Fun Family Picture

In the Spotlight: Featured uBloomer, Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas, CCF

Shannon is our Grand Prize Winner of the JTV/uBloom, Branchies Design Contest. Her “Captured Orchid Ornament” design captured our imaginations and an impressive 163 votes! Using aluminum wire decoratively curled around a bubble bowl, Shannon created an illuminated ornament that showcased a single, perfect Phalaenopsis orchid bloom nestled in tiny, clear “raindrop” beads.

Married to husband Jim, and mom to sons Harrison and Evan; Shannon and her family live in Sacramento, California where she owns and operates a successful Wedding and Event Floral Design business called Flourish.

Featured uBloomer Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas

Shannon, your winning Captured Orchid Ornament design was incredible! How did you come up with such an exquisite design?

I love using aluminum wire…it’s so fun and malleable to work with – I knew I wanted to use that in my design. I had an idea to use a bubble bowl, wrap aluminum wire around it, and float a single bloom in water. Realizing that using water wouldn’t be practical, I searched around my workshop for something easier but just as impressive…that is when I found the “raindrop” beads and knew those would work perfectly! I also LOVE using acolytes and I tucked them inside the raindrops to illuminate the ornament. The Phalaenopsis bloom was plucked from a silk plant I have in my home. I chose silk, again, for ease of use and no upkeep.

Can you give us uBloomers any tips on making the Orchid Ornament?

It’s fairly easy to make, the hardest part is wrapping the wire around the bubble bowl. The trick is to wrap the wire randomly around the bowl using needle nose pliers made especially for jewelry making. Then, give the wire pinches here and there to tighten it around the bowl.

Were you surprised when you won the contest?

Yes and no. I had to work hard to win. My family and friends kept me up to date on the number of votes I had and how many I needed to win. It was definitely a joint effort and we all had a great time!

J called to congratulate you on your win. What was talking to him like?

Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas and Family

J is so fun and charismatic! He’s a really cool guy, stylish and easy going. I love the way he promotes the floral industry and helps real florists and designers.

How do you plan to spend the $1,000.00 Grand Prize?

I wanted to spend the money on “fun” stuff so I sent my son Harrison to skate camp and bought my other son, Evan, a Wii. I used the rest for Christmas goodies and gifts.

How did you get started in floral design?

While in college, I answered an ad in the paper for a florist looking for a book keeper. I got the job and worked hard at updating the accounts (the system in place was antiquated), wrapped plants and flowers, waited on customers and swept the floor. I soon realized that I really enjoyed working with flowers and had a real knack for arranging them.

I worked part time for several florists and learned a lot along the way. In 1994, I had the opportunity to go in to business with an artist friend and together we opened up Blooming Art – an art gallery/florist. The business became very successful and we decided to open a second shop a couple of years later. As time went on, I knew that I wanted to open a shop soley dedicated to flowers, so I sold my half of Blooming Art and started a full service retail florist called Bella Fiori.

After having Harrison, and with Evan on the way, I realized that retail business wasn’t going to work with family life. I also discovered that my real passion was designing flowers for weddings and events. That is when I sold Bella Fiori and opened Flourish. Now I can do all my designing at home where I can be with my boys and I get to focus my attention on what I truly love and enjoy, Weddings and Events. To give my business a professional air, I rent a small office space in downtown Sacramento where I do all my bridal consultations.

Evan and Harrison

What is your favorite flower?

Peonies – 100%! I got married to Jim in the month of May just so I could carry them! I love anything that blows me away with it’s color, texture and scent like garden roses and lamb’s ear. I DON’T like anything that attacks me back (LOL) like Leptospermum.

What is your favorite JTV webisode?

I love the ones where J demonstrates more advanced techniques like the Versailles Topiary Tree, Perimeter Urn, and Flower Rings webisodes. I really enjoy seeing J use things that are sold at my local wholesaler but used in a new way or given a cool, new twist. I also like it when J demonstrates how to use new products. It helps me know what kind of things I can do with that product so I can give my clients something new and fresh.

Who is your favorite Floral Designer?

Right now, I am super in to Ariella Chezar and Livia Cetti (The Green Vase). I like how they use garden flowers and materials and arrange them in a looser, more natural way as compared to the very compact, structured designs that have been so popular of late.

Where do you draw your design inspiration from?

I get most of my inspiration from the Brides themselves. I take their chosen color, theme, or idea and I pick flowers with colors, textures and scents that breathe life into their vision, and I arrange the floral materials in a way that shows them off to their best advantage. I also draw inspiration from looking at arrangements done by other designers and from the flowers I work with.

Flower ring Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas

Flower ring I made using J’s techniques

Your designs are so amazing, do you plan to pursue AIFD accreditation?

I find the expense and process of becoming AIFD a bit intimidating. In most cases, my clients don’t really understand what AIFD certification means and therefore can’t really appreciate how that level of design is advantageous to them. I personally feel that the AIFD governing committee needs to do a better job with educating the consumer on the importance of AIFD certified designers and actively promote the quality of the designs created by AIFD florists. I do want to get more involved with floral education in the coming years, and with that in mind, I may choose to pursue my AIFD certification which would be recognized and appreciated by those in the floral industry.

I do hold a CCF (California Certified Florist) accreditation.

What do you think about the controversial subject of a mandatory national certification for all those wanting to be a floral designer? Do you think floral designers need to be certified?

I do think that education needs to be encouraged and recommended on a regular basis, but I do not think that a floral designer needs to be certified in order to work with flowers. In many cases, certification can be time consuming and costly, which will discourage many talented individuals from pursuing a career in floral design.

Shannon Cosgrove-RivasCornacopia

Thanksgiving table using Leanne Kesler’s cornacopia design

Do you have any “goals” for 2009?

I am going to take a good hard look at what is working well in my business and what is not working. I want to eliminate things that are not working and make the changes necessary to make my business more successful now and put Flourish in a position to really prosper when things turn around in our economy.

Part of my plan is to establish and solidify relationships with clients, vendors and businesses. I have found the best marketing strategy for my business is having good working relationships with vendors and professionals who know and recommend me to others. I get more clients from my networking efforts than from advertising in magazines and such. The key is to find what works for your business and take steps to make it happen!

I have a real desire to get more involved in floral education by teaching classes for floral designers.

In your opinion, what colors and design trends will we see emerging in 2009?

The color Yellow is going to be HUGE! It has, up til now, been very under used, but I have a feeling that yellow will be the next big color trend. We will also see a moving away from the monochromatic, mono-botanical designs and a trend towards more saturated, mixed colors and flowers. This exciting combination will be seen in pastels also.

Green will continue to be popular in Lime and Chartreuse. Neutrals in Taupe and Champagne will emerge and provide more calming palettes which will be popular in traditional weddings.

Fun Family Picture Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas

Lets have some fun with this last question and let uBloomers get to know you a bit better. What is your Favorite:

Bride and Bloom, Ready Made (Craft) and Domino

Pride and Prejudice, Twilight (yes, it’s my guilty pleasure)

Singing in the Rain


Sandwiches (for real, crazy I know), Homemade Comfort Foods

Women Songstresses like Amy Winehouse and Adelle. Cold Play is another fave.

TV Show?
Heroes, Bones, Project Runway and anything adventurous with humor.

A Shannon Fun Fact:

Shannon won the 2005 Best Cake Design in Florists’ Review Magazine for her Floating Cake Vase Design.