feature story

Floral Design 2009

Eight industry professionals look forward in floral and share tips for the coming year.

by Shelley Urban

    What’s to come for 2009 may be a bit uncertain, so now, perhaps more than ever, some guidance from respected floral professionals could be important to meeting your customers’ needs this year. We consulted eight of the industry’s seasoned veterans, and, without question, they all tell us that the economy will be the strongest influence on florals and their design styles for 2009. In addition, these designers offer their suggestions for products that will appeal to flower buyers in the months to come.

arrangement styles
    According to the experts we consulted, consumers’ budgetary considerations will lead to a “scaling back,” both in size and price, of floral arrangements. “Splurging is out,” notes Kim Morrill, AIFD, designer, product developer and owner of Morrill Support Inc., in Seattle, Wash.
    Nevertheless, expectations will remain high. “Flowers are luxury items, so when money is tight, arrangements must really have something to catch attention,” Ms. Morrill shares. And customers will want significant value for the money spent. “‘Value-added’ is everything,” concurs René van Rems, AIFD, of René van Rems International in Vista, Calif.
    Therefore, most designers recommend that florists emphasize long-lasting flowers, so consumers feel they’ve gotten a great deal for their dollars. In addition, grander masses of small-bloomed selections will also contribute to perceived value. Another aspect of the value equation is the type of flower, and some consumers will seek premium blooms although most will opt for fewer than they would have in the past.

botanical elements
    Being good stewards of the earth is quickly becoming a way of life, and everyone wants to do his or her part. This ecologically inspired thinking has led to interest in natural products, or those that appear to have come from nature. So stones, mosses, pods and other botanical elements will have even broader appeal.
    “Natural woods and stone and other elements with ‘earth-friendly’ appeal will dominate,” reports Walter Fedyshyn, AIFD, PFCI, president of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) and project manager and lead designer for Anthony Gowder Designs, Inc. in Chicago, Ill.
    In addition, Paula Pryke of Paula Pryke Flowers in London, England, says that the emphasis in England is in foliages, berried branches, grasses and other botanicals. And that’s reached across the pond as well. “Clients are leaning toward a more naturalistic approach, with organic elements and fluid lines,” agrees Meredith Waga Perez, co-owner of Belle Fleur in New York, N.Y.

color preferences
    When times are tough, consumers turn to comforting colors, and it’s widely reported that the warm hues on the color wheel convey the nurturing that we need. “We’re having a very pink and taupe phase, and I don’t see that coming to an end,” Ms. Pryke reports. “Peach is staging a comeback, too,” she adds.
    In addition, a range of sunny yellows trending to oranges is expected to draw consumer interest. “Analogous color harmonies—neighboring colors on the color wheel—are emotional and good choices for these times,” assures Ms. Morrill.
    But customers still appreciate visual intrigue with color, and, according to Ms. Perez, that can be accomplished with monochromatic palettes as well. “Monochromatic blends are timeless. Pale powder pink with deep dark merlot is a sexy contrast that’s not dominating.”

A few premium blooms paired with exotic foliage makes a value-packed offering for special occasions.

MATERIALS: Amaryllises and Aspidistra from favorite suppliers; Luster Light Amber Urn from Jamali Garden Supplies.

“[Customers are looking for] premium flower selections with larger blooms, and they’re [intrigued by] the mixing of distinctive floral shapes. … I see limited amounts of foliage, but the foliages that are used are out of the norm. There’s definitely increased interest in tropical foliages.”
Tina Stoecker, AIFD, PFCI; Designs of the Times Florist

“White flowers will never go out of style, but clients are appreciating a more robust color palette. Corals, peaches and creams are lovely.”
Meredith Waga Perez; Belle Fleur

“New for summer is the return of yellow and cream, which has been in the back room for far too long! Peach is also having a great comeback!”
Paula Pryke; Paula Pryke Flowers

Everyone wants to be “green,” which translates to increased interest in the color itself as well as interest in eco-friendly products, such as this biodegradable container.

MATERIALS: carnations and lily grass from favorite suppliers; Biodegradable Planter from Pots Company.

“Monochromatic color harmonies are the most popular. The shades are easy to live with and are comfortable to be around.”
Walter Fedyshyn, AIFD, PFCI; president of the American Institute of Floral Designers

“From exclusive boutiques to mass markets, retailers want to find and promote products that are environmentally friendly, so they can be perceived among their customers as supporters of ‘green.’”
Michelle Perry-White, AIFD; Caffco International

Exotic lady’s slipper orchids are arranged, along with textural seeded Eucalyptus and natural mushroom pods, in a weathered-looking, faux-stone vessel.

MATERIALS: lady’s slipper (Paphiopedilum) orchids from Orchids Direct; sponge mushrooms from Schusters of Texas; seeded Eucalyptus from favorite supplier; weathered vase from Vintage Floral Imports.

“Orchids, especially the unusual and exotic species, are very interesting to customers. … Organic containers, or containers that appear to be made from natural products, will be popular, especially with organic elements tucked in.”
Michelle Perry-White, AIFD; Caffco International

“The color green is still strong, and that will continue in 2009. [In addition,] rich and warm brown tones are elegant and sophisticated. These colors are very earth-friendly and go well with the ‘green movement.’”
Walter Fedyshyn, AIFD, PFCI; President of the American Institute of Floral Designers

“Long-lasting varieties, both common and exotic, will be a popular choice over blooms that fade quickly.”
Talmage McLaurin, AIFD; publisher of Florists’ Review

Small flowers gathered en masse will give consumers tremendous perceived value while moderating the price.

MATERIALS: China asters (Callistephus), waxflowers, Solidaster, ivy and seeded Eucalyptus from favorite suppliers; Tin Square from Syndicate Sales.

“Consumers have developed a taste for lush designs, and they want lots of flowers for their money, but for cost savings, they’ll move toward smaller blooms.”
Kim Morrill, AIFD; Morrill Support Inc.

“Mixes of small delicate flowers will give customers a perception of value, and these will be especially popular in English-garden- inspired palettes of peaches, pinks and greens.”
Michelle Perry-White, AIFD; Caffco International

“Simple, more utilitarian containers will find prominence with the implication that they might have been thoughtfully recycled.”
Talmage McLaurin, AIFD; Publisher of Florists’ Review

A clear vase allows a Begonia leaf, clipped from a plant, to slip between its dual layers. Bold pops of color and a few exotic elements have youthful as well as ethnic appeal.

MATERIALS: Gerberas, Ranunculi, ‘Iron Cross’ Begonia and beads from favorite suppliers; Moon Series carnations from Fresca Farms; badam pod from Schusters of Texas; Create in a Vase container from Floracraft Corporation.

“Accents of decorative wire, beading, ‘bling’ and ribbons (not all in the same design!) will continue to be popular additions, lending distinction to simple presentations.”
Talmage McLaurin, AIFD; publisher of Florists’ Review

“Polychromatic is going bigger, especially with an emphasis on ethnic markets, such as Asian, African-American and Latino.”
René van Rems, AIFD; René van Rems International

Simple, scaled-back gatherings will appeal to those who love premium blooms but are cautious with their budgets.

MATERIALS: Asiatic lilies and bear grass from favorite suppliers; Chocoholic Large Vase from The John Henry Company.

“The emphasis is always on good-quality, seasonal flowers and, here in the U.K., we are always big on foliage. Grasses are very in vogue.”
Paula Pryke; Paula Pryke Flowers

“White is continuing to get bigger, especially in décor and in metropolitan areas with smaller living spaces. Also, monoflorals will continue to gain momentum.”
René van Rems, AIFD; René van Rems International

“We’re going to have to find containers that look nice but don’t require tons of flowers to make a pretty presentation.”
Kim Morrill, AIFD; Morrill Support Inc.

Contact Shelley Urban at surban@floristsreview.com or (800) 367-4708.

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