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Innovative Florist Working To Make Flowers A Staple In Her Community
Flowers On Main in Placerville CA has been doing some wild and crazy things in their shop! Twice a month they invite their community into the shop for a hands-on flower workshop. Each guest has the rare opportunity to (with helpful guidance) build their own floral design to take home and enjoy.
Judie, the owner of Flowers On Main, says the classes are an absolute hit in her community. The program has been running for about 3 years now and she has seen guests of all ages and from all walks of life. Many are regulars and attend every single class.
Each class normally has a theme of either a season or holiday. For Thanksgiving, they do centerpieces; at Christmas, wreaths. Spring gets spring flowers and for Easter, they do Easter basket arrangements. Halloween is the best -- they actually bring in pumpkins to use as their flower arrangement container.
Judie says, "I teach them the techniques that [florists] use. It's not rocket science, and it's certainly not secret. Martha Stewart has given out all of our tricks over the years. I'm not teaching anything they couldn't learn elsewhere, it's just giving them the opportunity to do it."
The classes are around $25-$35 per person depending on the arrangement. Judie admits, "I don't make a lot of money from it up front, but all of these women become customers, and all of their husbands buy flowers for them." It's her way of getting her flower shop's name out into the community. It's "not so much about promoting myself; it's about promoting flowers. Promoting flowers in the house -- to everyone. The more they have flowers around them, the more they're going to want flowers around them.
Flower classes at Flowers on Main instill a deep love of flowers, as well as a special respect for them. Judie teaches her students the details of how to take care of the flowers and how to make an arrangement last longer. She shows them the right way, and students are "often surprised by what it takes to make a nice arrangement, and are always impressed at how long they can last."
For one special class, she pitted her flowers against those from large, chain stores. She asked each of her students to bring in a mixed bouquet they bought at the grocery store. She supplied the vase and a few extra flowers and showed her students how to make it look right. The results? "They've all learned that grocery store flowers don't last!"
Judie says she loves the teaching aspect of it all. At the beginning of the year, the group gets together and collectively decides what they want to learn that year. She says, "I've never trained anyone who wanted to work at a flower shop -- but I have a couple of them that could do that! It's fun and we have a great time doing it. When it becomes not fun, then I won't do it."
Judie also does a similar workshop with the girl scouts a few times a year. The girls learn how to arrange a bouquet, then take the flowers to convalescent homes.
Judie's main goal is to promote the awareness of flowers in her community. She says, "I wish the United States was like Europe; anytime you go to dinner, you bring flowers." She wants flowers to be a bigger part of our every day lives, and in my opinion, she's well on her way!