Debbie’s showstopper named Most Inspirational design
Debbie Strand was just playing around when she created an inspirational wedding bouquet that turned out to be a real showstopper.
“I’ve always loved to create things,” says Debbie AIFD, ICPF. “This bouquet was designed for a bridal show. I finished most of the pieces for the event and was just “playing” when it came together. Sometimes, the best designs happen that way!”
The owner of Deborah Strand Designs in Cary, Illinois, Debbie belongs to two floral wedding groups that hold bridal events twice a year. Participating in these events offers her the opportunity to try different styles before a larger audience and experience how potential customers react to new designs.
She submitted a photo of the design to the most recent OASIS Floral Products Inspire Floral Design Showcase
and it was chosen as the Spring Wedding Most Inspirational design. Smithers-Oasis Design Director Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI
recreated the bouquet for 2017 OASIS Floral Products print advertising.
The light bulb goes off!
When Debbie presented the bouquet at the bridal show, attendees were intrigued. However, they weren’t quite sure what it was when they first saw it.
“It was interesting to watch their faces as they made comments like “It’s pretty” and “What is it?” then you see the light bulb go off!” says Debbie.
Connecting with attendees through casual conversation at a promotional event is very important. In this case, the discussion soon turned to other ways to use the design such as pew décor or table piece. This particular style can be viewed from both sides, which increases the options for using it.
Debbie describes her signature style as “clean, contemporary and a little outside of the box.” This bouquet and the materials used to create it embody that creative flair.
Inspired by the materials
“The OASIS™ Flat Cane
had been stored for a while and had a nice tight coil.” She allowed the natural form of the material to guide her use of it in the design.
“I’ve made ornament orbs out of OASIS™ Diamond Wire
but I thought the OASIS™ Flat Wire
worked better with the Flat Cane for this bouquet.”
To create this design, Debbie uses an exposed mechanics
technique (deliberately exposing the mechanics of design as a part of the décor) to secure the decorative wire within the design. This means the mechanical aid becomes a decorative part of the structure rather than being hidden.
Debbie especially likes experimenting with wire work and enjoys creating bracelets. She finds that using a pair of OASIS™ Jewelry Pliers
helps make it easier to manipulate the wire forms into unique shapes. She then adds flowers for the finishing touch.
Gluing the flowers in place
To add the finishing touch of this bouquet, Debbie trims off the stem of Dendrobium orchid blooms. She adds a dab of OASIS® Floral Adhesive
to the back of each flower and allows it to dry. After cutting a UGLU™ Adhesive Dash
in half, she places one-half onto the flat wire. Understanding that glue sticks to glue, Debbie then positions the Dendrobium onto the UGLU allowing the two adhesives to bond.
One advantage of this particular design is that “it can be created with many different types of flowers, depending on what the bride wants,” says Debbie. Other flower possibilities include French tulips, nerines, stems of Oncidium or Makara orchids, etc.
Matching Floral Accessories
In addition to bouquets, it’s important to offer matching accessories to your brides. Boutonniere. Headpiece. Wristlet. Centerpiece, etc. All are important items to show at bridal fairs. These details help brides to envision the artistry required for all of the wedding flowers.
A floral adventure
While Debbie has always enjoyed artistic endeavor, at 40 she began her newest adventure--working with flowers. She opened her studio five years ago and continues to actively grow her wedding and event business. Debbie loves the personal aspect of designing wedding flowers. Her favorite part of a wedding is the moment of delivering the flowers to the bride.
Debbie doesn’t service everyday orders in her own business but often freelances for other flower shops in her area. She especially loves working with tropical flowers. She appreciates how every flower variety has its own fragrance and flower face that can inspire a design.
What inspires Debbie?
“I love following the European designers and the many top notch AIFD designers,” she says when asked where she gains her inspiration for new ideas.
After competing in the Illinois State Florists’ Association design and winning the 2013 Land of Lincoln Cup, she was inspired to achieve her AIFD designation. She continues to improve her floral skills by participating in competitive events and experimenting with unique designs at floral events and bridal shows.
What promotional events do you participate in to attract new brides to your floral business?