You know, you attend and exhibit at a florist trade show, and think that surely, there’s not that much more to learn about this crazy industry that you hadn’t already heard. Uh … not so. Part of the business development team of Keepsake attended this summer’s Florida State Florist Association annual convention in Howie-in-the-Hills, Florida. And not only did we meet a whole bunch of new folks and connect with some old friends, but we saw fresh floral design and learned about sides of the business that we had no idea even were a thing. Little did we know, that by participating and joining with our industry friends to learn and share knowledge, we were really taking part in the bettering of the entire industry in one micro-cosmic weekend.
Keepsake Floral has attended and participated in exhibiting at floral trade shows since our inception in 1994. But it had been a hot minute since we last really invested time, expense and an entire weekend in participating in the industry trade show in Florida. But the stars aligned this year, and Keepsake signed up as an exhibitor at the event’s Trade Show. With that exhibition agreement came the ability to attend all of the event’s educational sessions. So not only did we get to spend time with florists telling them all about our products and services and how they easily work into the fabric of the floral industry, but we were also able to learn more than we signed up for about the cool new stuff happening in the floral industry .. and there was a lot to take in.
The floral design was jaw-dropping especially for the folks who traditionally see only bridal bouquets. This year’s event focused on event-based floral design .. weddings, conventions and more weddings! And the creativity and design talent was out of this world .. from bouquets to tablescapes, aisle runners to personal flowers, the education team that the FSFA leadership brought to the convention was nationally and world-renowned. Were the arrangements the kind of stuff we see every day? No. But that was exactly the point. It is this totally out of the box creativity that inspires florists (or floral preservationists in our case) to adapt these “crazy” unique ideas to our own version of floral design, keeping the designs we create and those that florists create, continuing to be innovative and original, and likewise, keeping consumers engaged and excited about what our industry can provide.
Our favorite sessions and competitions, of course, included bridal bouquet design, since that really is what we live and breathe at Keepsake. Photos here show some of the totally unique and funky bouquet designs that were featured in a couple of the education sessions. From using unique materials to utilizing decorative wire as a design feature, these bouquets were definitely out of this world, and unique to that which we see arriving for preservation most of the time. Can we add some natural elements to our keepsake lineup or explore some of the up and coming colors and styles coming from high fashion and other design and work these into our keepsake framestyle and fabric lining palette? Hmm .. these are the things that one begins to think about after a weekend of inspiration and education.
We do see fabulous bouquets walk across our threshold each week, but most of the bouquets we see are the popular looks, the basic stuff that we all see in magazines and pinterest. Some of the floral work on exhibit and about which was being taught, were the fantasy creativity pieces that go on to inspire the trends and looks that we end up seeing in bouquet work throughout the rest of the year.
And the take away from the convention education sessions, of course, is that which can be adapted at local floral shops around the state (and southeast). These inspiring pieces can be brought back to everyone’s favorite floral shop and modified to the different budgets of brides and events in various marketplaces. Attending these educational sessions become continuing education for florists and for floral preservationists alike, a fabulous means by which to get out of our own little worlds and get some new design perspectives to utilize for our own customers and products.
Florists were learning about social media strategies, sales and personnel best practices, and picking up information from vendors like keepsake Floral and others, to better their businesses and their own lives, as well as that of their customers. Other educational sessions helped business owners learn strategic ways to plan and organize events for their brides, from software to other inventory tools available to the industry.
Events like this really do underline the value of industry collaboration and the coming together of industry professionals for the purpose of improving not only individual businesses, but the industry as a whole. As the floral industry inevitably continues to change, it is more important now than ever before, for industry members to gather for these purposes and to share their knowledge and expertise so that all members of the industry can better their businesses and better the entire industry as well. So glad that Keepsake Floral is riding along that wave for our own benefit and for that of our clients.