was thrilled because I’m a BloomNet Florist.” Christine sent out messages to all her fans on Facebook and even attached the movie trailer to build excitement.

❋ APRIL Flowers Unlimited | Martinsburg, W.V. INNOVATOR: Mark Jordan Innovator, Mark Jordan, Co-Owner of Flowers Unlimited, treats his store window as a blank canvas and every six weeks or so he starts working on a new masterpiece. “We started with a Christmas display and did a big kickoff” says Mark. “Since then we change for each holiday or season and try to keep it fresh and new throughout the year to keep interest”, he adds. He gets his inspiration by taking the short trip up to New York City to get ideas. A few years ago he was able to find mechanics for moving characters on eBay that were actually used by Saks Fifth Avenue. They draw 400 to 500 people and on-lookers line up all the way down the street to get a glimpse. Customers will come into the store just to see what they are going to do next and when they’ll have something new. ❋ MAY Firefly Florist | Niskayuna, N.Y. INNOVATOR: Tina Dalaba Tina is always thinking about ways to reach the younger generation knowing that they are going to be her customers for years to come—if she can just get them to place one order with her store. Prom season is a great time of year to target the “Y” generation.

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And the best way to connect with them is to reach them where they spend most of their time—on their mobile phones and on their computers checking into their Facebook account. “I first started trying to reach younger customers on MySpace, and then about a year and a half ago, I opened up a Facebook account.” She went to the “Invite Friends” section of Facebook and typed in a few names of some local high schools. When the names of the students appeared she invited them to be her friend. She got hundreds of responses and this idea tripled her business in one year! F JUNE Ballard Blossom | Seattle, Wash. INNOVATOR: Rachel Martin Always trying to stay ahead of the curve Rachel and her husband David looked into a new mobile application available through their Sprint mobile service called etrace to help with their deliver services. “It’s a great way to manage and streamline your delivery schedules all through your cell phone” says Rachel. They have an average of about 100 deliveries per day, up to 1,600 during the holidays. The service can create a turn-by-turn route for the drivers with customized reporting features. You can track where your drivers are at all times and creates better accountability for the drivers. “Once the delivery is made the driver can enter on the phone which goes straight into our Point-of-Sales system and if the sending customer left an e-mail address they will get instant notification of the delivery!” says Rachel.

Jeanie Hinton of Flowers by Jeanie had an unexpected request from one of her customers. A mom walked into her store and asked if she would host

F AUGUST Lenox Village | Nashville, Tenn. INNOVATOR: Kathy Harriman Kathy has been aggressive in her marketing efforts and tries to keep up on the latest technology to support her efforts. “We’ve been on the social marketing scene for a while and have our web page, but thought it was time to try something new” She always heard the next big thing so she thought she should look into it to see how it works. Currently they are sending about 2 texts a week. Kathy warns that you don’t want to send out too many and spam your customers to

death. The first one they tried was a 20% off discount and then Kathy attempted a cash and carry offer and the orders started to trickle in. “The cash and carry is a great way for us to compete with the mass markets, because we can offer a $15 to $20 arrangement,” says Kathy. F SEPTEMBER Enjoy Flowers | Laurel, Md. INNOVATOR: Meredith Grant “One of our 2010 goals was to increase our balloon sales 15% over 2009,” says Meredith Grant, owner of Enjoy Flowers in Laurel, Md. “Currently, we’ve increased our sales by closer to 20%” said Meredith “We purchased an inexpensive balloon corral that is affixed to our store ceiling. It immediately draws the attention of our walk-in customers who can easily see our balloon options and opt to add one or two to their carry-out order,” she added. Furthermore, Meredith is always on the lookout for opportunities to donate balloons and balloon-related products. “So far, we have donated balloon arches to local high schools and a children’s charity event. These efforts have resulted in both increased balloon and fresh cut flower sales,” adds Meredith.

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F JULY Flowers by Jeanie | Mankato, Minn. INNOVATOR: Jeanie Hinton

her daughter’s 7th birthday party. After a couple of slow Saturdays and some thought, she convinced herself it was a great idea and she would give it a whirl. “Each child arranged flowers in a terra cotta pot in the newly custom designed container” says Jeanie. She was able to share her passion for flowers with the future designers and had a great time! Then came a second request, a third and then a fourth an now she has booked more than 30 birthdays and knows this has turned into incremental business. Jeanie promotes her birthday parties with innovative radio spots and with innovative window displays.

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OCTOBER F

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VATORS

Reaching Out, Building Business ALICE ARCURI IS TAKING HER MARKETING ACUMEN TO GROW.

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lice Arcuri of Booth House of Flowers in Stratford, Conn., is one of our innovators and while she has only been in business for six months and has had the daunting task of regaining the confidence of her customer base. She had bought an existing shop that in the past had enjoyed superior name recognition within the community, but had suffered because of a change of ownership a few years ago. “I initiated a number of marketing efforts to get our name out there once again, which included a Booth House of Flowers Business of the Week program,” says Alice. “Each week I select a small business in my town and present them with a framed certificate naming them the business off the week along with an arrangement tied specifically to them,” she adds. She also gives them

customized coupons just for their customers with a tracking code so she can track her results. She also uses her ad space in her local newspaper to publicly acknowledge the businesses who have earned the Business of the Week title. “It’s free advertising for the business so they really appreciate it.” Another affiliation she has is with one of the largest sports center establishments in the state that attracts over a million people a year. “Each week we create an innovative and contemporary piece usually between six and eight feet, which goes on round table at the entrance of the facility,” explains Alice. In exchange the sports center sends out coupons from her shop. As a result she has booked several corporate events and other parties from this exposure. She’s is heavily involved in her community. “I am on the board of the Stratford Chamber of Commerce and the Stratford, Stratford YMCA and the Stratford Visiting Nurses Association.” And this old-fashioned approach is working for her.

Charity and Community Involvement MARIANNE AND SHARON LAPIER HAVE AN INTERESTING TWIST ON HOW THEY HELP THEIR LOCAL COMMUNITY

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aPier’s Flowers & Gifts in Sarnia, Ontario has been in business for 12 years, but it was one of their first ideas that have been one of the most inventive. When the mother/daughter team of Marianne and Sharon LaPier first opened their doors they were conscientious to set themselves apart as a community minded florist and local business. Just like most florists, they were inundated with requests from local organizations, clubs and charities asking their support through fundraisers and donations. “Since we were a new, up and coming business, we were not able to say yes to everyone, but we really wanted to be able to support our community so we came up with an opportunity that would help everyone,” says daughter Marianne. They wrote a letter that could be provided to all the supporters of each organization stating that instead of providing a door prize or gift card we would do an on-

going fundraiser to help support their cause throughout the year. “All they had to do was mention the organization by name when they made a purchase and we would donate a portion of each sale back to the group.” Twice a year they would send a check to each of the groups that had made purchases. The ones that really support and promote do very well and we create new business and build our clientele. They are involved with 42 groups, which means the LaPier name is out there building their brand and supporting the >>>Marianne LaPier community.

With just one month to go make sure you get your innovative ideas into floriology ASAP! By being selected you will receive a $250 check, a designers kit and recognition plaque. You will also be eligible for the Innovator of the year and could win a Luxury Included® vacation for two to a Sandals Resort! Submit your ideas to innovator@bloomnet.net.

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HAPPY HOUR ADDITIONS

Cheers! Here’s to Frank

Frank Brice, AIFD, PFCI, tweaks the Happy Hour collection to give you more reasons to lift your glasses

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ach quarter BloomNet hosts a group of top designers from across the country for a Design Council to come up with new concepts for new product lines. This time was a little different as 1-800-Flowers.com designers were included as well as veteran designer Frank Brice who is a regular at the council and on the BloomNet trade show circuit. “It was an interesting collection of designers with different mindsets; more with retail experience this time around that provided a good mix,” says Frank. The designers are intentionally not given a lot of parameters so they can really get their creative juices going. Julie McCann, senior vicepresident of product development and photography at 1-800-Flowers.com oversees the council and wants to inspire spontaneity and a freeflowing process.

DESIGN COUNCIL by Fred Russell

One of the concepts Frank was chosen to work on was the “happy hour” assortment to try and add some luster to the already popular collection. Frank, as always, did not disappoint. He came up with some great new twists for the line-up. “I tried to change the composition of the design and work within the confines of the vessel,” Frank says. He also took a small block of foam, and glued it to the base of the container to take up the space. To add visual appeal, Frank says you can add beads or marbles. As for the flowers, instead of using a mound of carnations within the margarita glass, Frank used more prominent flowers that fit within the glass, which gave it a larger look and feel, as well as a unique distinctiveness. “I used two Asiatic blossoms and one open rose in one of the margarita glasses which really opened up the design—I wanted to avoid the roundy-moundy feel.” Frank also tried to enhance the happy hour containers by wrapping the glass stem with Oasis colored aluminum wire to add some visual appeal. In another attempt to add color, Frank decided to use different colors of foam and created a fruit skewer. Frank says you can buy premade foam in chunks. In this case he used orange for cantaloupe and green for honeydew to appear as the fruit on a skewer. “It’s important for a designer to take a step back every once in a while, like with the happy hour collection. It’s a nice product, but just like everything every once in while it needs to be tweaked to avoid getting stagnant, which should be applied to everything in your store.” A good reminder for everyone.

Let us know how you try to introduce new products into your store. E-mail your photos to us at floriology@bloomnet.net!

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INDUSTRY TRENDS

by Mike Pucci

Diminishing AS ATTENDANCE DECLINES, INDUSTRY LOOKS FOR ANSWERS

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Have conventions and other trade shows outlived their relevance, fallen short of their return on investment and perhaps bypassed their usefulness in today’s floral industry landscape? We think not. Yet, many trade events throughout the industry, which in the past had attracted throngs of attendees, are now facing continually lower numbers of visitors. And we’re not alone. In April, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released its 2010 Index of trade show activity across a comprehensive range of market sectors in the United States. According to the Index, the

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U.S. trade show industry overall experienced a 12.5 percent decline in 2009. The decline is four times greater than the largest previous loss of 3.1 percent in 2008. REASONS FOR THE DECLINE

You can probably surmise many of them for yourself. The economy, of course, is a prime reason. Creating a display booth, staffing it with personnel and paying for exhibition space at a show can be expensive. Without question, the economic downturn has had a profound impact on the reduction in both exhibitors and visitors at

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trade shows – and it’s not just in the floral business. As you can see from the CEIR findings above, the recession’s tentacles have found their way into virtually every industry. Travel budgets have been cut, making it harder for people to justify expenses. Likewise, staffs have also been trimmed, resulting in fewer people to “mind the store” when a conventiongoer leaves work behind. The Internet is a big factor as well. Products that not long ago were almost always unveiled live on a trade show floor have for years increasingly been making their debuts on seller’s websites and more recently on social media sites including YouTube. Add to that the fact that online search engines have made it so simple to find, see and learn about new products any time of the day or night from anywhere in the world. What’s more, mobile marketing via smart phones and other hand-held devices is quickly gaining ground as >>> SAF’s recent conference

underscored the value of attending such shows, despite the recession.

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an alternative to presenting products and services in-person. Specific to our own industry, the shrinking number of retail florist shops has obviously had an adverse affect on trade show attendance. You may remember reading in a past issue of this magazine that the number of florist shops in the U.S. decreased 14 percent between 2002 and 2007, and that was before the downturn in the economy. STILL RELEVANT, STILL VERY IMPORTANT

this year. For every board meeting, we’re meeting in a different area so we can get out and see some of our member shops and shops that aren’t members.” The visits have paid off, as more than 100 people attended the association’s Annual Convention this past September, compared to far less in previous years. Getting the word out about an upcoming show is also crucial. “We promote our show (Great Lakes Floral Expo) year-round,” says Rod Crittenden, executive vice president of the Michigan Floral Association. And as Rod emphasizes, the promotional efforts occur well in advance. “We’re working on the 2012 show as we speak, and the 2011 show (March 4-6) is still five months off.”

more about getting on Twitter or starting a Facebook fan page,” he states. “Trade shows are an opportunity to meet with other florists from around the country and learn from them directly, share ideas and renew friendships,” says Lorrie Anderson, owner of Country Florist of Waldorf, Md. At September’s SAF event (see the articles in this issue of floriology), strategies for building customer satisfaction and loyalty were presented, and new design ideas were exchanged. Speaking of design, education is still a backbone of success for retail florists. Perhaps that explains why a large percentage of the trade shows in our industry devote a substantial portion of their agendas to seminars, sessions and competiCHAD KREMP~Vice President of Sales, Kremp Florist, Willow Grove, Pa. tions focusing on creative, trend-forward floral design that can “wow” customers and keep them reGathering feedback from show visiturning for future purchases. tors is also an essential element for the Michigan Floral Association in keeping up show attendance. “We constantly ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGES evaluate the content of our show, what Florist associations are taking steps to works and what doesn’t work,” continramp-up diminishing attendance at ues Rod. “After every session each attrade shows. “The Internet has discontendee is asked to fill out a nected people in terms of personal questionnaire asking what they liked contact,” states Melanie Cornwell, and didn’t like. We use that feedback past president of the Iowa Florists’ Asto enhance future shows.” sociation and owner of Mary Kay’s Flowers & Gifts in Ames, Iowa. “We find that it’s real important to go to What do you think about trade shows? shops…so this is something that our Please send us an email: association’s board is doing more of floriology@bloomnet.net.

“Being at a show, and being with other people in your industry, talking about your business and them talking about theirs, is very important.”

October/November 2010 | floriology

Despite the declines in trade show attendance at many events, shows remain a highly valuable component of the floral marketplace. Our industry was built on a sense of community and personal interaction, a sharing of not only a love of flowers but also a passion for bringing smiles to people’s faces. The recent SAF Orlando 2010 convention underscored that sentiment, as hundreds of retail florists and other industry professionals descended on Florida to get re-acquainted, enjoy a laugh or two, and find out about the latest trends affecting their businesses. “Being at a show, and being with other people in your industry, talking about your business and them talking about theirs, is very important,” says Chad Kremp, vice president of sales for Kremp Florist in Willow Grove, Pa. Chad also reminds us that going to a show provides an opportunity to learn more about the latest avenues for growing your revenues. For instance, “more and more shops want to become tech-savvy, they want to know

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TRAVEL

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A PERSONAL JOURNEY

by Murray Dickman

Looking for

My Past

A savvy floral veteran went searching for old friends and traces of his ancestry overseas.

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floriology | October/November 2010

hen I took my first trip to Europe, I was 18 and fresh out of high school. I spent six months over there with the majority of it being spent in the City of Lights, Paris. I got quite a dose of culture, made friends, and developed a longing to return after it was over. So after almost 50 years since my last journey there, I set out for Paris again, much as I had left it— alone and with a backpack. While I’m happily married, my beautiful wife decided to sit out this journey, perhaps knowing this was about my distant past before she entered into my life.

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When I got to France, I was pleased to see the Montmartre/Pegalle area of Paris is still the home of artists, but the cost of living has risen quite a bit. While I was there, I looked up and found a boyhood friend who grew up in my neighborhood. He was someone I haven’t seen for 50 years. During the trip, I snapped photos of flower shops and took note of interesting aspects I saw. After 40 years in the floral industry, how could I not? The shops on the Champs-Elysees, for example, were beautiful stores that beckon people to go into them. Paris, the city of lovers and flowers too! After a week soaking up France—and some excellent wine and food as well—I headed to Germany to see Berlin, Munich, and Dachau. Being of Jewish

heritage, I wanted to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp. The setting was obviously sad and somber and the plaque at the camp stating, “Never Again” will echo in my heart forever. Nonetheless, I felt it important to pay my respects and reflect on it. After Dachau, I flew to Bucharest so I could catch a train from there for the final leg of my trip: Moldovia. This train only goes to Moldovia every other day, so timing is everything! While waiting for the train, I saw a couple of outdoor shops outside the train station. I arrived in Chisinau in the morning on a train that had to build in 1942. My final goal was a small town called Dusibar, Moldovia, where my paternal grandparents were from. Moldovia is now part of Eastern Europe, but was part of the Soviet Union during World War I and World War II. My grandfather fled his village in 1913—leaving behind my grandmother—but ahead of being drafted by the Russian army. While I do not have any family there now, I did want to go to the place where I had ancestral roots. Although there were no flower shops here in this tiny village, there was an incredible large central market in Chisinau where you can buy anything including fish, pickles, clothes, eggs, cheese, halava, animals, and flowers. On this three week journey to Europe, I visited flower shops in Paris, Munich, Berlin, Dachau, Bucharest, and Chisinau. I traveled 20,000 miles with just my backpack and wore out two pairs of shoes in the process. I drank enough beer and wine to last a

lifetime; reflected on some of the somber moments when reminded of what happened in Europe during World War II; saw a boyhood friend; visited some fond-old places that brought back nostalgia; and saw some quaint flower shops with beautiful presentations and arrangements. I am grateful I took the trip, and soaking it all in I raise my glass for a toast and say, “to life!’

Murray started his career in the floral industry in 1965, and owned a couple of shops in Pennsylvania. He went to work for American Floral Services in 1978 and eventually joined BloomNet in 2005. Murray recently retired, but remains a dear friend of BloomNet.

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HOLIDAY CHEER

Wine Pairings

for the HOLIDAYS

Deciding which wine works with what food and what course of the meal

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There are numerous choices for your holiday table, and you can purchase any of these wines by going to www.winetasting.com, and then enter the promo code BN20 and get 20% off wine and shipping costs!

WINE LISTINGS Here are some of our favorite selections : ALS115

Calixte Brut, Cremant d’Alsace, France AUS299

Grass Tree Semillon Chardonnay 2008, Australia WFNH08E0

Far Niente Chardonnay, Estate 2008, California WLKH07O0

Landmark Chardonnay, Overlook 2007, California SON570

Davis Family Pinot Noir, Russian River 2006, California AUS300

Grass Tree, Riverina Traminer Riesling, Australia FRA291

Maison Elise Richard Corbieres 2009, France NAP962

Bommarito Cabernet, Napa 2006, California CAL993

San Valencia Malbec, Reserve 2005, California CAL899

Hamilton Estates Merlot 2008, California WPFO06S0

Porter Family Vineyards Syrah, Napa 2006, California CAL924

Ravenswood Zinfandel, Amador, Old Vine 2006, California CAL918 San Valencia Old Vine Tawny Port, California ITA682 375ml-Vallevelbo Moscato d’Asti, Piedmonte, Italy

October/November 2010 | floriology

f you are a conscientious guest or host, then having the right wine selections to accompany your Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meals are just as important as the food being served. Large gatherings with family and friends provide an opportunity to offer variety in your varietals, according to Ann Littlefield, director of merchandising, WTN Services, which is a division of 1-800-Flowers. “There are usually more people, so it’s a great opportunity to try different styles of wines and have fun with it.” Beginning with the aperitif for both Christmas and Thanksgiving, Ann suggests an elegant sparkling wine from France like Calixte Brut, Cremant d’Alsace. This vintage is full and expressive with rich floral aromas, this wine pairs beautifully with salty hors d’oeuvres and a variety of cheeses. For the main event, as Thanksgiving often features sweeter style foods such as cranberry sauce and yams alongside turkey, stuffing and gravy, Ann recommends several varietals beginning with Chardonnay, “a good all around choice that often fits the bill,” says Ann. She suggests a fresh, fruity blend from Australia, Grass Tree, Riverina Semillon Chardonnay 2008, offering luscious chardonnay fruit and delicate round texture from the semillon; or try a richer, opulent, classic Napa Valley wine, Far Niente Estate Chardonnay 2008 or our popular Landmark Chardonnay, Overlook 2007. You can accommodate individual tastes to further complement and contrast with complex flavors at this meal. Try Davis Family Pinot Noir 2006 from California’s Russian River appellation, Grass Tree Riesling 2008 or a delightful wine from southern France, Maison Elise Richard, Corbieres—a rich, fruity blend, including grenache, mourvedre, syrah and carignane. “There is such a variety of foods, it is hard to pinpoint [one varietal]; you need a couple of different wines,” explains Ann. “If you have the luxury of serving more—even better. But if you have to narrow it down, pick chardonnay and a pinot noir.” As traditional Christmas dinners often showcase red meat, Ann recommends an elegant, ripe cherry red wine such as Bommarito Cabernet, Napa Valley 2006 or San Valencia Reserve Malbec 2005 from California’s Mendocino County. Hamilton Merlot 2008 from California is always a great choice, or hand-crafted Porter Syrah, Napa 2006. And, fruity, lively Ravenswood Zinfandel, Amador Old Vine 2006. When dessert is served, Ann says, think sumptuous San Valencia, Old Vine Tawny Port alongside a slice of pumpkin, pecan, or mincemeat pie. Try Vallebelbo Moscato d’Asti to accompany a creamy or lighter style offering.

WINE

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A CANINE CONTEST

Creating a

BUZZ

By developing a contest, customers and your employees can have some fun and excitement

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very so often, it is good to shake things up and create some excitement from the everyday routine. Here is an example of how you can get customers into your store for an event by creating a fun, interactive contest. 1-800-Flowers.com and BloomNet has developed a “How Much is That Doggie in the Window” contest, which will create enthusiasm with your design team and engage your customers. The idea is to have your designers create a-DOGG-able arrangement with its very own personality and name it. Not only does it get the designers creative juices flowing, but it will give you a high impact visual for your window display.

floriology | October/November 2010

HOW IT WORKS

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After the doggies are ready for “best in show,” display them prominently in your window, and invite passersby into the store so they can cast a vote for a pooch. You want to be sure to have good, clear signage in the window detailing how customers have a chance to win at the end of the contest. Designate a night for the contest announcement and invite them back for the in-store event! You definitely want to select a specific day or night to launch the “How Much is that Doggie in the Window Contest” and in-store event, along with the date range for the contest. Throughout the contest, you want to distribute “How Much is That Doggie in the Window” voting cards to customers which contain required fields for customers’ names, addresses, and email addresses, which you can use for future marketing efforts. PROMOTING IT

Be sure to get the word out about the contest. There are some great marketing materials to promote your contest and event through 123Print. Go to the http://bloomnet.123print.com print portal and customize your “How Much is That Doggie in the

Window Voting Card” with the individual names for each a-DOG-able arrangement. To try and get more people interested, create a campaign where you mail, e-mail, and call existing or potential customers with an invitation to come by your shop for the event and contest launch. Invite other nearby local businesses, newspapers, radio/TV station to cover the contest launch. Be sure to include the “How Much is that Doggie in the Window Contest” invitations on outgoing orders and hand them out to walk-in customers. Update reader boards/chalk boards with the contest dates and details, and cross promote the contest with a local dog groomer to bring additional foot traffic into your store. More information about the promotional materials for the contest, is available on the print portal. CONTEST PARTY EVENT

You can make it a party for the contest finale. Be sure to again invite everyone to the event, letting them know it will be a festive occasion. You can make the event is fun and interactive for your guests by serving beverages and light snacks and encourage your staff to engage with guests. Take photographs of the a-DOG-able arrangements for future marketing efforts and promotions. Tally the votes and announce the winners. You also want to e-mail all your customers and offer a bounce-back discount to encourage customers to come back into your shop. Showcase the winning a-DOG-able arrangements and runners-up in your shop for everyone to view. This is a terrific way to build up your local store marketing database while providing your customers an opportunity to participate in a fun, interactive promotion in your shop!

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GETTING KIDS INTERESTED

Helping Students

EDUCATION

BLOOM

Program rewards students’ good grades

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e’re all looking for different ways of driving customers and increasing foot traffic into your door. One creative way to create a local buzz is to generate interest is through the Good Grade Rewards Program. HOW IT WORKS

When students that receive an “A” on the report card, they can turn it into a: one free Sunflower; a Good Grade Rewards Point; or parents will receive a discount email coupon for 20% off an item of their choice. When a student earns a Good Grades Fresh Rewards Point, store employees punch the card and initial above the punch hole. When the student earns 4 Fresh Reward Points they’ll receive a free bouquet. In order to receive the bouquet, the student must present the punch card with 4 consecutive semesters. PROMOTING THE PROGRAM

Obviously you want to talk to your local schools to stir up

some interest. Here are some tips: Elementary school children and their parents are more likely to be excited about the program, and they are also key prospects for birthday party marketing; contact key PTA members in advance of the next meeting to let them know about the program, as they might be able to pass out postcards and punch cards or better yet talk about the program; public libraries and community centers are great places to drop information off on this program. This purpose of this program and these marketing tool tips is to inspire new ideas and business. Use what you like and change it around to fit your own personal marketing style and have fun with it! Let us know what types of local marketing initiatives are working for you.

FROM WHERE I SIT

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LIA JERRY ROSA

October/November 2010 | floriology

A DEAR OLD BLOOMNET FRIEND SEES THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING BOTH A GOOD DESIGNER AND A SMART BUSINESS PERSON IN RUNNING A SHOP TODAY.

hen BloomNet first started talking about doing a publication last year I was a little skeptical. But when I heard Mark Nance talk about his vision of what the publication was going to be, I became more interested and more excited, which is why I volunteered to get involved in the project and lend my eyes to it through the lens of an industry veteran. After a few months of looking at the issues, it made me think about how much the industry has changed since I started in this business back in 1956. The time for “floral hobbyists” is over and we need our industry to be “business savvy” first. There are too many flowers shop owners and not enough florists. Today’s florists not only have to be able to design, but be able to run a business. The intention of floriology in my opinion is to help support this industry through education and help the floral community grow. It is filled with articles aimed to inform florists the latest in technology, marketing, and other programs to help build your business. Business is important, but you can’t turn your back on design as this industry is filled with wonderfully talented floral artists. In the next year of floriology, I would love to see a monthly design contest. It would be a great way for florist to share their creativity and inspiration with their fellow floral friends! I believe it is important to all florists to be well rounded and floriology provides florists with the tools to learn.

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NEIGHBORHOOD CORNER

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BLOOMNET IN THE COMMUNITY

Safari-Style

WEDDING PARTY:

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Dress? Check. Flowers? Check. Lions, tigers, and elephants? Check…wait, what? Animals on a bride-to-be’s checklist? It may not be items thought of for a traditional wedding, but it actually captures a creative uniqueness one flower shop is employing in cultivating wedding business. David Bryant who is manager of Calla’s Florist in Myrtle Beach, S.C. recently had a local bride-to-be, Sara McCall, accept the suggestion to have her wedding at a local safari-themed park. This park, Myrtle Beach Safari, is an enclosed outdoor compound where people can go out on tours to view various wild animals including elephants, tigers, snakes, and birds. During the planning, they realized that Sara’s wedding date conflicted with the safari animals’ road tour schedule. Rather than miss this unique opportunity altogether, they decided to have a professional photographer shoot photos of Sara in full bridal attire with flowers alongside the wild animals at the park. “After everything was said and done, the animals had dinner,” jokes David of the flowers’ fate post photo shoot. The bride-to-be is still planning a safari-styled wedding this fall at a country club and the photos taken at the safari park will be shown at the reception. David says they are planning on working with the safari park to develop it as a venue for themed weddings. And as part of ramping up the business for it, they are going to be attending wedding shows where Sara’s photos with the flowers and animals will be prominently displayed. David says they already have local wedding vendors lined up for it. One of the owners of Calla’s Florist, Robert Gerba, adds the park is going to be a venue that, “gives brides the opportunity to have an exotic, safari-themed wedding.” While Calla’s has an existing relationship with the park already—making the logistics of pulling off a safari wedding easier—other florists might want to consider the potential value of cultivating new relationships with companies that may be able to help them create a setting for a themed-wedding or event. David believes it is about taking a different approach that can allow florists to garner unique business opportunities. “You just have to get away from the hydrangea, rose, and carnation wedding,” asserts David. “You have to just think out of the box.” With this mindset, you too might be having a roaring good time with business.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JONATHAN CARTER WWW.CARTERSTUDIOS.COM

floriology | October/November 2010

A Roaring Good Time


Floriology 2010 Anniversary Issue (Oct-Nov)