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The Wonderful World of Peonies--From Alaska

Following up from my recent Alaskan adventure, I wanted to share some information that I gleaned from my retreat on the farm of Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska.

Beth and Kurt Van Sant own acres of peony fields that they have planted themselves. From clearing the land to preparing the ground with the nutrients it needed, they found themselves immersed in the world of growing peonies! Its harvest is only for three months out of the year, although the farming of them takes many more months of planning, babying the plants and taking care of the many tasks that will await them from July-September!

There is a crew that arrives in the summer to help them through harvesting so we can get these fantastic blooms to design with! Who knew that Alaska would provide the ultimate climate for these blooms to thrive during months of the year that no florist could procure these highly sought-after beauties? From around the world, people are clamoring for their blooms to get to wholesalers,...

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An Alaskan Peony Retreat

It started with just a quick mention..."Who wants to join me in Alaska for a retreat on a peony farm?" said Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore.

I jumped at the opportunity to spend a few days on a peony farm in Alaska with now new friends. What an experience it was! From the breathtaking scenery, peonies abounding, gaining knowledge to getting to know fellow florists and farmers, hands down this was an exciting trip.

Our retreat was arranged by Kelly and Beth & Kurt van Sant from Scenic Place Peonies. They couldn't have been better hosts! We visited 5 farms, took a hike to a glacier, went foraging for driftwood on The Spit, learned how to grade peonies, pack peonies and learned what the farmers go thru just to get these precious blooms into our hands!

We had a day of designing together, two florists who live there in Homer, Alaska; along with two other florists who joined us on the retreat. Sharing stories and enjoying each other's company enriched our lives. 


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Carving Out Time for Creativity

Uncategorized Jul 19, 2018

To say life has been a bit of a whirlwind the past few weeks doesn't even begin to say the half of it!

EMC (European Master Certification) International had the distinct pleasure of getting to present a program on AIFD's national stage July 2nd here in Washington, DC. Check out our video for the program! Also, Tomas De Bruyne was able to bring EMC's Technique Courses to life for three workshops during that week. (Oh, but wait, I don't think I've mentioned this before on my blog...I'm the Business Manager and Business Partner for EMC, so this job keeps me busy in addition to my own floral studio warehouse here in Washington, DC!)

The day before the AIFD Symposium started, I went to the Slow FlowersSummit that was at the same hotel. Debra Prinzing brought a wonderful group of speakers to program and it's inspiring to see what they are doing. I left fully inspired to add even more American Growers to my buying at Bergerons for our events. You have to check out Slow Flowers and...

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Improving Your Team's Productivity

education floral business Jul 02, 2018

Ok, I'll admit it! I have a habit of listening to podcasts and videos in the background while I am working on the computer. (I'm a multi-tasker!) On this particular day, the interviewer had Tony Robbins on as a guest. She asked him about what things that most progressive people do that we might be missing to become successful. He went down a few points, and two caught my attention.

The first, "The best performers are focused on outcomes and not activities." Meaning the to-do list isn't the most important, especially if it encourages a failure mentality as it can be neverending. Yes! I hate to-do lists. Do you ever have this issue? Once I start the list, it goes on and on and on... I feel like it becomes a book. It really can make me stressed! Focusing on the outcomes...getting the event finished and delivered, spending time with family, creating a work environment that is pleasing to others. Those are the items to focus on--the activities will come as the outcome is the focus.


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Why I went for my AIFD, but got me EMC first!

Next month I will be inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). After testing last July in Seattle, Washington I was awarded my CFD (Certified Floral Designer) designation and tested high enough to get my AIFD. Participants have to wait until the following year for the induction ceremony. It's been a long year of waiting, and I am very excited!

You may ask, why did I wait so long? For the past six years, I had a second location at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Having two places took all my focus, and I couldn't get back into the realm of the floral industry that I love...education! I declined the additional 5-year contract at the hotel to get back to my roots in a single studio and being active in the education of flowers again.

In addition to the second location keeping me from focusing on studying, the annual AIFD Symposium falls on my wedding anniversary every year. This isn't exactly how my husband wants to spend time together for our anniversary...

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A Floral Designed Arch Fit for Royalty

With the Royal Wedding happening a few weeks ago, I realized that many brides would be clamoring to get a look similar to the wedding arch of flowers and foliage at the cathedral for the Duke & Duchess of Sussex.

I put together a quick infographic to give florist's an idea of the costs that it would take. Mostly, I wanted to see how other florists figure out their pricing for doing floral installations. We need to be able to create beauty, cover our costs and make our living, right?

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A Few Days with American Grown Flowers and the First Lady's Luncheon

I must say the past five days have been gratifying for me! I had the privilege of designing with a team for the First Ladies Luncheon. Now, you may be asking, "What is the First Ladies Luncheon"? So I'll share about that first.

Started by the Congressional Club in 1912, the event was initially a breakfast and later morphed into a luncheon honoring the First Lady of the United States. The Congressional Club is the official club of Congressional spouses and prides itself on being bi-partisan.  Guests come from around the country and the world to attend the event. Every year the luncheon has a different theme, and everything from the tablecloths to the favors (always some type of bag filled to the brim with goodies) to the centerpieces revolves around this theme. Generally, the idea is inspired by the state from whence the chairman of the luncheon committee hails.

The last three years, Certified American Grown Flowers has provided the floral decor for the Luncheon. This year and...

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Mom—My Best Friend

life with christi May 08, 2018

I know, it sounds trite, but really my mom, Jeanie, is my best friend!

When I started out in this business years ago (and I mean years, people!), my mom was my biggest cheerleader. And, she still is today. I decided to delve into the florist business pretty soon after high school. Mom and I went to design classes together every Monday night for a year. Traveling around the beltway in Washington DC traffic just to learn how to design with flowers. What a time that was!

She would have a dinner packed to eat on the go, and I would hop in the car from my full-time job, and away we would go. The instructor was a head-designer at the famed “Blackistone’s” florist in Washington DC. That shop has long since closed, but the memories are still with me today. Back then, we were hitting the start of the trend in “reflexing” a rose; all arrangements were linear, and we based designs with galax leaves. Minimalism was key.

Anyway, back on subject! My...

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Handling Prospective Client Emails

Ever find yourself lost in the myriad of emails from prospective clients? I did!

Until I developed a system of handling the inquiries I get coming into my inbox, my life was crazy, and I often found myself missing significant opportunities. Now, I’m not saying that life doesn’t get hectic anymore or that my inbox doesn’t get filled up quickly. But, I have figured out a way to at least deal with my inquiries that come in for weddings!

Take a look at what you do currently. Are you able to handle answering those potential bride and groom emails within 24 hours? Do you find yourself consistently apologizing for not responding sooner?

If so, consider looking a creating a system for yourself. If you are stuck, reach out to me, and I’ll be happy to share how I created a system!

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