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FSN at the 2013 Illinois State Florist Convention

Illinois State Florists' Association - Wonderland 2013 Convention

We just got back from the Illinois State Florists’ Association’s annual convention for 2013 themed, Wonderland. What a wonder it was. From design shows to floral competitions, grants and more — florists from Illinois and surrounding states had their inspiration batteries charged at this show!

Trade Fair Entrance

Trade Show Entrance using over-sized flowers, butterflies and bees, just like you’re stepping into wonderland.

Flower Shop Network's Trade Show Booth

FSN’s Trade Show booth where we gave away our big green tote bags to all who attended.

[Read more…]

Florist Stories: Memories From Design Competitions

We are excited to share with you our very first Florist Story submitted by Lori Mudge of De’Vine Floral Design & Gifts in Granville, IL.

For the past 3 years, Lori and her team at De’Vine Floral Design & Gifts have taken the floral design contest at Bonnett’s Wholesale’s by storm.

Lori tells us all about it here:

“Floral supplier, Bonnett’s Wholesale in Milan, IL always has there annual open house in August. They host a big design contest for all of their mid-west customers, guest designers and floral professionals, which we enter every year.

Bonnett’s Design Contest has three design categories to enter:

  • Anything Goes (anything you want in fresh, silk or whatever, with a wholesale price of $50.00)
  • Corsage + Boutonniere
  • Surprise Box

Florists are able to enter all three categories. The winner of the competition is determined by votes from Bonnett’s staff, as well as florists and industry professionals from all across the mid-west. I feel it is more of an honor to win here because it is judged by florists from Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa.”

Lori shared these photos with us of her winning entries for the past 3 years in a row:

The first year, Lori received two 1st place awards in the Anything Goes and Corsage + Boutonniere categories. Her out-of-the-box designs set her apart from her competition.

Bonnett's Flower Competition

[Read more…]

Meeting Florists Friends At ISFA Convention

Local Illinois Florist

While we were at the Illinois State Florist Convention, we had the pleasure of meeting some of our wonderful member florists. One of our most memorable encounters was with LaRonda Lambert of Country Creations Floral & Antiques in Marion IL. LaRonda does flowers a little differently than most florists. Her shop features floral and antiques, so she uses the vintage theme throughout her creations. She even uses some of her antique items as vases for flower arrangements.

Grandma's Country GardenIt’s no surprise LaRonda put her own, classic spin on this years Land of Lincoln Cup competition. The theme was “Let It Rock!” and, while most people used actual rocks or went with a rockin’ music theme, LaRonda’s entry was completely out-of-the-box.

To LaRonda, rock is the slow creaking sound of her grandmother’s rocking chair on a country porch, and this is just what she created. LaRonda’s entry was more than just a pretty flower design, it was a true work of flower art that really made viewers think. The first thing to catch your attention was the screen door in the very front of the design. Looking through the screen you see the side view of a full-size rocking chair (It was actually cut in half to fit dimensions of the competition). Draped over the arm of the chair was a gorgeous, spring-color, patchwork quilt all made of flowers. For me, this floral work of art sparked great memories of going to Grandmas. She could always be found on her front porch knitting or crocheting something.

Watch The Video:

One thing about being a florist that is different than most professions is we get to mix business with pleasure. Incorporating our favorite hobbies into what we love further strengthens our passion for flowers and the business.

This post is brought to you by Flower Shop Network, your source for finding a REAL local florist.

Behind The Scenes At The Illinois State Florist Convention

Illinois State Florist Association Convention 2011

We just got back from the Illinois State Florist Convention in Springfield IL. The theme was “Let it Rock” and a rockin‘ time was had by all! We enjoyed great presentations, delicious food, and wonderful shopping at the trade show. Above all else, this show had the most floral designs I think I’ve ever seen at one show — table after table of jaw-dropping, show-stopping floral ART!

These shows are so important for florists to come out and be apart of the experience. Not only will you learn all of the NEW things happening in our industry, you will be filled to the brim, if not overflowing with creativity and NEW ideas. While at the show, I met up with Rae Griffith, President of the Illinois State Florists Association. She was kind enough to give me and all of our Flower Shop Network followers a walking tour of the whole show! I wanted our florists who had never been to anything like this to see just what they’re missing! Come on out and recharge your creative batteries at your state floral convention! Be sure to check out the video below! [Read more…]

Let It Rock! ISFA 2011 Spring Conference Is THIS WEEKEND!

Illinois Florist ConferenceJust a reminder, the ISFA 2011 Spring Conference is THIS WEEKEND!

Plan on coming to the largest educational event the ISFA has ever sponsored.

Learn from industry favorites: J.Schwanke, Kevin Ylvsaker, Bill Harper, Danny Whitehurst, and Frank Feysa! Attend great educational and hands-on classes for every skill level.

  • Come and learn with the industry leaders
  • Increase your knowledge!
  • Give yourself the tools to survive in this economy

Come to the Illinois Florist Convention for what is sure to be a FANTASTIC show! Illinois florists, are encouraged to attend! Everyone, especially

Live too far to attend this great floral design show? Find a florist convention to attend in your area!

Rae Griffith, True Colors Artistry, Springfield Illinois

Flower Shop Network interviewed the wonderfully creative Rae Griffith, AIFD, ICPF of True Colors Floral Artistry in Springfield IL. She was chosen as our very first Illinois Florist Spotlight — congrats Rae!

Flower Shop Network: How long have you been a florist?

Florist: About 23 years, although it’s been in my heart/mind since I was a small child. Flowers have always been a passion.

Flower Shop Network: When did open your flower shop in Springfield?

Florist: Dec 3, 1993

Flower Shop Network: What are your floral specialties?

Florist: Weddings, events, and everyday… in that order. Design wise, non-traditional vased work, tropicals (I have a tropical cooler). Bright and colorful.

Flower Shop Network: What is your favorite flower?

Florist: Gardenia, although in the spring, French tulips can give the gardenia a run for the money.

Flower Shop Network: What is your favorite wedding bouquet?

Florist: Lots of silver wire, bling and crazy! Very non-traditional.

Flower Shop Network: What would you say are the top flower trends in Springfield Illinois?

Florist: Fun, bright and lush. Gerbs are the hands-down favorite, still, but customers are looking for familiar flowers with an artistic twist.

Flower Shop Network: How have you used the Illinois state flower in your designs?

Florist: I have not. It’s the wood violet. Although, I did make a large violet out of rice paper and cover it with cutup purple statice (ala rose parade float) for one of our state senator’s inauguration parties.

Flower Shop Network: What has been the best part of being a florist in Illinois?

Florist: Hmm… probably my customers. I like being close to the St. Louis and Chicago area (all within a short drive), and our floral association. I think it is one of the best in the United States.

Flower Shop Network: Do you have a floral design philosophy?

Florist: Don’t know if it so must a philosophy as a attitude. Never stop learning. I take classes, go to conventions and try to read all that I can about what is going on in the world, as far as floral design trends. To be a relevant and growing business, you must keep changing with the times, or you will be left behind. You cannot continue to do things the same way year after year and expect to grow your business. [Read more…]

Going On Now–The 2009 Chicago Flower Show!

There’s nearly a week left to enjoy the Chicago Flower Show at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Running from March 7-15th this year, it’s still easy for local Illinois florists to plan a day trip or weekend visit to the windy city for this event. Want to know more about it? Here’s a preview of what you’ll discover this year.

  • 25 lush theme gardens designed by top landscapers
  • An eco-friendly market place for shopping green!
  • Foods from more than 25 celebrity chefs from the Chicago area
  • A kids activity garden so that the whole family can come!
  • Educational seminars and hands-on workshops
  • Potting parties” for gardeners looking to get a little dirty
  • A photography course focusing on pictures of flowers
  • And so much more it’ll make your head spin!!!

For more information, visit the Chicago Flower Show 2009 online. You won’t want to miss such a good time! With all that there is to see and do in Chicago, florists won’t want to leave even after the flower show!

No Reason To Be Blue Over The Violet, the Illinois State Flower

President-elect Obama is not the only Illinois native that is striking up conversation in local flower shops. The state flower of Illinois (Violet viola) also engages florists in conversations about how inspirational the Violet can be. Though there are few truly blue cut flowers, violets inspire a wide range of blue and bluish purple arrangements throughout the year.

When spring comes to life in March, so does the creative juices of florists looking for the next big color scheme. Blues and purples are bright, airy and fun. In other words, perfect for spring flower arrangements!

When winter yields its many gloomy days, flower arrangements using purple or blue flowers drive the grays away. It’s hard to stay morose when such colorful flowers are in the room! Even the color violet is so bold and eye-catching that it chases away the snowy day blues.

When harvest time is settling in, violet-inspired flower bouquets are beautiful additions to the table. Warm purples go very well with the other soft colors of the fall season such as orange, burnt red, brown and yellow. Plus, a striking color livens the bouquet and stands out next to the rest of the flowers.

Summer days mean festive fun is on the horizon. The state flower of Illinois (Violet viola) brings a lot of color and action to fun summer flower arrangements.

For every season or for any season, the violet is a great inspiration for Illinois state florists. Take a look at this colorful flower and watch how inspiration pours your way.

The color of violets inspires this gorgeous arrangement of iris.

The color of violets inspires this gorgeous arrangement of iris.

No Rest For The Weary – Florists Are Busy With Conventions

Although Valentine’s Day 2008 is over, the next two weeks is a busy time for many florists. Several florists’ conventions are taking place February 29th through March 9th.

The Northeast Floral Expo will be celebrating its 75th year, February 29th –March 2nd in Hartford Connecticut. Florists attending have the opportunity to attend workshops, programs and a trade fair. Some of the Flower Shop Network staff have their bags packed and are ready to go.

Florists from Georgia attending the Georgia State Florists Association Convention February 29th – March 2nd in Atlanta Georgia. Florists will have the opportunity to network with others from across the state.

Florists from Michigan can attend the Michigan Florists’ Association Spring Conference and Great lakes Floral Expo February 29th – March 3rd in Grand Rapids Michigan. Florists will have the opportunity to enjoy many activities all revolving around the “Visionary Concepts For A Bright Future” theme

Florists from Illinois can attend the Illinois State Florists Association Conference March 6th-9th in Springfield Illinois. Florists will have the opportunity to attend workshops, competitions and other useful programs.

Although many florists are exhausted from the Valentine’s Day holiday, they can’t pass up the excellent opportunity to network and learn the latest floral trends. So for all of you attending these great conferences, remember its not all work at the conventions – you get to play quite a bit, too.  For those of you attending the Northeast Floral Expo our network coordinators look forward to seeing you. In fact if you stop by the Flower Shop Network  trade show booth, we have a great totes bag to give you.