If the shoe fits ...
How one florist “pumped” up her business with floral-adorned shoes.
By Kelsey E. Smith
Developing one of her signature design styles was a bit of a Cinderella story for Dianne Kade, owner of Artistry in Bloom Floral Design Studio in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It started in 2003 when she attended Oprah Winfrey’s “Live Your Best Life” seminar in Seattle, Wash. “The seminar was wonderful, and it actually changed my life because Oprah said it is your duty to do what you were born to do, and I knew that had to involve flowers.”
Ms. Kade was not new to floristry. She had taken a course in floral design at age 25 and worked in a floral shop for about a year, but low wages prompted her to leave for a more lucrative career as a travel agent—a position she had for 25 years. Shortly after Oprah’s seminar, Ms. Kade opened a flower shop with a friend who had attended the seminar with her. The business struggled, though, and shortly after closing the store, she began designing from a small studio. Still, she kept in mind something that had occurred to her during that fateful seminar.
“When Oprah came on stage, she mentioned that a shoe store in Seattle had opened for her in the middle of the night so she could buy red shoes to go with her outfit,” she recalls. “Although there was a chair on stage, she didn’t sit down until late in the afternoon, and I’m sure her feet were killing her with new high heels. That made me think about how some women are almost shoe addicts and most of them also love flowers, so why not combine the two?”
To create each of the fun compositions, Ms. Kade begins with a shoe in a size from 5 to 7. She notes that larger shoes, in addition to requiring more flowers, tend to look more clunky than classy. She buys the shoes at discount stores and also is constantly on the lookout for half-price sales on inexpensive brands of shoes at clothing stores. Most of the shoes she finds cost around $12 a pair, so the “container” portion of each floral arrangement costs her approximately $6 each. Ms. Kade says that “cheap plastic” shoes are the best for floral design, and she has learned from experience not to use shoes in satin, suede or any other materials that would show moisture.
The retail price of most of the floral shoes is $95 to $105 though Ms. Kade says it depends on the cost of the shoe, the type of flowers and embellishments, if any. “I have done some in the $80 range, and I have also done a few as high as $140, but those were custom orders and had Bouquet Jewels, peacock feathers or Swarovski crystals on them,” Ms. Kade explains.
She notes that it is important to achieve balance when working with shoes, particularly those with stilletto heels, because they can get top heavy and tip over if they aren’t properly weighted. To make each arrangement, she first puts rocks in the toe of the shoe to ensure its stability. Next, she lines the shoe with a thick plastic freezer bag and inserts a piece of floral foam cut to the size of the inside of the shoe. Once the flowers are arranged, Ms. Kade packs the shoe for delivery by placing it on a piece of plastic foam and tracing its outline. “I cut out the toe wedge and heel circle and place the shoe firmly in the Styrofoam holes, then I put that in the bottom of the original shoe box,” she describes.
Prior to sending the novel creations out the door, Ms. Kade hydrates them with Floralife Finishing Touch® Spray and attaches a card with instructions for adding water and misting to keep the arrangement fresh.
The floral shoes are wildly popular for a number of gift occasions. Ms. Kade even has created a matching set for a bride, who requested that they be in her shoe size so she could wear them after the wedding.
To learn more about Artistry in Bloom and view additional designs, click here.
Contact Kelsey Smith at email@example.com, or call (800) 367-4708.