North East Newsletter AIFD
In This Issue
North East Regional Chapter Presidential Report
Robert De Bellis AIFD, CFD, PFCI
“Cultuur van Holland”,
By Cres Motzi AIFD
Oh the places I've been....
Darcie Garcia AIFD
FTD Campaign Celebrates Inspiring Women
Katie Hendrick Florist2.0
A Hanging Garden
By: Renee Tucci AIFD CFD
Greening the Floral Industry with OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife
Anson Low AIFD
By Wendy Andrade AIFD
10 top tips to seamless event floristry from Academy of Floral Art.
The Florist
Two Millennial Founders Are Saving Brides Thousands of Dollars With Flower Sharing
7 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Do Before 7 a.m
Serenity Gibbons...Entrepreneur March 2017
Guns to Plowshares, Bullets to Flowers
Kiplinger, David Muhlbaum
Social Media Campaign Shares Ideas, Puts Designers in the Spotlight
Katie Hendrick Florist2.0
Creative and innovative florist: the answer to online competition
How to help fund the AIFD Foundation
Northeast Board and Chapter Pin Information
NERC info
Editor information
Jo A Jarvis AIFD CFD


North East Regional Chapter Presidential Report
Robert De Bellis AIFD, CFD, PFCI

North East Regional Chapter of AIFD
Presidents Message

Greetings to my friends in our North-East Region where we are slowly thawing out. With the arrival of spring on the calendar we are still waiting for Mother Nature to begin to act like spring is here. The month of March certainly has kept our chapter members quite busy. Rebecca Carter AIFD and Michael Derouin AIFD ran an extremely successful North East Floral Expo sponsored by the Connecticut Florists Association. The expo was held March 4th and 5th. AIFD had quite a presence there with workshops and design programs being presented by many members. The lineup of our AIFD “Floral Stars” included Michael Derouin AIFD, Donald Yim AIFD, Yoli La Guerer AIFD, Darcie Garcia AIFD, Laurie Lemek AIFD and Jacob Mc Call AIFD. The weekend proved to be not only educational but exciting and fun as well. Our board is considering getting our region much more involved in this event. We will keep you posted.

Also, hard at work were Ron Mullray AIFD and Cres Motzi AIFD at the Philadelphia Flower Show Exhibit. Installation began March 8th with the show opening night gala on March 10th. The exhibit featured the talent of 19 designers and many many volunteers all given the task to bring Holland to life. This year we were visited by our president Anthony Vigliotta AIFD attending the opening night gala with our own lovely Janet Black AIFD. We were awarded the bronze medal (not all agree with the judges scores). The gorgeous feature did wow the public with accolades coming from all. From the amazing floating bicycles to the art features right down to the gin distillery. It was all wonderful and everyone involved should be so proud.

Bill Schaefer AIFD and Kristine Kratt AIFD also had an amazing exhibit at the show. Many AIFD designers and friends helped them with their feature. The entire exhibit was created with bicycle wheels and parts and adorned with thousands of gorgeous orange flowers. They received a bronze medal too (again not all agree with the judges scores). It was truly magnificent and all were wowed by its grandeur. Again, all involved should be very proud.

So, as you can see it’s been a busy month for us at the NERC, we are truly one of the hardest working regions of AIFD. All should be proud.

On April 5th, Laurie Lemek AIFD hosted a spring fundraiser for our region at Pennock Floral Supply in Springfield Mass, which featured the talents of AIFD members from our region, who demonstrated new and wonderful techniques for the upcoming prom season. We look forward to a follow-up on this exciting event. 

Happy Spring everyone!!

Respectfully Submitted
Robert De Bellis AIFD, CFD, PFCI
President North East Regional Chapter of AIFD

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“Cultuur van Holland”,
By Cres Motzi AIFD

Now that the dust has settled from the takedown, it is time to reflect on the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show. An undertaking of a project of this size required a village. Our village consisted of 19 designers, 18 design assistants, and many others. With this many creative people, working in a 48x42-foot space could have been a challenge, but there was excitement yet calmness, laughter, unity of purpose and wonderful camaraderie, which made this an excellent experience for one and all. There were hiccups along the way but all were resolved in time and the show went on. And it was a glorious show! Our exhibit, “Cultuur van Holland”, brought home a bronze medal and a special achievement award for excellence in education. Throughout the 10 days, show exhibitors and attendees have stopped by to say how much they liked our exhibit, that AIFD’s exhibit was always the first one they would look for to see what new things we were doing and that our exhibit was always creative, innovative, a crowd pleaser, and most photographed. Comments like these made our hectic days and some late nights worthwhile!

Pictures are worth a thousand words. Below is a pictorial re-cap of the floral interpretations of 5 cultural aspects of Holland.

Art – Maureen Christmas AIFD (Mondrian), Jane Godshalk AIFD (Dutch Floral Still Life), Theresa Clower AIFD (Van Gogh); assisted by Carolyn Brady AIFD, Michael Brody AIFD, Lynn Indihar, Dixie Nelson and Susan Schultze

Art/Flower Stand – Ken Norman AIFD and Yukari Mitsui AIFD, assisted by Mame Broody, Dot Chenevert AIFD and Sue Krabill AIFD

Bikes – Jo Jarvis AIFD and Janet Black AIFD; assisted by Theresa Colucci AIFD, Caroline Crabb MDPF, CFD, Sharon Galloway MDPF and Brandi Lynch

Canal – Ania Norwood AIFD and Aniko Kovacs AIFD; assisted by Mark Harding

Gin – Jenny Thomasson AIFD and Rupali Shete Sadalage AIFD; assisted by Kim Brannan, Janet Corrao AIFD, Sue Sampson AIFD and others

Gin Bike vignette – Alisha Bell AIFD and Sue Weisser AIFD; assisted by Bill Murphy AIFD

People – Polly Berginc AIFD, Valerie McLaughlin CFD, and our class of 2016 inductees –  Lindsie Carter AIFD, Darcie Garcia AIFD, John Lechliter AIFD and Shannon Toal AIFD; assisted by Rose Grealish and Inga Jenson

See what came down right before judging! Thankful for an intact Van Gogh, only a few bruises, and everything was put to rights within an hour!!!

The 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show was fun from beginning to end, from concept to completion. Every designer brought their A-game, infusing their creativity and artistry to make our exhibit a work of beauty and excellence. Ron Mulray AIFD and I could not have been more pleased with our exhibit. We could not have gotten our “show on the road” without the expertise of Chris Kanienberg (set), Waikit J. Ng (signage designer and copy-editor), Alaina Riehs – general manager and Kareem Jones – supply manager (Pennock Floral), Pennock Floral for donating our supplies, and the McLaughlin family for laying pavers, and much, much more.

2018 promises to be another exciting year! If you have never been to a Philadelphia Flower Show, do not miss it. Come see what Suzanne Sampson AIFD (2018 Flower Show Chair) and her team will do to WOW you with the World of Water!

Submitted by Cres Motzi AIFD, 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show Chair

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Oh the places I've been....
Darcie Garcia AIFD

Darcie Garcia AIFD goes on floral adventures

Oh the places I've been....

My 2017 journey with AIFD is off to a running start!!!

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of floral bliss. It began with an invite to assist a fellow AIFD member with her stage program at the Northeast Floral expo in Springfield Massachusetts. That gave me behind the scene access to such talented stage presenters such as Jacob McCall AIFD, Donald Yim AIFD, and Michael Derouin. Yoli LaGuerre AIFD opened the expo with her beautiful stage program and took us all along to Destination: India. She planted a seed with the amazing Rebecca Carter AIFD and I found myself on the roster with other amazing designers for hands-on workshops. I had the honor of presenting my wedded bliss program to a sold out class! I was elated to share my ideas and designs with 25 students who, by the end of class, were all full of inspiration and excitement to practice what they learned. It was a rewarding weekend of learning and so much fun!

 Fast forward a short 2 days later and I found myself at the Philadelphia Flower Show immersed in the AIFD exhibit! The event chair, Cres Motzi AIFD currated a fantastic team of designers and I couldn't be more excited to be on team "People" of the Dutch culture exhibit. It's truly an amazing experience to watch as 6 vignettes came together. Team Heads, lead by Polly Berginc, had the task of designing 40 concrete heads. Shannon Toal AIFD, Lindsie Shortall AIFD, Jon Lechliter AIFD, Polly and I had a blast putting our craniums together to design off the top of our heads. I'm excited to see where I pop up next!!

Til next time buds,


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FTD Campaign Celebrates Inspiring Women
Katie Hendrick Florist2.0

FTD Campaign Celebrates Inspiring Women

Throughout the month of March, FTD is urging people to recognize the influential women in their lives and show their appreciation with flowers.

The company kicked off its campaign, #ILooktoHer, on March 8 (International Women’s Day). Volunteers huddled around a retro van from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to shower 5,000 women in downtown Chicago with surprise bouquets. Former Chicago Bears star Izzy Idonije joined in the fun. FTD also conducted an online sweepstakes and encouraged individuals to post personal stories on social media, tagging the women who inspire them and marking it with the hashtag #ILooktoHer

The celebration picked up three days later at the Philadelphia Flower Show, where FTD welcomed guests at the the main exhibition entrance, again with free bouquets. There was a stunning live floral wall that spelled out #ILooktoHer, offering visitors a superb photo opportunity. Naturally, FTD reps encouraged them to post pictures on social media, tagging women who inspire them with thankful messages using the hashtag #ILooktoHer.
During the show, FTD Lead Floral Designer Andrea Ancel hosted a Facebook Live segment.  Angel, along with guest floral designers, interior designers and artists, brought to life the exciting floral trends for 2017.  After each design segment, FTD gave away arrangements from the stage to lucky women in the audience. (This will continue until the flower show’s conclusion on Sunday, March 19.)


“At FTD, we understand that we all have women in our lives who push us to be stronger, challenge us to be better and motivate us to be everything we are,” said Senior Marketing Director Dan Spellman. “Last year, we partnered with the Sun Valley Group to bring this sentiment to life during International Women’s Day at the Philadelphia Flower Show.  We decided to focus our efforts around asking everyone to use the hashtag #ILookToHer as a means to recognize the influential women in their lives.”

“The reception we have received in Chicago, Philadelphia and across the country (as we highlight the hashtag throughout our Designer Studio segments on Facebook Live), has been fantastic,” Spellman added. “We will continue to use the hashtag to identify inspirational women across the country through Mother’s Day.” 
The campaign isn’t just for consumers though. Through May 3, FTD florists can enter an online sweepstakes for the chance to win two roundtrip airfare tickets. Simply upload a photo of the woman in your life who you look to for love, support, comfort, etc. at

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A Hanging Garden
By: Renee Tucci AIFD CFD

Beginning nearly six months ago in the fall of 2016, the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society’s Philadelphia (PHS) Flower Show design team came to visit us at Valley Forge Flowers (VFF). Collectively, PHS spends more than a year to plan each show, which includes design and execution, and we were finally being brought into the fold for the 2017 show entitled “Holland; Flowering the World”.  The VFF team has been responsible for the entrance garden design for several years now, working exclusively for PHS. In 2017, VFF was proud to enjoy this exclusive honor again to display its design expertise to embody Holland at the Philadelphia flower Show.  Our team was presented with renderings, schematics and vision boards. They spoke of everything we expected; bridges, bicycles, windmills and tulips, and something we didn’t expect: a hanging garden!

A hanging garden was a new concept that included many unique and pioneering design elements. VFF staff listened intently as they described how important the changing 8-color gradient was and that it wasn’t just going to be a hanging garden, but one with undulating lines and would span both vertical and horizontal areas of the entrance garden. While we were also asked to adorn the entrance bridge with fresh flowers, and the windmills too, the expectation that the hanging garden was going to be the focal point became clear to us and we quickly got excited about the task at hand. Going from the drawing board to execution required us to think differently about how we would make the design a reality. We delved head first into the mechanics we would need to figure out to make it happen. What kind of string or cord would we use? Would the string itself be colored or would it be clear and would we let the lighting do the coloring? What thickness should the string be so that it can be seen from across the convention center, but not be so thick that it clouds the line we wanted to create between rows? And most importantly of all, what flowers would we use?

For the string, we ended up using paracord which, came in all the colors we needed, it also came in varying thicknesses. For the flowers, the original intent was for one single flower to hang from the strings. But what flowers fit the theme of the show, fit the color gradient we were trying to accomplish and would work best suspended for 10 days? We tested many fresh flowers and quickly realized that none would hold up in the condition we wanted them to, and refreshing almost 4,000 of them mid-way through the show was an impossibility. After our think-tank put in weeks of thoughts and tests, we ended up creating a small Oasis netted sphere, mostly covered in color coordinated reindeer moss, with preserved flowers covering the bottom of the sphere.

The production company creating our set brought over the grids that the garden was going to hang from and our group of volunteers got to work during the second week of January. They spent nearly 5 weeks cutting all of the cord in the 8 different colors at all the varying lengths, and then attaching all of them in just the right places on the forty 10’x4’ grids that would eventually hang from the celling of the convention center. The Excel spreadsheet that helped us keep it all straight is a mind boggling list of numbers. Once that monumental task was complete, then we had to start the job of actually making all of the spheres.

We were so fortunate to have the folks at Oasis donate the netted spheres and bullion wire we needed. We wrapped the spheres in the coordinating color of moss, overwrapped the moss with the bullion to create a tailored look and then added the flowers to finish it off. We weren’t able to obtain preserved flowers in all of the colors we needed but luckily we had some Design Master close at hand and before you knew it, we had the color we needed. With about a month to go we realized we were never going to finish on time so we put out the mayday to PHS and they put out the call to local garden clubs. We soon had a small army of over 65 volunteers helping us moss and flower the netted spheres. Once valentine’s day was over, we were also able to have the majority of our staff work on the sphere project as well. When we reflected on the completed work, we estimate that over 85 dedicated staff and volunteers helped us prepare and install the spheres.

March 3rd finally arrived and our team of staff and volunteers arrived at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC ), which has hosted the Philadelphia Flower Show for the past 21 years, to start installing the garden. The grids and strings were hanging from the ceiling. Thanks to our volunteers’ pain-staking work when attaching the cords to the grids weeks prior, the cords did not tangle, but came out of their small, pony-tailed bunches like a dream. After trimming every single piece of cord so that the overall look was a smooth, undulating line, we began attaching the spheres to the cords. We had originally planned to zip tie the cord to the sphere but just a few days before we installed, one of our staff members came up with the idea of using a crochet hook and creating a slip-not attachment. It worked like a charm and we were able to have consistency throughout the entire installation, which was very important. We worked our way up, from the shortest strings to the longest strings, the grids being raised up a few feet at a time so that we were able to work comfortably.

We knew instantly. When the very first sphere was attached, we knew it was going to be everything we had hoped. As it came alive we saw the impact it was going to have above the heads of the 250,000 visitors to the show, and we were right. Once the show opened, the lights were dimmed and the guests arrived, you could see how much it brought to the show. It made all of the weeks of hard work worth it. I’ve been calling it a labor of love and I stand by that. It wasn’t always easy (How do you order product for a project like this? How quickly can we wrap 4,000 spheres with moss? How many hands will we need to install it in the time frame we have?) We eventually found answers to all of our questions.

I’m beyond proud to have been a part of this ground-breaking display at the Philadelphia Flower Show. It was a learning experience like I’ve never been a part of. And now that it’s over, I can’t wait to see what we do next year for the “Wonders of Water” theme.

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Greening the Floral Industry with OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife

Greening the Floral Industry with OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife

The most recognized and trusted brand for floriculture products introduces the next level of sustainability
KENT, Ohio –According to Environmental Leader, 71 percent of Americans consider the environment when they shop. As a result, today’s consumers are looking for companies to value the environment as much as they do.

Floral shoppers, especially, are increasingly socially responsible and demand that even the most exquisite designs do as much to protect nature as they do to capture its beauty. Responding to consumer trends and the demands of its customers’ customers, today, Smithers-Oasis is introducing the latest generation of OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife, the world’s first floral foam with Enhanced Biodegradability. All OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife made today now features Enhanced Biodegradability.  

OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife’s new foam formulation is designed for modern landfills and attracts microbes that break the foam down into methane, CO2 and organic matter. Testing based on the American Society for Testing (ASTM) and Materials standards shows that OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife will biodegrade 100 percent within 567 days in biologically active landfill conditions1, while also keeping flowers fresh up to 50 percent longer than other floral foams.  Testing is ongoing and as biodegradation rates continue, further information will be released.

“We are constantly evaluating the chemistry of floral foam to provide greater consumer benefits,” said Smithers-Oasis vice president, corporate technology, Larry White. “We are happy to have upgraded the technology of our floral foam to consider the entire lifecycle of the product, today’s modern landfill, and a reduced environmental impact.”

The OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife formulation with Enhanced Biodegradability will be used in all OASIS® Floral Products which use premium foam today, including bricks, mache, bouquet holders and designer shapes. All of the plastic parts often coupled with foam can then be recycled and floral designers and consumers can feel comfortable disposing of the floral foam in a landfill.

“Worldwide we are focused on sustainability,” continued White. “All of our people in 21 operating units are making sustainability a priority. We evaluate all of our products and business practices worldwide, and are proud of this advancement with our flagship product – OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife.”

For more than 60 years, Smithers-Oasis has continued efforts not only in the advancement of the floral industry but also in sustaining the environment. In fact, Smithers-Oasis was the first in the industry to eliminate the use of chlorofluorocarbon from floral foam production and it has successfully reduced volatile organic compound emissions (VOCs) by more than 85 percent over the last 25 years. As part of the Smithers-Oasis culture, the company is constantly looking for ways to be an increasingly sustainable company and provide environmentally friendly products and solutions to its customers.

Other Smithers-Oasis North America “green” products include:
ECOssentials containers – all biodegrade in a landfill in 180 days
OASIS™ Flat Cane and OASIS™ Midollino – made of renewable, natural materials
OASIS™ Raw Muslin and Pastel Wraps – are reclaimed materials
All OASIS™ glass, plastic containers and cages are recyclable
All OASIS™ colored glass is sprayed with a water-based, low VOC paint

Additional information on Smithers-Oasis’ ongoing sustainability program can be found at

1This product has been shown by ASTM D5511 to biodegrade 25% within 18 months in biologically active landfill conditions. Appropriate facilities may not exist in your area. The rate and extent shown do not mean that the product will continue to decompose.


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Anson Low AIFD
By Wendy Andrade AIFD

Anson Low along with his wife June (AIFD) are the proprietors of the Nobleman School of floral design in Singapore. They offer educational packages and organise workshops and demonstrations by visiting designers
Anson low AIFD is an extremely well known designer on the floral circuit and has to be one of the most talented designers I have met during my long career as a floral designer. Our first encounter was in KL 3 years ago when he was representing Singapore and I was there for the UK.  Just reading that he would be exhibiting alongside me left me in awe but I didn’t ever expect him to come over to my exhibit and tell me he had heard of me. That sums up the humble side of this talented designer.

Anson messaged me in October 2016 to say he would be visiting the UK for the first time in January this year, and would I know of any society or club  that would like to host a demonstration ! So, thinking ahead I had to work out how could I put the word out and quickly so  I contacted one person on FB  and hey presto within an hour the request for a club  was up on a flower club page on  Face book and within 2 hours Anson had a venue . Southern demonstrators in Guildford were very proactive and I was told 2 weeks before Christmas that the show was sold out completely. 150 tickets had been allocated and all gone within 3 weeks. That just shows how popular Anson is although never having been to the UK before.

The demonstration was set for Sunday 29th January at a very large and well position village hall in a place called Normandy. Anson asked if I knew of one other designer who could come along to give us a hand and I instantly thought of Tina Parkes AIFD . Tina drove up from Devon on the Saturday and we were raring to go with our knives and  pliers but Anson insisted we just enjoy the evening with himself and his family and we were amazed (if not a tad nervous) that  he was so laid back about the designs for Sunday.

Sunday morning at 9am we arrived at the hall and Anson started to unpack his very large suitcase. He produced an array of amazing premade structures all carefully packed in sections and within an hour there were at least 9 designs ready to be flowered. Both Tina and I were again amazed at the calm nature of this world re known designer and we both really enjoyed working on his vision for each design.

Anson began the show by wishing everyone a Happy New Year (it was the 2nd day of Chinese New Year) and his first 2 designs reflected the tradition. He then proceeded to hand out a New Year’s gifts to everyone in the audience that consisted of a red envelope containing a chocolate coin and a good luck wish for the coming year. He went onto show us all some very clever and intriguing techniques within the designs that all told a story. 

Anson was very articulate and being an excellent and experienced educator he shared every technique and had the whole audience captivated. The finale piece came about through his love of sharing and he wanted to share the making of last piece with myself, Tina, and his wife June. He created a very long willow structure and sat it onto 4 vases. He then invited June, Tina and myself to come onto the stage to help decorate it. 

It was such a fun end to a fabulous demonstration and as AIFD designers, we were able to stand together as part of the AIFD flower family and share the power of the flower world wide. 

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10 top tips to seamless event floristry from Academy of Floral Art.
The Florist



10 top tips to seamless event floristry from Academy of Floral Art.

We know just how much anxiety there is around the topic of large-scale event floristry: how much should I charge, how can I limit my exposure to risk, where should I focus the budget, what insurance cover do I need, how should I start designing and planning for such a vast space? The list goes on…

So, the team at renowned Academy of Floral Art have come up with a cunning plan to make large events far less daunting and a whole lot more fun! In early June, they are taking over Bridwell Park in Devon for a two-day residential floristry course entitled ‘The Big Event’, perfect for intermediate and experienced florists and advanced flower arrangers ready to scale up their work.
Tina Parkes, Academy tutor explains: “We have designed ‘The Big Event’ to give florists the knowledge, confidence and hands-on experience of how to pitch, cost for profit and plan for a large-scale event as well as the techniques to create designs to complement the scale and style of the space.” Tina will be instructing the course alongside her fellow Academy tutors – Julie Collins, Amanda Randell and Kathryn Delve. 
To get us started, Tina has shared 10 top tips to seamless event floristry:
Tip #1 — Pitching
Take time to research your client, the venue and get into their world. It is not about you, but about what you can do for them to make their event special.
Tip #2 — Costing for profit
The commercial success of an event is by no means a given. It is not uncommon to hear of florists – even experienced ones – actually losing money on large-scale events by not costing the job properly at the pitch stage or by being caught unawares by price hikes, having limited their palette to a specific flower.
Tip #3 — Contract
Get it in writing! A written contract between you and your client sets out clearly what you’ve agreed, such as deposits and payments, responsibilities and services, so there are no unwelcome surprises or disappointments along the way.
Tip #4 — Space
It can be all too tempting to fill a large space with flowers, but you need to stop and think what will give most floral impact – a few spectacular displays or a lots of smaller arrangements? And how should you site them?
Tip #5 — Water
Water is not your friend on site, as water can do a lot of damage to a listed building and quickly become an expensive affair. Many venues will insist upon their florists having public liability insurance to cover any watery mishaps.
Tip #6 — Context
Few properties are a blank canvas. You have to work with the style of architecture and interior decoration, picking up on colours, tones and form. There is still plenty of room to be daring and creative, but you need to give a nod to the context.
Tip #7 — Risk assessment
It may sound dull, but drafting a risk assessment is essential to make sure everyone is safe on site. It helps you identify and resolve any potential safety issues and plan what you need for the job.
Tip #8 – Team-working
Create a working plan so that everyone working with you on a big event has a clear job role and knows what they need to do. This saves a lot of time and confusion and so ends up saving you money.
Tip #9 — Flower buying
Think carefully about the flowers and foliages you choose for the event – vase life, dramatic impact, fragrance, colour blending – and create a flower ordering grid to make the most of the wrap sizes.
Tip #10 — Design to Build
A good sketch helps you plan the varieties and quantities of flowers, foliages and sundries you are going to need and how you are going to construct the design. Draw up a timeline to help you work out the number of people you need and when you should start prepping. Do as much of the structure and mechanics in advance to save time and stress on the day itself.
The Big Event’ will take place at Bridwell Park, Devon on 6–7 June 2017. To find out more, call the Academy of Floral Art on 01392 834893 or visit

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Two Millennial Founders Are Saving Brides Thousands of Dollars With Flower Sharing
By Maisie Devine

Thought this might start a few coversations.....

Two Millennial Founders Are Saving Brides Thousands of Dollars With Flower Sharing

Launched in 2014, Bloomerent allows brides to share centerpieces across their wedding events for huge savings and increased sustainability. Brides love it, corporate event planners love it, and Bloomerent is growing like crazy.

 The average wedding in the U.S. costs $32,000, and in larger markets like New York City, couples are spending around $82,000 total. Brides and grooms spend 10 to 15 percent of their overall wedding budget on flowers, which are discarded after five or six hours, even though they have a lifespan ranging from three to 14 days.

The cost of flowers is no surprise when you consider seasonality, shipping expenses, and florist labor. However, what is surprising is that couples watch their expensive centerpieces get thrown away even though they are still fresh.

Danit Zamir, co-founder of Bloomerent, experienced this issue first-hand when she watched her wedding flowers get tossed in the garbage after her five-hour wedding.

"I hated the idea of spending thousands of dollars on my flowers in the first place, but then allowing someone to toss them after a few hours, while they're still fresh and new, felt wasteful and irresponsible," Zamir says.

Frustrated and seeking a solution, Zamir spent months speaking to florists and couples about her idea: sharing flowers with another event in the same weekend. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, as she realized many couples were trying to share their flowers through wedding boards and florists were excited about the prospect of sharing. It was then that she decided to launch Bloomerent: an online marketplace for brides, grooms, and event hosts to share centerpieces between two events in close proximity.

"People share their clothing, cars, and even their beds with complete strangers," she says. "Why wouldn't we share our flowers while they're still fresh?"

Bloomerent allows couples to list, discover, and book their florist and event flowers directly on their website.

Bloomerent founders Danit Zamir and Julia Capalano.
CREDIT: Courtesy Bloomerent

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7 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Do Before 7 a.m
Serenity Gibbons...Entrepreneur March 2017

7 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Do Before 7 a.m.

Success always takes time, which is why the most successful people start early.

Entrepreneurs are a unique breed of people. We like to do things our way and are known for our almost obsessive attraction to habits. But, there’s a good reason for that. Habits help us achieve our goals, keep us motivated, eliminates wasted time, and improve our lives altogether.

Arguably, the most important habit for an entrepreneur is their morning routine. After all, if you start your day off on the wrong foot, how productive, motivated, and focused are you going to be for the rest of the day?

To make sure that you start your day off on the right foot, here are seven things that every entrepreneur should before 7 a.m.

1. They’re wide awake.

Successful entrepreneurs like Richard Branson are known for waking up bright and early.

"I have always been an early riser. Like keeping a positive outlook, or keeping fit, waking up early is a habit, which you must work on to maintain. Over my 50 years in business I have learned that if I rise early I can achieve so much more in a day, and therefore in life," explains the Virgin Group founder.

When you’re awake before 7 a.m. you have the time to check the news, gather your thoughts, or exercise. This prevents you from rushing out the door every morning feeling frazzled and unfocused.

Waking up early means that you have to stop hitting the snooze button by getting enough sleep each night - preferably between 7 and 9 hours. Besides ensuring that you’re an early riser, getting the appropriate amount of sleep improves your health, memory, learning, productivity, and mood. It may even help you make fewer risky financial decisions, reduce stress, and decrease fat and increase muscle mass with exercise.

2. Avoid your phone.

This may sound crazy, but there a couple of perfectly valid reasons for not reaching for your phone first thing in the morning. For starters, placing it next to yourself throughout the night can interrupt your sleep because of the light the screen emits or the notifications that go off throughout the night.

Additionally, diving into your inbox or social media channels can be stressful and distract you from setting your personal priorities. Instead of setting your goals for the day, you’re frantically responding to an angry email from a client. That’s not the best way to start your day.

3. Exercise or meditate.

Yes. Whether if it’s going for run, lifting weights, plunging into a 57-degree Fahrenheit pool, yoga or reciting oms, regular exercise or meditation reduces stress, makes you happier, increases your energy, helps you sleep better, gives your immune system a boost, and prevents you from developing future health concerns like heart disease.

However, just as important for an entrepreneur, exercising and meditating each morning can help you focus on what you need to achieve throughout the day and develop new ideas.

4. Eat a healthy breakfast.

Stop kidding yourself. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day since it’s going fuel your brain and body for the day. But, not all breakfasts are equal. Skip the donuts or leftover pizza and consume:
•  Healthy carbohydrates like oatmeal or rye toast.

•  Low-fat protein like eggs, nuts, greens, and beans.

• Fruits and veggies.

•  Dairy alternatives like soy, almond, or rice milk.

While having a morning a cup of tea or coffee to wash down your breakfast isn’t bad, try sipping on some lemon water before you eat.

"Drinking lemon water as soon as you wake up spikes your energy levels physically and mentally. Lemon water gives you steady, natural energy that lasts the length of the day by improving nutrient absorption in your stomach. You need to drink it first thing in the morning (on an empty stomach) to ensure full absorption," explains Travis Bradberry.

"You should also wait 15-30 minutes after drinking it before eating (perfect time to squeeze in some exercise). Lemons are packed with nutrients; they’re chock full of potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. If you’re under 150 pounds, drink the juice of half a lemon (a full lemon if you’re over 150 pounds). Don’t drink the juice without water because it’s hard on your teeth.

Breakfast is also a great time to spend time with your family.

5. Lift your spirits.

Some mornings you just don’t want to roll out of bed. The weather’s crummy and you had a major setback. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s enough to kill your motivation for the next couple of days.

That’s why successful entrepreneurs practice lifting their spirits each morning. Whether it’s reading an inspiring book, memorizing motivational quotes, working on a passion project, or writing down your thoughts or experiences in a journal or blog, take a couple of minutes every morning to get in the right mindset before tackling the day.

If those tactics aren’t effective, write down the things that you’re grateful for.

"The five-minute journal is a therapeutic intervention, for me at least, because I am that person,” says Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur and author of The 4-Hour Workweek. “That allows me to not only get more done during the day but to also feel better throughout the entire day, to be a happier person, to be a more content person -- which is not something that comes naturally to me."

6. Set your goals and priorities.

Every Monday morning set your goals for the week. Each day for the rest of the week write down the goals and priorities that need to happen that day. Think about how you’re going to accomplish those goals while in the shower, jogging or whenever you have quiet time to yourself.

The most effective way to cross items off your to-do list is by starting with the hardest task - or the task that you’re dreading the most. Procrastinating on those tasks just leaves them for tomorrow. Get them done and over with now so that you can keep moving forward.

7. Get down to business.

Finally, it’s time to get down to business. You can now grab your phone and read and send emails, pop-in on social media, check the news involving your industry, and review metrics, such as the previous day’s sales. That data may alter your to-do-list, but because you got a headstart, you’ll be prepared and ready when it’s time to enter the office.

By creating, and sticking, to a morning routine you develop habits that will keep you healthy, productive, and prepared so that you can handle any situation that’s thrown your way. It may take some trial and error to find your ideal morning routine but it will make you more successful both professionally and personally.

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Guns to Plowshares, Bullets to Flowers
Kiplinger, David Muhlbaum

Thought this was rather interesting and forward thinking...would be nice if it came about...


Amazing New Technologie That Will Make America's Military Even Stronger

Cyberthreats are where much of the action is for today’s military, but war planners haven’t forgotten the need to keep up with traditional ways of enhancing America’s defense: weapons and the means to deliver them.

Here’s a glimpse of the next array of high-tech systems in development at companies and labs partnering with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the science and weapons development arm of the Defense Department, as well as other research outfits.

Guns to Plowshares, Bullets to Flowers

Disappearing is also the trick of a new type of ammunition the Army is considering. Hundreds of thousands of shells are sent downrange every year in training. Heavy metals, including lead, are left behind, posing environmental hazards. Plus, those rounds can make the land unusable for, say, farmers, who wouldn't know if a shell they encountered in their fields was live or a dummy.

One potential solution: a biodegradable shell that would include seeds to encourage re-growth. In fact, the government specifies "environmentally friendly plants that remove soil contaminants and consume the biodegradable components developed under this project."

At the same time, the plants need to be safe for animals to consume. The Army's solicitation is part of its small-business technology outreach program.

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Social Media Campaign Shares Ideas, Puts Designers in the Spotlight
Katie Hendrick Florist2.0

You ought to be in pictures — well, advertisements.
That’s the message Smithers-Oasis North America, a manufacturer of floral foam products, adhesives, decorative wire, bouquet holders, and other accessories, wants to send floral designers.
Since January 2016, the company has run a social media contest seeking prospective designs and florists to feature in its magazine ads.

Through Facebook, Smithers-Oasis created the “INSPIRE Floral Design Showcase,” where florists can submit extraordinary designs that could appear in gorgeous print ads for Floral Management, Florist’s Review, Flowers&, AIFD Focal Points, and Canadian Florist.

The INSPIRE Floral Design Showcase is broken into categories that include seasonal celebrations, holidays, and important life events such as prom, weddings, and funerals. Florists can post designs that incorporate Oasis floral products. 
Along with exposure in the industry’s top print publications, the winners’ designs are recreated by a member of the Smithers-Oasis design team and broken into step-by-step instructions in the “ideas” section of the company’s website, where any designer who needs a jolt of inspiration can access them. Design Director Sharon McGukin, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, also discusses them in the Smithers-Oasis blog

Marketing Programs/Communications Manager Kelly Mace said the campaign’s objective is, as the name implies, “to inspire.”
“It’s amazing seeing all the new ways florists use our products,” she said. “We’ve seen amazingly creative applications of some products that have been around a long time. For instance, we had one florist use our sculpting sheet to make a pave design with candles for Valentine’s Day. It was so striking and so different from the tall vases you typically see for the holiday.”

Additionally, Smithers-Oasis wanted to encourage its customers to teach one another and to take pride in their originality.
“I think it’s a real confidence booster,” Mace said. “For florists on the fence about testing for AIFD or state certifications, or entering design competitions, this can give them the nudge to go for it. We absolutely love to see winners share their ads and blog posts
on Facebook and watch the compliments from their customers and peers pour in.”

In every ad, Smithers-Oasis tries to recreate the backroom look. “We want it to look like they’re in the act of creating the design. You can tell it’s not completely finished,” Mace said. “This is intentional to draw readers onto the website to see how the story ends.”
Smithers-Oasis has a panel of judges evaluate the photos. Although the company requests high-resolution entries, the caliber of photography does not dictate who wins, as he or she will have a professional shoot.

Garrett Skupinski’s completed ad
Want to be the next Oasis super star? Submit your designs

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Creative and innovative florist: the answer to online competition

Creative and innovative florist: the answer to online competition

The 'classic' consumer habit of just dropping by the florist to buy flowers before visiting someone is changing.

Purchasing online has become ingrained.

The changing consumption behaviour of the past few years has had a direct impact on florists, according to market specialist Erwin Sneiders. "The florist is having to deal with lower revenue and rising costs. Increasing pressure is being exerted on Dutch florists as well as on florists in our neighbouring countries." For Royal FloraHolland this is a development that needs close monitoring. The traditional trade is still a major buyer of flowers and plants.

Increasing competition
 Florists experience competition from markets and garden centres, but also increasingly from supermarkets, which have snatched up a significant market share with their low prices. In addition, the proportion of online purchases continues to expand, partly due to the surprising and innovative concepts entering the market of flowers and plants.

Consumer orders more often via internet
 The numbers tell the story. Consumer research done by Royal FloraHolland revealed that consumers in Germany, the UK, France and the Netherlands are finding it more and more normal to buy flowers or plants via webshops. This development is especially apparent in the UK. In 2016, the so-called 'box flower delivery' segment here was responsible for 8% of the volume of cut flowers and 13% of the money spent.

In the other three countries, such high shares are not yet evident. But we expect further growth in these markets as well. In 2016, 5% was spent in the Netherlands on flowers via webshops. In Germany, this was 4% and in France, 2%. If we add on the orders placed on the websites of florists, transport organisations and supermarkets, then the percentage rises. In the UK it becomes 23%, in France 14.5%, in the Netherlands and Germany about 12%.

It is striking that French consumers order relatively more via the website of the florist than those in the other three countries. The percentage of online orders via transport organisations is also higher in France than in the other three sales markets.

Creativity and innovation are a must for florists
 How can florists stay ahead of the competition? Questions that florists could ask are:
•How professionally do I approach my operational management and do I pay enough time and attention to the shop's appearance and marketing?
•Do I invest in the relationship with my customers?
•Do I have a clear image of my added value (Unique Selling Proposition) for customers?
•To what extent do I offer houseplants or related articles alongside the flowers?
•To what extent do I explore other target groups than private individuals?
•Customer-oriented operational management is the future
It is striking that the vast majority of florists work independently. This often leads to the retailer being forced to stick to traditional purchasing methods. In Germany and France, chains (franchises) have arisen that are better at confronting the new challenges. Their share of the total market is still relatively small. In France the florist chains make up around 10% of the total number of florists in the country.

Surprise and excell
 To stay ahead of the competition, florists will have to focus on the creative aspect of their trade and distinguish themselves with innovative shop concepts. This will allow them to keep surprising their customers and excelling in service.

In other words: paying more attention to the appearance of a shop, smarter organisation of the purchasing, offering a unique assortment, forming relationships with your customers and developing a multi-channel approach.

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How to help fund the AIFD Foundation


Help AIFD Foundation raise funds with the click of a button...... 

Welcome to AmazonSmile!  

When you shop at, Amazon donates to your favorite charitable organization

What is AmazonSmile?
 AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

How do I shop at AmazonSmile?
 To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible for charitable donations?
 Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

Can I use my existing account on AmazonSmile?
 Yes, you use the same account on and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?
 On your first visit to AmazonSmile (, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.

Can I change my charity?
 Yes, you can change your charity any time. Your AmazonSmile purchases after the change count towards your newly selected charity. To change your charity, sign in to on your desktop or mobile phone browser and simply select “Change your Charity” in “Your Account.”  

How much of my purchase does Amazon donate?
 The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges. From time to time, we may offer special, limited time promotions that increase the donation amount on one or more products or services or provide for additional donations to charitable organizations. Special terms and restrictions may apply. Please see the relevant promotion for complete details.

Can I receive a tax deduction for amounts donated from my purchases on AmazonSmile?
 Donations are made by the AmazonSmile Foundation and are not tax deductible by you.  

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Northeast Board and Chapter Pin Information
NERC info

The Northeast Chapter includes the following;

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvanian, Rhode Island, Vermont and the Canadian Providences of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and the United Kingdom. 

AIFD Northeast Regional Chapter Officers - 2016 – 2017

President: Rob DeBellis
Wk: (609) 965-4200, E- mail:

President Elect: Dan Firth
Wk: (717) 248-7843, E-mail:

Vice President:  Dot Chenevert
Home: 845-229-9336 Cell: (914) 447-8764, Email:

Secretary: Laurie Lemek
(860)454-4045, Email: 

Treasurer: Suzanne Sampson
(603)819-3663, Email:

Past President: Janet Black
Cell: (207) 514 3500, E-mail:


Ron Mulray
Cell: (215) 495-3043 Wk: (215) 824-1819, Email:


Polly Berginc 
Home:  (724) 283-1536, Email: 

AIFD NERC Board of Directors – 2015/2016

Susan Krabill (‘17)
(302)697-3273, Email:

Chris Ondrak (’17)
Wk :( 908) 782-5459, Email:

David Siders (’17)
Wk: (518) 374-6885, Email:

Alisha Simone Bell (’18)
Wk: (856) 357-4250, Email:

Rebecca Carter (’18)
Wk: (603) 817 4780, Email:

Marianne R Suess (’18)
Wk: (416) 905 707 6618, Email: 

Bunnie Hovan ('19)
Wk: (203) 378-2648, Email:

Christy King (’19)
Wk: (413) 222-2344, Email:

Jennifer Plasky (’19)
Wk: (203) 560-6249, Email:



The Northeast Chapter has a beautiful gold (not solid but coloured) pin which represents our chapter with a spray of acorns and a cluster of oak leaves, this symbol represents the Region on both sides of the pond.  The pin is approximately 1"W x 3/4 H.

For those members who would like to purchase the Northeast Chapter pin  If you do not already own our chapter pin, they are still available to purchase. 

The price is $25.00 (plus $5 shipping). If you are interested in purchasing a pin contact Janet Black,  or mobile number (207) 514-3500. 

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Editor information
Jo A Jarvis AIFD CFD

Dear Northeast Members….

Thank you to the couple of people who sent in articles it always helps.

If you do have anything of interest please send it my way and will endeavour to either include it in the newsletter or put it on our chapter Facebook page.  Email address to send to is  attention of Jo Jarvis

Please Note: All photos submitted should be sent as a jpg file; I have finally managed to suss out how to reformat and resize.  Once shown it was easy…

Please also visit the national website at for additional news and information.  Current and back issues of our NERC Newsletter are available on the NERC Chapter page. 

Remember if you are going to change your email address to inform me if not you will not be on the Newsletter Management list.  

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AIFD North East Region,
720 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
TEL: (410) 752-3318
FAX: (410) 752-8295