Flowers& - May 2014

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Flowers& MAY 2014 $5.50

A portfolio of designs featuring new and outstanding varieties Pg 26

Our annual report on the latest in cut-flower trends worldwide Pg 51



MAY 2014

features 26 Show & Tell Attention-getting flowers and foliage, in conversation-piece designs. Floral design by Bert Ford AIFD, PFCI Photography by Ron Derhacopian

51 The Flower Trends Roundup Our annual report on what’s new and exciting in fresh cut flowers.

pg 29

By Bruce Wright

57 Company Profile: Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits Where florists turn for peace of mind. By Marianne Cotter

4 MAY 2014

ON THE COVER Premium roses and two kinds of hydrangea from Ecuador are displayed to advantage in a mottled glass vase with a wavy rim that perfectly suits the color scheme of this extravagant bouquet. For more on this design, see the caption on page 48. For more designs by Bert Ford AIFD, PFCI featuring special flowers and foliage, see pages 26-49.


departments 10

Focus on Design

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Leaf-Wrapped Floral Sushi By Rich Salvaggio AIFD, AAF, PFCI


Creative Edge Botanical Collections By Hitomi Gilliam AIFD


Principles & Elements The Element of Texture By Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI


Shop Profile Howard Brothers Florist, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma By Marianne Cotter

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Profit Boosters New Strategies for Growth


What’s in Store


Where to Buy


Advertiser Links


Industry Events


Wholesaler Connection

Flowers& Volume 35, Number 5 (ISSN 0199-4751). Published monthly by Teleflora, 11444 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064, 800-321-2665, fax 310-966-3610. Subscription rates: U.S., 1 year, $66.00. Canada, 1 year, $90.00 (US currency only); Canadian GST registration number R127851293. Other foreign countries, 1 year, $102.00 (US currency only). Single issues, $5.50 each prepaid. Periodicals postage paid at Los Angeles, Calif., and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Flowers&, PO Box 16029, North Hollywood, CA 91615-9871. Copyright © 2014 by Teleflora. Printed in U.S.A.

6 MAY 2014

pg 12

focus on design


Floral design by Rich Salvaggio AIFD, AAF, PFCI

Photography by Ron Derhacopian

Try leaf-wrapped floral sushi for a low and long-lived centerpiece. This design concept works with many different kinds of flowers, leaves, color schemes and trays. With stems cut short, flowers generally last a long time, as


long as they are supplied with water mixed with flower food; the leaf casings also support the

1. Prepare any a long, broad leaves by cutting them to an appropriatee width. Here, variegated aspidistra leaves are app use ed; the le leaves are cut in half lengthwise, and the spine used; is rremoved. removeed. You’ll need strips about seven inches long, removed depending dep pendin on the circumference of the flowers you are wrapping. wra apping

flowers as they mature.

Cut flower heads leaving quarter-inch stems. Wrap 2. C leaves around the flower heads and insert corsage pins lea to hhold them together. You may also want to insert a long pin through two wrapped flower heads, holding them together. tog



3. Fill a low bowl or tray with water mixed with flower food and add rolled flowers, starting in the center and working your way out. The effect is strongest with just three or four different types of flowers, in contrasting colors and fou textures, like the roses, yarrow, craspedia and Florigene text carnations featured here. b car

For produc product information, see Where to Buy, page 64.


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creative edge

How can you shine as a professional florist? Showcase your flowers in a botanical collection that includes new varieties and out-of-the-ordinary floral materials. Combine them in ways that dramatize their intriguing color and texture. Know and use the correct botanical nomenclature to show customers that you are an expert when it comes to plant material. 12


Floral design by Hitomi Gilliam AIFD

Photography by Philippe Martin-Morice

THE BOTANIST Vintage bottles and apothecary jars are great vessels to display your botanical collection. Label each individually with the proper botanical names, e.g., Gloriosa rothschildiana or Anthurium

andreanum ‘Midori’. In this display, tags are made from half-inch flat wire and attached to the bottles with Bindwire. The bottles encourage a presentation that looks natural rather than contrived, with stems in upright groupings, similar to the way flowers grow. The flowers in their bottles can also be sold as single bud vases or gathered into a raw wood or zinc caddy. HORIZONTAL COLLECTION In a low design, it’s all about the textures and colors of the flower heads, brought close together in a rich tapestry. Grouping is an essential technique in a design such as the one at lower left, adding to the color impact of the flowers with rhythmic repetition. A midollino grid with straight lines and sharp angles supports the flower heads and provides a contrast to emphasize their natural shapes; a window is left open in the grid to see pebbles below, covering shallow floral foam, for a clean organic look with secure control of the stems. THE VERTICAL COLLECTION When your botanical collection features long stems or leaves, clearly the best way to show them off is with a tall vertical design. In fact, when stems are cut short, you stand to lose some of the visual value of your flowers. Instead of cutting amaranthus and hanging it from the edge of a tall vase, consider combining the tall, stripped stems with long flax leaves and bright orange gerberas. Jatropha is an intriguing new coral-like flower that pairs beautifully with the glossy surface of Midori anthuriums. The delicate, lacy texture of Sea Star fern contrasts with clusters of carnations and hypericum. b

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•❊ • ▲

principles & elements

Floral design by Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI

Photography by Ron Derhacopian

For product information, see Where to Buy, page 64.

The AIFD Guide to Floral Design defines texture as “the surface quality of a material, as perceived by sight or

touch.” And while floral design is fundamentally a visual medium, when it comes to texture, “touch” is a key word. Awareness of texture brings us closer to a design, as though in physical contact with it. Designers can heighten and take advantage of that awareness in a variety of ways. Combining similar textures is one strategy: a design composed entirely of soft, fluffy flowers, for example, may be perceived as ultra-romantic. More often, the quality of texture is emphasized through contrast. In this design, the sharp, shiny bits of crushed glass and the matte, unfinished concrete play up the contrasting textural qualities of roses, hydrangeas and carnations. Succulent rosettes offer high textural contrast with soft-petaled flowers, precisely because they have a similar shape and form. Likewise, combining materials of a similar color, like the succulents and carnations, or the pink roses and midollino, brings a contrast in texture to the fore. b


shop profile

by Marianne Cotter

Photography by Brandi Simons


Community ties and business savvy keep Howard Brothers Florist thriving.


n early 2010, after operating out of a series of leased spaces since his father and uncle established Howard Brothers Florist in 1947, current owner Lester Howard was finally in a position to buy his own building in Oklahoma City. He chose a former bank situated on a major highway across from the Southern Hills Baptist Church, one of the largest in South Oklahoma City. Set back on an expansive lawn, the bank building came with a large electronic leaderboard, which Lester uses to advertise specials. “Every week, two or three thousand


of o Commerce, and is a people drive out of Brothers Florist supplier of flowers for s the church parking lot their events. “Between looking directly at us. t Oklahoma City, Oklahoma the You can’t beat that,” t two we do seven or eight good-size events says Lester, a church e Owners: Lester and every year with 20 to member himself. “We e Carol Howard 100 work with the church 1 tables,” says LesSpace: 4,000 square feet ter. closely doing wedte “Chambers don’t spend big money so dings and funerals s Staff: 9 full-time, we’ll do smaller, but and give them special w 2 part-time very nice arrangepricing that they really v ments—$30 to $55 appreciate.” Among m per the regular work Lesp table—with a nice vase.” Many other custer does for the church v tomers come out of Lesis a permanent arrangee tom ment in the welcome center that is changed ter’s contacts at the chambers. Another community connection that has out four or five times a year. THE TIE THAT BINDS The church is only one example of Lester’s deep ties to the community. He is a long-time member of two chambers of commerce, the Oklahoma City Chamber and South Oklahoma City Chamber

The showroom at Howard Brothers has plenty to offer the eye, yet is spacious and uncluttered, thanks to ample square footage and a sophisticated, customer-friendly merchandising strategy.

shop profile passed from father to son is participation in a “tips club,” a networking group in which each member represents a different profession and makes referrals to other members. “My dad was a long-time member of the local tips club, beginning in the 1970s,” says Lester. “I still have customers today who were in his tips club.” The tips club is extremely localized. To expand his referral network Lester has just started a new tips club that covers the whole Oklahoma City area. A BUSINESS FOR THE GENERATIONS Lester is the third generation of his family to work in the flower business. His father and uncle, Roy and Ray, started the business in 1947. Even before that Lester’s grandfather, Tom Howard, worked in the floral business beginning in 1908. When his sons opened their business, he worked with them for many years. Then in the 1960s Lester and his brother Jerry joined the business, eventually buying out their parents. Lester, along with his wife Carol, who works in the business as well, became the sole owners when Lester bought out Jerry in 1993. Throughout the years, the business has always been called Howard Brothers Florist. ON THE ROAD AGAIN With a population in the greater Oklahoma City area of about 1 million people, spread out over a land area larger than that of Los Angeles, the city “goes on for miles and miles and miles,” says Lester. Delivery was an ongoing challenge, until the idea of a delivery coop came up. “My mother and dad went to Atlanta for a floral convention some 35 years ago and saw “Of course everything is for sale” at Howard Brothers, says Lester Howard. Silks and decorative accessories may be brought in to accentuate a seasonal display theme or as props for special events. But the focus is squarely on fresh flowers, which are featured on the showroom floor, not just in the cooler. “My dad used to say, we can’t expect customers to buy and use flowers if we don’t do it ourselves,” says Lester.


shop profile how the local delivery coop worked,” Lester recalls. “They brought the idea back and my brother and I helped organize the Metro Oklahoma City Floral Coop. It’s been operating for 35 years with 15 florists involved. We all meet at a central delivery area and delivery is done by ZIP code.” Serving on the coop’s board of directors gives Lester the inside track on how business is going for other florists around town. TORNADO ALLEY AND OTHER MALADIES When you combine the effects of political and economic events with the dangers of being situated in the country’s most active tornado zones, trouble is never far away. “In the last 15 years three of the five largest tornados in the U.S. were in our backyard,” says Lester. In May of 2013, the area was hit by a giant tornado. “We’re in Tornado Alley, and that tornado pretty well wiped out a large portion of the suburb of Moore, which is about four miles south of us,” says Lester. “We have a lot of customers there. Approximately 300 to 400 houses were either completely blown away or severely damaged. It looked like a war zone.” Business in general slowed down, but fortunately preplanned events such as weddings helped to curb losses in daily business. Washington politics comes down the alley as well. “The government shutdown was a killer,” says Lester. “We definitely felt it. As with the recession we had to watch our payroll and keep a constant eye on sales and employee hours. I’m on the board of the In 2010, when Lester Howard moved his shop into its current location in a former bank building, “we reconfigured just about every wall and enlarged the windows in front,” says Lester. A drive-through window is one architectural feature that was retained, for the convenience of customers picking up flowers that were pre-ordered on the phone. The shop is situated right across from one of the largest churches in the area, a welcome neighbor.


DIAMOND STAR is the premier importer of fine glass products for all occaisons. Whether a floral arrangement, a gala event or decorating your home we have you covered. The finest in both hand blown and machine made glass at affordable prices. We pride ourselves as a trendsetter with major introductions of new and exciting products twice a year. Please visit your local wholesaler or go to Contact information: Toll Free: 888-866-8368 Fax:909-980-1633 1010 E. Belmont Street, Ontario, CA 91761 Showrooms in Ontario CA, Atlanta, Dallas and Las Vegas. As seen in this issue of Flowers& Magazine.

shop profile delivery coop and everyone was expressing how slow it had been for several weeks.” BUSINESS BLOOMS IN OIL COUNTRY But Oklahoma is oil country, and oil means business. Howard Brothers taps into oil money in a number of direct and indirect ways. “Human resources at a couple of oil companies call us on a regular basis for employee funerals and get wells,” says Lester. “Two or three large energy companies have thousands of employees, and they call two or three times a day.” But rather than rely on the largest oil and energy companies, Lester has built his business on the smaller companies that are related to the oil business. “Some of our best customers are the service companies and small manufacturing firms that do business with the oil industry,” Lester explains. Local doctors and lawyers are another ongoing source of business as are home health care companies. While not a big wedding shop, Howard Brothers Florist did an exceptional wedding several years ago that was literally carpeted with oil money. “It was a huge wedding at an event center about 70 miles out of town, with 500 guests and a steak and lobster dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck,” recalls Lester. “The bride, whose family had oil money, didn’t like the dark carpet in the reception and dining area, so she had it covered with white carpet for the one night”—an extravagance that certainly not every bride is lucky enough to afford. Although flowers and plants predominate, the gifts and accessories that are on display at Howard Brothers are purchased through the Dallas Market Center—Dallas is just 200 miles away—or through catalogs provided by longstanding suppliers. The shop’s award-winning design team is one of its most valuable assets, says Lester. Not a designer himself, he encourages the design staff to take advantage of local opportunities for learning and professional development.


shop profile GROUP GUIDANCE As a way of improving the shop’s business practices, in January 2012 Howard Brothers Florist joined TeamFloral. Lester credits the move to TeamFloral with a marked increase in sales. “A number of shops are involved and we’re divided into clusters of three or four florists,” he explains. “We address problems and share solutions, plus, webinars are offered every two or three days with topics like cost of goods, delivery and employee solutions. We pay a monthly fee for membership, but we’ve increased our revenue about $12 a sale since we joined last January.” Lester explains that the increase is due to new ways he’s learned of communicating with customers. “Rather than just quoting a price point, we’re now listening to the customer closely to find out how the flowers are going to be used,” he says. “Then we can address their floral needs better. We’ve found that they are willing to pay more for the sale if we communicate better with the customers.” MOTIVATING THE STAFF To keep staff motivated, Lester compensates employees for special items they sell. “We have dedicated sales people who are not designers,” he explains. “We set up goals for them. We want everyone to be accountable. It’s not just a matter of pushing customers into a higher price point, but of listening to what the customer has to say.” Lester plans to set up incentives for designers as well and is working on setting goals for them. PROM SEASON With twelve high schools in the area, prom is an exciting season for the shop. “We have a great prom season from the first of March to the end of April,” says Lester. “We approach it differently than some other shops by staying current on styles and products and designs. Years ago everyone


the board of the Oklahoma State Floral Association and our local Teleflora unit and has won Oklahoma Master Design three years in a row.” Lester encourages his employees to go to the local educational programs geared to florists. “It’s really valuable to attend shows regularly as part of a commitment to become a better floral designer.” Lester himself is active in the industry and has served as convention treasurer and board and committee member for the Oklahoma Association of Florists.

Lester and Carol Howard have been sole owners of Howard Brothers since 1993. caught onto the rhinestone bracelet. But ours are a lot fancier and offer a wider variety of items and styles to choose from, and that’s really what the students want.” If the school is willing, Lester sets up shop in the home economics classes or a lunch area for a preview. “We demonstrate how a bracelet is put together and all their options to customize it and make it fun. We also run ads in school newspapers, which we either pay for directly or by donating flowers to the prom, whatever they want to do.” SUPPORTING THE DESIGN TEAM While they run a very successful shop, neither Lester nor his wife, Carol, are designers. “I am probably the only floral owner in the city who doesn’t design,” says Lester. “I handle administration, sales, product ordering and PR out of store. My wife does HR and other management jobs. Our philosophy is to hire really good designers. Our designers have been with us five and ten years respectively. One of our designers, Steve Snow, has earned his Master Florist designation and competes in design competitions. He is on

WALK IN, DRIVE UP Walk-in business accounts for 12 percent of revenues at Howard Brothers Florist—an especially high percentage, perhaps, for a shop that does not really focus on gifts, furnishings or decorative accessories. Customers who place orders over the phone can pull their car up at the former bank’s drive-through window to pick up their orders. “Originally we had a computer just inside the window so customers could pick up and pay for flowers,” Lester explains, “but we quickly realized it was just as easy for someone to drive through after hours, break the window and steal the computer.” When it comes to floral style, Lester identifies the shop as high style with the caveat that quality is the cornerstone of any design style. “We only use premium flowers,” he says, “and we always have five or six different kinds of greens in-house. We work with hydrangea, orchids, carnations, roses, gerbera daisies and seasonal flowers from Europe, to name just a few.” Roses, however, are a shop specialty and rose specials are regularly touted on the shop’s leaderboard. The shop does a large business in roses, which may be one of the reasons it’s a Teleflora Top 200 shop. As Lester sees it, the future of Howard Brothers Florist lies in continuing to cultivate a higher-quality floral shop for its customers. Meanwhile, the business continues to grow as it serves new generations of customers. For Lester, loyalty runs in both directions: “We are very proud of our work and thankful for our many loyal friends and business partners.” b



Easter Treats Festive flowers for a moveable feast. Floral design by Helen Miller AIFD, Flowers and Such, Adrian, Michigan

For product information,

Photography by Ron Derhacopian

see Where to Buy, page 64.

FEMININE MYSTIQUE To create this gorgeous bouquet, with its flowing crescent line, Helen first chose a stem of “misted” curly willow with several long, flexible laterals. She used the willow to establish the line, then bent it back and tied it to the vase with silver bullion. Hydrangea serves as a design grid, supporting other flower stems: lilies, roses, tulips, white heather, snapdragons, and Queen Anne’s lace, plus lily grass and bear grass, angled to reinforce the crescent diagonal.

Attention-getting flowers and foliage, in conversation-piece designs.

For product information,


Floral design by Bert Ford AIFD, PFCI

Photography by Ron Derhacopian

see Where to Buy, page 64.

PINK PERFECTION Touches of green hypericum provide the ideal counterpoint for Ecuadorian roses in a range of pinks, from vivid Pink Floyd to light pink Rosita Vendela and blush ivory Mother of Pearl. Asiatic lilies, along with hydrangea that mingles pale pink and green, complete the rosy palette. The couture finish comes from textured crocodile fern and striped calathea foliage, lining the inside of faceted ball vases in clear glass.

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STANDING UP, STANDING OUT While most anthuriums look very natural in a horizontal position, tulip anthuriums, with their shallow cups, are seen to advantage placed upright. Bert managed that by supporting these Tropic Lime anthuriums with decorative wire in a tall pedestal vase. The apple-green wire also serves to dramatize Tropic Lime’s pale green spathe and cream-colored spadix. GOING SOLO With their branching structure, and the combination of open blooms with shapely buds, Oriental lilies require nothing more than an elegant, clear glass pedestal vase—and to underscore the color, a binding of bright wired wool. Brighter pink speckles and center stripes add depth and interest to the elegant, ruffled petals of these Sorbonne lilies.


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GLOWING EMBERS Pheasant feathers and a leopard vase provide a richly textured foil for the brilliant sunset hues of Ecuadorian roses and hypericum. The roses include Mambo spray roses, orange Milva (cultivated garden-style, with budded side shoots), creamy light orange Cumbia, and the richly ruffled Free Spirit—orange on the inside and pink on the outside, like a bowl of raspberry-tangerine sherbet. The rose stems are controlled with a grid of clear tape over the top of the vase. NOW, VOYAGE A brand new, light pink cabbage rose with budded side shoots, a large head that opens fully, a delicate fragrance, and excellent vase life, Voyage makes a striking vase arrangement—or bridal bouquet. It’s stunning in a silver ceramic urn. Both the silver and the pink have a similar chromatic value, generously tinted with white. The roses are framed with darker foliage, both trailing ivy (variegated with white, so that it transitions nicely to the deeper color) and long-fingered Green Lauae fern.




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TROPICAL MOONLIGHT Above, white Fiber Sticks, mitsumata, and frosted galax and boxwood foliage reinforce the elegance of an all-white color scheme featuring Hawaiian tropicals: dendrobium orchid sprays, Hokuloa White anthuriums, and Green Lauae fern. Bert placed the short pieces of mitsumata first, at a right angle to the long white Urban Planter, pinning them to the foam with greening pins; then he secured the Fiber Sticks to the foam with wired wooden picks, and finally he inserted the flowers and foliage.


GARDEN GRACES To make the most of wideopen, many-petaled, fragrant garden roses, Bert combined four varieties into round bouquets, smooth but not too tight, giving each rose head room to breathe. Two light pinks—Bridal Piano, with budded side shoots and the pronounced cup shape of other roses in the Piano series, and Haiku Romantica—mingle with White Cloud and plum-colored Precious Moments, with an accent of blush-pink hypericum berries.

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ON THE LEVEL At left, dramatic grouping enhances the color impact of both Castello Asiatic lilies and Nadya premium alstroemeria in a two-tiered composition. The darker color of the alstroemeria lends visual weight to anchor the design. CALLAS, CURLED Designing with callas, how do you make the most of their slender, graceful, flexible stems—a premium feature of this classic and stylish flower? Here’s one solution, suitable for a party design: curl the stems to fit inside a narrow vase, making parallel loops (you may need to leave them out of water for a short time). Then, use coils and loops of flat wire to echo the movement of the stems and reinforce the color of the blooms. Here, one calla stem springs out of the vase and curls in front of it, secured to the outside with UGlu. This design would be appropriate only for a party, since calla stems do best in shallow water and tend to dissolve over time when totally submerged.

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tell ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL Nothing gets attention like a magnificent specimen of fuzzy hanging heliconia. And once you’ve got it, crocodile fern

(Microsorum musifolium ‘Crocodyllus’), with its bright green color and scaly, reptilian pattern, provides another talking point—as do extra-long uluhe fern curls and bright green Gypsy anthuriums, with pink veining and a contrasting pink spadix tipped with green. Be sure to use chicken wire over floral foam to help support the thick, heavy heliconia stem. TWO OF A KIND To dramatize just what makes French tulips so special (their extra-long stems and large, oval heads), Bert has surrounded a grouping of the Redwood Grove variety Maureen with fringed white Honeymoon tulips, special in their own way. The sturdy, graceful stems and leaves emerge from a basing of Green Ball dianthus, like luxuriant tufts of moss, in a terra-cotta pot accented with wired burlap ribbon.

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OCTOBER MAY 2014 2013 37 00

GILDING THE LILY With blooms that are striped and edged as though dipped or painted with a brush, these callas display every possible variation in a two-tone palette of lemon gold and cherry rose. Sprigs of gilded ruscus beautifully complement both the variegation and the gold tone, harmonizing likewise with the butterscotch ceramic vase. ONE PERFECT ROSE A single specimen of Vitality—a creamy white, many-petaled Ecuadorian rose—holds its own in a clear apple vase. The vase comes with a delicate glass leaf, but Bert has added a playful touch with a leaf shape cut out of wool fabric and cinched into a twist of aluminum wire. The green leaf also balances the color value of the pink crushed glass that stabilizes the rose stem. RUFFLED EDGES The magnificent varieties of ornamental kale grown by Sun Valley are marketed under the Latin name of the genus,

Brassica; this variety is Corgy White. Creamy white flecked with green, it typically arrives in the shop as a large, graceful rosette that holds its shape and color longer than any rose. For a simple accent, Bert made a “ruffle” of one-inch flat silver wire, imitating the ruffled edges of the kale. The wire ruffle is suspended around the outside of the textured white ceramic bowl with arms of thinner flat wire; an interior ruffle rests on top of the sturdy bouquet.




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JUST PICKED For a country wildflower look, nothing beats matricaria, related to chamomile and feverfew. Blending beautifully together, daisy and button matricaria also combine nicely with Strong Gold tulips—the perfect summery bouquet in a brown ceramic jug. BLANC DE BLANCS Like Oriental lilies, superior varieties of Asiatic lilies have a quality of elegance, minus the overpowering fragrance, and the bloom size makes them perhaps easier to work with. Bach is a stunning variety that marries well with “frosted” eucalyptus; the white and silver combination is echoed with a white-on-white polka dot vase accented with spirals of silver wire.

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RAINFOREST YELLOW When you think tropicals, don’t forget that they can lend themselves to softer, subtler color schemes than bright red, with no less dramatic impact. To complement these spectacular yellow heliconia, Bert has surrounded them with Sundance anthuriums—a large, pale green variety tinged with pink, while the pink spadix is tipped with green—and with Yelloween lilies, an Oriental-trumpet hybrid lily of the type also known as Orienpets and marketed by Sun Valley as Sonata Lilies. Broad, white-striped Calathea ornata leaves on one side are balanced with anthurium leaves on the other, and in front, a ruffled cascade of Curly Lauae fern. SPRING FEVER Now that most bulb flowers are available year-round, there’s no reason not to indulge customers who love them with bouquets like this one, which combines Brindisi (a long-lasting, medium-pink Asiatic lily), Rai (a tightly ruffled, raspberry-pink parrot tulip with a lime-green swirl), Debutante (a satiny standard tulip, deep violet-pink with white feathering at the tip of each petal) and Telstar, the classic iris variety with stands (the narrower, upright petals) of a darker blue than the paintbrushed falls. Green Ball dianthus at the heart of this bouquet provides a rich background for its enticing blend of hues.


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PINK CHAMPAGNE With an enormous, petal-packed head that gains rich dimension from its pink and cream, two-tone palette, Royal Fizz is one of those roses that make customers stop, ooh and aah. Its impact is even more dramatic in combination with two pink spray roses—soft pink Star Blush and fuchsia-hued Hot Majolika—all in a clear glass ribbed vase with a hot pink wired wool bow. SEA MIST Dusty miller may be trendy, but salal from the White Mist Floral Greenery collection achieves a similar effect with its durable foliage, blending beautifully with white and light blue flowers for an ocean-themed bouquet. A double vase also lends itself to the theme, with pebbles and a starfish stabilizing the lower part, while an inner vase rests securely on the rim and holds flower-food solution along with Crème de la Crème roses, with their budded side shoots, and blue hydrangea, with lighter green centers that give the blue flowers depth and make them pop.




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FRENCH VANILLA One of two brand-new David Austin garden roses, Beatrice (Auslevity) enchants the eye with its wide, richly frilled, somewhat shallow cup, the petals encompassing a range of hues from dark cream to light yellow, transitioning to peach with touches of pink. Bert has allowed sufficient space between the flower heads for each to stand out, accented with ivory hypericum and White Mist salal. ROYAL RED At right, here’s the other new cut-variety garden rose from David Austin: Tess (Ausyacht). With a light fragrance and long vase life, Tess offers saucer-shaped rosettes, dense with royal-red petals, that open wide and hold their shape, revealing the goldenyellow stamens within. That touch of golden yellow is here reinforced with gilded sword fern and a gilded monstera leaf, all in a low silver tray.


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LIMELIGHT A bed of intriguing tropical foliage frames and anchors an elegant tower of Limelight anthuriums, as nothing else could. Typically, anthurium leaves are sold separately from the flowers, but they certainly make an appropriate accompaniment: broad, beautifully veined, and heart shaped like the anthurium’s spathe. For added interest, Bert has surrounded the flowers and their foliage with dark-striped Calathea insignis and long-fingered Green Lauae fern. LAVENDER GREEN While the eye goes first to Moody Blues—a rose popular for its two-tone lavender color, in which light and dark tones emphasize the swirl and curl of the petals—this bouquet also provides a showcase for Ecuadorian hydrangea, seen here in two varieties: a mottled violet with touches of light green, and the light, fresh green of “mini,” immature hydrangea. The flower hues are nicely echoed in the art-glass bowl, with its wavy green rim, and with sheltering loops of midollino. b

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THE FLOWER TRENDS ROUNDUP Our annual report on what’s new and ers. exciting in fresh cut flowers. By Bruce Wright right GERBERAS THAT POP Every year, gerbera grower Rosa Flora introduces several new varieties of both standard and mini gerberas. This year, the plan was to launch even more new varieties than usual—until a big fire temporarily limited growing space. “We had to consolidate a bit,” says sales coordinator Karen Tilstra, “so we leaned toward what customers were telling us they wanted most, which is novelty varieties with colors and petal variations that bounce out at you”—mostly crested doubles with a green or black eye and inner rows of shorter petals that may contrast in color, like Toast (lemon yellow with red trans petals), Caravaggio (red with a green center outlined in purple), or in mini gerberas, bright orange, yellow-tipped Mamamia. Corals and pinks, like Alma and Pre-Intenzz, are also in demand.

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SEEING PINK No, they’re not stem-dyed or sprayed: Pink Flamingo callas are full-size callas with a natural peachy-pink hue. With stems as tall as 110 centimeters (43 inches), they’re available year-round in boxes of 25 stems from Miami distributor Jet Fresh. CALIFORNIA GROWN California growers were ably represented at World Floral Expo by the California Association of Flower Growers and Shippers. Among the specialties on display were cash-and-carry bouquets of sunflowers, Queen Anne’s lace, and hypericum; topquality cymbidiums from Rudvalis Orchids, including spectacular early whites; and a lavish arrangement of viburnum, tulips, and the double Oriental lilies marketed as Roselilies.,

GR OWING, SHOWING, GETTING IT THERE ON THE MOVE With exhibits by flower growers from more than 10 different countries and daily design demonstrations by Dutch master florists, this year’s World Floral Expo was once again a magnet for buyers interested in cut-flower trends. The central location at a venue just minutes away from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport made the show especially attractive to buyers from the Midwest and Canada. From last year’s expo in New York City, to Chicago, the international flower trade show is expected to move to San Diego in 2015. FRESHER FLOWERS IN THE MIDWEST If you’re a florist in Wisconsin or Michigan—or even in California—chances are good that most of the flowers in your shop took a long detour on their way to you. Grown in South America, they were first flown to Miami and shipped from there by truck. That’s about to change, thanks to a new facility, the Chicago Perishable Center, scheduled to open at O’Hare International Airport within the next six months. Direct flights from South America or Holland to Chicago could get flowers to florists in the Midwest three days faster. Currently, Miami receives nearly 90 percent of flowers imported to the U.S., far outstripping other ports of entry, including Los Angeles and New York. The main reason for that, of course, is the short distance between Miami and South America. But also, not just any airport can handle fresh-flower imports; it takes plenty of refrigerated warehouse space and partners on the ground, including agricultural inspectors from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Some cut-flower imports are already flown directly into O’Hare, but the new cargo center will mean a giant step forward in logistics, efficiency, and capacity; it could eventually serve as much as a quarter of the U.S. population. THE PHOENIX RISES Just days after a devastating fire that destroyed six hectares (about 15 acres), including office space and a dozen delivery trucks along with greenhouses, Canadian grower Rosa Flora bounced back, announcing the purchase of a nearby snapdragon operation to make up the temporary loss of the farm’s own snapdragon range. Famous for its gerberas along with snaps, stephanotis, and alstroemeria, Rosa Flora is a leading supplier to wholesale florists all across the Northeast region. The first could have meant a major disruption in the supply line—but with the purchase, plus rebuilding efforts, Rosa Flora is already on its way to becoming an even better and stronger business, according to co-owner Joshua Bulk (pictured).

2 photos FINE AND FANCY Premium carnations in high-fashion colors are a market that Americans are mostly still missing out on, says Alberto Williamson of La Gaitana Farms— one of a handful of Colombian growers at World Floral Expo, showing hydroponically grown, novelty carnations that sell like hotcakes in Europe and Japan, where pink, white and red are not the only colors.

2 photos IN THE ROUND “We have doubled our greenhouse space for Gerrondos,” says Janet Louie of California grower Green Valley Floral. Still a specialty item, the multilayered, nearly spherical gerberas are definitely growing in popularity. Pinks, oranges, and corals keep selling, says Janet; pictured are Cupid and Titaan, both from the creator of Gerrondo gerberas, Dutch breeder Terra Nigra.,

PEONY PERFECTION The Alaska peony industry is growing almost as fast as the enormous, late-season flowers that are now being shipped to international markets as well as to the lower 49 states from the land of the midnight sun. When Alaskan peony growers first started planting, well over a dozen years ago, the big news was about peonies in July, August, and September—almost filling the gap in supply between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Now, however, the news is about Alaskan quality and size. “With Alaska peonies, it’s not uncommon to get nine inches across and a vase life of seven to 10 days,” says Carolyn Chapin of Polar Peonies, one of the oldest farms, launched in 2001. In the three major growing areas, small family farms have joined together to form co-operatives, like Arctic Alaska Peonies or the Alaska Peony Marketing Group; the result is boutique farming with the customer service and brand consistency of a larger operation.,

BLAMELESS AND BEAUTIFUL If you’re one of those people who have always confused solidago (a.k.a. goldenrod) with ragweed—which flowers at around the same time and is a primary culprit in causing hay fever—think again. Solidago bears a non-allergenic pollen that is too heavy to be blown about; it therefore must rely on its bright and hardy flowers to attract pollinating insects. Now Danziger—the breeders responsible for Million Star gypsophila—have come up with a new, prize-winning variety of solidago likely to turn heads, especially at Eastertime or paired with sunflowers in summer or fall.

FIRST AND FOREMOST Kalanchoes as cut flowers? At this year’s international horticultural fair IPM 2014, three new varieties of cut kalanchoes collectively won the Novelty Prize—and launched a new brand, Queen CutFlowers, for the Danish company Knud Jepsen, one of the world’s leading kalanchoe producers and developers. Tested by Danish florists, the new varieties are said to have a remarkable vase life similar to that of kalanchoe flowers that remain on the plant—even out of water.

2 photos DUSTY, MEET MISTY Dusty miller (seen here as supplied by California Flower Shippers) is “the new green,” as any florist knows who’s conducted a wedding consultation lately. Its fuzzy texture and pale gray-green color make it irresistable to brides. “The only problem is, in a handtied bouquet out of water, it wilts quickly,” says Helen Miller AIFD, of Flowers and Such in Adrian, Michigan. Helen serves as a consultant to Florida foliage grower Wm. F. Puckett; at her suggestion, the Pucketts came up with a process for treating hardy foliage staples, like salal, to give them a similar hue and a textured quality. “We’ve been marketing it for about a year, and it’s going like gangbusters,” says Julie Puckett., MAY 2014 53

THE FLOWER TRENDS ROUNDUP DUTCH TREATS Justly famous as world leaders in quality and innovation, Dutch breeders, growers and exporters were represented at World Floral Expo by Holex USA, which offered stunning novelties and specialties, starting, of course, with tulips, including parrot and pink fringed doubles—all grown in France and Turkey, tulip season not yet having arrived in Holland in March. Also on display were cascading white Pieris japonica, green and purple fritillaria, and one of the newest flowers to hit the market, jatropha, a succulent genus in the euphorbia family with a number of different ornamental species, including this orange variety.

NEW FROM JAPAN Once again this year at World Floral Expo, distinctive flowers of exceptional quality were on display from Naniwa Flower Auction, an Osaka-based exporter of Japanesebred and –grown flowers including sweet peas, gloriosas, tweedias, and more. Among the standouts were Voyage Sakura, a ruffled double lisianthus in light pink transitioning to cream, and Charlotte, a prize-winning ranunculus variety with a dark eye and cherry-colored inner petals likewise transitioning to pink and cream. Japan has some unique roses to offer as well, including a family of single-stem varieties that differ from the typical cut rose in that they open from the inside out; the result is an exceptionally round rose with inward-pointing petals, like light pink Mocomoco (the name means “something round”) and bright pink Sazanami. Then there is the enchantingly diminutive pink spray rose, Small Wood. The best news is that Naniwa flowers are now available through more distributors, in more North American cities, than ever before, including, among others, national distributors Mayesh Wholesale in Los Angeles and Transflora in Miami.,


HAIL, BEATRICE AND TESS! To those who love garden roses (and who doesn’t?), new cut varieties from the English icon of garden-rose breeding, David Austin, are a major event. Tess (Ausyacht) is David Austin’s first true red cut rose (Darcey is a magenta rose that deepens almost to a rich purple). The large outer petals surround smaller, ruffled inner ones, forming a wide cup. Beatrice (Auslevity) “has the characteristic feature of garden roses that its colors change depending on the growing conditions,” reports Joey Azout of Alexandra Farms. “Cold nights give the edges of the petals a pink fringe and the yellow tone a peachy feel. This variety is hardier than most in shipping and has quite the vase life for a garden rose at 8 to 10 days. Beatrice does not have the symmetrical inner petals of many English garden roses. It is a bit disorganized in the middle, creating a unique frazzled look—perhaps for the rebellious bride!”,

ALL ABOUT ROSES There are roses, and there are high-fashion roses. The biggest influence on today’s rose trends is the wedding market, where many brides are moving away from “rustic flair” and back to traditional elegance, believes Michael Lyons of GlobalPetals, a supplier flowers to specialized shops including wedding florists. Michael sees pp of high-end g designers seeking garden and “garden-like” roses (with a garden look, but longer-lasting, gar usually lacking in fragrance) in blush colors or light, natural hues like nudes and oatmeal. frag A classic example would wo be the David Austin garden rose, Charity (Auswasher). But exhibitors at World Floral Expo Ex showed plenty of other options and how they can be combined to charming effect: for example, at Kenyan exhibitor AAA Roses, lavender Morning Dew and ex soft pink Dinara, both with pale green outer petals. Ecuadorian grower Qualisa showed how nicely three roses in the same family—Finess, Pink Finess, and Yellow Finess—blend; another bouquet combined pale lavender Nautica with a variety called Blueberry. Kenyan comb grower Suera Flowers showed an intriguing exclusive: maroon-trimmed Gold Crest. Meanwhile, promising new reds are always of interest. At World Floral Expo, Terra Nigra showed Undercover, a strong, bright red that has been out for a few years but it just now really commercially available.,, w,,, MAY 2014 55


WHAT’S UP FROM DOWN UNDER It seems we have barely begun to explore the riches of Australia. “We have some amazing flowers that have been around for a while, but most florists and wholesalers haven’t seen them,” says Diana Roy of Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers in California. Some are by now familiar with the nubbly texture of green berzelia—but have you seen the variety called Red Jelly (pictured at top left)? Among other stunning exotics grown by Resendiz Brothers is telopea, seen at top right, a hardy flower with a three-week vase life; a bright red variety, Gembrook, won the people’s choice blue ribbon at the most recent SAF Outstanding Varieties Competition. Flannel flower (Actinotus helianthi) offers daisy-shaped flower heads with creamy white bracts atop stems and leaves covered with a pale gray down. Blushing Bride (Serruria florida), offers papery white bracts surrounding feathery, white or light pink flowers; a type of protea, it is actually native to South Africa but extensively grown in Australia. Isopogon (Isopogon cuneatus), also in the protea family, looks like a purple fireworks. Shaped like bottle brushes, with long, curling styles instead of petals, grevillea flowers come in a wide range of soft colors, set off by wispy gray-green foliage. b 56

Company Profile:

Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits

Where florists turn for peace of mind. By Marianne Cotter

JUST DAYS BEFORE Christmas in 2010 Robert Bryant, owner of Flowers by Robert Taylor in West Covina, California, was working late in the back room when it started pouring outside. At first he wasn’t worried. His landlord was in the process of renovating the building, and over the last few months he had experienced minor leaks as siding and roofing were torn off and replaced temporarily with plywood and tarp. The landlord was quick to reimburse for damages. Eventually he walked into the showroom where he faced a scene no retailer ever wants to see. “There was an inch or more of water in the whole front part of the store,” he recalls. “I have two storefronts and it was leaking in both parts, ruining all the Christmas product. The carpeting Traci Dooley and John Hodapp were on hand to represent Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits at this year’s annual meeting of the Teleflora Unit Presidents, held in January. With a unique understanding of the insurance needs of retail florists, Hortica has partnered with Teleflora in a variety of ways to meet those needs.

MAY 2014 57

company profile was soaked and the ceilings were dripping everywhere.” Robert’s landlord again assured him he would be compensated. But when Robert presented receipts for $25,000 in Christmas product alone, good will gave way to squabbles over the fine print in Robert’s lease agreement. That is when Robert discovered that he would have to rely on his own insurance, not the landlord’s, to protect the contents of his shop. Robert contacted Hortica, his insurance carrier, and was pleased to find they were ready to begin the claims process. “I found out that water damage in a store affecting business is something Hortica deals with all the time,” says Robert. “I had adequate coverage, and wasn’t turned down on anything despite the fact that I didn’t have receipts for every single item, including some very old pieces I’ve been using for years to decorate the store.” A HISTORY IN HORTICULTURE It was the ravages of hail on glass greenhouses rather than water damage that spurred the creation of the Florists’ Hail Association of America on June 1, 1887 in New Jersey. By 1927 the company had relocated to Edwardsville, Illinois, and expanded its offerings to include fire, windstorm and allied lines of business. When the Florists’ Hail Association changed its name to Florists’ Mutual Insurance Company in 1955, it became what it is today—a mutual company owned by its policyholders. Over the years, rather than expanding into other industries, the company followed a path of delving deeper into the insurance needs of the entire horticulture supply chain. Every line of business they added provided a more complete package of insurance products to garden centers, nurseries, retail florists, wholesale floral distributors, greenhouse growers, landscape contractors and interior plantscapers. In the fall of 2001, Florists’ Mutual Insurance Company began operating as Hortica, a name chosen to symbolize the company’s unique mission. Just as it did more than 125 years ago, that mission includes protecting retail florists like Robert Bryant against what could otherwise be devastating loss. b

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ARE YOU The most common errors COVERED? in purchasing insurance. Hortica agents can advise and steer florists toward appropriate coverage—all are licensed insurance professionals who have special insights into the retail floral market, including the holiday cycle, the risks involved with staging weddings and events at different locations, delivery issues, and loss of flowers and plants. But in the end it is the flower shop owner who will decide what coverages he will buy and what limits he’s willing to pay for. Florists generally purchase three types of insurance: a Property/Liability Package, Business Auto insurance, and Workers Comp (which is generally required by law). Maria Shepherd, an account executive in retail sales at Hortica, finds that florists tend to underinsure in two important areas, leaving their businesses vulnerable to loss. One is undervaluing shop inventory; the other is underestimating how much vehicle liability insurance they need. UNDERVALUING INVENTORY Underestimating the value of your inventory puts you at risk of having inadequate coverage when a loss occurs. The root of this problem, Maria has found, is that many florists don’t really know what their inventory is worth. While an owner who recently purchased a shop probably has the turnkey value in mind, it is not uncommon for florists to simply look at their inventory and take a guess—and the tendency is to estimate low. Maria encourages florists to ask themselves, “What is the value of everything within the four walls of the shop if, God forbid, the place burns down today?”—and then make a goodfaith attempt to calculate that value. The ideal solution, of course, is a point-of-sale system that tracks inventory and generates reports. Undervaluing inventory is a particularly risky practice during holiday periods when inventory is at peak levels. Fortunately, coverage limits can be raised for given periods. “The beauty of property insurance is that we can write seasonal coverage to coincide with peak seasons,” says Maria, “which means the florist is only paying for the higher inventory when they actually need it. For instance, we can bump up limits for the months of February and May for Valentine’s and Mother’s Day.” UNDERBUYING VEHICLE LIABILITY LIMITS The second area where florists tend to leave themselves vulnerable is with inadequate vehicle-liability limits. Floral deliveries are time sensitive and, especially around the holidays, drivers feel tremendous pressure to rush from delivery to delivery, increasing the potential for accidents and even fatalities. Maria strongly urges florists to maintain very high vehicle-liability limits: “I see so many delivery-vehicle accidents involving property damage and bodily injury that I don’t feel comfortable quoting anything under $1 million for delivery vehicles. Most florists find that incredible. But medical expenses and property damage can ramp up very quickly.” When hiring extra drivers for the holidays, you must cover them. If they are involved in an accident in the course of a delivery—or any time they have an arrangement from your shop in their car, even if they are “off duty”—you as the employer can be identified for financial liability. Maria also advises against relying on a regular auto policy to cover shop vehicles or any delivery vehicle. “Some personal auto policies exclude coverage when used for business,” she says. NEGLECTING LEASE REQUIREMENTS Most florists lease their spaces, and are required to sign fairly long and complex lease agreements that hold the florist responsible for carrying specified amounts of insurance. Landlords are aware that tenants’ losses may interfere with business, which could impact their ability to pay the rent. So the lease is written to protect the landlord against loss. Understanding the lease and complying with the insurance requirement is absolutely critical. “Most landlords today are pretty savvy,” says Maria. “They don’t use a simple lease template that they picked up at Office Depot.” Most landlords engage lawyers to write the lease contracts, and the trend is to ask for higher and higher liability limits. “The standard

lease requirement used to be $1 million per occurrence, $2 million aggregate for a shop,” says Maria. “Today in the newer strip malls it is not unusual to see limit requirements of $3, $4 or $5 million.” While Hortica agents may advise florists as to lease compliance, they cannot be responsible for the contents of the lease. Florists must read, understand, and comply with the provisions in their leases. COVERAGES NOT TO OVERLOOK Here are some highly useful and valuable types of insurance that florists sometimes fail to consider: UMBRELLA POLICIES Like all insurers, Hortica will only sell policies up to certain limits. If you find yourself in a Catch-22 between the liability limits imposed by your landlord and the cap that your insurer places on a particular type of policy, a common solution is to buy an umbrella policy. The “umbrella” means that with this one policy, you can cover your overthe-cap needs for various types of insurance. Maria Shepherd explains it like this: “If a florist needs $3 million aggregate in coverage, and we max out at $2 million aggregate on the business policy, I can write an umbrella policy for an additional $1 million. Then if the florist exhausts the $2 million on the business policy, the extra million kicks in. Or, if the florist had a workers’ compensation injury that was so catastrophic that it exhausted the $1 million limit, he could get an additional $1 million from the umbrella. An umbrella policy is exactly that: an umbrella over the policies beneath it. It is a cost-efficient way to increase limits on each underlying policy without incurring separate costs on each one.” EPLI (EMPLOYER PRACTICES LIABILITY INSURANCE) This coverage protects employers against employee claims of wrongful termination, unfair hiring practices, and discrimination. This type of litigation has exploded recently and Hortica has responded by embedding EPLI in their business policy, though florists can also choose to opt out of it. E&O (ERRORS AND OMISSIONS) E&O is the florist’s professional liability policy, similar to a doctor’s malpractice policy. It covers errors when there is no malice or negligence involved. Maria recalls a claim in the pre-GPS days when a driver became hopelessly lost in an unfamiliar part of town and was two hours late for a wedding. The bride and her mother decided to sue—and E&O would cover this type of loss. While E&O is not always part of a standard business policy, Hortica has embedded E&O coverage into its own standard policy, with limits of $100,000 or $250,000 (the limits vary by state). E&O does bump up the fee, but florists can still decline the coverage if they choose. EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS Being very small businesses, florists generally do not offer employee benefits plans. The employee coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has little impact on flower shops, most of which fall under the 50-employee minimum. But florists who do offer employee benefits have a powerful competitive advantage in recruiting and keeping the best employees, especially full-time managers and designers. Shop owners purchasing life and health policies for themselves may also seek to assist employees who want to do the same, says John Hodapp, who handles life and health lines at Hortica. For its employee benefit insurance Hortica partners with Digital Insurance, the largest broker in the U.S. specializing exclusively in life and health. “With Digital we are able to offer every option, from public exchange to private exchange,” says John. You’ve heard of public health exchanges, founded as a result of the ACA. “Private exchanges were developed as a private-sector alternative to the public exchanges,” John explains. “Unless the insured needs a subsidy, they can go to a private exchange” and still obtain health insurance without regard for pre-existing conditions, as guaranteed by the ACA. “A lot of our florists want to offer their employees x amount of money ($200 or $300 a month) to buy their own insurance,” says Hodapp. “The private exchange allows them to do that. The employee gets to choose a policy and the florist gets one bill for what they want to contribute each month.”

THE NEW FRONTIER: Data Breach Protection You handle and store credit-card information and other valuable and personal customer data—it’s part of doing business today. Have you ever worried about what would happen if a hacker somehow gained access to those files? Recognizing that Teleflora florists have a need for affordable Data Security Breach protection, Teleflora and Hortica have worked together to create a new and unique insurance program, available exclusively to Teleflora florists. The partnership makes sense, because Teleflora has already invested so heavily in safeguards for data handled by its POS and credit-cardprocessing systems. These systems are pre-approved, so enrollment in the program will be quick and easy. The plan includes both an insurance component and a preparedness and response plan that is specifically designed for florists in the event of a data breach. The insurance component covers a variety of potential costs and expenses related to a data breach, including liability, fines, and other expenses. It includes a range of options: • $100,000 coverage (of which up to $50,000 applies to PCI fines) is available for $20 to $30 per month, per location. (The difference in cost depends on the number of Teleflora transactions.) • Insurance limits up to $2,000,000 are available for firms desiring greater protection. The Breach Preparedness and Response Plan includes a recommended protocol for responding to a data security breach incident, access to a 24-hour hotline, and information on legal counsel available to participating florists. For more information on the program, or a quote for your business, contact Hortica at 800-851-7740.

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TeamFloral founder Dan McManus talks with successful shop owners about their strategies.

by Dan McManus

Old strategies have given way to new in order for this shop to build on past success. A THIRD-GENERATION flower shop, Capital Hill Florist has thrived in Oklahoma City for more than 82 years—but today, the methods used to keep the business growing have changed dramatically. In the past, the shop was an aggressive advertiser; today, the advertising has almost stopped completely. When he compares the cost of advertising and the results he gets, current owner Kent Whitnah says it no longer makes economic sense. He still does a little advertising, but only with advertisers that barter their ads for flowers with the shop. Without traditional advertising as an option, Kent has learned that the frontier in finding new sales lies in two areas: increasing average order value and growing the shop’s Internet business. Over the past three years, Capitol Hill has continually grown by increasing the average sale over the phone and on the web. The phone sales are the result of dedicating the time and resources to build a first-class sales team. Kent’s sales started growing as soon as he began the sales training, and it has continued to grow each year since then. In 2013, the shop grew 10 percent in sales, even though the number of transactions was relatively flat. Kent has been committed to web marketing for many years. He used to do it himself but learned that it takes more expertise than he is willing to acquire. The shop uses an outside consultant, Nitty Gritty Web Marketing—one of the few floral-specific SEO firms available to florists. The shop’s online sales have grown significantly every year because of Kent’s investment in SEO with a few strategic pay-per-click programs. Capitol Hill Florist uses Teleflora’s RTI system and a custom Teleflora website; Kent has found that the better the technology, the more efficient his operation and the faster he can

60 www.flowersandmagazine.comersand

grow. I interviewed Kent from his shop earlier this year about his success. How are the spring holidays going this year? It has been a big growth year for us so far. Valentine’s Day was up 25% in overall dollars, which was expected because of our growth in average order, but we also got a 15% bump in the number of orders. This is exciting because it means we had some new folks this year. Finding new customers is extremely expensive, so we are always excited to find cost-effective ways to do that.

What is the best task you ever delegated? At our shop, all floral design is run by our manager Patty Wiggins, who has been with me for 20 years. She runs the design room like clockwork. For example, she had 300 designs pre-made by February 12 this year, ready for our sales team to sell. I also rely on our bookkeeper to input all of the data and reconcile the statements. I review the numbers regularly, but the input is done by her. Do you use employee incentives? Absolutely. Once I realized the importance of the average order value, I started using incentives for the staff. We run a monthly bonus for growth in average order value for each

What figures do you track manually? I focus a lot of my attention on average order value—someCapitol Hill Florist, thing I never paid attention Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to until TeamFloral made me Kent Whitnah realize it was the way to increase sales. I used to track the 2012 number of deliveries when we Annual sales $1.23 mil worked with 1-800-Flowers. I mistakenly thought volume Profitability 14.6% would translate into profits. Payroll percentage 28.5% It didn’t. We are making a lot Flower COGS percentage 23.9% more money now than we did Average web sale* $106.59 when we had 1-800-Flowers. ▲

profit boosters

Average shop sale*


2013 $1.34 mil 17.5% 29.0% 22.0% $114.60

$87.85 What tasks do you always do Median income of population in Oklahoma City: $45,740 * includes tax and delivery yourself? I am good at managing proPOS system: RTI cesses and measuring results, Web host: Teleflora custom site so I tend to focus there. For example, I took some time Website: to study the delivery process and the routes especially. Too many of our vehicles were taking off from the employee. We’ll look at an employee’s sales shop missing one or two items that could be over a three-to-six-month period. They get delivered along the way, and the routes were $20 for every dollar over the average they get not as efficient as they could be. It required for each month. a lot of tweaking but it added up to real savings. What is the most important advice you We just completed the switch to all com- can give another shop owner? pressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. It costs Watch your average order—and stay profit$10,000 to outfit each vehicle, but we re- able so you can afford to stay fresh. We received about $5,000 in incentives and tax cently remodeled the front of the shop to make credits to offset that. The bottom line is that it more modern. We spent $2,500 per van to we are saving about $2 per gallon—which have them wrapped in bright pink with gerbera is a 30 percent reduction in our fuel cost per daisies. We may be 82 years old this year, but year. That difference will more than pay for that does not mean we are old fashioned—we the cost of converting a van in the first year. are ready for the next 82 years! b

what’s in store

IT’S BACK, IN BLACK Promoted for Father’s Day but all kinds of fun for fathers and others year-round, Teleflora’s Weber® grill is back by popular demand, this time in classic black. The Ken-size barbie comes with a removable lid and grill grate, rolling wheels, lid pick, liner, care card and card pick. Call 800-333-0205 or visit

COLORFUL GEL SHAPES Multi-colored stars, red hearts, and white shells are among the new water-expanding gel shapes from JRM. The shapes can be combined with clear or colored Deco Beads underwater, where they expand just like the Deco Beads. They are nontoxic and simple to use. Call 800-962-4010 or visit


CHALK IT UP A chalkboard sign in vintage style announces a wedding theme that is also carried out with other products from Lillian Rose, including a burlap wine bag that bears the same motto. The couple’s name and wedding date can also be written on the sign—in chalk, of course. Call 800-521-8760 or visit

NESTING OUTDOORS Permanent wreaths in a variety of styles, perfect for celebrating spring, are available from Sullivans—like this seed berry wreath, which has been additionally dressed with yellow cosmos, white canvas flowers (with buttons in the center!) and a bird in a burlap nest. Call 800-456-4568 or visit

We’re Everywhere... Run an Ad in Flowers& and Join Us! Call Peter @ 800-421-4921

MAY 2014 63

where to buy For more information on merchandise featured in Flowers&, contact the supplier directly. Direct links to most suppliers can be found on the Flowers& website, Use the links under “Advertisers in This Issue” or the link to our searchable, online Buyers’ Guide at the top of the Flowers& home page.

SPRING FEVER, page 42 Brindisi Asiatic lilies, Rai parrot tulips, Debutante standard tulips, Telstar iris, and Green Ball dianthus, Sun Valley. Lantern vase, Diamond Star.

PINK CHAMPAGNE, page 44 Royal Fizz roses with Star Blush and Hot Majolika spray roses, Royal Flowers. Clear glass ribbed vase, Diamond Star. Fuchsia wired wool, Accent Décor.



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pages 10-11 Moon Series carnations, Florigene.

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PRINCIPLES & ELEMENTS, page 14 Newport Bowl, Accent Décor. Pink midollino, Smithers-Oasis.

SHOW AND TELL, pages 26-49

PINK PERFECTION, pages 26-27 Pink Floyd, Rosita Vendela, and Mother of Pearl roses, dark pink Asiatic lilies, green hypericum, and pink and light green hydrangea, Royal Flowers. Crocodile fern and calathea foliage, Green Point. Clear ball vases, Diamond Star.

STANDING UP, STANDING OUT, page 28 Tropic Lime tulip anthuriums, Green Point. Apple green half-inch flat and aluminum wire, Smithers-Oasis. Clear candleholder with pedestal, Diamond Star.

FRENCH VANILLA, Green Lauae fern, Green Point. Silver urn, Sullivans.

Ball dianthus, Sun Valley. Wired burlap ribbon, Reliant Ribbon.



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Hokuloa White anthuriums, dendrobium orchids and Green Lauae fern, Green Point. Frosted galax and boxwood, Wm. F. Puckett. Fiber Sticks, mitsumata, and Urban Planter, Accent Décor.

Callas, CallaCo. Gilded foliage, Wm. F. Puckett. Ceramic handled vase, Sullivans.

GARDEN GRACES, pages 32-33 Garden roses, Alexandra Farms. Blush hypericum, Royal Flowers. Silver hobnail bowls, Diamond Star.

Sorbonne pink Oriental lilies, Royal Flowers. Clear candleholder with pedestal, Diamond Star. Wired wool, Accent Décor.

page 35 Callas, CallaCo. Tapered oval vase, Diamond Star.

ROYAL RED, page 47 Tess David Austin garden roses, Alexandra Farms. Frosted foliage, Wm. F. Puckett.

JUST PICKED, page 40 Strong Gold tulips, daisy and button matricaria, Sun Valley.


ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL, Bach Royal Lilies (Asiatic lilies), Sun Valley. LIMELIGHT, page 36 Furry hanging heliconia, extra-long uluhe fern curls, Gypsy anthuriums, and crocodile fern foliage, Green Point. Brown hypericum, Royal Flowers. Newport Boat in brown, Accent Décor.



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Maureen Redwood Grove French tulips, Honeymoon white fringed tulips, Green


page 46 Beatrice David Austin garden roses, Alexandra Farms. Ivory hypericum, Sun Valley. White Mist salal leaves, Wm. F. Puckett. Mercury glass bowl, Teleflora.



Voyage garden roses, Alexandra Farms.

Vitality creamy white rose, Royal Flowers. Apple vase, Diamond Star. Green wool and pink crushed glass, Accent Décor. Apple green aluminum wire, Smithers-Oasis.

Brassica Corgy White, Sun Valley. Textured white ceramic bowl, UCI. Decorative wire, Smithers-Oasis.

page 29

Milva, Cumbia, and Free Spirit roses, Mambo spray roses, and red hypericum, Royal Flowers. Leopard vase, Diamond Star.

page 38

page 34


page 30


ON THE LEVEL, Castello Asiatic lilies and Nadya red alstroemeria, Royal Flowers. Rectangular Nantucket basket, Giftwares Co.


Hydrangea and Crème de la Crème roses, Royal Flowers. White Mist salal leaves, Wm. F. Puckett. Clear glass double vase, Diamond Star.

Frosted eucalyptus, Wm. F. Puckett. Capri Vase, Accent Décor. Silver aluminum wire, Smithers-Oasis.

RAINFOREST YELLOW, page 42 Yellow heliconia, Sundance anthuriums, Calathea ornata, Curly Lauae and anthurium leaves, Green Point. Yelloween lilies, Sun Valley. Humanity Bowl, Accent Décor.

pg 48

page 48 Limelight anthuriums, anthurium leaves, Calathea insignis and Green Lauae fern foliage, Green Point. Newport Pot, Accent Décor.

LAVENDER GREEN, page 49 Hydrangea and Moody Blues roses, Royal Flowers. Mottled art-glass bowl, Diamond Star.

advertiser links To access our advertisers’ websites, go to and click on “Advertisers in This Issue.”

FEATURED SUPPLIERS Accent Décor, Inc. Call 800-385-5114 or visit Alexandra Farms. Call 305-528-3657 or visit CallaCo®. Call 831-728-5392 or visit Diamond Star. Call 888-866-8368 or visit Florigene. Call 954-438-9892 or visit Giftwares Company. Call 800-535-1300 or visit Green Point Nurseries. Call 800-717-4456 or visit Reliant Ribbon. Call 800-886-2697 or visit Royal Flowers. Call 800-977-4483 or visit Smithers-Oasis. Call 800-321-8286 or visit Sullivans, Inc. Call 800-456-4568 or visit The Sun Valley Group. Call 800-747-0396 or visit Teleflora. Call 800-333-0205 or visit UCI (Unlimited Containers, Inc.). Call 888-880-8998 or visit Wm. F. Puckett. Call 800-426-3376 or visit


2 17 3








ROYAL FLOWERS 800-977-4483


SEMINOLE 800-638-3378


SMITHERS-OASIS 800-321-8286


THE SUN VALLEY GROUP 800-747-0396 SYNDICATE SALES 800-428-0515 TEAMFLORAL 800-342-2251 TELEFLORA 800-421-2815 WORLD FLOWER COUNCIL 954-444-6445

23 INSIDE FRONT COVER 61 7, 25 63

MAY 2014 65

industry events For the most recent additions to Teleflora Unit Programs, go to and click on Design Education to access the Floral Event Calendar in the Unit Program section.

NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL JUNE 9-27, ATLANTA, GA FloraMart Spring/Summer Market (closed June 15 in honor of Father’s Day). Contact for details.

JUNE 10-11, CHICAGO, IL SAF Retail Growth Solutions: A Mini-Conference for Florists. Call the Society of American Florists at 800-336-4743 or visit

JUNE 18-24, DALLAS, TX Holiday and Home Expo (temporary exhibitors, June 19-22), Dallas Market Center. Call 800-DAL-MKTS or visit

JULY 3-7, CHICAGO, IL AIFD (American Institute of Floral Designers) National Symposium, Hilton Hotel. Call 410-752-3318 or visit

JULY 7-18, ATLANTA, GA FloraMart Spring/Summer Market. Contact for details.

JULY 8-15, ATLANTA, GA Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market (temporary exhibitors, July 10-14), AmericasMart. Call 800-ATL-MART or visit

JULY 12-15, COLUMBUS, OH Cultivate — An AmericanHort Experience (formerly OFA Short Course), Greater Columbus Convention Center. Call AmericanHort at 614-487-1117 or visit

JULY 17-23, CHICAGO, IL Chicago Gift Market (temporary exhibitors, July 19-22), Merchandise Mart Plaza. Call 312-527-7561 or visit




Total Home and Gift Market, Dallas Market Center. Call 800-DAL-MKTS or visit

Oklahoma Unit, Wedding Designs with Kevin Ylvisaker, Greenleaf Wholesale. Call Barbara Bilke at 405-341-2530.



Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, AmericasMart. Call 800-ATL-MART or visit

Texas State Florists’ Association, Annual Convention, program includes Tropical Handson Workshop (7/18) with Gerard Toh, Salute to Education (7/19) with Rich Salvaggio, Tropical Designs (7/20) with Gerard Toh, The Renaissance Hotel. Call Dianna Nordman at 512-834-0361 or visit

OCTOBER 1-4, QUITO, ECUADOR FlorEcuador Agriflor 2014, Cemexpo Exhibition Center. Visit

CENTRAL REGION JUNE 4, GRAND RAPIDS, MI Michigan Unit, Advanced Everyday Designs with Hitomi Gilliam, Vans/Kennicott. Call Debbie Custer at 734-455-7377.

JULY 23, GERMANTOWN, WI Wisconsin-Upper Michigan Unit, Sympathy Designs with Gerard Toh, Karthauser & Sons Wholesale. Call Melissa Maas at 262-253-9111.

Arkansas Florist Association, Annual Convention, program includes Christmas Designs (8/15) with Marie Ackerman, Hot Springs Convention Center. Call Bitsy McCorkle at 870-777-6667.

WESTERN REGION JUNE 21, MONTEREY, CA Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers, Annual Open House. Call 831-274-4008 or visit

JULY 25-27, FRANKFORT, KY Kentucky Florists’ Association, program includes Wedding Designs (7/27) with Kevin Ylvisaker, Capital Plaza Hotel. Call Tammy Gibson at 800-634-9784 or visit

NORTHEAST REGION JUNE 4, PITTSBURGH, PA Western Pennsylvania Unit, Sympathy Designs with Kevin Ylvisaker, Pennock Co. Call Drew Graham at 412-672-4472.

JUNE 11, LATHAM, NY New York Capitol District Unit, Designing and Marketing Weddings with Jerome Raska, Seagroatt Riccardi. Call Kelley Gilbert at 518-785-8900, ext. 211.


SAF Annual Convention. Call the Society of American Florists at 800-336-4743 or visit

Louisiana State Florist Association, program includes Sympathy Designs with Bob Hampton, Ramada Conference Center. Call Lucinda Peltier at 337-247-2761.



NY NOW Home and Lifestyle Market, Jacob K. Javits Center. Call 800-272-SHOW or visit

Mississippi Market Wholesale Show, Mississippi Trade Mart. Call 888-886-3323 or visit



Search the Flowers&


online! Available year-round at

To advertise in Emporium contact Peter Lymbertos at 800-421·4921



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Combo walkins, storage, reach-ins 800-729-5964 IGC Retail Conference. Free Keynotes, Free Concerts, Store Tours, Plus More!


Floral Design Institute Professional Floral Design Instruction since 1969

Basic and Advanced Floral Design Home Study Programs Floral Design Training Videos

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Wedding Aisle Runners Rentals & Sales

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800-819-8089 Portland· Seattle Check us out on the Internet: BUSINESS FOR SALE

Coastal flower shop Same family ownership over 67 years.


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Contact Julie 409-983-3371.

For rates and info, call


Peter Lymbertos at 800-421-4921

MAY 2014 67

wholesaler connection ARIZONA PHOENIX Conroy Wholesale Florist The Roy Houff Company CALIFORNIA FRESNO Designer Flower Center INGLEWOOD American Magazines & Books OAKLAND Piazza International Floral SACRAMENTO Flora Fresh SAN BERNARDINO Inland Wholesale Flowers SAN DIEGO San Diego Florist Supplies SANTA ROSA Sequoia Floral International FLORIDA PENSACOLA American Floral Wholesale of Pensacola Carlstedt’s, LLC GEORGIA OMEGA Hornbuckle Wholesale Florist HAWAII HONOLULU Flora-Dec Sales ILLINOIS CHICAGO The Roy Houff Company NORMAL The Roy Houff Company WHEELING The Roy Houff Company

Flowers& magazine distributors

KANSAS WICHITA Valley Floral Company KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE The Roy Houff Company LOUISIANA BATON ROUGE Louisiana Wholesale Florists LAFAYETTE Louisiana Wholesale Florists MASSACHUSETTS BOSTON Jacobson Floral Supply MICHIGAN WARREN Nordlie, Inc. MINNESOTA MINNEAPOLIS Koehler and Dramm ROSEVILLE North American Wholesale Florist, Inc. MISSOURI ST LOUIS LaSalle Wholesale Florist NEW YORK CAMPBELL HALL Henry C. Alders OHIO DAYTON Nordlie, Inc. NORTH CANTON Canton Wholesale Floral PARMA Cleveland Plant & Flower Company

PENNSYLVANIA PITTSBURGH Keystone Ribbon & Floral Pittsburgh Cut Flower Company SOUTH DAKOTA SIOUX FALLS North American Wholesale Florist, Inc. TENNESSEE NASHVILLE The Roy Houff Company


Reward without the Risk we promise!

TEXAS DALLAS American Agroproducts, Inc. HOUSTON Pikes Peak of Texas Southern Floral Company LUBBOCK Lubbock Wholesale Florist UTAH SALT LAKE CITY Ensign Wholesale Floral VIRGINIA NORFOLK The Roy Houff Company RICHMOND The Roy Houff Company WASHINGTON TACOMA Washington Floral Service CANADA BURNABY, BC Kirby/Signature Floral Supply

Sell Flowers& in your store! for extra profits Select any quantity— no minimum Whatever you don’t sell we buy back! Yes, it really is that simple.

Call Elinor Cohen at 800-321-2665

MALAYSIA SELANGOR Worldwide Floral Services SINGAPORE Worldwide Floral Services



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