North East Newsletter - 01/15/2017 (Plain Text Version)

View Graphical Version

Robert De Bellis AIFD, CFD, PFCI

    The Northeast Region is gearing up for the NEFE North East Floral Expo again this year with numerous members helping to make a weekend full of stimulation, learning and sharing friendships. Rebecca Carter AIFD and Michael Derouin AIFD will be helping to coordinate the events with the Connecticut Florist Association. NEFE will be held on March 4-5, 2017 at the Sheraton Monarch Place Hotel, Springfield, MA

The planning for the Philadelphia Flower Show is well underway with Cres Motzi AIFD and Ron Mulray AIFD are coordinating this year. The theme is “Holland” Flowering the World it will be exciting to see the creativity and fellow floral artists transform the space. Bill Schaffer AIFD and Kris Kratt AIFD will also be creating a fabulous display. We are looking forward to have our National President Anthony Vigliotta AIFD join us for opening night festivities. The show runs from March 11-19th at the Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA. 19107.

Make a New Year’s resolution to jump in and help the Northeast Region with these and many more exciting activities everyone is welcome.

The Region is giving a Scholarship to our AIFD Symposium X please check out our North East Regional Website for all the details.

Wishing you a very prosperous, Healthy and Happy New Year.

Janet Black AIFD Past President North East Regional Chapter 2015-2016 for Robert DeBellis AIFD North East Regional President 2016-2017 

Art, Bicycles, People, Flowers


2017 Flower Show Team:
 PHS Liaison - Ron Mulray AIFD
Flower Show Chair - Cres Motzi AIFD
 Set - Chris Kanienberg, Wish Unlimited  

The overall theme for the Philadelphia Flower Show is Holland. The show opens to the general public from Saturday, March 11, through Sunday, March 19, 2017. AIFD designers will be on site at the PA Convention Center to install designs Wednesday, March 8, and Thursday, March 9. PHS (The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society) has a floor plan. AIFD will be located in a 42’x48’ space to the left of the Entrance Garden. Our plan is to interpret 5 or 6 aspects of Dutch culture with flowers.

We have completed the process of brainstorming, fine tuning, and solidifying the concepts for our 2017 flower show exhibit. Chris, Wish Unlimited, has started to procure materials and begin the fabrication of our set.

Some of the flower team for the exhibit;
Jane Godshalk AIFD, Maureen Christmas AIFD, Theresa Clower AIFD
Rebecca Carter AIFD, Yukari Mitsui AIFD
Jo Jarvis AIFD, Janet Black AIFD, Ken Norman AIFD
Ania Norwood AIFD, Aniko Kovacs AIFD
Jenny Thomasson AIFD, Rupali Shete AIFD
Alisha Simone Bell AIFD, Sue Weisser AIFD
Polly Berginc AIFD, Lindsie Carter AIFD, Darcie Garcia AIFD, John Lechliter AIFD, Valerie McLaughlin CFD, Shannon Toal AIFD

Helpers – Theresa Colucci AIFD, Sue Krabel AIFD, Michelle Morgan AIFD, Rose Grealish (Floral Design Instructor, Phipps Conservatory), Mark Harding (Flower Haus, Shepherdstown, WV)

SiteMap  [return to top]

NERC Scholarship Application Information 2017

Scholarship Applications for 2017

If you know of a promising floral student or intuitive designer who would like to attend symposium next year in Seattle, Washington, encourage them to apply for our NERC Memorial Scholarship. If they are not already CFD or AIFD designated, they are eligible to apply. Scholarship and grants are also available through the AIFD Foundation.

North East Regional Chapter Memorial Scholarship

Please review the Scholarship Criteria page, as there have been some recent amendments to better serve our applicants applying for the scholarship.

Our scholarship liaison is Polly Berginc. The attached application can be downloaded. Please follow the application instructions, and return the application to Polly at: 120 Woodridge Road, Butler, PA 16001
The application for the 2017 scholarship is due by February 1, 2017.

NERC Memorial Scholarship App 2017 link is below:

NERC Scholarship App 2017 -Revised 07-16.doc

AIFD Foundation Scholarships funded by the North East Regional Chapter

In addition to the NERC scholarship, other 2017 scholarship applications are now available.

Download the applications below.

Deadline for applications is January 31st unless otherwise noted.

• 2017 AIFD Student Application
• 2017 AIFD Grant Application
• 2017 AIFD Symposium Scholarship Application
To find these apps: Go to:

Look under the 'Scholarship Information' Tab on Toolbar

Choose the 'Scholarships & Grants' Tab

Download the application forms listed above

Deadline for the Foundation Scholarships & Grants is January 31, 2017.

The applications must be received at Foundation Headquarters by that date. [return to top]

Renee Tucci CFD AIFD

 Meet some of our new Northeast Regions members(the other new members will be in the next issue), ReneeTucci AIFD a newbie herself sent an email to all the designers. Below is both the introductory email and answers.  We as the smallest region welcome new floral designers with open arms and look forward to getting to know them and working with them in the future. 

Hello Fellow AIFD Newbie!!

I have been asked by our NERC newsletter editor, Jo Jarvis AIFD CFD, to compile an article telling a bit about our regions' new inductees so that the rest of the region can get to know us better.

If you wouldn't mind, i'd love it if you could find a moment in the next two weeks to answer the following questions as best you can. I'll need your answers by the middle of October at the absolute latest, but if you could turn them in prior to that, it sure would make my job a bit easier. And...well, we're new to the chapter and hungry to make our mark, right?!? So let's start out with this bang!
1. Your name, shop or current flower adventure details

2. How long have you been in the industry?

3. How long have you been striving to join AIFD? Any tips for others who are working on their certification now?

4. Do you get involved in the Phila Flower Show or the Northeast Floral Expo? If so, in what capacity.

5. What is your favorite part of your job?

6. What is your favorite flower (if you can answer this with certainty, you get bonus points from me!).

7. What would you like to see happen within our region or on the national scale as AIFD moves forward?

8. What is your favorite kind of piece to design?

9. Insert your own thoughts here...this can be anything ranging from your favorite food, what you like to do on your downtime, interesting things that your shop does or carries, anything really, to inspire us all.

I will most likely just copy and paste your answers into the article, so please write them as you'd like them to be read by your peers.

Thanks y'all, and I hope to be able to get down and dirty on a flower project with you all soon!!
~Renee Tucci AIFD CFD

Theresa Clower AIFD, CFD
1. Your name, shop or current flower adventure details. Name of business:
THERESA Floral Design / Newark, DE (event floral design)
2. How long have you been in the industry?
20 years
3. How long have you been striving to join AIFD?
2 years
Any tips for others who are working on their certification now?
Tips: Find a mentor and take every opportunity to practice.
4. Do you get involved in the Phila Flower Show or the Northeast Floral Expo?
I have participated in the Phila Flower Show for many years as an individual competitor, as an exhibitor with the Philadelphia Chapter of Ikebana International, and, most recently, as a member of AIFD.
5. What is your favorite part of your job?
Client's response to what I produce.
6. What is your favorite flower?.
The flower that sings the loudest to me and sets my heart racing is the gloriosa lily.
7. What would you like to see happen within our region or on the national scale as AIFD moves forward?
I would recommend regional testing.
8. What is your favorite kind of piece to design?
Free-style, upscale event pieces.
9. Final Thoughts:
I am happy to be part of the AIFD family and hope to develop many lasting connections and friends, while at the same time contributing where needed.


Cullen Schneider AIFD, CFD
1. Your name, shop or current flower adventure details
Cullen Schneider owns and runs Fairwinds Florist in coastal Blue Hill, Maine. The shop is a decades old institution in this small, rural town, but Cullen has spent the past eleven years making Fairwinds a focal point of the community. Fairwinds' large Main Street location also houses the Black Dinah Chocolatiers Tasting Room & Cafe, making it a social hub and mecca for delicious treats. Today the shop's weekly floral inventory rivals the diversity found in any good metropolitan florist and from May to October, Cullen is able to supplement that inventory with product grown on her own farm just a few miles from the store. Cullen grows over 45 species at the farm, including dahlias, zinnias, sunflowers, bells, delphinium...way too many to list. In peak season, the Fairwinds flower cooler is stocked with more than 60% local product.

2. How long have you been in the industry?
Cullen took her first job in a flower shop in 1998 and by 1999 she was designing full time. She worked in and out of the industry until she purchased her store in 2005.

3. How long have you been striving to join AIFD? Any tips for others who are working on their certification now?
"Testing for AIFD was a logical step for me" says Cullen. "I have always been someone who loves to learn new things, to push myself and to be the best I can be. And in the floral industry, AIFD is the gold standard. If you want to embark on this journey yourself, Do It! Just try: know your craft, be confident in yourself, ask for help when you need it and take risks. It worked for me."

4. Do you get involved in the Phila Flower Show or the Northeast Floral Expo?
Cullen almost always attends NEFE but has never been to Philadelphia Flower Show. And yes, she would love to get involved. However, this year, Cullen and her colleagues in the Maine State Florists Association are putting together a weekend of programing on Wedding Design that you won't want to miss. Mark the calendar, April 1 & 2, 2017, and consider a drive to coastal Maine.

5. What is your favorite part of your job?
"Making memories: using my creative edge to deliver smiles, comfort and joy, that's the best part of my job."

6. What is your favorite flower?
"Dahlias are my favorite flowers. They come in almost every color, and hundreds of shapes and styles. Nothing looks quite as vibrant and alive as a dahlia harvested in the morning and used as a design focal point later that day."

7. What would you like to see happen within our region or on the national scale as AIFD moves forward?
"I'd love to see AIFD become more well know and relevant to the average consumer. AIFD should be a nationally recognized brand, that represents access to the best design & quality in the industry, no matter the location. In the internet era, the consumer doesn't need to rely on traditional methods, like wire services, to find and uphold a quality standard. The customer can ensure quality for themselves, by simply finding an AIFD or CFD designer. Let's tell the world who we are!"

8. What is your favorite kind of piece to design?
"I love designing for impact. I want the viewer to have an emotional response when they see the piece. Whether it's bold color or soft color, something hanging from the ceiling or "growing" from the floor, something really large or really subtle, creating something that pushes the viewer's assumptions about what makes a floral arrangement is always so exciting!"

Renee Tucci AIFD, CFD
1. Your name, shop or current flower adventure details:
Renee Tucci AIFD, Designer and Instructor at Valley Forge Flowers
2. How long have you been in the industry?
17 years
3. How long have you been striving to join AIFD? Any tips for others who are working on their certification now?
4-5 years. GET A MENTOR
4. Do you get involved in the Phila Flower Show or the Northeast Floral Expo?
Philly show; I have had the extreme pleasure to work on Team Schaffer with Bill Schaffer, Kris Kratt and many other flower family friends for 9 years. This past year I humbly accepted a spot on the AIFD team and was thrilled to work on their “Redwoods” exhibit. I’ve compete on the Designer Studio stage for the last several years and this coming spring I will be working on the Valley Forge Flowers team helping to create the Central Feature.
5. What is your favorite part of your job?
Teaching; I love to help a customer put together a design that they are sincerely proud of. It is a confidence booster like none-other.
6. What is your favorite flower?
You might say I have a “type”... I seem to be drawn to blooms that are small and round. So craspedia, gomphrena, mini gerbera daisies, spray roses, hypericum….the list goes on! And bonus points if that bloom is yellow!
7. What would you like to see happen within our region or on the national scale as AIFD moves forward?
I think regional testing is going to help our family grow immensely so I’m glad to see that moving forward within the organization. I also think we need to continue to bring awareness to the public about our organization and its standards. I believe there are partnerships that we can build that will help our voice be heard by the consumer.
8. What is your favorite kind of piece to design?
Sympathy work is healing for my soul, and that of my customers soul as well. It’s a bittersweet business we are in, and I relish in the “sweet” part of that and am proud to help customers grieve for their loved ones.

Maureen Christmas AIFD, CFD
Maureen Christmas AIFD, CFD ☺, Floral Notes  - studio based business in Acton MA

While my first solo wedding was five years ago, I’ve been involved with flowers for a while. I began with National Garden Clubs where I exhibited in flower shows and I have worked my way up to become an NGC Flower Show Judge, Master Level. I enjoyed creating designs so much, I opened my own business focusing on weddings. I timed it such that when the last of my three sons was in college, I’d be ready to go.

My first exposure to AIFD was when I attended the symposium held in Boston so I could see Gregor Lersch. I stopped by the ‘How to become a CFD/AIFD table’ and thought – I can do this.

I’ve attended NEFE a few times entering the competitions and attending classes including the all day workshops given by Rene van Rems and Phil Rulloda. I helped Laurie Lemek with the fashion show at the most recent event. I’ve been actively involved with the New England Flower Show/Boston Flower Show through the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts having served as chairman of Design Division 1 twice. Due to the timing of the two shows, I haven’t made it to Philadelphia but I did make an owl and woodpecker out of dried plant material for the 2016 show.

The favorite part of my job is selecting the plant material and the look on the bride’s face when she sees her flowers.
I love a rose, is a rose is a rose but an Auckland calla will always stop me in my tracks… and then there is Nigella…..

I find most people don’t know what AIFD is and frequently confuse it with FTD.  Perhaps some sort of promotion – maybe tied in with flower events like the Rose Parade, flower shows, and holidays - would help.  With all the posers on the internet, I think a promotion on how the public can use the directory as a resource to find a real florist would be helpful.

My favorite kind of design to do is one with texture.  It doesn’t matter if it is clean and crisp or natural and organic as long as there is texture.

I love taking classes and learning about new techniques and mechanics. (I’m an Hitomi devotee!)  It’s never too late to try something new – what have you got to lose?!  With that in mind, I look forward to my next adventure taking Emc part 1 in November 2017.
Everyone in AIFD has been so nice and supportive.  I look forward to being an active participant of this group.

John C. Lechliter AIFD, CFD
John C. Lechliter, CFD, AIFD Lea's Floral Shop, Inc.
2. I have been in the industry full time for the past 11 years, but being in a family business I've been in the shop since I was 8!
3. I have been training and practicing for AIFD for about 5 years. Tips? Pay attention to all the details, even the little ones, and cover mechanics!
4. I am actually getting involved in the Philadelphia flower show this upcoming March and couldn't be more excited to help out!
5. My favorite part of my job is creating beautiful floral art and making people smile everyday
6.Favorite flowers...Such a hard questions! How can I pick just one?! If I had to pick one I would say Gerber's!
7. What should happen in our region? I would love to see more hand on classes or workshops! Especially closer to Pittsburgh!
8. Favorite design? Another hard one! I love making high style arrangements with great lines & movement.
9. Final Thoughts: I would just love to share my passion for floral design in my area and throughout the USA. I would love to become more involved with the education aspect in our industry. I am also proud to say that I am a Fourth Generation florist in my family!


Darcie Garcia AIFD, CFD
2. I have been in the industry for 25 years
3. I have had my heart set on AIFD for at least 5 years and made the commitment a year before testing. My advice for anyone testing or thinking about testing would be to really dedicate yourself to improving your weak points and don't take your strengths for granted. Most of all, enjoy the journey.
4. I've been involved in the Philadelphia flower show for 8 years
5. My favorite part of my job is knowing that everyday I'm a part of someone's experiencing the power of flowers.
6. My favorite flower (if I must on it down to one) are Casablanca lilies.
7. I'd like to see more education for the consumers on the importance of seeking out and choosing designers that have earned their AIFD title.
8.Favorite design to create? Wow, this is tougher to answer than my favorite flower. I love all designs but sympathy designing is where I feel my love transcend


Linda Murray AIFD, CFD
Linda L. Murray AIFD, CFD is a lead designer at World Class Flowers, a market leader in arrangements, bouquets, consumer bunches and roses servicing the mass markets.  With over 25 years in the floral industry.  Linda has worked in New York City, Miami, Boca Raton and Atlantic City, where she and her husband owned their own flower shop for over ten years.  Linda specialized in wedding and large Casino Event Projects.
Linda has designed for the bridal runway program at the New England Floral Expo and has competed twice at the Philadelphia Flower Show Designers Studio.  She has been a featured trade show booth designer at both the IFE  (International floriculture Expo) in Chicago and PMA Fresh Summit in Orlando.  She enjoys traveling to Bogota Colombia where she designs floral bouquets and numerous World Class Flowers product lines.
Linda is Honored to be a part of the AIFD community and her passion and love of flowers continues to fuel her desire to flourish and grow her ever evolving design career.  She is looking forward to working closely with her North East Region AIFD Family


Shannon Toal AIFD, CFD
Shannon Toal, AIFD, CFD, is a Freelance Floral Artist with a focus on wedding and event design.  She works with several large floral event companies in Greater Philadelphia, while at the same time is growing her own floral and botanical design company.  Shannon has been in the floral industry for 19 years.  After striving to join AIFD for the past 11 years, she finally made the move to test at the 2015 Denver AIFD Symposium and achieved induction at the 2016 Anaheim AIFD Symposium. Her tips for future testers are to never be afraid to ask questions, have someone critique your work, and that mechanics, line, and focus elements must be fine-tuned.

Ms. Toal consistently participates at the Philadelphia Flower Show and is approaching her 7th consecutive year as a demonstrator, competitor, and exhibit designer.  Shannon's favorite part of her passion is watching all of the ideas, planning, and details come together to create a magical experience tailored for each client. Her preferred flowers (because she really loves them all) are anemone, phalaenopsis orchids and vanda orchids.  Her favorite piece to design are bridal bouquets.  Shannon hopes to see more AIFD events and programs within the Northeast Region for designers and the public. During her spare time, you can find Shannon in Center City Philadelphia, where she resides with her boyfriend, enjoying the abundance of restaurants, parks, and cultural events in the city.  She loves urban gardening and turning the concrete jungle into paradise.    


Patti Fowler AIFD, CFD
My name is Patricia Fowler, I am the owner of Flowerama in Pittsburgh, PA.

I have been in the industry since the early 90's `~ approx. 24 years. I have a degree in Horticulture. I have worked as a grower in Southern California, a wholesaler in Pittsburgh, PA and now a retailer for 11 years.

My journey to accreditation began 5-6 years ago when I met Jackie Lacey. Most of my growth has come from me being a volunteer- and learning from a mentor. 

I would love to be involved with the Flower Show- I plan on sending staff members to volunteer as well as, us all competing on the Designer Studio stage..

The favorite part of my job is creating the emotional vision of my clients.

I actually don't have a favorite flower. Of course I appreciate some more than others- depending on the need/use and season.

I would love to see more regional education opportunities available for myself and staff.

My favorite pieces to design are bridal bouquets.  [return to top]

Morris Owen Dec 2016

Increasing your cashflow
We are all aware of the importance of maintaining a positive cashflow from month to month if we are to avoid a liquidity crisis and all the misery that entails.
But there is a lot more to cashflow management than simply avoiding crises. Actively striving to increase your cashflow can:
 •Reduce the amount of fixed capital you need at any one time
 •Make it easier to plan for and fund future growth and expansion
 •Give you the flexibility to move quickly in response to changes in the marketplace

A question of balance 
The key to successful cashflow management is to optimise the amount of cash available at any one time. This means increasing your cashflow as much as you can without jeopardising other strategies. Invariably, this involves striking a balance:
Balancing credit 
The first and most important step in cashflow management is to establish a mechanism for tracking and controlling credit. The faster you receive payment from your customers or clients, the more cash you will have at your disposal; therefore it is important to bill early and pursue late payers vigorously.
However, it is equally important to avoid imposing so tight a credit regime that you drive away actual or potential business. Moreover, extending credit beyond your normal terms can sometimes help to win new contracts or persuade existing customers or clients to increase their orders.
You need, therefore, to make a judgement on a case-by-case basis as to whether the benefits of the extra business outweigh the disadvantages of slower payment.
Balancing payments 
As a general rule, you should make the most of available payment periods. These are in effect lines of interest-free credit. Ensure that your accounts department is aware of the agreed payment periods for each supplier and does not pay invoices earlier than is necessary.
At the same time, you should consider taking advantage of incentives to settle invoices early. For example, if asupplier offers a 2% discount for bills settled within two weeks, this is the equivalent of a 24% annual return on your money - which is considerably more than you would have achieved from investing it. If suppliers do not offer such schemes, you might suggest they introduce one, especially if you are a long-standing customer
Balancing prices 
While it is important to keep your prices competitive, you also need to make sure raise prices on a regular basis to cover any increases in your costs; otherwise your cashflow will suffer. Remember, customers tend to expect an annual increase provided it is within an acceptable range.
Balancing purchases 
The prospect of achieving savings by buying in bulk can be tempting, and might be the right course of action in some cases, but bulk purchases tie up cash. They can also lead to waste if market conditions suddenly change, or if you change operating or production procedures before all the stock is used up. It might be better to buy a little often in some cases.
Also, avoid the temptation to buy everything from one supplier simply for the sake of convenience. Where reliability and service are important factors, such as with office equipment, it generally pays to stick to a supplier you know and trust, but in other cases, say with run-of-the-mill office supplies, it pays to shop around and take advantage of special deals, promotions, etc.

Balancing clients and customers 
Whereas the most profitable way to bill clients is probably on a job, or even an hourly, basis, arranging for some clients to pay a monthly retainer would assure a more predictable cashflow.
Where possible, tie customers and clients into automatic renewal arrangements so that when a service period or product expires the default is that it is renewed. These arrangements also help to maintain steady, predictable cashflow.
Balancing stock 
While you need to carry enough stock to be able to fulfil orders and anticipate any surges in demand caused by marketing campaigns etc., bear in mind that stock ties up cash and can be very expensive. Check stock regularly and dispose of any that is obsolete or slow moving. [return to top]

Bel Booker November 2016

   In an era of short lead times, rapidly developing tech and constantly changing trends, being able to quickly respond and adapt is essential. Those event managers who either can’t or won’t adapt, risk being left behind.
Everyone knows change can be scary, but continuing to evolve is the only way to stay relevant in today’s competitive event marketplace. Here’s how to embrace change, become an agile event manager, and ensure your events continue to thrive.

1. Understand your customer
If you’re out of touch with your audience, it is impossible to be reactive to their wants and needs. Running focus groups with your target customers will help you understand where to make changes in your event offering, how to ensure it stays pertinent and exciting, and also how to improve the overall experience.
Keep thorough digital records of your customers utilising a good Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM) – Eventbrite integrates with seven of the leading systems. Build up customer profiles with all the data you glean, to really get to know your audience, and enable you to keep in close contact.

2. Understand the marketplace
In order to future-proof your business, it’s vital to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry and anticipate changes. Developments in technology are changing the way we do things, and even the biggest brands could find themselves obsolete if they fail to react.
The past decade has seen an assault on book, music and DVD rental shops and the death of many gadgets such as PDAs, sat nav units and dictaphones, which are now all wrapped up in one smartphone package.
If your event is going the way of the dodo, it’s time to diversify now!

3. Ensure joined-up working
If you work as part of a team, it’s important to act as a united unit. Start each day with a 10-minute stand up meeting to share what you are working on that day, the progress you made yesterday and any challenges you’re facing.
Make sure any pressing tasks are assigned and that deadlines are being met. A team that works closely together, has trust in one another and clear leadership is able to cope with change with the minimum of fuss.

4. Make use of freelance talent
The smaller the company, often the easier it is to implement change. Using freelance event staff as and when you need them enables you to scale up and down and be truly agile.
To grow your event business, taking on employees will become necessary but don’t push your resources unnecessarily far. Equally, you should continually looks for ways to streamline – lean businesses are those most able to adapt to changing economic conditions.

5. Use data
Being agile is about being able to foresee issues or opportunities and respond quickly. Monitoring real-time data is what allows you to do this.
Eventbrite enables you to keep a close eye on your ticket sales and see the results of your marketing activities. You can monitor which campaigns are driving traffic and adjust your advertising spend accordingly.
Notice that the majority of ticket sales are coming from one geographic area? Fine tune your local marketing to capitalise on the trend. And if sales slump, react quickly by launching a flash sale or other discount or promotion.
Equally, if long-term attendance figures show a decline or significant shift in demographic, you know it’s time respond.

6. Make decisions quickly
While making changes has to be countered by potential risk, it’s important to be decisive. It’s no good taking two years to switch to a mobile-responsive website by which point you’ve already lost half your search traffic – when change is on the horizon you need to act.
‘Waiting to see what happens’ can be paralysing for a business and often means that by the time the picture is perfectly clear, you’re left struggling to catch up. Early adoption of technology and being first to market gives agile event managers a valuable head start.

7. Aim for continuous improvement
Part of being agile is looking for ways to continuously evolve and improve what you do. Evaluating your performance and seeking feedback (i.e looking back) is essential for moving forward.
Always carry out post-event surveys with attendees and other participants such as speakers and exhibitors. Collect their opinions and act on them – it’s easier to make lots of small incremental changes that keep attendees happy rather than big changes, such as a complete overhaul of your event when attendance starts to drop off.
Don’t forget also to have a thorough post-mortem with your team, including external suppliers and stakeholders such as clients or sponsors. Look at what you did well (and want to keep doing) as well as any areas for improvement. Address any issues in a positive way by inviting team members to share their ideas for creating an even better event next time.

Stay alert, flexible and open to change and your event business can thrive whatever is thrown at it. But it’s not just about weathering the storm; being agile means embracing opportunities – it’s exciting! Keeping your finger on the pulse will ensure you and your team stay energised. [return to top]

Bel Booker October 2016

The art of saying "NO".... 

Saying ‘no’, especially to bosses or clients, can be extremely hard but as Danny Wallace found out in his book ‘Yes Man’, saying ‘yes’ all the time can bring unwelcome consequences.

The most successful entrepreneurs and leaders agree that saying ‘no’ is vital for maintaining focus, reaching your goals and commanding respect.

“The art of leadership is saying ‘no’, not ‘yes’. It is very easy to say ‘yes’.” – Tony Blair
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet
“It’s only by saying ‘no’ that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” – Steve Jobs

However, no one wants to be labelled ‘not a team player’ or risk damaging their professional relationships, so it’s necessary to exercise extreme tact when turning down requests. Here are 7 ways to say ‘no’ without burning any bridges.

1. Think it through
If you have been asked to do something and your initial instinct is that you do not want to do it, take a minute to think about the reasons why before answering ‘no’. Do you already feel stressed with your workload? Will it cut into important family time? Are you worried you don’t have the necessary expertise?
It’s important to communicate the reasons for your reluctance and show that you have the best interests of the team/company/client at heart, since output is likely to suffer if you accept the task.
If you are caught off guard and are not ready for this conversation, buy yourself time by saying something like: “Let me check my schedule for next week and I’ll come back to you ASAP.”

2. Invite a solution
Once you have given your reasons why you do not want to accept a task, be sure to communicate that you are open-minded to solutions. For example, if the reason is because you are already too busy, state that you would be happy to accept if you could be relieved of other responsibilities.
Showing willing demonstrates that you are not trying to be difficult and will protect your reputation as a team player. It might be that your boss or client considers this task as more important than your existing work and this gives them the opportunity to work with you and re-prioritise your workload.

3. Stand your ground
While you might be willing to take on a new responsibility with caveats (i.e. extra training or an extended deadline), don’t be pressured into doing something if you can’t find a solution that’s agreeable.

Be clear about your position and don’t offer false hope by saying you will try to do something if you know you won’t. Although this might temporarily placate the person making the request, in the long run this will only lead to greater disappointment.

4. Communicate in person
If at all possible, don’t deliver your decline in an email. Without visual – or at least vocal – clues, your message can easily be misinterpreted. The tone is lost and, no matter how carefully constructed, your email might be perceived as excuse-making or, even worse, rude.
Going into long-winded reasons about why you can’t do it is also likely to be received negatively. A short, in-person answer is best-case scenario. It’s always preferable to be able to see the whites of the eyes when giving bad news – for both the receiver and the giver, since it also allows you to gauge their reaction.

5. Offer an alternative
Although you are saying ‘no’ you can still endeavour to be helpful, which softens the blow. You might be able to contribute in another way, or perhaps you can free up someone else from your team who is better placed to help?
If appropriate, you can also offer to assist with finding a suitable outside resource to fulfil the requirement. For example, by overseeing the hiring of a temp or bringing in an external PR company.

6. Help where you can
If you genuinely are a team player and help colleagues when you can then people are less likely to think badly of you when you do say ‘no’.
You might feel unable to help with this particular request, but be sure to keep an eye out for when others need a hand and take this as an opportunity to step up.You can also demonstrate to colleagues whose requests you’ve turned down that it’s nothing personal by doing them small favours.

7. Put a positive spin on it
‘Happiness Concierge’ Rachel Service suggests making a ‘no sandwich’ to deliver refusals in a positive way.

She says to first make the asker feel good by validating their request. This means listening to what they have to say and then agreeing it is important.

Next, give them your answer and explain your reason with fact rather than emotion (i.e. it’s not in your skill set or it’s not something you currently have capacity for).
Quickly follow this up a with a positive that helps deflect attention i.e. “I do know who would be absolutely perfect to take on this task,” or “I’d love to be able to get involved with this when my workload lets up – could we maybe set up a meeting for next month?”

Says Service: “Saying no quickly and then letting them know you’re still keen to work together in future means you won’t lose potential work or rub people the wrong way.”

Feeling empowered to say ‘no’ can put you in control of both your work and professional life. It prevents you from becoming a martyr, and subsequently resenting others for doing so.

While many people feel pressured to say ‘yes’ to everything asked of them at work, managing professional boundaries allows you to place your focus where it can best help your team. It is something you will ultimately be respected for. [return to top]

Royal Floral Holland November 2016

Consumers bought nearly half of their flowers in 2016 at the florist. This is according to research figures from our Florists Quarterly Scan in the Netherlands, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

The market researchers from the Royal FloraHolland Business& Market Intelligence Department conducted four surveys among florists in 2016. This is also called the Florists Quarterly Scan. The insights obtained from the first two scans are described in this report.

In Royal FloraHolland's core countries, florists are responsible for almost half of the turnover in flowers going to the end consumer. This group is also responsible for about a quarter of the sales of houseplants and one-tenth of the sales of garden plants.
Source: Royal FloraHolland Consumer tracker, Q4 2015 - Q3 2016 (garden plants only in 2016). This percentage excludes the online share.

Largest share of turnover is flower sales
Almost all florists sell flowers as well as plants. They earn most of their money by selling flowers (about half of the turnover). Around 60% of all florists also sell artificial flowers, which are responsible for at most 5% of the turnover. Accessories (pots and vases) lag behind; at least 85% of florists sell pots and vases, but they form at most 15% of the turnover. Mixed bouquets are the most important product in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK, while flower arrangements are popular in France.

Strongest competitors are supermarkets and online
Every quarter we ask florists how the competition has developed in the past quarter compared to the same period in 2015. In all of the countries, the florists experienced increased pressure from supermarkets. And in the Netherlands and the UK, online suppliers and shipping organisations are also major competitors. It is striking that 'other' florists provide the least competition in all four countries.

Florists classifiable in six segments
Previously, TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) conducted qualitative research into the Dutch florists market, and divided it into six segments. Three of these segments are prominently present here:

• 'Dorien', the turnaround florist. Between 25% (FR) and 42% (UK) of florists
• 'Sara', the specialist. Between 17% (DE) and 47% (FR) of florists
 'Conny', concept florist. Between 14% (NL and FR) and 28% (UK) of florists
supermarkets and online

Every quarter we ask florists how the competition has developed in the past quarter compared to the same period in 2015. In all of the countries, the florists experienced increased pressure from supermarkets. And in the Netherlands and the UK, online suppliers and shipping organisations are also major competitors. It is striking that 'other' florists provide the least competition in all four countries.

Florists classifiable in six segments
Previously, TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) conducted qualitative research into the Dutch florists market, and divided it into six segments. Three of these segments are prominently present here:

• 'Dorien', the turnaround florist. Between 25% (FR) and 42% (UK) of florists
• 'Sara', the specialist. Between 17% (DE) and 47% (FR) of florists
 'Conny', concept florist. Between 14% (NL and FR) and 28% (UK) of florists
'Sara' offers added value and high quality, and asks a higher price for this service. 'Conny' has flowers as one part of her shop supply. 'Dorien' is often located next to a supermarket and deals mostly with quantity and competing on price. As the 'Dorien' segment represents a large share of the florists, it is not surprising that they experience the most competition from supermarkets.
The other three segments are:
• 'Oscar', the online florist
• 'Victor', the fresh products shopkeeper
• 'Robbert', the mobile florist

The year's assortment is set
Florists assess their own assortment with a score of 8 out of 10 in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. In France this score is lower, 7. At least 87% of the florists in each country state that the assortment is set throughout the year. Only in Germany and the UK is a small portion of the assortment set at the beginning of the year. In all countries high quality and a good price/quality ratio are the most important purchasing criteria. In response to the question of how suppliers could improve their service provision to florists, the most commonly cited point is: improve the quality of the supply (ca. 10%). A larger proportion (ca. 20%) is satisfied with their suppliers and could not think of any suggestions for improvement.

Florists buy from traditional channels
In all of the countries, florists buy most commonly from wholesalers or cash & carry, followed by the road carrier. The Netherlands forms an exception as Royal FloraHolland is in second place. It is possible that due to the lack of scale, most florists cannot arrange price agreements and buy directly from a grower.
The vast majority of florists collect the flowers themselves, and only a limited proportion is ordered online. In the UK, a large proportion of florists already buy online. Other surveys have shown that purchasing online is more advanced in the UK than on the continent. Physically collecting the flowers takes a lot of time. It is thus not surprising that there is little time left over for marketing and innovation.

Two hours a week for marketing
In the Netherlands, Germany and France, a majority of florists do not devote even one hour a week to marketing. In the UK, this proportion is 44%. This leads to an average of less than 2 hours a week. The range is from the lowest in France (52 minutes) to the highest in the UK (2 hours and 11 minutes). In the Netherlands and the UK, social media are used the most. In all of the countries, Facebook is the most popular option. A large proportion of German, French and British florists focus on selling other products to existing customers. Between 30% and 52% of the florists also advertise in local newspapers and magazines.
How does the Florists Quarterly Scan work?

Currently, two of the four Florists Quarterly Scans in 2016 are complete and have been used as input for this article. Each quarter, 400 florists distributed over the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK are surveyed by telephone and online. The scan consists of a series of set questions asked every quarter and additional questions that change each time.

The Business & Market Intelligence Department uses the insights from studies like these in its reports and marketing advice [return to top]

January 13, 2017 Katie Hendrick Florist 2.0

  With one month to go, you’re no doubt in full-on Valentine’s Day mode. Your customers, though, are still coming down from the Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hannukah/New Year’s high. Their inboxes and social media feeds have been bombarded with sales messages for the various holidays. Hit them with a hard sell now (save the occasional email offering a discount for ordering early) and you risk alienating them. 
Hold off until the end of the month and focus on these strategies for now.

Line up local press. Take it from a reporter: Although we’re accustomed to tight deadlines (such is a necessity with “breaking news”), we prefer having advanced notice. We also love topical pitches. Reach out to both print and broadcast journalists, looking for those who cover “community” or “lifestyle” beats. (You should be able to find their email addresses on the company website, but Twitter can also help.)

Some suggestions:
 •invite them in for some behind-the-scenes footage, whether it’s capturing your team assembling red rose arrangements or tagging along with a delivery driver to see recipients’ happy reactions
 •share different floral styles for different personalities, either with photos and descriptions (for print) or offer to appear on air with some examples
 •open up about the meaning of individual flowers, offering tips on how to create a very personal arrangement
Brainstorm daily deals. Red roses practically sell themselves for Valentine’s Day. Plush products and tchotchkes need a little help. Try a 12 Days of Christmas-like approach, creating daily deals that launch February 1, to move product and engage with customers in a non repetitive way.
Channel your inner comic. Don’t forget about your shop’s marquis! People respond to humor so it pays to have a funny sign. Last month, for example, Tampa florist Bloomingdays had me chuckling with “Flowers: Better Results Than Mistletoe.” Crowdsource your staff for potential slogans. You might even turn it into a contest to see who can come up with the funniest Valentine’s phrase, [return to top]

Written by Claire Mitchell October 2016 The Florist

  If it’s anything like most people’s it will be pretty standard - a bit of blurb about you, maybe mentioning an award you’ve won and definitely talking about the professional qualification you’ve got in flower modelling. Right
Uh-oh! I suspected as much. In other words it’s bland and boring and SAMEY.

Oh, I’m not blaming you.

How are you to know better? You’ve probably looked at other people’s websites, maybe even your competitors’ sites and taken their lead. You’re not alone — it’s how most people decide what to put on their website, but that doesn’t mean it’s not WRONG!

The ‘About’ Page Advantage
The thing that all those boring, samey sites have in common is that they simply haven’t spotted something; something really exciting. They’ve missed out on a brilliant marketing opportunity that’s sitting there right under their nose. They haven’t realised that their ‘About’ page could be an amazing sales tool that sets them apart and raises them above their competitors and acts like a magnet to potential customers.

Instead of rolling out the same old bland, boring ‘About’ page as the rest of the mediocre competition, why not give your ‘About’ page a makeover and turn your website into a marketing asset for your awesome business? Imagine a world where ‘About’ pages are like a little pick ‘n’ mix of flowery loveliness about your business — a place where your website visitors get an instant feel for you and your biz and get a few treats and delights while they are there.

Your challenge is to create an ‘About’ page that makes your visitors feel like they have stumbled upon a little treasure, something that makes them smile and want to know more and something that makes them wish EVERY ‘About’ page could be like yours. *Sigh*

Don’t worry! I can help you! It’s not onerous and it could actually be LOADS of fun. Here are 7 ideas to help your ‘About’ page go from AWFUL to AWESOME in one fell swoop.

1) Stick The Qualifications On A PDF
Yes, I understand you might need to be professionally qualified or have certain accreditations to run your type of business but seriously, the place to put them is NOT on your about page. I promise, potential clients will be happy to hear you’re fully qualified but so is virtually everyone else out there (and let’s face it, it might be important to you but it’s just a formality for your clients) so don’t take up valuable space boring us to tears with abbreviations and letters after your name. Why not put them all in a PDF and have a little link at the bottom of your website called ‘accreditations and qualifications’? That way anyone who IS interested can easily find and download them and you don’t need to take up valuable marketing space that could be used much better.

2) Add A Video or Two
You know people buy people, right? Well it’s much easier to ‘buy’ you if we can see and hear you. It’s much easier to fall in love with a business, get engrossed in the story and build a (non-stalky) relationship with the owner if we can watch you talking about the business you love.

This is an ABOUT page. That means we want to LEARN ABOUT why you set up the business and find out if there’s a story behind it. It means we want to see if you’re maybe a bit quirky or slightly bonkers (that’s a GOOD thing by the way). We want to see behind the scenes and meet the lovely person who created this awesome florist business (yes, I’m talking about you, stop blushing!)

A video can bridge a HUGE gap. It turns a stranger into someone who feels they know you, in just a matter of minutes. Business can be won on the strength of an ‘About’ page video. It’s true. So get over yourself. Stop listening to the mind monkeys telling you you need to dye your hair/lose weight/get rid of your dodgy accent/sound more ‘professional’ before you’ll EVER do a video. Just record one. Stick a bit of lippy on and run a comb through your hair if you must, but just do it. Jeans, mucky hands, raggy fingernails and all. On your phone. On your computer. On whatever you have to hand and get it up there on your ‘About’ page where we can finally get to meet you. You can always record another one later but for now, just get on with it because we want to MEET you!

3) Show Us Your Best Bits
If someone has found your ‘About’ page and they’re enjoying learning about you and your business, why not give them some shortcuts? Show them your best stuff. If you have blogs on your site then have a list of your 10 Best Blogs at the bottom of your about page and show people what you’re made of. Show off some beautiful wedding work you’ve done. Show us the amazing prom corsages you created last year. Or even better, have a VIDEO of YOU SHOWING US your favourite products (did you see what I did there?) and whet our appetite. Don’t leave us to go off searching on our own, hold our hand for a bit and talk us through what we’ll find where and why we’re going to love them.

4) Signpost Your Social Media
Even if you’re a regular website updater or blogger, your website is never going to be as up-to-date as your social media — after all social media is real time. It’s also much more informal and you’re likely to share lots more behind-the-scenes and day-to-day stuff on Facebook or Instagram that you would on your website.
So, bearing in mind your ‘About’ page is all about you, the business, the story, the gossip, what better than a lovely list of your social media accounts on your ‘About’ page? Don’t make your visitors work for it, invite them over to connect with you. Tell them what sort of things you share on each account and why they might love it. Provide the links for them and when you’re hyperlinking, make sure you choose ‘open in new window’ for the links otherwise they’ll wander off into Facebook-World, never to be seen again. You need them to be able to click to open their chosen social media pages but still keep your website open and waiting for them when they wander back again.

5) Invite Them Onto Your List
Your mailing list (or database, or newsletter list, whatever you want to call it) is one of your MOST VALUABLE (and most under-appreciated) business assets. Your mailing list is a wonderful thing. It can help you prevent quiet times in your business, it can drive sales and it can bring your marketing back under your control rather than being at the mercy of unpredictable, pesky social media.

For all those reasons you would be very smart to add a sign up to your ‘About’ page, after all they are falling in love with you by the minute so you may as well grab them while they’ve got that loving feeling. If you sell products, think about offering them a new customer one-time discount if they sign up. If you’re a service business, ask yourself what your ideal customers would LOVE to get their hands on and see if you can rustle it up — whether it’s a top tips list, a little ‘how to’ video, a handy guide or a cheat sheet, offer them something tempting in return for their lovely email address.

Once you’ve got their email address, treat it with respect. Don’t spam people — instead think about how you can add value to their life. Think about how you can help them, how you can show off the best bits of your business, how you can show them what it’s like to be a customer, how you can excite and delight them and remind them why flowers are awesome. A monthly e-newsletter keeps you top of mind and reminds potential customers why they fell in love with you. And if you keep adding value and keep in touch, when you DO have an offer or a sale or a promotion and you send it out to your loyal mailing list, guess what happens? If they are ready to buy, they buy from you. Magic.

6) Testimonials
OK we love hearing from you talking about your business but do you know what would make your ‘About’ page even better? OTHER PEOPLE telling us what it’s like to be your customer. Rather than trying to imagine how it might be to work with you or buy from you, we get real life feedback from real life customers who have done just that. It’s called ‘Social Proof’ and it’s a very valuable thing. However much we love the thought of your business, there is always a little niggling doubt in the back of our mind saying ‘well, she WOULD say that, it’s HER business’.

If you can put customer reviews on your ‘About’ page, even just one or two, it takes down those barriers of doubt for potential customers and leaves one less reason not to buy from you. It’s good practise to follow up with customers anyway and don’t feel shy about asking for testimonials — not everyone will give them (and it’s hardly ever because they are unhappy — it’s usually because life gets in the way) but some people WILL — and that’s a great result! You can also screenshot or use the words from Amazon reviews, Facebook reviews, TrustPilot reviews or other review site feedback — it doesn’t matter as long as you use them. If you have LOADS of testimonials (yay, go you!) then set up a special page on your website called ‘nice things people are saying about us’ or similar — it’s definitely worth it and it definitely does encourage people to buy from you.

7) A Secret
Yes, you read that right! If you’re going to create an AWESOME ‘About’ page and stand out from the crowd, let us feel like we’re part of something amazing and special. Show us your secrets. If you bring your dog to work and she has a basket under your desk, take a photo and say ‘sssssh, staff sleeping’. If you are getting a HUGE delivery of flowers, take a snap of the inside of the delivery lorry because we, the public, never get to see in there and we imagine it must be like flower heaven. Show us something we wouldn’t usually see (ideally something lovely) — work in progress, a secret and unexpected tool you use, your view from your window… make us feel part of your world and we’re more likely to make you part of ours.

Do I Need ALL Of These?
Well, why not? There’s nothing stopping you! Can you imagine an ‘About’ page with a bit of all of the above? How awesome would that be? There are no rules saying you have to stick to 2 paragraphs and a bland headshot of you looking terrified, are there? If you’re short on time, pick one or two that are easy to do and action them today. If you’re due a website overhaul, see how you can take these ideas and turn them into an ‘About’ page to die for — an ‘About’ page that becomes an asset to your business, heck it might even sell for you.

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of The ‘About’ Page

Make it something you’re proud of. Make it something that builds relationships and bridges the gap between you and your website visitors — something that makes them feel they have just stumbled upon something really special. Now you’ve seen how it COULD be, your mission is to give your ‘About’ page the makeover it deserves then watch the magic happen. Come on! What are you waiting for!

 [return to top]

July 03, 2016 The Florist UK

Good photography is so, so important in a creative industry like floristry. That’s not to say florists need thousand pound cameras, tripods and qualifications, but dark fuzzy phone shots on both your social media channels and your website just look a little bit pants and unprofessional to say the least. Plus Google say they penalise websites with stock photos, which don’t show off your true talents or give you a unique edge either, so there’s no two ways about it; learning how to take a decent photo is the way to go.

Google have published blog posts informing website owners about the pitfalls of running sites that display content provided by an affiliate program — that is the same content that is available across hundreds of other sites. This is an issue for many florists who use websites provided by their relay company. Whilst it’s great that you actually have a website, unfortunately those bog standard sites that use the same layout and same stock images just don’t cut it for Google, who will penalise because of it. And considering Google is the #1 method consumers use for searching for florists online, it’s well worth taking note of what they have to say.

It’s always going to be beneficial to have a website that makes you stand out from the others. Plus it’s proven an increasing number of the public are on the hunt for local florists, and having a standard relay branded site just screams the opposite.

These days some phone cameras really can be good enough, especially if you’re really into Instagram, but if you’ve not got one of the latest models, it’s safer not to risk it on your website or other social channels as a digital camera is guaranteed to do the trick.

We spoke to Charles Headey (, a florist AND professional photographer, who’s been kind enough to share some photography basics for his fellow florists.

 Photography for Florists
• “Few modern cameras will fail to focus correctly. If you have blurry images it’s likely that you took them in poor light and the camera had to drop down to a slow shutter speed, and unless the camera is on a tripod you’re likely to suffer from camera shake.
“Wherever possible use as much natural light as you can to photograph but if it’s not practical, use a tripod.

• “The two major failings of point and shoot and phone cameras are in my opinion colour balance and exposure, although they are getting better all the time.
“Incorrect colour balance is pretty difficult to rectify with phone cameras but with a proper camera you may have the option to change the setting to match the ambient light, so dig out that manual.

• “In terms of exposure, point and shoot and camera phones on automatic settings will typically under expose, though not always; they may also over expose when using the flash or shooting in harsh light.
“Resolving exposure issues is a little more complex and will need a general understanding of photography. But you can try to avoid exposure problems by shooting in bright, indirect natural light, or think about getting a light tent.

 • “You’re free to make a creative decision about the background, just avoid busy backgrounds that distract from the focal point. If this proves difficult try to use a camera that allows you a shallow depth of field so that you can have the subject in sharp focus and the background blurred.

• “Once you’ve got your photo uploaded to your computer, you can think about file compression. Cameras typically output JPEG files. This is a compressed format that throws away data to reduce the overall file size.
“The higher the compression, the greater the loss in image quality. Typically you can apply 60–70% compression with acceptable results for online display. However, please note that sites such as Facebook will apply another level of quite aggressive compression when you upload.

• “The best workflow is to use a proper camera, shoot in RAW and process your images with a computer. I’m guessing however that not many florists will have time to do this so at the very least ensure your camera is set to its highest quality output.”

• Plus one extra tip from the lovely ladies at West Malling Flowers, is to make up one bouquet at the beginning of each week (or even each month), and leave it in the back of the shop for its flowers to open. Then you can shoot it at its peak, or if you’re close to a prettier location like woods, fields, beach etc. then why not take it (or get your delivery driver) to take it there for a quick photo session on the way back from doing the orders.

A summary…
Even with a new phone with a high-spec camera, phone photography is only okay for occasional documentation and Instagram. Consider investing in a proper camera that will allow you more control. Try to shoot in as much natural light as possible, (though not direct sunlight), for example by a large window with the window at your back. If this is simply not possible, consider buying a tripod to eliminate camera shake. Watch your backgrounds, if they are too busy they will distract from the subject. If you’ve got time you could make a bouquet, leave it to open, and take it to photograph in a cleaner, more attractive location.
    [return to top]

Flower Council of Holland January 05, 2017

Themes for the flower shop

 Following in-depth research, we take a look at the four trends officially forecasted for the flower industry for 2017, translated into workable ideas for florists.

Whether we know it or not, trends seep into the average consumer’s everyday life because they’re based on psychological research and very real situations. There’s a whole sector devoted to serious analysis and in-depth exploration of upcoming trends, all predicting a state of mind based on society’s current climate.
As a retailer, marketing with trends is a scientifically proven way to tap into the mind of your customer. It’s no modern phenomenon as in a bid to make more sales, businesses have spent decades attempting to capture the zeitgeist; a term dating back to the 19th Century, officially meaning:
(Noun) “The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.”
Which is why it’s important for the flower and plant sector to club together to make sure we’re clued up on the latest trends to suit our customers.
Thankfully the Flower Council, leaders in promoting flowers and plants at consumer level, have again teamed up with Tuinbranche Nederland, VHG Sector Association and iBulb to create a unified front for floriculture, in order to fund a major trend forecast by Aafje Nijman.
Chanel de Kock of the Flower Council’s UK arm says, “The aim is to increase the visibility of ‘greenery’ amongst consumers, and to provide the sector with opportunities to take advantage of these trends. A narrative for the press based on these shared trends strengthens the story we have to tell.”
Here’s what Aafje Nijman, the official trend-watchers have to say…

2017 ZEITGEIST – an overview of the year to come 
What can we expect in 2017? The ever faster development of technology, the climate change and the current political situation makes us realise that we need to adjust our frames of reference. As a result, we are starting to innovate and ‘radically reframe’ existing solutions. In the world of flowers and plants, the social trend towards a radical reframing is being expressed in the four style trends. Download the cards, or read on to find out more.
This era is shaking us out of our stupor and our society is rapidly undergoing dramatic change. We are gradually realising that we need to adjust our ideas in order to adapt our own perceptions. We feel that we’re torn between our old ideas and the new way of thinking that the world demands.
The intense era in which we are adjusting our ideas is expressed in three trends for the horticulture sector: the quest for truth, the search for equilibrium and the new rules of the game.
In order to get a clear understanding of the changes in style, we have examined the anticipated changes in customers’ needs. We call this the zeitgeist. These have then been translated into four style trends: Equalise, Harmonise, Energise and Rebel.

The world is becoming ever less transparent. As a result, we are coming to view nature as our new religion. Misleading experiences mean that the need for truth and trust is greater than ever. As a result, fact checking has become a popular pastime – we want to have certainty about the world. Sensory perception therefore becomes incredibly important. This is expressed in personal rituals that see us recharging from nature. Places where we can retreat and feel nature around us are important. We surround ourselves with flowers and plants which fulfil a symbolic role.
Think of open spaces where we don’t close ourselves off from the effects of the weather. Plants that stimulate the senses with their fragrance and colour reinforce this mood. Indoors we are seeing a different approach to craft projects, often based on natural products such as petals or herbs.
Themes for the flower shop 
Natural, round shapes allow us to find peace. Natural patterns and designs derived from flowers and plants typify this trend. Green is at the heart of the colour palette, alongside calm colours such as pale yellow and pink and lilac accents

Shapes: Organic, symbolic, stimulating and calming.
Materials: Organic, symbolic, stimulating and calming.
Patterns: Natural (spot) patterns with the influences of religious symbolism here and there.
Flowers and plants: Fresh and delicate, with a rustic look and a clear symbolic value.

The time is ripe for greater unity. That’s why we want to create an integrated and emancipated reality. We see all products as equally important, both indoors and outdoors. Soft feminine materials are given a rugged look, and harder masculine materials are made elegant with colour or delicate surface structures. Indoors we see balanced rooms with a friendly feel. Greenery is essential in order to create a good balance between living and inanimate materials.
The imbalance in the world makes it clear that standards need to be adjusted in order to restore equilibrium. Amidst all the violence we have lost sight of the human scale which provides understanding and connection. As a counter-reaction, we close ourselves off from the bigger picture and focus on something small and tangible. In and around the home, small flowers and plants are placed on a pedestal and are given equal status with all other products. In the garden this is expressed in an alternation of living greenery and dead materials.

 Themes for the flower shop 
The combination of various unusual materials and a mixture of romantic and bright colours create a new harmony. Both feminine floral patterns and masculine minimalist patterns with small checks and stripes are important.

Shapes: Curved and sleek: a mix of masculine and feminine.
Materials: Varied and sometimes in unusual combinations. We’re on a quest for a new harmony.
Patterns: Both feminine decorative and masculine minimalist.
Flowers and plants: Both robust and rugged, and delicate and decorative. Plants are used where you wouldn’t expect them.


We need to be fit in order to enter the new era with vigour. By combining strong foliage with sturdy ¬ flower shapes in the garden and on the balcony, we create the outdoor space which is relaxed but simultaneously active. Everything projects a winner’s mentality, as if we’re in an Olympic training camp where exercise alternates with relaxation treatments. We also see an energetic and fresh look indoors. Flowers and plants are our personal oxygen factories and air purifiers. Flowers are used to emphasise and celebrate our achievements.
We are preparing ourselves for a fresh move forward following the economic crisis. The energy is tangible. Being fit and radiating energy is the new creed. Personal data becomes a new means of payment, and that creates a new zest for life — we want to be seen as energetic and innovative. As a result, plants and flowers are increasingly seen as the ultimate source of oxygen, and thus the source of energy and vitality. Everything projects a winners’ mentality with which we show that we can take on the world and enter the new era fit and active. We create a simultaneously relaxed and active space by combining fresh, powerful and functional together.

Themes for the flower shop 
This is reflected in powerful, stark flower and leaf shapes in eye-catching colours. The focus is on energetic colours combined with a paler or faded tone. The stark, geometric materials and patterns feature sports references such as stripes, dots and honeycomb structures.

Shapes: Look powerful and energetic. We often make reference to sports attributes, or the pieces contain playful elements.
Materials: Functional and energetic, sometimes with the look of a luxury spa (e.g. marble).
Patterns: Packed with sport references such as stripes, dots, perforations and honeycomb structures. Optical 3D effects sometimes play a role.
Flowers and plants: Strong sleek shapes in fresh green or other eye-catching colours. Bouquet shapes sometimes feature sports references (e.g. wreathes and rosettes).

Tensions are rising and we are confronted with a great deal of misery. We therefore need a release valve, a chance to forget the rules for a while. In order to survive, it’s imperative that we put things in perspective and take a light-hearted view of serious matters. There’s a need to soften the existing situation. In response to this, an atmosphere is created in which there appear to be no rules, but instead colour, cheerfulness and silliness.
Flowers and plants occupy a totally uninhibited place. This creates a space which allows a humorous perspective on products and life. Nothing is right or wrong — it’s up to you and your creativity. 
Colours & textures for the flower shop 
Flowers and plants are ideal for meeting this need by using unexpected colour combinations and shapes. Convention is thrown to the wind and we get the chance to adopt a contemporary, unique angle. Anything’s possible — everything’s allowed!

Shapes: Unexpected combinations of sleek, funny, romantic and natural shapes.
Materials: Anything is possible, everything is allowed. Coarse natural materials are not always the obvious option, arti¬ficial materials often are.
Patterns: Abstract, figurative and exotic. Tapestry, tufting, collage and patchwork are important.
Flowers and plants: Flowering plants and flowers with eye-catching shapes and colours are preferable. We also mix various mini-plant species together, such as mini-cacti with mini-cyclamen.

All images: Flower Council of Holland. Article created in collaboration with Flower Council of Holland [return to top]

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.   [return to top]

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.  

  [return to top]

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.  [return to top]