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October/November 2011

E X P R E S S I O N S O F F L OW E R S ®

Still Celebrating floriology’s

2nd Anniversary


Floriology Institute Celebrates 1st Anniversary

BloomNet honors Bill Plummer,  with first-ever Perennial Award

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Mark Nance, AAF President, BloomNet P UB LISHER

BloomNet, Inc. (866) 256-6663 SENIO R ED ITO R

Lisa Carmichael MA N AG I N G E D I TO R


Len Vermillion, Megan Sullivan








Ted Marlowe Jerry Rosalia

4 The Coffee Pot

22 Innovators

6 Industry Info

25 Education

8 By the Stats

26 Quality Care

Feedback from industry experts, plus BloomNet engagements!

floriology is published monthly by BloomNet, Inc. Printed in the United States, Copyright 2011. 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. 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.

floriology | October/november 2011

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. Annual Subscription Rate is $71.88 (plus applicable tax) in U.S. and Canada.

NAFA’s Designer of the Year, Gen Y, and BloomNet’s Perennial Award.

Facts from the “State of the Indus-

try: Florists in the U.S.” report, commissioned by BloomNet.

10 Out and About

SAF annual convention, NAFA conference, and Floriology Institute.

12 Owner’s Corner

Skip Paal keeps the family business, Rutland Beard Floral Group, rolling.

16 Back to Basics

‘Daring’ bridal designs from Loann Burke, AIFD, PFCI.

18 TV

‘I Do Over’ premieres on WE tv.

19 Tech Talk

Mark Nance discusses the iPad and Steve Jobs’ death.

20 On the Edge

Manhattan event designer David Beahm makes dreams come true.

A recap of this year’s winners, plus October and November innovators.

Floriology Insitute celebrates its first year and looks ahead to 2012.

BloomNet’s Quality Care program.

28 Travel Tips

Deals and steals.

28 Book Corner

“Rene’s Bouquets for Brides” and “The Language of Flowers.”

29 Marketing

Great Bridal Expo and SoLoMo.

30 Business

Improving customer service.

30 Holiday

Prepare for the rush with a checklist.

31 Revamp

Scott’s Floral survives flooding.

31 Weddings

Vintage with modern flair.

32 Neighborhood Corner Charlie Moran helps Haiti.


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REFLECTIONS AND THINGS TO COME: LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD It’s been said that time flies when you’re having fun. As we celebrate the second anniversary of floriology, we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy bringing it to you. From the beginning, our goal was to create more than a publication designed to inform, educate and inspire. The magazine is really the embodiment of a philosophy based upon rebuilding a sense of community and belonging in the floral industry. Now, I’m proud to say, floriology has become a comprehensive monthly platform for exchanging ideas among thousands of florists as well as a trusted source of information about everything from creative design, to marketing, to technology, while remaining impartial. Also during the past two years and continuing today, we’ve focused on partnering with and supporting outstanding organizations that share our commitment to growing the industry through community, education and communication. Among those organizations are SAF, AIFD and NAFA, along with many state associations dedicated to serving retail florists and helping them prosper. What’s more, we’ve expanded our relationships with industry leaders such as Smithers-Oasis, Chrysal and Delaware Valley Wholesale Florist, inviting these and other companies to provide insights about the latest fresh floral and hard-good trends. Looking ahead, we’re excited about many things. For instance, the Floriology Institute, which opened in Jacksonville, Fla., just last year, is adding several exciting new courses. In addition, our Fresh Forums will travel the country offering ways to enhance design and other business skills while delivering great networking opportunities. As for floriology, we will strive to keep making it better. Our plans include an interactive online version, complete with live chat. A mobile app is also in the works for downloading the magazine to smartphones and iPads. I hope you enjoy this special anniversary double-issue and please send along your suggestions for future issues! This is your publication!

● BloomNet’s

Christmas Fresh Floral Pre-Book Nov. 7-Dec. 2 ● Thanksgiving

Nov. 24 ● BloomNet’s Fresh

Floral Pre-Book for Valentine’s Day Dec. 14-Jan. 3 ● Hanukkah

Dec. 20-28 ● First Day of Winter

Dec. 21 ● Christmas

Dec. 25 ● New Year’s Eve

Dec. 31 ● New Year’s Day

Jan. 1 ● Martin Luther

King Jr. Day Jan. 17 ● BloomNet

Fresh Forum Jan. 21* Jacksonville, Fla. ● 3-Day Advanced

Wedding* Jan. 23-25 Jacksonville, Fla. ● 2-Day Party

Mark Nance, aaf | President

❋ For more information e-mail floriology@

October/November 2011 | floriology

& Events* Jan. 26-27 Jacksonville, Fla.


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The Coffee Pot “Floriology is a great asset to our industry. At a time when everyone is thinking digital Web, the floriology team gives us a cutting edge magazine, filled with beautiful images and informative articles, that is easy to read and hard to put down. My older eyes love the oversized pages as well. Best wishes for many years to come!” ❋ ROD CRITTENDON ~ EVP, CEO, Michigan Floral Association

“I have had the opportunity to read numerous issues of floriology and find it to be a current and trendy addition to the educational advancement of the floral industry. From monthly regular likes “Design Center,” “Owner’s Corner” and “Marketing,” to features such as “Innovators,” floriology keeps you moving through an easy and educational read. I have found articles that have led me back to the Internet for even deeper research. Any publication that piques my interest and makes me want to learn even more is a publication that I plan on continuing to read.” ❋ BILL SCHAFFER, AIFD, CFD, AAF, PFCI ~ Schaefer Designs, Philadelphia

“Happy anniversary to floriology magazine as you celebrate your second year! Smithers-Oasis is proud to be a contributor to your publication. We appreciate all the valuable marketing resources, innovative design trends and helpful tips you give to florists nationwide. Keep up the wonderful work!” ❋ KELLY MACE ~ Marketing Programs/Communications Manager, Smithers-Oasis

“Floriology has a great mix of personal features, educational articles, shop profiles and photographs. I like that it’s straightforward and concise. It’s nice to get to the heart of the magazine without having to wade through pages and pages of advertisements.” ❋ TED BRUEHL, AIFD ~ Design Manager, The Chocolate Rose, Irving, Texas

“As I went to write, I pulled out the Oct./Nov. 2010 issue of floriology and on page 2, Mark Nance’s article was titled ‘Looking Back, Growing Forward.’ How apropos. Looking back on two successful years of floriology delivering information and floral design education to the floral industry, it is easy to see how this information helps advance (grow) the art of professional floral design and helps designers aspire to become a Certified Floral Designer (CFD) and ultimately a dedicated member of the American Institute of Floral Designers.” ❋ TOM SHANER, CAE ~ Executive Director, American Institute of Floral Designers

“I love my floriology! Staying on the cutting edge is an important part of my business. Knowing what others are doing, tips and techniques and the great stories of shop owners around the country help me stay inspired to try new things and push that edge! Great work floriology!”

floriology | October/November 2011

❋ KEBBIE HOLLINGSWORTH, AIFD ~ Owner, Kebbie Hollingsworth Floral Design

“I love the vivid photography in floriology! Each issue is an inspiration to my design team and the content is fresh and interesting.” ❋ CHRIS DRUMMOND, AAF ~ President and General Manager, Plaza Flowers


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WEDDING BELLS “Floriology accomplishes something that the other trade magazines can’t—a real connection to florists across the country. By celebrating and sharing our successes proves that in these difficult times, some things are possible. That alone makes it for me a must read every month.” ❋ KYM ERICKSON, AAF, CF, MNCF ~ MNSFA President

“Floriology provides information and resources that make it easy for designers and owners alike to stay current on best practices of flower handling. Floriology does a good job spreading the message that nothing has a bigger impact on maximizing vase performance than the correct use of flower treatments.” ❋ GAYLE SMITH ~ Technical Consulting Manager, Chrysal Americas

“I am constantly amazed by the number of non-industry readers that comment on the quality information they obtain from the pages of floriology. It is helping to educate the designer, the grower, the wholesale division and extended family of every reader. The better informed the industry and the consumer, the better we all are!” ❋ JACKIE LACEY, AIFD, PFCI, CFD ~ Senior Design Analyst and Education Consultant, BloomNet-Fitz-Floriology Institute-Napco

Wedding bells have been ringing in BloomNet over the past several months. Please join floriology and congratulate the lucky four couples as they get closer to the big day! ■ Chris Skelton, Director, Florist Designed Category, and Marianna Treglia, Marketing Manager Ma ENGAGEMENT DATE: E Nov. 14, 2010 WEDDING DATE:

Nov. 19, 2011 ■ Dave Dobbins, BloomNet Business Analyst, and Krista Pisciotto ENGAGEMENT DATE:

Aug. 20, 2011 WEDDING DATE:

July 28, 2012 “I believe that floriology is responsible for keeping designers interested in new ideas as well as having many business tips for owners and managers. I also love that you feature designers from everywhere; it’s nice to see new faces that have important things to share. It is a trendy magazine with great photos and a lot to say!” ❋ LISA WEDDEL, AIFD, PFCI ~ L Weddel Designs

■ Matt Walker, Fulfillment Supervisor, and Fran Spinelli ENGAGEMENT DATE:

April 24, 2011 WEDDING DATE:

Aug. 3, 2012

“Floriology magazine is a crucial part of educating the event professional industry and its clients. Education is the key to progression in this ever-changing business and floriology keeps its focus on the pulse of what really matters in the event world.” ❋ JES GORDON ~ Owner, Creative Director, jesGORDON/properFUN



July 16, 2011 WEDDING DATE:

June 2, 2013

October/November 2011 | floriology

“I always look forward to receiving my new edition of floriology magazine each month. The amount of experience and creativity shown from such accomplished people gives me great inspiration every time. Happy second anniversary floriology!”

■ Nicole Gandini, BloomNet Marketing Coordinator, and John Romanelli


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‘NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S FLOWERS’ Targeting Gen Y consumers in the age of social media. COMPETITION


Annual competition brings out the finest in creative talent.

floriology | October/November 2011


he National Alliance of Floral Associations “Designer of the Year,” awarded this year at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minn., is among the most prestigious floral design contests in the country. Winners of state and regional floral design contests competed for the grand title. Tony Palmieri, AIFD, of Datura, A Modern Garden, in Middletown, Conn., who represented the Connecticut Florists Association, won the competition, which was watched by more than 1,500 people. “It’s very exciting, fantastic,” Tony says. “I’m very proud for myself and for Connecticut.” Daniel Stober, AIFD, creative director for Flower Show Productions and the Chicago Flower & Garden Show in Chicago, Ill., won first place runner-up honors. Daniel represented OFA, an association of horticulture professionals. “It was a wonderful experience to be at the Mall of America and see all those people interacting with us,” Daniel said. “It’s nice to see the public engage and be interested in the floral industry.” Jerome Raska, AAF, AIFD, CF, PFCI, co-owner of Blumz by JRDesigns in Ferndale and Detroit, Mich., who was representing the Michigan Floral Association, was the second place runner up, Each designer in the competition was provided with materials and given two hours to complete three designs, which included a bridal bouquet, a funeral spray and a special “surprise package.”


magine a market of over 75 million potential customers that could translate to sales for decades to come. We’re talking about Generation Y, ages 18-29, a group that deserves serious marketing consideration. Focusing on the opportunities that Gen Y consumers can bring to retail florists, BloommNet sponsored a breakfast symposium during ring the recent SAF convention. The event included a presentation by Tracy Irani, professor at the University of Florida, development director of the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources and the co-director for Scientific Thinking Educational Partnership. Her extensive experience includes not only the educational and research arena but also the marketing and advertising fields. In “Not Your Grandmother’s Flowers: Capitalizing on Emotional Response and Social Markets to Reach Gen Y Customers,” Tracy spoke of how Gen Y consumers, also referred to as “millennials,” are different than older generations. “They grew up with the soccer mom taking them to various events where everybody gets a trophy,” Tracy says. “As a result, they’re much more social.” We needn’t look any further than social networks such as Facebook and YouTube to underscore that thought. Utilizing social avenues to establish two-way communication with Gen Y consumers is a key strategy, although Tracy emphasizes building and developing relationships rather than trying to “sell” to young people via social sites. Tracy examined the emotional reactions Gen Y consumers have to flowers. As part of her research, which was funded through a grant from the American Floral Endowment, she looked at two of the most impactful characteristics of flowers: color and fragrance. Tracy utilized questionbased techniques and facial recognition software to track perceptions and physiological emotional response to color and scent. Respondents reported a preference for flowers that are red and pink, followed by yellow, purple and white. They also indicated a preference for flowers with a “sweet” scent, followed by rosy, citrusy and spicy fragrances. “Tracy really has her finger on the pulse of what young people are looking for,” says Jenny Behlings, SDCF, AAF, PFCI, owner of Jenny’s Floral in Custer, S.D. To view the presentation, go to


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Bill Plummer, aifd receives first-ever BloomNet “Perennial Award.”


n a uniquely fascinating career that began in 1958 when he opened Plummer’s Flowers in Morrilton, Ark., Bill Plummer, AIFD, has seen it all. But first, a little history. Prior to becoming a florist, Bill was actually a school teacher in Salinas, Calif., when he realized an opportunity. “I had a chance to purchase this flower shop in Morrilton. So I did. And it was my shop for 42 years,” Bill says.

1964 and was elected secretary/treasurer in 1965. In 1966, Bill became a charter member of the American Institute of Floral Designers and for several years he had the distinction of being the only member from Arkansas. He received Life Membership status in 2002. Other highlights of Bill’s illustrious career include being invited to serve as a designer for the first National Florafax convention in 1964. Bill also co-founded the Southern Chapter of AIFD and served as its president from 1975 to 1976.

and/or worked with him throughout the years. He truly is one of a kind,” says Mark Nance, AAF, president of BloomNet. “Above all else, Bill is a friend to me and has always made me feel a part of the Arkansas florist family.” WORKING TIRELESSLY FOR FLORAL EDUCATION

Among Bill’s most important endeavors has been his ongoing commitment to furthering floral design and education. “Mr. Plummer saw the need to help our members perfect their professionalism and he began the first state design competitions with the establishment of the Arkansas Cup contest. Under his direction, it later evolved into two competitions with a scholarship competition as well,” says Lou Cook, AIFD, AAF, education chairperson for the Arkansas Florists Association. Bill’s efforts help “encourage our members to perfect their skills and in so doing elevate the professionalism of the floral industry in our state.”

“I want to stay as busy as I can and do everything I can for the Arkansas Florists Association.”


Bill was first elected to the AFA board in 1960. He became AFA president in

In 1991, the Society of American Florists honored Bill with the John H. Walker award. Bill received his Arkansas Master Florist certificate in 1996. In 2000, he was given the honor of being the only Arkansasian to be elected president of the Southern Retail Florist Association. And by the way, as if he hasn’t been busy enough during his floral career, Bill also served for eight years as mayor of Plummerville, Ark., beginning in 1999. That’s right, Plummerville. The town was named for Bill’s great grandfather who had donated land for use in building a railroad. Furthermore, Bill is involved with his college alumni association at the University of Central Arkansas and he serves on the school’s foundation board. “Bill Plummer is an icon, not only to the Arkansas Florists Association members, but to the thousands of florists, exhibitors, students, manufacturers, wholesalers and suppliers who have had the very unique experience to have met


“I want to stay as busy as I can and do everything I can for the Arkansas Florists Association,” Bill says. “He’s our mainstay. He’s just a wonderful guy. And he keeps us going,” says Glenn Oswalt, AMF, first vice president of AFA and owner of Classic Flowers & Gifts in Forrest City, Ark. “He is a mentor, a friend, and an asset to the Arkansas Florists just wouldn’t function without him,” adds Jan Diederich, AMF, CPF, president of AFA and owner of Friday’s Flowers & Gifts in Fayetteville, Ark.

October/November 2011 | floriology

Along the way, Bill— who serves as general chairman and secretary/treasurer for the Arkansas Florists Association (AFA)—has been involved in many aspects of the floral industry. And now, BloomNet is proud to announce that Bill is the first recipient of our “Perennial Award” for outstanding lifetime service to the industry. “Affectionately called Father Bill by many Arkansas florists, Mr. Plummer has been an inspiration and driving force to so many,” says Bitsy Carter, three-year director of AFA and owner of Hope Floral in Hope, Ark. “Through his unmatched determination, drive and hard work for excellence and education, our state association is one of the best, if not the best, in the nation.”


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by Mike Pucci


A Snapshot

RESEARCH REPORT CITES CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES FOR RETAIL FLORISTS. BloomNet has commissioned an independent research report that provides a detailed floral industry overview. Sundale Research released the report, which was published in September 2011 and titled “State of the Industry: Florists in the U.S.” The report includes a broad assortment of statistical findings relating to retail florists as well as a discussion of industry trends. Also part of the report is an analysis of the floral marketplace and comments about how florists can address the changing floral industry and its consumers, especially during these stubbornly challenging economic times.

steady pace. This should create more opportunities for florists who generally rely on holiday or gift purchases and special occasions.” THE SOCIAL MEDIA EFFECT

The Sundale Research report goes on to say that “florists are also getting a boost from the exploding popularity of social networking websites, such as Facebook and Twitter. These sites are rekindling old friendships and creating new ones, surprisingly resulting in the purchase of more products and gifts to stay in touch with a growing network of friends.” BEHAVORIAL AND ECOLOGICAL


The Sundale report states that, “reAccording to the Sundale Research recent studies on the health benefits of port, “florist industry sales should adflowers will help drive industry sales vance at a steady pace over the next over the next few years. The SAF/FPO few years as the economy continues (Society of American Florists/Flower to recover, disposable incomes rise, ❋ In 2010, retail florist sales in the U.S. inPromotion Organization) Alliance and consumer confidence increases. In creased 2.5% versus the previous year to continues to leverage the positive addition to rising disposable incomes, $7.0 billion* research findings from the Harvard a few other factors will positively afMedical School/Massachusetts fect demand for cut flowers, plants, ❋ From 2010 to 2015, florist sales are exGeneral Hospital, which definitively and similar products over the next pected to increase an average of 1.1% per concluded that flowers have positive few years. Consumers have become year, totaling $7.39 billion in 2015* effects on human behavior traits such increasingly interested in outdoor liv❋ In 2010, the average sales per florist in the as anxiety, stress, compassion, and ing spaces and gardening, which has U.S. increased by 3.3% to $411,740* general psychological well-being. sparked sales of flowers and plants for SOURCES: *Sundale Research “In addition to health, consumers these areas. have become increasingly interested “This has carried over into the home in the environment. The overall movewhere consumers are decorating with ment toward environmentally-friendly products has led to an more fresh flowers and plants. A renewed interest in the environexplosion in the organic industry and everything ‘green.’ This has ment and the popularity of ‘green’ living are also facilitating this carried over to flowers and is providing a unique opportunity for trend. florists who offer organic products.” “Although nearly 70 percent of flower purchases in the U.S. are gifts, the percentage of self-purchases is growing at a

floriology | October/November 2011



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with Peter J. Moran

CEO, Society of American Florists BATTLING COMPETITION

“Florist industry sales should advance at a steady pace over the next few years as the economy continues to recover, disposable incomes rise, and consumer confidence increases.”

Peter: I think people are guardedly optimisbut no matter what business you are tic bu in I think everyone is wondering if we are going to fall backward into another ar recession. re

floriology: What factors do you see flo (economic or otherwise) that are shaping (eco state of the industry? the st Peter: Unemployment and overall consumer Une confidence are clearly two major factors impacting fid spending in is the fear of the unknown... everyone is looking for some clear sign that the economy is improving. The volatility of the stock market this past year leaves consumers shaky...the reality is you have neither lost nor gained in the market until you decide to get out so the swings are on paper but nonetheless it does affect the psyche of the American consumer.

floriology: What are the challenges currently facing retail florists? Peter: I see two major challenges...the first is the flower message...meaning the reason to buy and make flowers part of one’s life is being overshadowed with messages from other gift categories...people are predisposed to buying flowers but as an industry we have not been successful in getting that top of mind position with consumers except on the major holidays. The second challenge is the Internet as it is creating a whole new way to market flowers but at the same time it comes with many challenges that florists never had to deal with before. Having a dynamic website that is user friendly is key for long range survival, especially as the X and Y generations mature.

floriology: What do you anticipate will drive industry growth for the future? Peter: Again, I think it is all about having a website presence and using the various social media avenues to market and build sales.

October/November 2011 | floriology

e recomAlso contained in the “State of the Industry” report are mendations to retail florists regarding ways to grow their eir businesses. The report explains that, “traditional retail florists have more competition than ever before. Superrmarkets, online retailers, and other mass merchandise outlets are among the many channels selling flowers. “In 2010, for example, floral department sales at supermarkets approached $800 million. In response to this growing competition, florists have been implementing a few successful strategies over the past few years, which will be key for long-term growth and survival in this industry. “Florists generally offer a wider selection of productss and tend to have higher quality flowers compared to other ther outlets. These are significant attributes that should be promoted promoted. Retail florists are also in a unique position to provide better customer service than most outlets, since flowers are their primary business (as opposed to grocery stores, etc.). Customer service and quality products are two key factors consumers consider when choosing a place to shop. “Since marketing and public relations programs often require a substantial financial investment, many florists are taking advantage of the speed and reach of the Internet. A website can be a successful marketing tool, even for independent retail florists. Consumers can get familiar with a florist’s products and prices before coming into the store. Also, an effective, easy-to-navigate website can help traditional florists compete with online retailers while bolstering local customer relationships. A website helps florists stay in touch with their customers via message boards and e-mail mailing lists. “Facebook and Twitter can also be utilized to reach more customers. Facebook is a great way to display pictures —The Sundale Research report, of new products and “State of the Industry: Florists in the U.S.” shop specials, as well as announce special events and the latest flower shop news. Meanwhile, a Twitter account enables florists to send information to customers instantly by providing such information as product announcements and tips for flower arrangements and proper care. Mobile device shopping has also become essential to expanding florists’ customer base, especially among the millennial generation (persons generally born between 1979 and 1994).”

floriology: What are your general feelings about the of the floral industry? current state o


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The SAF Annual Convention was held Sept. 14-17 at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif. BloomNet sponsored a breakfast symposium and a hole at the annual golf tournament.

BloomNet Vice-President of National Accounts Chuck Yearick with BloomNet Marketing Coordinator Nicole Gandini at the American Floral Endowment Dinner. SAF’s Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Sparks presents Mark Nance,  a thank you plaque for sponsoring the breakfast symposium (read about the symposium on page 6).

floriology | October/November 2011

BloomNet National Sales Director Gino Marotta and BloomNet President Mark Nance,  get ready to tee it up.


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The National Alliance of Floral Associations (NAFA) met in Minneapolis October 1-3 (read more on page 6).



2011 NAFA conference attendees, from left: First row (bottom): Dianna Nordman, , Texas State Florists’ Association; second row: Bob Heffernan, Connecticut Floral Association; Kym Erickson, , CF, MNCF, Minnesota State Florists Association, third row: Paul Simpson , Nebraska Florist Society; Kathleen Johnson, , Wisconsin Upper Michigan Floral Association; fourth row: Candy Cannon, Wisconsin Upper Michigan Floral Association; Gary Tharnish, Nebraska Florist Society; Sylvia E. Samuel,  Nebraska Florist Society; fifth row: Randy Wooten , , , Georgia State Florist Association; Pat Phillips, , Ozark Floral Association; Mary Ann Blood, Floral Association of the Rockies; sixth row: Pat Berry, Texas State Florists, Association; Bob Larson , Wisconsin Upper Michigan Floral Association; Michelle Gaston, ; seventh row: Annie Whittaker, Utah Professional Florist Association; Jody BrownSpivey , , ; eigth row (top): Rod Crittendon, Michigan Floral Association.


Tony Palmieri AIFD, from Datura, A Modern Garden in Middleton, Conn., won the 2012 NAFA National Designer of the Year.

Onlookers at the Mall of America, where the Designer of the Year was held.



October/November 2010 | floriology

Donald Yim AIFD, CPFD was the instructor for the Advanced Techniques for Contemporary, High Style and European Designs at the Floriology Institute Oct. 3-5.

Choy Falvey of Choy’s Flowers & Ikebana in Hendersonville, N.C., during Donald’s class.


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by Fred Russell

Rolling Right Along

floriology | October/November 2011


Business is booming for Skip Paal and the Rutland Beard Floral Group.

Skip Paal, owner and president of Rutland Beard Floral Group, reluctantly stepped into the family business just nine years ago, and it has grown from two to six shops plus a design center. With five stores in the Baltimore area and one in New Jersey, business is booming. His great grandfather opened the first store in Catonsville, Md., in 1923. Skip may be a fourth generation florist, but he first had his eyes set on another career path. He studied travel and commercial tourism at Ithaca College in New York and pursued a career in the travel industry. Soon after, 9/11 happened and Skip was led back to the flower shop his father now owned. “After about one week without a paycheck the floral business looked like a pretty good option for me,” Skip says. He spoke with his father and grandfather about getting back into the family business and they were thrilled. They immediately focused on how to optimize their business. Before his father, Rutland Paal, owned the store, it was his grandparents Michael and Helen Paal that took over for Skip’s great grandfather in the early 1950s. His father was the first to expand to a second location in Towson, Md., in 1988. It was the Towson store Skip managed early in his career. “It wasn’t long before I realized if this business was going to support three families we were going to have to expand,” Skip says. In the next few years they opened up locations in Frederick, Md., Ellicott City, Md., and Baltimore. “We really tried to also optimize our locations and come up with a solid plan,” Skip says. They came up with a pretty elementary model, the spoke and wheel, to improve coverage and distribution. In 2009, they opened a design center to take care of all future orders and all same-day orders are done at the shop level. This allows his retail locations to focus on day-to-day business, optimizes their inbound wire orders and enables them to duplicate product orders easily. Their point-of-sales system routes the orders based on the delivery area. Skip is also in the process of switching his delivery vehicles over to the new Scion XB. “They get great gas mileage (about 25 mpg), are


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FAST FACTS Owner: Skip Paal Shops: Five Rutland Beard locations in the Baltimore area and a Tyrrells Flowers & Gifts in Westwood, N.J. Established: 1923 Employees: 36 full-time and 51 part-time

October/November 2011 | floriology


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floriology | October/November 2011

COMING SOON | floriology will publish a series of articles written by Skip called “Power Hour,” which will focus on small things you can do to help your bottom line without spending a lot of time.

reasonably priced ($16,000) and can hold over 20 vases in the back,” he says. Their unique shape coupled with an eye catching van wrap draws a lot of attention, giving them additional exposure. Skip looks at three things shop owners can do to increase profitability: cut cost-of-goods, cut expenses and increase sales. “We looked to achieve these things, but it seemed like it always came back to COGS, so our first initiative was to improve purchasing strategies. We had to look at how we were buying and it really came down to simple math,” Skip says. Ten years ago, Skip says you could walk into your shop, call your local wholesaler first thing in the morning and get what you needed for the day—you can’t do that anymore if you want to keep costs down. “Now we analyze what our usage was for the week, look at what we ordered during the same time last year and pre-book everything,” Skip says. He

also has been to South America to evaluate some of the farms and buys at the farm level, which he feels provides great quality and creates a nice cost savings. Skip then had to look at how he was going to increase sales. One of the best marketing programs he’s kicked off is the recipient marketing campaign. With his POS system he gathers the recipient information and coordinates a series of email and direct mail promotions. They do birthday and anniversary reminders as well as a holiday push timed to hit just before they are to make their purchases. The wire services have helped Skip build his customer list and he has embraced the services as partners. “I know when our local market has a high school dance, a wedding or special event they are going to come to us to provide that service.” Skip adds, “For those everyday occasions consumers have a million options through the thousands of websites.” Skip obviously knows when he receives a wire service order he is giving up 27 percent of the order, but also knows he didn’t have to spend one cent to advertise or pay a salesperson. And more importantly he looks at the recipient as a potential customer. Skip also has his own term for filling orders—not filling to value,


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yellow page ad,” Skip says. Try something different and test new programs to see if they work. “A good sales team will get you through almost anything so you should invest in them.” The most recent store opening is in Westwood, N.J., where Skip looks to duplicate the same spoke and wheel model he developed in the Baltimore area. Skip lives in the area, but drives to the Baltimore stores one or two times a week to check on things and for meetings. “It’s crucial to have good store managers and I’m fortunate to have excellent ones that allow me to work remotely and focus on the entire business,” Skip says. Skip views all of his employees as special assets to the business and treats them as family. “Having dedicated and loyal employees is good; so be good to them,” he says. One of the first things Skip did was establish a retirement plan for his employees. He also believes in cultivating employees and promoting from within; for example, one of his store managers started as a cashier while in high school.

October/November 2011 | floriology

or to recipe, but filling to picture. “We feel it’s important to treat that order like it’s coming from one of our own customers and if our name is on it we want to make sure they are satisfied and prevent customer dissatisfaction.” Another program Skip implemented is a holiday callout campaign that has been very successful. One week before each major holiday Skip has a telephone sales team call all customers that placed an order the prior year. “It keeps our phone traffic down before the craziness hits a couple days before the holiday and avoids those last second calls,” Skip says. About 90 percent of the time the customer places a reorder and also gives them a chance to up-sell the customer. For Christmas, Skip mails out a holiday gift list for his top buyers. It has a list of all the people they sent flowers to the previous year. They can just return it back to Skip and they take care of the rest. Skip also has several sales associates and provides them with great incentives and supplies them with the right tools to be successful. Occasionally he will bring in a professional sales trainer to help develop their sales skills. “You have to be aggressive in your market and go after those customers—there’s nothing more frustrating to me than to see a florist put everything they have into their business and spend their money on something like a


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by Megan Sullivan

If She Dares Loanne Burke, aifd, pfci, shares ‘daring’ designs for free-spirited, outgoing and playful brides.


floriology | October/November 2011

Some brides slant toward soft and romantic, while others feel drawn to earthy and natural. And then there is the daring bride—the free-spirited, bold, outgoing, playful, bohemian, don’t-care-what-anybody-thinks kind of gal. Loann Burke, AIFD, PFCI, event specialist for Furst Florist in Dayton, Ohio, and OASIS floral products design director, says the “Daring” wedding color palette really speaks to personalization and individuality. Bright colors like tangerine orange, hot pink and canary yellow really pop and scream “fun,” while allowing designers the chance to be really creative and play with textures, movement and line. “Daring” is not necessarily age dependent, Loann says, it’s for confident brides. “I think it transcends age—it’s more a feeling or confidence level,” she says. 1} The tower design is a fun and playful approach to centerpieces that still has nice line to it, Loann says. It’s made with Essentials square and oval plastic containers in strong pink and tangerine colors. Flowers color include everyinc thing from th orchids and o

roses to statice, with calla lilies connecting everything together. “It’s really textural and that’s what brides are really going for,” she says. “It creates a lot of depth and interest with different texture flowers.” The calla lily stems draw the eye down and create rhythm. 2} The colorful, swirling wire bouquet is a signature Loann design. Using needle-nose pliers, Loann easily manipulated OASIS aluminum, MEGA, and MEGA beaded wires into playful coils. The iridescent, bubble-like beads add a subtle accent. “It gives the illusion of bling but without being really blingy,” she says. For flowers, she used some spray roses, delphinium and statice. “The open work really stands out against a bride’s gown,” she says. 3} In the bubble bowl centerpiece, coiled OASIS flat wire in strong pink forms a whimsical, Slinky-like design around a single flower. Orchids add height to the centerpiece. “It’s simple but it’s got a lot of character.” 4} In addition to the calla lilies that come down, the cascade bouquet includes a mix of orchids, delphinium, and grape hyacinths. “Cascades are becoming more popular all the time,” she

Designer: Loann Burke, AIFD, PFCI

says. “That’s because we can get more detail, more line, and more individuality oftentimes expressed in cascades.” Here, flat wire coils reflect light and LOMEY triple pearl pins add accents. 5} Loann describes the shield-like oval bouquet as the “kitchen sink.” “It’s not for every bride,” she says. “It’s definitely a specific bride that leans this way.” Full of texture and depth, it features Gerber daisies, protea, different rose varieties and Veronica flowers. Midollino and MEGA wire come over top to, in a sense, shelter the bouquet. The design reminds Loann of how Flemish painters used to paint still lifes of flowers that were not in season together. Florists today have the luxury of ordering flowers from other parts of the world when they are not in season. “You can put all varieties together without fear,” she says, especially when they are of the same color palette. Ultimately, every bride wants to express herself with floral designs that directly reflect her personality. As a florist, Loann remembers not to inflict her own personal taste on the bride. With all the materials available to her, “The most fun for me is exploring the possibilities.”

Experience: Over 25 years

Exposure/Achievements: President-elect, North Central Regional Chapter, AIFD; Designs featured on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and in national print ad campaigns


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‘I Do Over Over’

vides his knowledgeable advice and helps select from a team of pros who assist with everything from preparing incredible food and choosing the ideal cocktails, to arranging for fabulous entertainment, making sure the floral arrangements are absolutely perfect, and ensuring an incomparable second-chance-at-anervous system and rattle the engagedream-wedding travel experience. ment ring of even the calmest bride-toIncluded on the “I Do Over” be: a seamstress who disappears with panel of experts is all of the dresses! You have to agree, Jackie Lacey, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, a gifted flothose scenarios don’t exactly conjure up ral designer. In one episode, a couple wedded bliss. explains that they are very much into To the rescue comes Diann, who in art, and Jackie amazes them with a each episode transforms a couple’s stunning floral piece depicting “living wedding nightmare into a beautiful, art”—featuring flowers hanging inside emotional and unforgettable memory. a picture frame. Using her extraordinary design talents The flowers for each episode of the show are supplied by However, in addition to Jackie, it’s the design work of incredibly talented local florists who help bring Diann’s and Jim’s innovative ideas to life by putting together an extensive range of what can best be described as over-the-top wedding floral creations. “I Do Over” makes its premier on WE tv with six original episodes airing on Sunday nights beginning Nov. 13 at 10 p.m. Eastern time. For further information about the show, visit: ‘I Do Over’ stars Diann Also check with your Valentine and Jim McCann. cable or satellite TV provider for the exact and imaginative vision, Diann pulls channel where you can tune into “I Do together the grand elements of a true Over.” And be prepared to be thorfantasy wedding...providing a “do-over” oughly entertained, and quite possibly that each couple is sure to cherish for astounded, by how the nightmares of the rest of their lives. “big day” disasters can be replaced The tricky part is, Diann has just five by one-of-a-kind wedding dreams that days to make all the magic happen! pull on the heartstrings of viewers and So, she calls on Jim McCann, the will be remembered forever by show show’s “expert of experts,” who proparticipants.


floriology | October/November 2011


e’ve all attended a wedding or two where things didn’t go just right. Perhaps Uncle George had a little too much bubbly at the reception and knocked over a waiter carrying a tray of food. Or maybe Grandma Carol thought she was 17 again and tried to pull off some nifty moves on the dance floor, only to lose her balance and fall head first into the band. Hey, stuff happens. But chances are, you’ve never seen anything like this. We’re talking about a new television show called “I Do Over” on the WE tv network. The show is all about getting a second chance at having the wedding you always dreamed of, especially if your first walk down the aisle was, well, less than you had hoped for. The program stars internationally acclaimed wedding, celebrity event and interior designer Diann Valentine, as well as Jim McCann, founder of and (the Web’s premier source for party and other celebratory ideas). The premise of “I Do Over” involves a focus on reallife couples who have actually experienced some sort of bridal disaster. But not just any disaster. How about a wedding destroyed by a tsunami? A five-alarm fire at the reception hall? A groom rendered unconscious during the ceremony? And something that would shake the


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Steve Jobs 1955-2011 © 2011 APPLE INC.

by Mark Nance


s I began to write this article on using the iPad in retail, I was shocked to learn that one of the true technology inventors and visionaries of our time, Steve Jobs, had passed away. So much has been written about his intensity, determination, intelligence and the fact that he effectively redefined how we work and interact as a society, I will not even attempt to add my two cents. However, there is something very interesting here that does cause me pause. Time and space are relevant. At one time, when and what happened was measured in days, sometimes weeks. “Where were you when?” is often said and seems to be a point in time we all personally remember for a particular reason. My data point when growing up was the TV and generally around the Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks to employees at a celebration evening news, so information was hours if not days old. of Steve Jobs’ life. Today, information travels in seconds and in most cases milliseconds. Just think, in the blink of an eye, information and decisions are being gathered, evaluated and made in real time. We now live in an era in which we are influenced by so much information coming at us at such a high rate of speed that we are becoming more in tune with a think-fast-react-fast mentality. I am sure there is some in-depth research here that requires greater study, but the obvious thing is: we are making faster buying decisions as a society. Strangely, this brings me back to the iPad and the impact on retail floral. The iPad and I have a love/hate relationship. Like any new technology, there are features that make work and play so much easier, but at the same time learning a new user interface can be daunting at best. This is not a Windows PC and doesn’t act like one either. The one overriding benefit though is the ability to purchase and, in particular, view with great clarity something that is vibrant with color and detail, i.e. flowers. I was just reviewing a video on my iPad of a sympathy design symposium that was presented by Jackie Lacey, AIFD, CFD, PFCI. The sheer engagement and value you can experience as a florist, and more importantly as a consumer, are evident when presented in this format. Flowers come to life with exacting detail and they look so real you can almost smell them (by the way, that’s coming as well). I believe the next steps are clear. Embrace the future, learn as much as you can, keep learning and make it relevant to your customer. IPad today, who knows what tomorrow...but if our customers are using it to buy, we need to be there! Steve, you will be missed!


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by Fred Russell





Manhattan event designer David Beahm has created his niche in the competitive market.

floriology | October/November 2011

When referring to New York, Frank Sinatra croons, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” David Beahm of David Beahm Design in Manhattan has transformed venues around the world into stunning settings for elite weddings and corporate and social events. If you need evidence, he designed Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas’ wedding—referred to by many in the press as the wedding of the century. His diverse corporate client base includes Target, The Discovery Channel, Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, Victoria’s Secret beauty, Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton. David Beahm has made it there in New York; and offers our readers some suggestions on how they can improve their wedding and event business. David got his start in the industry at a young age and honors his godparents, Reed and Wanda Tate, who owned Vivian’s Flower Shop in Luray, Va. It was there where he watched his godfather in awe and developed his love for flowers. To be a successful event planner and designer you have to learn how to interact and deal with your clientele. “It’s just as important to find out what they don’t like as to what they do like,” David says. He likes to ask a lot of questions and let the clients do the talking. “Mary Kay Ash once said, ‘God made us with two ears and one mouth for a reason. We should listen twice as much as we talk,’” David says. The question he likes to ask is, “What do you want your guests to be saying as they leave?” Listening and being attentive to client’s desires makes creating the perfect setting for them possible. To get an inkling of their styles, David uses fabrics and linens to find out their tastes and preferences. He uses different fabrics and cloths to engage his customers, saying, “I’m going to throw linens on the table and see what they respond to. It’s not what’s coming out of their mouth, but what’s in their eyes.” David’s motto is, “Anything you can dream; we can do!” David says it’s also not about getting rid of what’s in the storage room. Everyone is unique and has different tastes. “This is not assembly line production and I don’t want to be gimmicky, or choose from A, B or C designer,” ” says David. “We specialize in giving our client what they dream.” ❋Please follow David on Twitter @davidbeahmdesig.

Designer: David Beahm

Location: New York, N.Y.

Exposure/Achievements: High profile wedding clients have included Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas Corporate clients include Target, Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, Victoria’s Secret beauty, and Christian Dior


This wedding was a challenge because the bride wanted simple, quiet and formal, while her mother (who was footing the bill) wanted flowers gushing out of everywhere. The father of the bride wanted me to make them both happy. It took a lot of fancy footwork to get both camps to compromise, but I believe we came to a good middle ground.


Custom woven cloths, “Blue Willow” china, cobalt blue cut glass, Champagne flutes and a specially designed sound system combined with a distinctly planned and active lighting plot gave an air of sophistication. The 6-foot diameter orbs of roses, peonies and hydrangea were a hit because people wanted to know how many flowers were in them—yet they gave the bride her quiet elegance (in the mother’s grand scale).


For this wedding reception, the freespirited bride didn’t really want a tent, but since it was October, we all compromised with a clear tent and lit the trees surrounding it—even hanging one of her mother’s collected chandeliers in a tree.


We rigged 8,000 running feet of Southern smilax vine intertwined with deeply dimmed c7 lights to give the tent an ethereal outdoorsy quality. A stretched white scrim and brand-new, one-time use, white Plexiglas dance floor was a visual centerpiece. We rigged video projectors above both and used nature based content. The projections appeared on the scrim and bled through onto the dance floor and the guests, completely surrounding the them in mov images. moving


For this corporate event, we didn’t feel that formal fl flowers were appropria and wanted to be ate a bit more fashion forward. We had the linens crafted of custom colored slicker vinyl i the company’s color in an all the florals were and con constructed angularly with funk exotics. funky


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INNOVATORS A look at this year’s winners

Another exciting year is winding down for our Innovator of the Month contest. We consistently hear this is one of the most read articles in the magazine, as it is filled with great marketing ideas, technology applications and other creative ways to run your floral operation more efficiently. Here is a summary of this year’s winners.

floriology | October/November 2011

❋JANUARY❋ Bouquet Florist and Gifts Sacramento, Calif. INNOVATOR: Emilia Borz Emilia likes to keep her employees engaged in her business and conducts daily “brainstorming sessions” to let them know their ideas and opinions are important. During one team meeting they came up with an idea to have Santa visit their shop during the holidays. “People go to the malls and face crowded parking lots, wait in long lines, and pay $15 to get a picture of their kids with Santa,” says Emilia. They promoted through an email and on Facebook and everyone who spent $10 or more at the store would be able to get a free picture with Santa. Emilia also had a violinist playing music and says people were dancing, laughing and having a great time. After all was said and done the photographer took over 30 pictures, which resulted in at least that many additional sales. Emilia now also has a new generation of customers that will remember this fun, little tradition at her store.

❋FEBRUARY❋ Green Turf Florist | Winterset, Iowa INNOVATORS: Debbie and Connie Waltz

❋MARCH❋ Blooming Affairs | Santa Clarita, Calif. INNOVATOR: Debbie Romero

If you’re looking to increase your prom business, try using your local high school students as walking billboards to promote your corsage and boutonniere designs. Just after Valentine’s Day Debbie and Connie select a junior and senior male and female to model their designs for one full day of school a couple of weeks before the big dance. They also partner with their local tuxedo shop to get the men to wear the tuxedos for the day. “It’s a great way to showcase their tuxedos and our designs for the whole day,” says Debbie. Then the four students pass out coupons to their classmates for a discount on their prom order. They have even gone one step further and made a competition out of it. “The student who passes out the most coupons that were actually brought in and used is given a gas card—they’re pretty competitive and take the challenge seriously,” Debbie says.

One of the areas Debbie wanted to expand was her “new baby” business. She began researching baby gifts on the Internet to generate ideas and stumbled upon a billboard company that makes giant birth announcement billboards, which provide a valuable new service the shop could pass on to customers. To announce the birth of a child for a baby shower, Debbie can place a custom made billboard in the front yard of Mom and Dad’s home to congratulate them on their new arrival. When Debbie makes a delivery, she promotes the service by placing flyers in neighbors’ mailboxes. She also created a dedicated website ( for this new service. Debbie has six signs for birth announcements and birthday parties. When a stork is delivered, Blooming Affairs snaps a photo and e-mails the recipients with the subject line “Stork has landed” and encourages them to post it on Facebook. ❋


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❋APRIL❋ Shirley’s Flowers and Gifts | Rogers, Ark. INNOVATOR: Shelby Shy Shelby discovered baiting teenagers with free pizza and soda is a great way to get local high school students to knock on your door looking from prom flowers. “We also partner with other local businesses like local dress and tuxedo shops,” Shelby says. It’s a great way for them to showcase their corsage and boutonnieres, which can also be found on their website and in an album on Facebook so they have a place to direct their potential customers. Another innovative thing the shop will be doing is getting the kids’ cell phone numbers so they can text them confirmation when their flowers are ready for pick-up. “Not only can you confirm the order, but you can attach a picture so they can show their friends,” says Shelby. Keep in mind this is a perfect marketing tool for Gen Y, which is the prom party generation. ❋ M AY ❋ Designs by Floral Images Cleveland, Ohio INNOVATORS: Kelly Bellanca and Judy Fisher

Have you ever though of using YouTube as a customer service tool? Will and Rebecca found using this technology helps their customers sleep better at night. “We struggled with our out-of-town customers not being comfortable in placing some of their orders,” says Will. “So, we started texting pictures of the arrangement to make them feel better about what they were sending and our customers really appreciate it.” For special orders, they video timeline the project from beginning to end and then post it on YouTube. Customers feel like they’re getting what they paid for and feel more involved in the process. Once the video is complete Will emails the customer a link and stores his or her address into their Point-ofSales system for further marketing efforts. ❋ J U LY ❋ Novak’s Flower Shoppe | Maple Heights, Ohio INNOVATOR: Lynn Ravida Lynn hosts “how to” workshops to promote her shop and draw attention during peak periods. “We started the groups over 20 years ago and it just took off,” Lynn says. The workshops are held throughout the year and focus on the holidays just before consumers start making their purchasing decisions. Lynn runs classes for church groups, garden clubs, teachers, PTA groups and more. She provides flowers, containers and other supplies and gives step-by-step instructions on how to make a predetermined arrangement. In addition to the exposure it can also be very profitable. “We charge between $15 and $20 for each student and have had some groups over 100 people,” says Lynn. She also leaves business cards underneath the arrangements and has flyers for participants to give to their friends.

❋ AUGUST ❋ A Flower Can | Fort Gibson, Okla. INNOVATORS: Shelia Bebee and Patti Simmerman Shelia and Patti had their Hyundai Accent wrapped with their shop name and logo with the intention of giving their shop an added marketing boost. They pushed the pedal to the metal and came up with an idea to post something on Facebook about their new promotions. With nearly 2,400 friends on Facebook they offered a free rose budvase to anyone that posted on their own Facebook account and tagged them. To push the contest into high gear they added a bonus—if you were able to get the driver and the car in the picture you could win a half-dozen roses. “In all we have had hundreds of pictures taken and a ton of fun,” says Patti. “Not too bad for free advertising—we get people to post on their own wall and all of their friends see it as well,” says Patti. ❋ SEPTEMBER❋ Puffers Floral Shop | Elyria, Ohio INNOVATOR: Yvonne Hutchson In business you always hear about the 80/20 rule, meaning 80 percent of your revenue comes from 20 percent of your customers. Yvonne came up with a promotion to thank customers for their continued support, strengthen their relationships and build new ones. About a year ago, Yvonne purchased a digital billboard with customizable message control to draw attention. “Each week we post the names of three of our top customers and offer them a half-dozen roses for free,” Yvonne says. “They’re always excited to see their names up there in lights and that gets them into the store to collect their flowers 99 percent of the time.” Customers often tell Yvonne that 10 people called to let them know their name was displayed, so she knows people are looking at her sign to see who will be next.

October/November 2011 | floriology

The week before Easter Kelly and Judy were trying to think of new ways to build their business. They decided to transform the “a-DOG-able™” arrangement into a bunny for Easter. “We couldn’t even get them into the cooler—as soon as we finished one, within five minutes it was sold,” Kelly says. The shop, located in a busy neighborhood in Cleveland, has good walk-in traffic and they couldn’t keep up with the demand. In just a couple of days they sold over 20 “a-bunnables.” Judy says it was easy for them to recreate, too. It was just like making the dog, but turned over and instead of feet they had ears. “We used white carnations for the body and used pink chenille for the inside of the ears and noses then added a fine felt wire for the whiskers,” says Judy.

❋ JUNE❋ Earth Art Florist | Granbury, Texas INNOVATOR: Will and Rebecca Cross


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floriology | October/November 2011





What Would Sam Do?



erry Black of Abracadabra Flowers and Gifts in Merritt Island, Fla., owns the only flower shop in the world located inside a Walmart. Though a cozy neighbor, Terry has taken a hard line marketing approach to compete at the retail super power. Terry was trying to come up with a way to improve his bottom line. “I thought to myself one afternoon, what would Sam do?” Walmart had a garden center, so Terry was competing head to head. “Everyone knows Walmart sells cut flower bunches at discount prices, so I bought one so I could take it apart,” says Terry. He called his local wholesaler to start thinking of ideas. “I knew if I could offer a better product for a cheaper price it would be very successful,” says Terry. He wasn’t about to take a loss on the items, but knew if he could beat Walmart’s prices he could sell a ton of them. Terry was able to negotiate a great deal with the wholesaler and launched his first promotion about two months ago. “We started selling the alstroemeria at $4.99, $1 less than Walmart,” says Terry. The results were incredible. A sign promoting the “special deal of the day,” increased foot traffic by at least 20 percent. Terry most recently tested roses. He bought 800 on a Monday and by Friday morning only had seven dozen left. Terry has been running the specials for about a week and if he has leftover inventory he repurposes it for other arrangements so he has little to no waste. “People are always looking for a discount these days and they’re accustomed to feel like they are getting a good deal,” says Terry. Terry suggests keeping the promotion simple and also thinks the term “cash and carry” is confusing to consumers, who think they have to have cash to purchase.




ttending bridal shows isn’t something new for florists, but Margaret Fleegal, owner of Twinbrook Floral Design in Fairfax, Va., and her sales manager Karen Promisel are getting terrific results and recruiting lots of new brides. “We make our booth space very inviting for brides to come in and feel receptive,” says Margaret. They also hold a drawing for $500 off wedding flowers if the winner books through Twinbrook. Karen engages potential clients by asking if they’ve chosen their colors and what season they are getting married. “This is a great way to get them excited about their flowers because every bride loves talking about their wedding—it’s a day they’ve always dreamed of,” Karen says. Once they have a better understanding of each bride’s vision, they take the bride, friends and family behind the booth and the designers put together a bouquet that matches her colors. “The brides’ faces just start to light up when they see something that could actually be a part of their wedding,” Margaret says. Margaret and Karen book many consultations from the shows and on the following Monday Karen takes out the postcards and starts what she refers to as “smiling and dialing.” She sorts them from earliest wedding date and calls the brides to book consultations. Because the shop made such a great impression at the show, the call usually ends in a floral consultation. They also send out a handwritten thank you note on personalized stationery that is appreciated by the bride-to-be. Since starting this new program, Twinbrook has booked more than 80 weddings and is currently doing six to 10 weddings each weekend.

As Innovator of the Month, winners will receive a $250 check, a designer’s kit and plaque. They will also be eligible for Innovator of the Year and could win a Luxury Included® vacation at a Sandals resort. Send ideas to today!


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EDUCATION by Fred Russell

Paving the Way

to Furthering EDUCATION




The Institute will open its doors again on Jan. 23 with a 3-Day Advanced Wedding course, followed by a 2-Day Party and Events Class starting Jan. 26, both taught by Jackie Lacey, AIFD, CFD, PFCI. “The 2-Day Party and Events class is new to the curriculum and will focus on how to throw the perfect Sweet 16, bah mitzvahs and other social events,” Nicole says. The Institute is looking to be more involved in the state associations by providing sponsorships for local design competitions and providing more scholarships to help support the industry. Nicole says they also schedule classes around BloomNet’s Free Fresh Forum 1-Day Education and Business Networking event so students can take advantage. The Institute provides the best in quality fresh and hard goods through relationships with the top floral providers and manufacturers, allowing students to use the latest in supplies in the industry. To register, visit institute.html, email or call Nicole Gandini, 516-237-7973.

Important Note: The Institute provides a pathway to state and national certification, including AIFD.

FLORIOLOGY INSTITUTE FAST FACTS Total square footage: 4,000 | Cooler space square footage: 84 | Type of flooring: 20’ ceramic tile floor with rubber anti-fatigue mats at each station | Chairs: Fully adjustable cushioned design stools | Workstations: Custom designed stainless steel work benches with two flower bucket holes with trash cans plus water filling station at each station.

October/November 2011 | floriology

and Basic Principles and Elements of Design courses. The most recent course, Contemporary, High-Style and European Design with Donald, was influenced by European, Asian and urban landscapes that explore color, texture and style trends in contemporary floral design. Terry Black, owner 2012 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS | Jacksonville, Fla. of Abracadabra Florist & Gifts in Merritt JAN. 21.................Fresh Forum® Island, Fla., says, “It JAN. 23-25 ...........3-Day Advanced Wedding was the best business JAN. 26-27 ...........2-Day Party & Events decision I’ve made in MAR. 19-21 ..........3-Day Contemporary/High-Style/European Design eight years of being APR. 18-20 ...........3-Day Advanced Sympathy an owner of a flower JUN. 11-15 ...........5-Day Basic Principles & Elements of Design ® shop. I learned a lot JUL. 28..................Fresh Forum from the class.” JUL. 30-AUG. 8....3-Day Advanced Wedding BloomNet MarAUG. 2-3...............2-Day Party & Events keting Coordinator Nicole Gandini, who with Donald Yim’s AIFD, CPFD class on helps run the Floriology Institute, says the new education center has been Advance Techniques for Contempovery well received by students. “Our rary, High-Style and European Design return rate is 95 percent and we offer Oct. 3 to 5. In addition to the first ana 25 percent discount for returning niversary of the Institute, October also students so it can be very affordable,” marked the end of the 2011 school adds Nicole. All the classes offer year as floriology prepares for 2012. essential care and handling instructions and the latest in new products. LOOKING BACK There were eight classes from October “Instructors also provide vital tips and instruction for designing for profitabil2010 to October 2011, including Advanced Wedding, Advanced Sympathy ity, pricing, selling and marketing.” he Floriology Institute’s bell rang for the first time for Jackie Lacey’s Advance Wedding Design Program in October 2010. Since then, seven more graduating classes have received diplomas, culminating


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by Mike Pucci

Striving to be the

BEST BloomNet Quality Care program recognizes florists’ commitment to excellence.

floriology | October/November 2011

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, whether it’s manufacturing widgets or creating floral arrangements that light up people’s faces. Almost all successful businesses have one thing in common: dedication to quality. Quality is what helps make customers feel appreciated, keeps them coming back and prompts them to make recommendations to friends and relatives about the wonderful buying experience they’ve had. With the goals of creating the industry benchmark of excellence for fulfilling floral orders and building strong customer relationships, BloomNet is proud to introduce the Quality Care program. The objectives of the program include continual communication and sharing of innovative ideas between florists, the growth and enhancement of the florist community, the use of best practices, assurance of the finest products, and the recognition of florists who go above and beyond to optimize quality. BY FLORISTS FOR FLORISTS

The program has been developed with extensive input from florists all over the country as well as through the expertise of a Quality Care board consisting of highly successful florists representing over 200 years of industry experience. Florists also monitor the program. “We need to take care of our customers

and give them the highest level of customer service,” says Quality Care board member Maris Angolia, president of Karin’s Florist in Vienna, Va. “It makes all of us look good to have consistency across the industry.” ELEVATING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

“My goal is to make everybody smile when they receive flowers,” says Barbara Faris, Quality Care board member and owner of Flowers of Las Colinas in Irving, Texas. “If they don’t smile, then I have not succeeded. We strive for 100 percent customer satisfaction, every time.” By continually exceeding customer expectations, all florists can benefit. This is particularly true in the process of handling floral orders both sent and received. “My customer might be in New York, but I’m in Texas,” continues Barbara. “So obviously I have to trust the shop in New York to fill the order exactly. If all of us as florists agree that we want to help each other, our customers are going to be much happier.” PRIORITIZING QUALITY

Today’s consumers, perhaps more than ever before, are seeking top quality for their money. More than that, they’re demanding it. And, they’re noticing the little things that make a difference. By prioritizing quality in all aspects of their business operations, retail florists can demonstrate that


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they are willing to go the extra mile for customers in just about every way possible—something that can be very valuable in making a local florist stand out from other floral providers such as supermarkets, drug store chains and convenience stores. “It’s difficult today with so many different choices,” says Mark Nading, Quality Care board member and owner of Hudson Flowers in Hudson, Iowa. “As local florists, we need to show the customer that we can go beyond the standards of any other group that’s out there and provide the quality customers want.” Among the criteria of the Quality Care program are: maintaining an attractive and professional shop appearance; maintaining adequate refrigeration for fresh floral inventory; using only the highest quality fresh flowers in all orders; employing well-trained and skilled design and sales personnel; maintaining adequate same-day delivery capability; filling all incoming orders to full value; communicating with fellow florists in a timely manner; assuring complete customer satisfaction on all orders; maintaining accurate records on all orders; and communicating information about all substitutions to sending florists. IMPROVING QUALITY

flowers should be of equal or greater value. Also, the style and color harmony of the original arrangement requested should be maintained. And if an arrangement calls for only one type of flower, such as a bouquet of red roses, substitutions should not be made. RECOGNIZING OUTSTANDING FLORISTS

To highlight and honor the ongoing and exceptional quality achievements of BloomNet professional florists and their collective staff members, florists across the nation will be recognized with an Award of Quality Achievement. Florists who earn this prestigious award will be selected from every region and state in the country and will receive well-deserved recognition for their commitment to maintaining the highest quality standards. All BloomNet florists are eligible to be nominated for award recognition. The Quality Care board chooses the final awards. The Award of Quality Achievement will be presented annually to those shops selected. Any BloomNet florist may nominate another fellow BloomNet florist for the award.

October/November 2011 | floriology

There are numerous ways florists can increase quality and, as a result, help generate additional opportunities to boost their sales and profits. Below are just a few suggestions. When selling and sending an order, gather all pertinent information to assist the filling florist in assuring a complete and successful delivery. Be aware too that each of the following should be included as part of a properly transmitted order: the sending florist’s shop name and code number (phone); recipient’s name; recipient’s phone number; delivery date; first choice of floral item; alternate or second choice; price including delivery; card message; special instructions; and the name and phone number of the person transmitting the order. When filling orders, the following recommendations should always be considered: adhere to sameday cut-off times; keep service area listings current and be aware of accurate minimum codifications; fill all incoming orders to the full value of the gross amount of the incoming order minus their respective delivery charge to that area; communicate with the sending florist regarding any questions to assure a successful delivery; keep adequate sequence records (order numbers); and forward delivery confirmations to the sending florist on all orders delivered and completed. If a substitution is needed when an order is being filled, contact the sending florist to suggest a second choice...and remember that substituted


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Deals and



hat’s a florist to do when there’s a need to travel? In these economic times it’s usually best to get the most of your travel dollars. Below are a few places you can find the best rates for airlines, trains, car rentals, and hotels.

ONE-STOP SHOPS,, and are the big four when it comes to booking airline travel, hotels and vehicle rentals, all in one place. Others include and CheapFlights. com. These third-party websites can search across multiple destinations and carriers at once. lets users bid on their own prices for travel. It’s also a good source for last minute bookings and users can often find steep discounts. is a European version of sites like Expedia. If business takes you abroad often, finding European-based airlines and independent hotels in Europe can sometimes lead to cost savings. A PLACE TO STAY specializes in finding rooms that often cost less than the full rate. The website lets you scan through numerous hotels by location and measure their distance and convenience to where you need to be in that particular location. Go direct. While online travel agencies offer convenience to users, hotel brands are making their own push for online consumers. You can take advantage of a brewing battle between hotels and these websites by shopping directly on hotel brands’ websites. Deals can often be found.

floriology | October/November 2011


TripAdvisor can not only help you find a place to stay it offers reviews of the hotels via people who have stayed there before. Websites like this are a great way to know what you’re in for before you go. Enterprising travelers can find great airline rates and hotel stays on Twitter and Facebook. Using the hashtag feature of Twitter allows you find Twitteronly deals from airlines and hotels. Like these travel companies on their Facebook pages and you’ll be privy to deals that you wouldn’t normally find.

TITLE: “Rene’s Bouquets for Brides: Twenty-Five Styles of Fashion-Forward Floral Creations” AUTHOR: René van Rems, aifd PUBLISHER: René van Rems International, Vista, Calif.

For anyone who loves flowers and weddings, this book, by internationally renowned master designer, presenter and author René van Rems, is a “must have.” “Rene’s Bouquets for Brides” features 107 full-color pages of haute-couture bridal bouquets, ranging from classic to avantgarde. The bouquet styles complement popular wedding-gown fashions, which are also featured. Altogether, the book highlights 25 bouquet styles in as many chapters. Style is the object, but Rene also shows how to achieve the desired “look” with how-to tips for design students, scattered throughout the book. The techniques described include how to keep even wilt-sensitive flowers fresh with the use of floral-foam holders and other strategies. This book is one of only a few in the field published with both English and Spanish text. It succeeds as both an inspirational guide and an effective sales tool. This is René’s second book. Like his first, “Rene’s Bouquets: A Guide to Euro-Style Hand-Tied Bouquets,” it is bound to be an industry bestseller. Distributors welcome. For more information, contact Cathy Brinks at or 888-824-7363;


“The Language of Flowers” Vanessa Diffenbaugh PUBLISHER: Ballantine Books


a To write “The Language of Flowers,” Vanessa Diffenbaugh found inspiration in her own experience as a foster mother. After studying creative writing and education at Stanford University, Vanessa taught art and writing to youth in low-income communities. She and her husband, PK, have three children and live in Cambridge, Mass. This is her first novel. Here are a few praises from reviewers: “Fascinating…Diffenbaugh, herself a foster mother, clearly knows both the human heart and her plants, and she keeps us rooting for the damaged Victoria, who comes, finally, to understand that ‘the unattached, the unwanted, the unloved [can] grow to give love as lushly as anyone else.’” ~ O, The Oprah Magazine “This is the story of an orphan rising above her circumstances— ‘Jane Eyre’ for 2011.” ~ San Francisco Chronicle “Catnip for book clubs…The language of flowers, as illuminated through Victoria’s words and a special appendix, turns out to be an addictive preoccupation: once you know that peonies represent anger; basil, hate; and red carnations, heartbreak; every bouquet takes on a new significance.” ~ NPR


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Expo Exposure

MARKETING by Megan Sullivan



tein Your Florist Co. is saying “I do” to new opportunities. In September, the family business was the official florist for The Great Bridal Expo at Loews Hotel in Philadelphia. The shop generated such a positive buzz that it received invites to participate in two other bridal shows in October, and also was invited to participate in the Expo again when it returns to the City of Brotherly Love in January. The team at Stein Your Florist arranged 20 bouquets for the bridal fashion show and designed two 8-foot topiaries in bridal whites and lavenders that flanked the main entrance. Employees handed out hundreds of roses and brochures to the throng of brides-tobe and other attendees. During the fashion show, a lucky winner received $500 toward wedding flowers from Stein Your Florist. A Stein bouquet was also thrown from the runway into the audience.

Can You Say ‘SoLoMo?’ Combining your local presence with social and mobile media can spur business growth. by Mike Pucci


owadays, successful retail marketing requires a multichannel approach. “SoLoMo” represents the collision of social, local and mobile media. By optimizing all aspects of SoLoMo as a cohesive marketing strategy, you can more effectively and consistently reach and sell to a wider range of current and prospective customers.

| Social media allows ❋ you to build relationships with customers and for them to SOCIAL: JOIN IN, OR BE LEFT OUT

| As you are well aware, it’s ❋ very common for several generations of families to rely LOCAL: YOUR ADVANTAGE

on the same neighborhood florist for flowers to mark a myriad of occasions from birthdays to weddings to funerals. Those customers trust their local florist as a professional and talented source that can help them convey just the right sentiments with beautiful arrangements and other gifts. This can be a sizable advantage for you over big-box stores and other floral providers who simply cannot or are not willing to deliver the level of attentive personal service you can.

❋ According to Google, 95 percent of smartphone users| MOBILE: REACH CUSTOMERS WHEREVER THEY ARE

look for local information on their phones with 54 percent using their phones to find a retailer and 74 percent making a purchase based on their smartphone search. Whether at home or on the go, today’s consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to connect with retail stores just like yours. In fact, Google says that 61 percent of consumers call a local business after getting info about that business on their smartphone while 59 percent visit that local business. In addition, QR codes can enhance your sales potential even further. Are you using a SoLoMo marketing strategy for your business? Email us at

October/November 2011 | floriology

spread the word about your business. Promote your business in subtle ways. For instance, place photos of your arrangements on Facebook to give people gift ideas and post YouTube videos showcasing your floral design capabilities. Tweet people with advice on how to keep flowers fresher longer. Sign up with social commerce/local marketing portals such as Groupon and Foursquare where you can offer customers special deals they can redeem in-store, on your website and via mobile devices.

The shop’s booth featured a colorful variety of arrangements, a bright green Stein logo, a flat-screen TV that displayed its work and slogan to potential customers, and guestbook to collect contact information from brides. Owner Patrick Kelly says the shop is sending out emails to its impressive list of new contacts, and is receiving a lot of phone calls to schedule appointments, in addition to the ones already set up in person at the expo. “We’ve done a lot of work, but we haven’t put ourselves out there at the level we are now,” Patrick says. “We are really being proactive with the economy the way it is, and the response we’re getting is incredible.” Patrick says he didn’t spare any expenses, and had 10 employees working the expo. “For me it’s worth the expense when it generates into a lot of publicity and weddings coming back,” he says. For more information, go to


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floriology | October/November 2011


isten better and bigger sales will happen. Simply being friendly to customers isn’t enough. Tim Huckabee, an international flower shop sales and customer service mentor, says many shops rely on selling by price when they should be selling a description of an arrangement, and attaching the price range at the end. With a little coaching, florists can avoid common mistakes and see immediate sales results. As founder and president of Floral Strategies LLC and the American Institute of Floral Sales Experts, a retail floral sales certification program, Tim educates florists how to give better customer service. Shops typically report a double-digit rise in their average sale by using Floral Strategies’ ❋Register for Tim’s methodology. Christmas Boot Camp When Tim sits down with a shop, at the first thing he BloomNet florists save asks is if anyone has 50 percent! written up $150-$200 sales in the past two weeks, aside from funerals, weddings or big events. Most employees usually look around and stare at the floor, he says. Customers will spend more money if employees listen and pick up on important cues. “All the money is there,” Tim explains, “they just need to know how to ask for it.” Floral Strategies trains staff members in small groups. “We cover all parts of the process to instill in their minds how important it is to give better service,” Tim says. At the end of the session, he places an order on speakerphone to one of the shop’s competitors. Inevitably, the competitor makes predictable mistakes and the staff hears how awkward it sounds from a customer’s perspective. One scenario Tim has used during test calls is that his sister is turning 30 while he is away on business in China, and he wants to send a gift. “I give incremental, empirical evidence that I’m willing to spend $200 to $300,” he says. “They should offer me 30 roses like clockwork.” Instead of acknowledging that he is a good brother or asking what his sister’s favorite color is, shops begin by asking how much he wants to spend or tell him what price their arrangements start at. “It’s alarming,” Tim says.



Make a List

Check it Twice



h, the holidays. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, November and December are a time for giving and sharing, and, of course, decorating. ’Tis the season for floral arrangements, and it’s right around the corner. But, don’t sweat it, floriology. Brenda Simmons of Flowerama offers the following checklist to ensure your shop is prepared for the holiday rush. As Brenda says, “If everyone could put together such a calendar they’d probably find that they’ll be able to run their businesses much more smoothly.” ■ Nov. 1 | If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to get out the Thanksgiving fresh designs. Begin setting up your interior and exterior merchandising displays. ■ Nov. 7-Dec. 2 | BloomNet Fresh Floral Pre-Book for Christmas ■ Nov. 21 | Feature Christmas fresh floral designs and poinsettias this day. Thanksgiving week is traditionally when people start decorating their homes for the holidays. ■ Nov. 25 | It’s Black Friday and shoppers will be out in full force. Start extending your shop’s hours for the holiday season and begin featuring Christmas merchandise. ■ Nov. 26 | It’s American Express OPEN Small Business Saturday. Go to ■ Dec. 14-Jan. 3 | BloomNet Fresh Floral Pre-Book for Valentine’s Day ■ Dec. 15 | Christmas and Hanukkah are right around the corner when mid-December hit, so you’ll want to move as much merchandise as possible. Begin holiday intermediate markdowns. ■ Dec. 26 | Christmas is over and it’s time to get rid of leftover merchandise. Use the day after Christmas to make your final markdowns. There’s always someone looking for a bargain. ■ Dec. 31 | It’s the last day of the year so it’s time to take stock. Take inventory of your fresh flowers, plants and hard goods. ■ Jan. 11 | It’s time to put the holiday season behind you. Take down Christmas displays and start getting ready for Valentine’s Day. It’ll be here before you know it. ■ Jan. 12 | There’s no rest for the weary. Begin your Valentine’s Day merchandising. ■ Jan. 21 | It’s “Get to Know Your Customers Day,” a perfect time to organize a customer appreciation promotion. ■ Jan. 31 | People will start thinking about Valentine’s Day. It’s time to mail, email and handout special promotions for the big day.


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Battling the Elements

REVAMP by Mike Pucci



n Pennsylvania, record floods after the slow-moving massive storm Hurricane Irene caused havoc for residents esidents and businesses alike. “We had 33 1/2 inches hes of water, it was up to the doorknobs,” says ys Scott Edwards, president of Scott’s Floral in Danville, Pa. The shop, which is located along the Susquehanna River, sustained extensive water damage over its entire 15,000 square feet. A $60 million levee had recently been built in the area as a way of preventing such a flood. The levee failed. “We had just put in 12 brand new computers and of those 12, only three were working,” after the deluge of water rushed in, Scott continues. And there was plenty more to worry about. out. Virtually everything in the shop had to be removed oved or cleaned, from the carpets to the sheet-rocked walls. “We had 37 people helping us clean up...volunteers, friends, employees, and


families of employees. The owner and seven construction men from T. Ross Construction who had built our store five years ago...they all came in.” ag Although the shop was essentially closed for Alth four fou days, that didn’t stop Scott and his staff from fro filling orders for five wedding—despite the th fact that in addition to water damage, tthere was no electrical power. “We put flashlights on our carts, and did ffour weddings in the greenhouse,” Scott says. Arrangements for the fifth wedding were sa completed at the shop’s Lewisburg, Pa., locaco tion. All orders were completed on time. tion After dealing with the devastation caused by Afte nearly th three feet of water throughout the shop, Scott’s Floral in Danville is getting back to normal. “Customers ask: are you re-modeling? They don’t even know we were hit with so much water,” Scott exclaims.






October/November 2011 | floriology

hen planning their wedding, young couples often want to update the traditional. “A lot of the younger generation is still in that vintage sort of traditional mindset, but they want a twist on it,” says Jackie Lacey, AIFD, PFCI, CFD, senior design analyst and education consultant. On an October weekend in Hilton Head Island, S.C., Jackie and his staff tackled the floral design for the Adams-Love country club wedding. They arranged orchids and calla lilies in apothecary jars and created centerpieces with submerged flowers and floating candles. Rose petals were everywhere. “That gives you a lot of color without costing quite as much to do more flowers,” Jackie says. The bouquets were traditional as far as shape, he says, and featured hydrangeas overlaid with orchids. The pink, peach and green color combo is not what one would envision as fall colors, but additional tones tied in the season. The ceremony was held outdoors overlooking a marsh, followed by cocktails on the veranda. Dinner was held inside the formal dining room, which was dressed in silvers and platinum, with an infusion of teal, peach and hot pink. The executive dining room had a nightclub vibe. High impact teal and peach lights washed the walls.“Each individual space had its own feeling,” Jackie says. COURTESY OF WOLLWERTH IMAGERY/JACKIE LACEY

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floriology | October/November 2011


One Old Country Road Suite 500 Carle Place, NY 11514



Helping Haiti Long before the devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Charlie Moran, proprietor of Evergreen Florist in Lindenhurst, N.Y., was doing his best to help the poor in the island country. “The earthquake just made problems worse,” Charlie says. Since 2004, he’s been leading missions to Haiti to build facilities, feed the starving, and treat the ill. In that time he’s seen the worst of the island—children who eat only every three days, decrepit medical facilities, inhabitable housing, to name a few. His next mission will be this January. It will be a medical mission with the help of three doctors and nine nurses. “Our goal is to treat 1,000 people,” Charlie says. “We try to do that every year.” The missions also rebuild homes for Haitian citizens. Charlie says anyone living in a tent is automatically given a home, and anyone in a decrepit dwelling will get their homes torn down and rebuilt. Other missions involve food, where the missionaries hand out 25-pound bags of rice and beans. A devote Catholic, Charlie got involved with the missions through his work with a religious order of priests—the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. “Our goal is to rebuild the city of p Carrefour,” Charlie says. “Little by little we’ve been doing this over the years.” C Obviously, it’s not a job he can do on his own. Last year he had 28 helpers. He O expects about 35 this year. “We have some new people,” he continues. e The missions all work on donations. Charlie doesn’t have any backers for funds. “I “ go out and I beg from every single person you can possibly think of. I tell the people who are coming on the trip they have to go out and beg,” he says. “I send p lletters to doctors. I ask dentists for not only money, but also toothbrushes and ttoothpaste. The amount of supplies we need is huge.” Charlie doesn’t speak any Creole, the native language of Haiti. Cha He has five translators in the country that help him. He also employs Haitian police officers for safety. Why did Charlie want to begin helping out in Haiti? “In 2001, the friars I work with told me they had a benefactor at 2 FedEx and they were going to allow us to ship 200 pounds F a month of whatever we wanted to Haiti,” Charlie explains. “In 2004, one of the priests came into my shop and asked “ me to come to Haiti. When you go down there, you see how m bad b conditions are. You see people dying in the streets. You see se little kids begging.” From that point on, he found his calling.


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Floriology Anniversary Issue  

Floriology Anniversary Issue

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