It’s always a challenge to create affordable and personalized designs for your customers in the midst of high-traffic floral holidays like Mother’s Day. Here’s how one professional florist meets that challenge.
“Working outside the box of mass-produced, roundy-moundy designs allows me to offer something different and unique to my customers,” says Rhonda Little, AIFD, MMFD of Millinocket Floral Shop
in Millinocket, Maine.
Her arrangement ‘Hot Momma!’ was chosen as the Most Inspirational Mother’s Day Floral Design in the OASIS Floral Products Inspire Floral Design Showcase 2015
. Click the link and you can see her original entry and the resulting advertisement.
Flowers with a flourish
“I enjoy creating these natural designs for my customers,” shared Little. “This simple design is made special by its embellishments. This interests customers who appreciate artistry and that brings them back to me with future orders.”
A dramatic swirl of curly willow physically ties two carnation bud vases together. A bold arch of Strong Pink Midollino Sticks
moving downward into the water visually unites the two vases as one. The exposed mechanics of Pink Diamond Wire
binding the willow in place adds sparkle and stability to the design. A Raw Muslin Cranberry
bow adds a decorative touch.
“I like to create these designs using the number of vases that indicates how many children a recipient has. Each child feels represented. I recently designed one with two vases to celebrate the arrival of twins, using pink or blue for each child.”
A mix of tradition and trend
“Keeping up with the trends with tradition in mind” is Rhonda’s floral philosophy. It's so important to her that she printed it on her business cards.
“Over a period of 43 years my design style has changed with the times,” Rhonda says. “I design for a diverse clientele who value an eclectic mix of traditional, contemporary and trendy styles.
“This design is not a traditional centerpiece, but the repetition of multiple vases forms an open, airy centerpiece. It is a design that can fit anyone’s budget. It can be upscaled or lessened in price.” She suggests, “you could add anthurium or orchids to increase the value of this design.”
Smithers-Oasis Design Director Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI recreated Rhonda’s design for the INSPIRE ad. He shared some inspirational ideas of his own: A lesser number of larger blooms could be used for a sleek and minimalistic look. The flowers could be condensed to one vase with more flowers and accent added to enlarge the design. The same elements could be used in a completely different form.
A strong belief in education
“I believe strongly in continuing education,” says Rhonda, current executive secretary-treasurer of the Maine Florist Association. “We invite members and non-members alike to learn from our events.”
“We actively participate in the Fryeburg Fair, held in October, in Fryeburg, Maine. It is perhaps the largest public event held in New England. As we share flowers with the public, we focus on teaching the elements and principles of design. We want consumers to understand how we think as we are designing for them.”
In fact, Rhonda believes so strongly in the importance of continuing education that after 40 years in the floral industry she applied for and was inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers in 2014. To her amazement, she was not the oldest inductee.
When asked what inspires her personally, Rhonda replied, “I live in Maine. I see a beautiful mountain before me all day long. I am surrounded by natural beauty such as moss, twigs or birch. Maine inspires me.”
As you prepare for the chaos of another hectic flower holiday, how do you meet the challenge?