Fall & Christmas Design Show 10/11/17 Recap
About six months ago our Supply Manager, Arnold Price, received a recommendation from an industry peer, Willie from Kennicott Brothers in Chicago. Willie spoke very highly of a Missouri based floral designer named Ron Johnson. Hillcrest Garden is always on the lookout for a new designer to give our customer base a fresh outlook on floral design. So naturally, we called Ron right away and hired him to be our featured designer for our October 2017 Fall and Christmas design show. Ron was an unknown quantity to our east-coast centric floral customer base, and that was both exciting and nerve-wracking. Exciting, for we would have a fun new floral expert to foist upon our customers, and nerve-wracking for there’s always that fear in the back of your mind, “maybe they won’t come, for they don’t know him.” Well we had a wonderful turn-out with 105 attendees, so our fears were unfounded.
Ron has an even keeled, calm demeanor. He makes you at ease when he speaks. He owns three different floral / home décor themed shops. So he sits in the same shoes as the floral shops that attended our show last night. He spoke for an hour and forty-five minutes, and showed the crowd 50 floral designs. Here are some of the highlights from our perspective:
- Ron is a believer in proving to his customers that his shop is known for unique and creative designs. He told our audience that he has developed a reputation within his community for fun creative designs, and that customers will come back repeatedly to take advantage of this originality. Above are some examples of this that he created for our Wednesday show.
- He also showed the crowd a fantastic simple arrangement that he does hundreds of per year. He takes a square piece of foam, the attaches 5-6 pieces of salal to the edge sticking out horizontally like wings all around the top edge. Then using a rubber band he collapses the salal leafs down so that they lie flat against the edge of the foam, to hide view of foam. Then he flips the design over, inserts short stem flowers and glittered balls vertically into the foam and voila, you have an inexpensive beautiful small arrangement that takes almost no time to do. A six inch white lomey dish can be placed underneath to catch residual water.
- The most fantastic idea I felt Ron taught the crowd that evening was creating unique wine toppers. Now if one of your customers is invited to a holiday party, instead of showing up with a bottle of wine in a generic bag, they can instead wow their host with a bottle of win with a unique holiday design on top. Ron calls then “wine toppers.” This is a wonderful idea! Do you think customers you may have lost to the local grocery store floral department will find something like that at the ACME? No, for that type of creativity, they will need to go to a florist, and that is another feather a florist can have in their cap. Another reason why this idea is so good for florists, is now you have a way to marry your shop to the liquor business. There are a lot of wine bottles sold each year. Just think about what percentage of wine bottles are purchases as hostess gifts by people attending a party? It has to be a healthy percentage, maybe 5% if we had to guess. The ideas just flow when you think about this idea. Can you contact your local town liquor store, and develop some sort of a partnership or arrangement? Can you teach a class in the evening at your shop, where you teach of group of your customers how to make these wine toppers? I would imagine they would also like to drink some wine that evening while you teach the calss, as long as its BYOW, that should be OK with you insurance wise. Wine toppers in general can be an idea you promote on your website. A host/hostess that gets a wine topper as a gift can regift it if he/she attends a future party. If you want to make the wine topper extra perishable, you can build it so that there is a cut flower element to it, so the customer will need to frequently come back to your shop for a refill if they want to re-gift the wine topper to another host/hostess.
- We had requested that Ron showcase more of our Christmas artificial items this show. So he made many creative pieces that can be sold at a flower shop, and also have a long shelf life. After the show, we have many attendees anxious to purchase these 100% artificial arrangements.
- We are pleased to announce the winner of our grand prize for the eveing. Heights Flowers Shop in Hasbrouck Heights NJ was the winner of the $400 in gift cards (Lowes, CVS etc) Grand Prize. Congratulations to them!