Introducing the new Expert Panel!

I have exciting news for you today! We are launching our new Expert Panel!!!!
Today we will start with introductions and bios of all the experts and tomorrow we will run the first question and answer. We will start posting a question and answer on the first of every month.
Thank you to all these amazing people who are on our panel!

Ariella Chezar

Floral goddess Ariella ChezarCOMBINING AUTHENTIC PASSION and creative flair, Ariella Chezar’s floral designs intertwine color, nature and style to a stunning effect.

Ariella began creating at a young age. She grew up in the Berkshires of Massachusetts where the outdoors played an integral part of her daily life. Her mother, an artist and avid gardener, inspired seasonal art projects that combined nature and creativity.

Today, her designs evoke nature with their seasonal relevance. Her lush blend of flowers and branches, fruits and vegetables as well as gorgeous silk textiles and ribbons combine for a final product which is both sensual and evocative.

Ariella began her career in the Berkshires working with Pamela Hardcastle and Barbara Bockbrader. These brilliant floral and garden designers inspired Ariella to combine her love of art and the dramatic with her passion for the natural world. “Pamela and Barbara showed me that art and life can be intertwined.” Ariella spent a season selling wreaths to New York flower shops and to shoppers along the streets of SOHO and Greenwich Village. Then she worked with Robert Isabell before moving to the West Coast in 1998.

In 2002, Chronicle Books published Flowers for the Table, a guide to choosing seasonal flowers and a lesson in designing with the bud’s natural form. The book revolves around several seasonal occasions, from a summer wedding in the country to hot colored poppies on a cold winter’s night. Beautiful photographs bring Ariella’s ideas to life. Her personal style and enthusiasm makes Flowers for the Table an inspiration for us all.

As of December, 2003, Ariella moved back to the East Coast.

Ariella’s work can be seen in issues of Oprah, In Style Weddings, Sunset Weddings, Garden Design, Elegant Bride, Town & Country, House and Garden, Victoria, Martha Stewart Weddings, San Francisco Bride, San Francisco Chronicle, Hanajikan, The Bel Aire Hotel Magazine and Sunset.
facebook: Ariella Chezar

Cathy Walsh

Sprout Mass floristCathy Walsh: Mild mannered wife and bookworm or flower ninja?
At her award winning bricks and mortar Worcester MA retail shop, Sprout, Cathy juggles the usual small biz balls – marketing, purchasing, inventory rotation, etc., but when the knives and scissors fly you know she is in battle mode and off to combat dull design with kick-ass flowers.
She dreams of a day when every home is filled with fresh and creative flowers and vows to bring flowers home more often. Cuz it’s kind of embarrassing to never have flowers at home when you’re a florist.
Unnamed sources claim to have seen Cathy guerrilla gardening and hiding flower filled eggs about the gritty metropolis.
She is a social media maven and can be found flitting between Facebook, her blog, and Twitter, though honestly Twitter is hard for someone who loves words as much as she does.
Cathy lives with her amazing husband on the top floor of a nice, book filled 3-decker with off street parking in Worcester. Where parking matters. Ask anyone.
facebook: Sprout Flowers
twitter: @SproutFlowers

Erin Benzakein

Floret Flower Farm WashingtonHello, I’m Erin Benzakein, the flower-obsessed founder of Floret. I am a self taught organic farmer, floral designer and writer. On our tiny plot of land, my family grows some of the most exquisite flowers on earth. I research and trial every variety we grow and share my findings in a monthly column in Growing for Market magazine. I adore old fashioned flowers and am constantly stretching the limits of what can be used in a bouquet – edibles and herbs are my latest craze. I wear aprons every day, everywhere and still believe in fairies. Sweet peas are my favorite flower and their scent reminds me of my great grandmother. I find my inspiration from the seasons and what is growing locally at any given moment. Working with what’s at hand is both humbling and deeply fulfilling. I strive to educate farmers, consumers, brides and grooms about sustainable, locally sourced ingredients and truly believe that flowers can change the world!
blog: www.floretflowers/blog
facebook: Floret Flower Farm
twitter @FloretFlwrFarm
instagram: floretflower

Paula Pryke

Paula Pryke Flowers LondonPaula Pryke was born in Suffolk in 1960 and began her distinguished flower business in 1987 after making a career change from teaching History.

Paula has now become one of the most famous and well respected florists in the world with a reputation for cutting edge, innovative floristry and an enviable ‘A’ list clientele. Her awards and accolades include ‘Most brilliant Florist’ (Evening Standard), ‘Best Florist in London’ (Tatler) and ‘Ambassador for the Florist Industry’ (NFU).

During the 24 years Paula’s business has been a mixture of retail floristry, contract work and events. In that period she has opened and closed 8 shops (6 in London, 1 in Birmingham and I in Seoul with the Samsung Corporation). Since 2008 Paula has decided to concentrate on her core business of contracts, events, bespoke gift floristry and consultancy.
Paula has written sixteen best-selling books on flowers, which have been translated into thirteen different languages including Japanese and Hebrew, (The New Floral Artist, Flower Innovations, Candles, Wreaths & Garlands, Flower Celebrations, Simple Flowers, Flower Innovations, Living Colour, Flower School, Table Flowers, Wedding Flowers, Classic Paula Pryke, Wreaths and Bouquets, Simply Pink, The Ultimate Floral Collection and her latest and most personal to date Everyday Flowers, a seasonal flower book about how to grow and arrange flowers). Paula is currently working on her seventeenth book due to published later this year.
Since 1994 Paula has also run her internationally renowned Flower School offering courses in every aspect of floral design for everyone from complete beginners through to professionals. Her prestigious internationally acclaimed Career Course has become something of a blueprint for flower courses around the country.
Paula’s philosophy has been embraced in Europe, America and the Far East where she is now in regular demand for lectures and floral demonstrations.
During the last few years Paula’s international client list has grown and her influence is spreading to the high seas. For three years she has been working with Crystal Cruises, the US Award-winning six star cruise line. Paula has been employed Paula as a floral consultant and she has thoroughly enjoyed working with a large scale hospitality team. She has also worked on their enrichment program and recently hosted her very own Floral Cruise in the Mediterranean with them in the summer of 2012. Two more floral cruises are planned for 2013.

Paula was also asked to demonstrate and work as a floral consultant to the only private residential ship to travel the globe. She decorated The World for its stay in London. She has also consulted on staff, design and the supply of flowers to other privately owned super yachts.

Amongst others, recent clients have included supplying the flowers for the new Coen Brothers film – a remake of Gambit – starring Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman and Tom Courtenay. Paula worked closely with the very talented set decorator Stephanie McMillan, who was also responsible for the wonderful Harry Potter sets.

Whilst Paula continues to concentrate on consultancy projects her varied workload has also included working with Waitrose, Britain’s most progressive supermarket, predicting flower trends and colours and working on their “How to..” videos for their popular website.

Paula continues to be invited to demonstrate in the US frequently. During 2012 she returned to Boston be the keynote speaker for the Museum of Fine Arts for their Art in Bloom, flew to Pasadena to be a judge for the world famous Rose Parade and spent a week in San Francisco running a Masterclass at the Inwater Flower School which is based in The Flower Market. A further course is planned for the Spring of 2014.

2012 saw the highly successful launch of The Paula Pryke Flower School in Seoul, South Korea and Paula will again make a return visit to teach during the first half of 2013.

Appointments during 2012 representing the flower industry include being the patron of Chichester Cathedral Festival of Flowers as well as joining the judging panel for The Wedding Industry Awards. For 2013 Paula has been appointed Designer for the Guildford Cathedral Flower Gala.

facebook: Paula Pryke
twitter: @PaulaPryke

Robyn Rissman

Robyn Bare Root Floral DenverRobyn Rissman has loved all things wedding since she woke at three in the morning as a small child to watch Charles and Di in the wedding of the (20th) century! Since she couldn’t justify having more than one wedding of her own, she decided to be part of making beautiful weddings for others! She lives for flowers, chocolate, travel, summer days, a good book, and being outside.
facebook: Bare Root Flora
twitter: @BareRootFlora

Brandon Kirkland

Brandon Kirkland Epic Flowers Ashland OregonBrandon Kirkland has been in the floral industry for 15 years and owns, with his wife Enchanted Florist in Ashland Oregon. Brandon comes from a technology and marketing background and was fed up with the choices that florists had when it came to their eCommerce choices so he created Brandon believes a floral eCommerce site is a florist’s second business and should act as a second business model. Besides being a floral/tech geek he studies and offers tasting classes on fine chocolate of the world.
website: EpicFlowers
website: Enchanted Florist
twitter: @epicflowers

Cori Jansen

Moss Fine Floral ChicagoOwner and lead designer Cori Jansen opened Moss Fine Floral in 2010 with locations servicing Chicagoland and Eagle River, Wisconsin. Her grandparents were farmers and excellent backyard gardeners which led her to an early admiration and fascination with foliage and flowers. She went on to college earning a BS in Agri-Business with a Horticulture sequecne. She has now been working in the floral field for 22 years. Cori resides between Chicago and Wisconsin with her new husband and beloved Labrador Max. She is also involved in animal rescue which is featured on her website.
facebook: Moss Fine Floral

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  1. Look at that line-up! What a great new series. Looking forward to it!!!!!

  2. Congrats to Flirty Fleurs on the assembly of such an amazingly talented panel! I’ll follow your postings with great interest!

  3. So many smart, respected folks on the panel! It will be great to see what they have to share!