Written by Joe Guggia, AIFD
A couple months ago, one of my contemporaries in my town (who happened to get me my first job as a delivery boy at the shop I purchased, kind of a “local boy does good” for another article) was driving in an area close to my shop. He noticed I was walking my cute Shitzu, Teddy, so he stopped and we talked for awhile, covering the new world of floristry. I knew he had turned 70, so I asked the obvious question, “When are you going to retire?”, since I’m well aware of the tole that this business can take on a body. He let me know that financially he just couldn’t it. “And”, he said “I’m going to have to rethink my business because all my clients are dying…”
“Duhhh”, I thought to myself… “You’re not appealing to other generations to keep your business going?!” Why would anybody think those customers they had 40 years ago (no matter what kind of financial status they have) should be your source of floral income for your career?
I never thought the impact this could have as the years go by. As a natural course, I’ve wanted to appeal to everyone at any age and socio economic back round. The teenager who only has 10 bucks to spend and still wants something floral for his girl gets the best we can give him for the money (and sometimes more). He’s your lifetime buyer who you treated with respect and value. And he won’t forget it.
Design trends and styles do change every few years and it’s up to us as florists to be aware of these changes. This makes the creation process a whole lot more fun, and I love staying aware of design trends, what colors younger clients are loving in décor and personal attire. Along with learning what’s cool and and up-to-the-minute, you should also know your demographics and what they like.
But don’t limit yourself with this. Try new things and see what happens. If you don’t, you can never get to that next level of creativity and find out what you (and your clients) are made of.
To keep myself up to date with today’s trends, I’m constantly viewing various magazines to maintain my creative “vitality”. Garden Design, Architectural Digest, Flowers &, House Beautiful, and even People to just name a few.
They are wonderful sources that let you know what’s going on in the design world. Any magazine, picture or surroundings that gives you creative incentive is the ticket, and take the time to view and share with your fellow designers. Facebook is a place every floral designer should also be to friend fellow florists and see their work. I display much of mine on Twitpic and on Facebook, and it’s so valuable to share and learn. Some of my Facebook friends have shops in Italy, England, Holland, and Russia. It’s so inspirational to learn and share with florists who have different ideas and elements to work with.
It’s a safe bet that I’ll keep appealing to all generations during my floral journey. And while I might still have the pleasure of floral designing at 70, this dude is working to make sure it’s not a “have to” situation and only to keep the world a more beautiful place to be in.