Hello there Dear Flower Friends!
Have you heard that the dates for the next two Chapel Designers Conferences have been announced?!?!
Santa Barbara, California – January 20, 21 & 22, 2014
The Chapel Designers has combined forces with Florabundance Inspirational Design Days for the 2014 conference! As many of you may recall, last year was a HUGE hit!
On the schedule for this conference are workshops taught by Nancy Liu Chin, Holly Chapple, and Francoise Weeks. Of course, Holly & Joost will have a few surprises, you know they both like to show everyone a great time!!
You can read all the details and sign up HERE for the California conference!
New York City, New York – March 9, 10, 11 & 12, 2014
Hard to believe this is already the 4th annual NYC Chapel Designer Conference! Each year the conference grows as more and more designers seek the chance to join this amazing group of floral designers!
The official announcement of speakers has not been released yet by Holly. However, trust me, I’ve heard a few of the designers & speakers that are coming together for this conference and I’m blown away! Blown away once again! If you know Holly, you’ll know she ‘brings it’! Have faith, this conference will be worth every penny invested.
You can read all the details and sign up HERE for the NYC conference!
For those of you who are thinking – what does it mean to be a Chapel Designer anyway? Well, I’ve asked two of my flower friends to share their thoughts on what it means to them to be a Chapel Designer, this is what they have to say:
Becoming a Chapel Designer has been an inspiration for myself and my business. Our business has been refocused and invigorated, we can’t wait to see what lies ahead for us and know that the other Chapel Designers are there to help us along the way. The amount of priceless advice I have received since becoming a Chapel designer is invaluable. The investment we made has already been returned and we can’t wait for NYC!
from Dawn, A Garden Party
It’s hard for me to put into words what it means to be a Chapel Designer. The friendships that I have gained this past year since I became a Chapel Designer are really priceless, not to mention the amazing support everyone gives one another 24×7. We support, encourage, and sympathize with one another daily. We’ve all been there (or will soon be there) and it’s such a relief to know that I’m not walking this journey alone.
I’m constantly learning from the Chapel Designers through our forum. I don’t think a week has gone by where I haven’t learned something whether it’s a new technique, a mechanic, or a better way to run my business.
Joining the Chapel Designers has been a game changer for me this past year. It has opened so many doors for me that I frankly never even knew existed. The Conference in NYC this past year was absolutely incredible. The speakers Holly brought in were so gracious and down to earth. I was thankful that they didn’t mind sharing the glamorous and not-so-glamorous parts to this industry. As great as they all were, the times I treasured and learned the most from were the round-table discussions where we were free to share and discuss our businesses openly, as a family of designers and business owners.
Holly Chapple is such a gracious and kind woman. She is also one of the most ethical people I have ever met. You can’t help but love her!!! I really can’t say enough about her or the Chapel Designers.
from Anna, Urban Petals
Still need an extra little nudge to Jump In? Read this note from Holly.
I hope you’ll join us for one of these conferences in 2014, don’t you want to be friends with the designers seen in these photos?!
If you are looking for classes this fall there looks to be a few great ones to choose from!!!
Holly & Evan Chapple are going to RUSSIA!
Now this is a trip I’d like to tag along on… I went to Moscow once and it’s quite amazing, still dream of going to St. Petersburg!
Dates: November 8-10, 2013. Place: Moscow.
Additionally a 3-4 hours workshop in St Petersburg on 12th of November
Organizers: flower&decor studio flowerbazar.ru
For more information: http://flowerbazar.ru/master-klass-holly-chapple.html
For information on Holly’s Blog – click here
Meanwhile, here in the USA our friend, Francoise Weeks, is hosting classes in California, Oregon and Pennsylvania!
This past January I took a 3 Day Course with Francoise and quite enjoyed it, she taught me to look at each bit of foliage in a new light. You can read about my experience here.
Wedding & Event Workshop
Dates: Monday October 7, Tuesday October 8, Wednesday October 9
Time: 9am til 4pm (1 hour lunch break)
Where: At Françoise’s Studio in Portland, Oregon
For more information Click Here
Monday & Tuesday, October 14 & 15, 2013
presented by Jo Jarvis AIFD and Sue Weisser AIFD
Time: 9am till 4pm (1 hour lunch break)
Where: The Barn, Flying Hills, Pennsylvania 19607 (just south of Reading)
For more information Click Here
Tuesday & Wednesday, October 29 & 30, 2013, 9:30AM to 4PM each day
Hosted by Chris Stoneberg of Blooms By You, located in Orinda, 17 miles east of San Francisco
For more information Click Here
Day two of our workshop (I’ll show Day three once we have the photographs back from the photographer).. The morning started with another big business session and the afternoon we got busy with designing. Day two was about the pretty pinks and blushes — the centerpieces were gorgeous! We all enjoyed watching Holly and Mary work on the large designs, so large they were scraping the ceiling.
Hope you enjoyed all the pretty pictures this week – I had a great time in Virginia and meeting the newest members of The Chapel Designers!
I hope you all enjoyed the past few days of posts about the farms in Virginia, we had such a fun time visiting all of them! The reason we were in Virginia was for the Growing Your Wedding Business Workshop – Holly and I had a wonderful time meeting designers from various areas of the East Coast, it was a perfect size and intimate workshop where we got down to business. I won’t be going into detail about the business practices that we spoke about, for the blog I’ll share with all of you the beautiful flower arrangements these designers created. On day one we worked on Woodland styled arrangements. I like the Woodland flower arrangement because it pushes most designers outside of their comfort zone – each leaf, each pod, every tiny bit is examined and placed into an intricate design. These ladies blew us away with their bridal bouquets and centerpieces!
Ok, so not flower related, but how gorgeous is this horse??!! He was out on the property where the ladies from A Garden Party were staying. I really wanted to bring this guy home with me!
Tomorrow I’ll share photos from Day 2 of our Workshop..
How many years have you been a floral designer?
I am starting my 21st year in business.
Many floral designers experience burn-out around the ten-twelve year mark, did you have a time in your career where you faced burn-out?
Yes, but I didn’t realize I was suffering from burn out until my world changed. It was like seeing the light. Because our studio has always been steadily growing and changing that helped a lot. Each year we reached new heights and subtle changes. In addition to that I was a home based business so each year the challenges of parenting or having infants in the home/studio kept me on my toes. Each new endeavor or challenge kept me coming back for more, after getting used to the children challenge we went to doing weddings every weekend. Then we adding staff to assist me, having a staff is a blessing and a curse and it’s certainly challenging, probably more so then the 7 kids I had. Then we got a cooler which allowed us to do multiple weddings in a weekend. Next came social media. Social media changed everything.
How did/do you work through burn-out and how did you move on to the next stage of your career?
When I became active in social media 4.5 years ago everything changed. First I started blogging, this gave me a platform to create for creations sake. Because of blogging we started to do style shoots and create unique designs and color combinations. Once the designs were featured on the blog they were often picked up by bigger blogs or magazines. This in turn caused brides to come to me, asking me to create something unique and “Hollyish.” I was no longer replicating other designers designs. Next I became active in Twitter. Twitter gave me a connection with other designers. From this I learned about opportunities to study, network and grow.
How do you stay inspired and keep fresh at 20+ years in the floral industry?
Today, I am truly more thirsty and driven then I have ever been. I see endless possibilities and opportunities. I am constantly inspired by the designers I meet in this country and all over the world. I take time to play in my shop each week and we try to style a shoot at least once a month. This is a big task, but it is really helping our studio to stay current, set trends, and it keeps us in the latest magazines. In my 20th season, I became a teacher, a mentor and I started planning events that helped other designers. Learning and sharing are at the key of who I am.
I really believe you have to love this career with your whole heart. You have to be creating or it becomes just a job and not a form of art. Duplicating the same design over and over again and never stopping to smell the roses would be horrendous. I seriously make myself stop and smell the roses. I look for new roses, new foliages, new herbs, new elements. I am always in search of something that is fresh new and inspiring. I love what I do, I would say I am addicted!!!
Holly Heider Chapple Flowers
Ohhh… the design day of Chapel Designers Conference, such a fantastic day!!! We all climbed onboard a bus from our hotel to David Beahm’s workspace in the Bronx. Walking into his workspace was so fun, all the fun props to dream of designing with!
What a great day ahead awaited all of us; designing with Karen Tran and Holly + talks with David Beahm.
Karen Tran shared with us how she creates those amazing tablescapes she is so well known for, they truly are amazing. She started the main arrangements and then let the students join in on the design:
It was interesting to see all the different styles the designers came up with; some designed rounded bouquets, some went for the cascade bouquet style, and some turned it into a centerpiece. I opted to make a Crescent Shaped bridal bouquet. Never heard of a Crescent Shaped bridal bouquet? Search for them on google Images to see a lot of examples.
We also spent time with David Beahm, picking his brain with questions about running successful businesses. David is always willing to listen and give good advice. He is such a caring person and we are so lucky to spend time with him everytime we go to NYC.
David started out his talk while sitting on top of the ladder, I liked it – could see and hear him well! He was actually explaining to us how to construct large displays and make them safe. (ie – no tipping over!)
This is an arrangement that David designed for us, so pretty:
David’s team constructed this cool display for us to admire:
We were extremely lucky to be across the street from Verde Flowers. Michael and Vanessa invited the whole group over for lunch!! I’m a huge fan of their work, they have appeared as a Fabulous Florist here on Flirty Fleurs. Their design space is gorgeous!!
Thank you, Michael and Vanessa, for inviting us over to your shop for lunch!
Here are a few people photos from the day:
Two of my Denver BFFs (best flower friends); Robyn and Diana from Bare Root Flora, love these girls:
Courtenay Lambert from Kentucky, check out that pretty bouquet she designed:
Myself and Karen Tran with the bouquet I designed:
Last year we grew more ﬂowers and reached out to more designers than ever with great success. Finding the right grower, or growers, that work with you, grow for you, anticipate your needs, and consistently meet or exceed your expectations can be as challenging as ﬁnding a designer who values your product, delights in the unusual and understands and is comfortable with the uncertainty of Mother Nature. Time to nurture,
trust, and clear communication are key to the incredible, fulﬁlling collaborations waiting to made. If youʼve never reached out it can be a little daunting. Whatever your reasons, an individual grower may choose to sell wholesale – they are not, however, wholesalers, in our opinion, and hereʼs why…
WHO are they?
Smaller growers are not that unlike designers in that they are, with few exceptions, ﬂower addicts who are motivated to create, raise, and nurture beauty in this increasingly visually stimulating world. They also have LAND and generally a desire to responsibly use and/or preserve it.
Flower farming is high-density farming, a single acre can grow a lot of ﬂowers thus smaller growers often “grow where they live.”
WHERE are they?
Smaller growers are everywhere, thriving as much in rural areas as they are in suburbs, even inner cities. Most sell independently while some, where the interest in supporting locally grown is strong, have formed thriving cooperatives such as Seattle Wholesale Growers Market Cooperative. LynnVale Farm has been farmed actively by our family for eight generations and is located only 30 miles west of downtown DC. What used to be rural countryside is now brimming with houses, people and big box development. Our local community often patronizes our
business speciﬁcally to support our efforts to keep our farmland open and productive. As we are so close to the city we occasionally have designers come and “cut their own” for special events, unfortunately, we (and they) also have to deal with DC trafﬁc. Plan your designer visit for early in the week and plan to stay awhile – itʼs pretty typical for most designers to get lost in our ﬁelds for
at least an hour, or two, or….
WHAT do they grow?
Smaller growers tend to start raising what grows well in their area. For us here in Virginia, heat and humidity-loving zinnias and celosia are easy to grow and market. As their businesses and markets grow so too their growing season. What they grow reﬂects the dominant markets they
sell to – retail to public? retail ﬂorists? wedding designers? wholesalers? Building a strong ﬂower farm is like building a sound house, a strong foundation in long-term crops, for us, hydrangeas and peonies, balanced with perennials and annuals.
Every year this relationship gets evaluated on our farm. This past year we stopped forcing lilies to bloom all season long for our retail markets and instead focused on annuals that would add texture to any event designers palette. Our sales to designers skyrocketed and to our surprise we sold more lilies during their natural blooming season than ever, turned out our retail customers love the excitement of “whatʼs blooming next” as much as we do.
WHEN to contact them?
In the off-season, contact growers as early as possible, many ordering, growing and marketing decisions are made then. At LynnVale we order tulip bulbs in July, ranunculus in April, etc.
During the growing season, as much advance notice as possible and the earlier in the week the better. Our biggest challenge is breaking the “wholesaler habit,” i.e. designers call us at 7am, they need it on their doorstep by 1pm, and we are knee-deep in mud, literally. For some clients we created the LynnVale Designer CSA program where we work together to set a weekly budget,
listen attentively to our clients needs and style, and we arrive each week with a balanced assortment of “our seasonal best” from LynnVale Farm.
HOW to communicate?
For our clients, we send out a weekly availability list yet increasingly, social media is proving a powerful tool in helping us develop and sustain designer/grower relations. Pinterest tops our list.
Ellen Frost, from Local Color Flowers, created a board entitled “Growers wish list!” We check it regularly and we also pay attention to the individual boards designers are creating for their brides/clients. In turn we create boards for what weʼre planning to add to our gardens in any given year.
WHY buy local ﬂowers?
I hear often from designers that our ﬂowers can be expensive and the answer is a resounding “YES!.” Why? we offer unique hard-to-ﬁnd or hard-to-ship varieties, our ﬂowers are freshly harvested with superior vase life, we often custom grow for designers, our ﬂowers arrive hydrated in water – ready to use, no labor, no unpacking, no shipping stress.
Sure, it appears on the surface that buying directly from a farm should be inexpensive right? after all, seedʼs cheap, right? Every so often I have to remind customers that the price they are paying for any speciﬁc ﬂower is NOT just related to what it cost me to grow it that year, but rather the 10 years I spent learning how to grow it consistently, beautifully and sustainably.
Our favorite feedback “We always know which ﬂowers are LynnVale ﬂowers because when they (the weekly arrangements) come back to us they are the only ﬂowers left looking gorgeous.”
Smaller growers are generally “niche growers,” they are not trying actively to compete with wholesalers but rather compliment them. This means growing varieties that either do not ship or store well, dahlias, fully blown lisianthus and delicate herbs and vines, for example. Growing is expensive business and ﬁeld space is valuable, ﬁnding the right variety to grow, the proper way to grow it, the market to sell it to and customer acceptance is a true art. Nurturing a relationship with a grower is the best way to have a voice in what gets grown in your area.
One year, as a thank you, we helped out one of my loyal designer clients for Valentineʼs Day.
After four wonderful days of hectic, barely-controlled chaos we would have given my eye-teeth for a sprig of basil or freshly harvested stock or sweet pea. There simply is no substitute with regard to natural, “fresh from the ﬁeld” fragrance as so many ﬂowers have either had it bred out of them or suffer serious fragrance loss due to cold storage/shipping.
the BIGGER Picture –
Whether grower, designer or both, we are all increasingly supporting, subject to, at the whim of an industry that is out-of-balance. At present 80% of all cut ﬂowers in the US are imported, the more that balance tips toward 100% the less say the design community will have in what is actually being grown and perhaps more importantly how itʼs being grown and by whom. If price drives the market the ﬂowers that cost the least to produce, are easily grown, and suffer the least damage will prevail and variety and speculative growing will decline as local, American growers, regardless of size, struggle to compete.
The extreme opposite is happening in the food world, where local food and local sourcing is “where itʼs at.” Revered by chefs, demanded by customers, locally sourced ingredients are essential to any top chefʼs success, just as any artistʼs materials. For our own designs we
primarily source from our own gardens but like many designers we crave the unique and unusual touches that may be either out of season or not easy to grow in Virginia. Not wanting to put all our eggs in one basket we regularly turn to our neighboring farms and have cultivated strong relationships with American growers AND our local wholesaler. Maintaining balance in our own business, diversity amongst our crops and our customers, maintaining ﬂexibility and being truly open to new opportunities has led to our continued success and we hope the tips weʼve shared
will help you to “KNOW YOUR FLOWER FARMER!”
Thank you, Andrea of LynnVale Farms, for this insightful article on understanding and supporting small farms.
We will be posting interviews with small farms in the coming weeks, stay tuned and get to know your Flower Farmers!
On Day 2 of the conference there were two big design sessions. One session was led by Ian Prosser and it was to decorate two ceremony locations, one rustic and one elegant. The other session was led by Holly Chapple and it was to create a tablescape for the reception table.
We’ll start with a look at the Ceremony session led by Ian. Ian broke the students into three groups. Group one worked on the garden canopy and group two worked on the aisle decoration for the ‘elegant’ ceremony site. The third group designed the chuppah for the ‘rustic’ ceremony.
The group designing the garden canopy decided on an ombre effect for their design. Aren’t the garden roses and orchids just gorgeous??
The bouquet that Chuck and I designed complemented the ‘elegant’ ceremony site, the bouquet was comprised of orchids and jasmine vines. You can see a bit of the aisle decor in the background..
The ‘rustic’ ceremony was designed with bright colors; garden roses, tulips and clematis.
Holly led the students in designing the reception tablescape. This is how the table looked prior to the start design session:
This is how it looked with flowers!!
Truly a wonderful day, full of fun!
That evening we all gathered around that beautiful table to enjoy a lovely catered dinner.
Here is Joost thanking everyone for attending the conference. We say Thank YOU, Joost!
A HUGE Thank You to Tricia Fountaine & Dos Pueblos Ranch for all the hard work that you put into Florabundance Inspirational Design Days – what can I say?? You blew us away! Tricia, you are so fun to spend time with and thank you for letting us clip fresh jasmine off the property! Hugs!!
Special Thanks To:
Holly Heider Chapple, Holly Heider Chapple Flowers LTD
Ian Prosser AIFD, PFCI, Botanica Events
Alicia Schwede & Chuck Graham, Flirty Fleurs
Kelly Oshiro, SB Chic
Absolutely Fabulous…Glamour on the Go!
Makeup – Adrienne Esposito
Anthony Ybarra, Guitar Music (Tuesday evening beach reception)
Music by The Aurora Ensemble (Wednesday evening)
Florabundance welcomed 38 guests to the beautiful Dos Pueblos Ranch in Santa Barbara, California and treated everyone to two days of flower filled fabulousness for Florabundance Inspirational Design Days! Wow, was it ever absolutely fantastic!!
The Barn at Dos Pueblos Ranch was transformed from this:
The first day started with Holly Chapple leading a discussion and hands-on design portion about bridal bouquets.
The students were able to use as much gorgeous, fresh flowers as they could possibly desire!
After the bouquet design session, we listened to Ian Prosser talk about the flower business. Ian owns the company Botanica in Tampa, Florida. Brilliant designer and businessman!
That afternoon, Chuck & I got to present about Social Media and how to use it to build your floral design business. There was so much to go over, it’s social media which means a never ending conversation. Back at the hotel later that night Chuck met with about 12 of the participants to further go over social media!
At some point on Monday Chuck & I decorated Evan ..
The day ended with cocktails on the beach, what a treat to be in beautiful Santa Barbara in January! Joost, the owner of Florabundance, and Katie Noonan welcoming the students with a glass of wine from the Tolosa Vineyard .. and that’s the bridal bouquet that I created with garden roses and clematis!
My bouquet enjoying the sunset ..
That’s it for day one .. check back tomorrow to see what we worked on for day two!
.. THANK YOU FLORABUNDANCE FOR AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE ..