Monthly Archives: May 2017

Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 96

Question:

Have you ever attached flowers to a vehicle (car, boat, motorcycle,etc.)? If so, how did you attach them?

Hitomi Gilliam

Design by Hitomi Gilliam AIFD

Answers:

Yes, I have… Well there is not one single recipe here, it really depends on the vehicle type and how long the flowers are supposed to last. Usually I go to check the vehicle or ask for pictures. Old vehicles are usually easy as you always find a place where you can attach something with a string, a ribbon, a metallic wire, etc… Modern ones are more difficult, and I usually use suction pads to attach my designs directly on the vehicle’s body. These last ones usually work ok, but they are certainly not as safe as a good old knot.

Two things I have learned are important on vehicles:

– Make sure to discuss with the vehicle owner about what you are going to do, to make sure it is ok… Explain how you are going to keep the vehicle safe and make sure you protect it from scratches.

– Speed and flowers are not good friends at all, make sure to make your point about that if the vehicle is supposed to be driving while carrying your creation.

Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)

_____________________________________________________________________

I have attached flowers to several antique cars both on the front and back. I usually am able to do so with zip ties or pipe cleaners on the grill of the front of the car or have been able to tie a garland and secure it within the hatchback of a sports car. Just be sure there are no sharp wires or anything that can scratch the paint of the car!!

Beth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)

_____________________________________________________________________

Eek! I have only attached flowers to a vehicle for my own wedding (an old-timer tractor with a trailer)… and it was literally my first experience with flowers (that’s how I actually got started… errr addicted to growing and arranging flowers). While I was happy with the result (sticking sunflowers here and there), it was by no means a “shareworthy” experience, haha. I will leave this one to the other professionals on the board.

Emily Avenson (Fleuropean)

_____________________________________________________________________

We haven’t often attached flowers to a vehicle. The two times we have done it has been on a Rolls Royce. Both times we hung garland with ribbon tied inside the trunk (ribbon was tied inside, but garland hung outside once the trunk was closed). The chauffeurs were very accommodating both times and helped us sort out the mechanics.

Love 'n Fresh Flowers

Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)

_____________________________________________________________________

I use Smithers-Oasis Place-it Grande Holder.

Hitomi Gilliam | Smithers-Oasis Place-it Grande Holder

It has a suction cup on the back side as seen on the photo, with the 2 pull sticks on the sides.

Place the Grande Holder on a clean car surface with suction cup down.

Hitomi Gilliam | Smithers-Oasis Place-it Grande Holder

Push down on the cage while pulling the 2 pull sticks outward to activate the suction to hold to the surface.

This mechanics will not damage any surface, and will come off easily as you release the pull sticks back.

I usually add in a couple of other support mechanics, just in case…  such as a light bungee cord or bind wire.

Also, it is always a good idea to wrap with pot tape over the cage, so that there’s absolutely no chance of the plastic cage lifting off.

Hitomi Gilliam

Hitomi Gilliam

This Oasis product was made for car decorations, and for attaching to mirrors and glass surfaces, flat or upright.

Hitomi Gilliam AIFD (Design358)

_____________________________________________________________________

We have attached flowers to cars with pipe cleaners and garlands. We find garland work the best.  We have also attached oasis cages to the grill of a car. All of these designs are subject to potential failure and clients should be warned to keep their expectations low if the car is traveling any real distance or reaching highway speeds.

Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

_____________________________________________________________________

We designed this simple car garland for an Indian ceremony last year at the Henry Ford museum.

Passionflower

I ordered a pre-made green garland, and wired in the sturdier blooms ahead of time.

On site, we set the garland in place, securing on either side of the windscreen with pew clips.

The more delicate flowers, such as the clematis, were simply tucked in on site.

Passionflower

The garland was only used for a few hours, so we didn’t need to worry about hydration.

Susan McLeary (Passionflower)

Expert Panel Member: Laetitia Mayor | Florésie

So happy to introduce you to BB Expert Panel member Laetitia Mayor today! She’s served on the panel since our very first panel discussion on June 20, 2012 – nearly 5 years ago. Laetitia’s floral design business, named “Florésie” which is a French contraction for “fleurs” (flowers) and “poésie” (poetry), is located in the Champagne area in France, about a 1.5 hr. drive Northeast from Paris. Laetitia started Florésie as a floral blog in 2010 when she signed up for the School of Florists in Paris. It soon became a full-time job and design studio in 2012. Over the years, Laetitia has given us a front row peek into  Florésie’s growth while being incredibly generous with the time and advice she offers the BB readers. I hope you will learn a little more about her through this interview and then help me thank her for her nearly 5 years of service on the Expert Panel!

Laetitia Mayor | Bouquet images by D'Arcy Benincosa Photography

Bouquet images by D’Arcy Benincosa Photography

I asked Laetitia to share a little more about her business with us and I’m thrilled she agreed…

Amy: What types of work do you do at Florésie ?

Laetitia: The studio specializes in weddings. At first, I was thinking about offering public floral classes as well, but the weddings took on real quick and I found I did not have time to do both activities, as I am a mother as well…

Floresie | Anna Tereshina Photography

Floresie | Anna Tereshina Photography

Amy: Where do you get your flowers? Do you grow any of the flowers you use at Florésie?

Laetitia: We have three sources of flowers, depending on season and needs. We grow some flowers in our cutting garden, mainly dahlias and perennials. We love to consider these as our “spice” elements, mainly textural and unexpected ones. Then we love to buy flowers from local growers at Paris flower market, especially garden roses. Finally we have a supplier that ships directly from Holland that we use mainly at times of the year when it is not possible to get local products.

Floresie | Anna Tereshina Photography

Floresie | Anna Tereshina Photography

Amy: I hear you’re hosting some 1:1 sessions and workshops. Can you tell us more about those opportunities?

Laetitia: I will be co-hosting a three day creative retreat in September with my friend Chikae O.H. inspired by the “The Secret Garden”. It will be three days of flowers, photography, visual story telling and good food in the Champagne country side in France (more info and registration can be found here). It will be my first ever workshop given in English, as my regular workshops are taught in French…

For two years I’ve also been offering 1:1 sessions for florists and floral aficionados from all levels. These take place in my garden, and therefore occur during the warm season when I have flowers available. The program for these sessions is totally open to the student. I tell them everything they want to know about gardening, arranging, wedding florals, flower photography, running a flower business, etc …

Floresie | Anna Tereshina Photography

Floresie | Anna Tereshina Photography

Amy: Any tips on balancing family/work responsibilities based on your experiences so far?

Laetitia: Florésie was born from the wish to ground a family and have time for it, fleeing my previous life as an engineer working way too many hours a week… This is the main reason I decided to have my studio set in my own private house. It is true that working and living in the same space is not always easy, but it allows me to be much closer to the ones that are the most important to me. Nevertheless, it is no secret, balancing a family life and a floral business is tricky and requires creativity and team work 🙂 The cutting garden in a joint family effort, for example. We love to work there altogether and we often plan big parties with our friends and relatives such as our “Dahlia Planting Day” that happens every year. We are about 20 adults in the garden putting the bulbs in soil with children running in all directions around us. During summer, as I work mainly on weekends, we try to find time altogether during the week. My husband managed to obtain a part-time job where he is currently working at 90% on a very flexible basis, which allows us to have “week-ends” during the week and that helps a lot.

Floresie | Blanc Coco Photographe

Floresie | Blanc Coco Photographe

Amy: Let’s talk about your favorites…

Laetitia:

floral designer: Ariella Chezar is probably the florist I admire most, but there are so many others…

flower: Garden roses are definitely my weak spot and my signature.

design style: Organic, lush and garden style is what I feel the most drawn to, but I also enjoy a lot the modern European style featured by Moniek Vanden Berghe for example.

ribbon vendor: My number one favorite ribbon vendor is Fleuropean, love all of Emily’s work! [Emily Avenson of Fleuropean happens to be a fellow Expert Panel member!]

place to relax and unwind: I guess the hammock set at the rear of my garden is just the place to be when I need some minutes of calm…

quote or book that inspires you: I use to read a lot (before I had my son and my business…) but my house and studio are still packed with books. Maybe if I had to name one and only one: “The Floral Decorator”, by Kenneth Turner just opened my eyes on today’s trends and technique. It is a vintage book, hard to find, but a reading I highly recommend if you want to dare a wilder garden style.

Floresie | Blanc Coco Photographe

Floresie | Blanc Coco Photographe

EXCLUSIVELY FOR BB READERS:

Great news! Laetitia is offering a 10% discount to BB readers who would like to attend The Secret Garden Workshop. Offer ends:  June 18th 2017. Please enter discount code: BROUHAHA01. Space is limited to 7 students.

Registration link to The Secret Garden workshop: click here.

The Secret Garden Retreat | Floresie | Chikae O.H.

To see more of Laetitia’s work at Florésie, check her out on:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Flowers For Your Head & Hair

Designs by Courtney | Beth Joy Photography

Designs by Courtney | Beth Joy Photography

Katalin Green Flowers | Matt Ehnes Photography

Katalin Green Flowers | Matt Ehnes Photography

Firenza Flowers | Melia Melia Photography

Firenza Flowers | Melia Melia Photography

Firenza Flowers | Melia Melia Photography

Holly Heider Chapple Flowers | Paper Antler

Holly Heider Chapple Flowers | Paper Antler

Lemon Blossom Designs | Stephanie Mballo Photography

Lemon Blossom Designs | Stephanie Mballo Photography

Poppies and Posies | Jen Huang Photography

Poppies and Posies | Jen Huang Photography

Victoria Clausen | Jennifer Hughes Photographer

Victoria Clausen | Jennifer Hughes Photographer

Passionflower | Isha Foss (model)

Passionflower | Isha Foss (model)

Mimosa

Mimosa

Studio Mondine | Jose Villa Photography

Studio Mondine | Jose Villa Photography 

Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 95

The Question:

I keep hearing stories of other floral designers receiving low ratings on The Knot, Yelp, etc. for circumstances out of their control or circumstances that have been misconstrued in the review. I’ve even heard of fellow designers getting a 1-Star rating from people they never worked with. Is this an inevitable part of doing business in this tech-driven age? I’m worried it’s only a matter of time until this happens to me. Is there a way to prevent it? How would you handle it if it happened to you?

Expert Panel member Fleuropean 5

The Answers:

This has never happened to me but I guess I would probably be very upset if it did. If this happened, I think I would use the opportunity to post an answer to the low rating / bad comment that is usually offered to the business owner. Also, I would keep reminding myself that when I select a vendor on the internet, even the best ones always have a couple of bad ratings, and that does not prevent me from finally deciding to work with them, because I am aware that there are wrong ratings or really bad intentioned people out there whose sole purpose is to harm…

Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)

_____________________________________________________________________

I would actively work to counterbalance the reviews both by providing the best service possible and by asking your clients and customers to leave a review for you. Make it easy for them to do it by providing them with links, etc.

Clare Day (Clare Day Flowers)

_____________________________________________________________________

Online reviews are just plain nerve-wracking! I think we all have this fear in our minds even when doing our very best work. You never know when a client has unrealistic expectations or demands of your services. I do admire those who respond to poor client reviews in a diplomatic manner. I think it’s the best way to handle this situation and allows others to see that you stand behind your work.

Beth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)

_____________________________________________________________________

I (luckily) don’t have any online ratings going for my floral business, so I can’t comment on the negative feedback within the Knot/Yelp/Google communities… but I do struggle with retaining a 5-star customer service rating in my Etsy shop (for ribbon). There is definitely that pressure to provide excellent customer service (which, of course, we all want to do)… but sometimes you get THAT customer. The one you know you could never make happy. The one who, even if you give it your all, will still be unhappy because their expectations are unrealistic or circumstances out of your control will lead to disappointment. Back in the “old” days, feedback spread through word of mouth… and most people could probably gauge the validity of that feedback based on the mouth it was coming from. In the virtual world that we live in, the anonymity of online activity has the potential to result in more brazen attacks and a blurred line between whose reviews we can trust and not. The only way I have reacted to public negativity (only happened a handful of times out of 1500+ sales and 300+ reviews) is to politely and professionally voice my side of the story and express my regret at their dissatisfaction. What else can you really do?

Emily Avenson (Fleuropean)

_____________________________________________________________________

I don’t believe there is any way to prevent less-than-stellar reviews. My best advice as you get rolling with client reviews is to remember that you should read all reviews with humility and openness to try to make sure your business is at its very best. The client is not always right, but you surely need to make sure you are actually “hearing” any criticism that comes your way. Learn what to take to heart and what to let go. I think it’s human nature to get immediately defensive if you receive negative feedback. But even the truly nutty people sometimes have a grain of good to impart. Once you’re sure you’ve done everything in your power to make the situation “right” for the customer with a complaint and everything in your power to ensure a similar situation won’t pop up again (i.e., streamline an internal process that caused the glitch), then learn to simply let go. Don’t let negative reviews get under your skin any more than necessary. Easier said than done sometimes.

Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)

_____________________________________________________________________

This is a fear of mine as well and I do believe that a bad review is inevitable. While we do our absolute best to make sure everyone is happy (and currently we have all fabulous reviews), I realize I am getting closer and closer to my day. Expectations are getting more and more unrealistic and soon none of us will be able to keep up. All we can do is do our best and hope that if someone wrongly accuses us of poor product or service, that someone in the industry will stand for us if we need a reference or assistance in fighting a bad review. I wish I had better news on this front but sadly it is a concern of mine as well.

Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

_____________________________________________________________________

Image: Fleuropean