Former Floral Students – Where Are They Now?
by Flower Duet Editors
Whether it is a bride who wants to do her own flowers for her wedding, or someone looking to change careers to start a floral business, or a hobbyist who wants to perfect a passion, we have been able to assist in those dreams and goals. Here is a nice insight into where a few of them are now. After we collected some stories, we thought it would be fun to write our own, too.
Name of your business: Flower Duet.
PHOTO: The scene of our most recent workshop at our Torrance Design studio just before students arrived.
What has been your most rewarding floral job or event? Most recently, the post Grammy Awards party for the Sony Music Group because we worked with a wonderful lady named Mabel who has been designing with potted orchids for years, but wanted to break into floral design. We loved working with her for this event.
When is your next event? In addition to private flower arranging lessons, a few corporate gigs and weddings, we have two big flower classes in April. At our studio, we’ll be working with spring flowers including the wonderfully full and frilly Ranunculus on April 21st following our tour of the LA Flower Mart. Then, on April 28th, we’ll be teaching two classes at The Huntington Library in San Marino. Inspired by the Shakespeare Garden, we’ll be using the Bard’s flowers for a design in a tall vase design for the adult class and to create a fun posy for the kids’ class.
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
Romeo and Juliet
Have you had an “aha” moment since your started your business that you would share with budding florists? We’ve had so many since we started in 1999. The biggest advice we can offer is plan ahead, buy extra flowers and supplies and always bring those to the drop off place. You never know if someone accidently pins a boutonniere on the wrong person (this happened to Kit and she had to make a new one on the spot!).
What tip did Flower Duet give you that is still helpful today? For us, we’ll go back to our mother who always said, “Be nice to everyone.” We found it really helps to be nice to our vendors as well as our clients, prospects and potential business partners. You never know when you might need your vendors to help you with an emergency. It pays to treat everyone with respect and dignity.
Name of your business: Ta’Dah Boutique.
Stacey Cobrae and Alison Moore are sisters-in-law and they both have attended classes at our studio and at The Huntington Gardens. They make the trek from Riverside to learn the craft. PHOTOS: From the recent bridal show they did – see story below.
What has been your most rewarding floral job or event? A Bridal Show we just did, where we met lots of contacts and networked with other vendors who loved our designs and wanted to use our flowers for their all inclusive packages. It felt great to get out and start meeting people.
Have you had an “aha” moment since your started your business that you would share with budding florists? It really hit home we CAN do this. It will take some time and hard work, but we can definitely see a future in this and we can’t wait :). Confidence in your work is key if you can sell yourself you can do anything.
What tip did Flower Duet give you that is still helpful today? Alison says, “Too many to name just one. I have learned so much about flowers, flower care, customer service, and business success. Just hearing your stories has really helped me to see that this is something I want to do professionally.” Stacey says, “How to care for the flowers was the biggest learning for me but of course design I started from nothing and learned everything from the basics to arranging from them.”
What is the name of your business? Simply Elegant Flowers.
Denita Walker started taking classes with us as a gift from her Dad. PHOTOS: Top – a pretty hand-tied design Denita made. Below is from the wedding that Denita did for her friends in Long Beach. See story below.
What has been your most rewarding floral job or event? The wedding I did this January . The couple are friends of mine and it feels good knowing that I helped to make their day extra special. I was also challenged by the job. The wedding required 51 centerpieces and a bridal arch, in addition to personal flowers.
Have you had an “aha” moment since your started your business that you would share with budding florists? “Pick up lilies four days or more ahead of your event.” It takes them forever to open. Also, there is no such thing as a quick job. Always give yourself more time than you think you need.
What tip did Flower Duet give you that is still helpful today? Every event I make sure to give myself at least three days to get prepared for a wedding and I always order an extra bunch of everything.
What is the name of your business? Fantasy Flowers.
Maria Mamdouh flew to Los Angeles in January 2011 to visit her friends and to learn flower arranging. She booked a week’s worth of workshops with Flower Duet and has a growing floral business now in Cairo, Egypt. A few days after Maria flew back to Cairo, the country turned upside down. She had been working events for the established Tour Operator Thomas Cook, which of course had to stop offering tours during the uprising. She is a great example of a great outcome of a tough situation. PHOTOS: Top – Maria wearing a hair wreath she learned to make when she was here in LA taking private lessons with Casey. Below is a photo of recent work she is doing back in Egypt.
What has been your most rewarding floral job or event? Teaching floral design workshops in Cairo every Wednesday night.
What tip did Flower Duet give you that is still helpful today? I had the full course. I use every single thing I learned and now, in my business, I teach it to others.
What is the name of your business? Romee’s Garden
Doris Melamed has taken many classes with us at our studio in Torrance and had some private lessons, too. PHOTO: A tall design from her recent showcase.
What has been your most rewarding floral job or event? Creating new designs all the time!
What has been your most recent event? A show Doris gave last weekend showing her own designs and techniques. She says, “I have made beautiful and creative designs. It was a great experience for me becuase I was able to make new things. It was a lot of work though, but everyone loves my work and that is a good thing.”
What tip did Flower Duet give you that is still helpful today? You can do any design and you can figure out some designs on your own.
Book a class with Flower Duet and see what hidden talents you have in your finger tips.
by Casey Schwartz
Baby succulents growing in our nursery.
We continue to feature a huge variety of succulent plants in many of our floral designs and our little succulent nursery is now better equipped to handle the babies who are sprouting and rooting everywhere.
Our father, whom our kids all call “Pop,” visited earlier this month and did a great deal of carpentry work to make better sense of my odd collection of wobbly tables, legless pallets, and bundles of wood stakes.
After two full days of almost non-stop work, Pop created a lovely collection of seven sturdy tables which were ready to support our ever growing collection of succulent plants. The new arrangement of tables enables me to move the succulents in and out of the shade and sun.
Before we started.
Nice mulch path throughout our tables that Pop made.
Recycled wood pallets and new legs are accented with Oops paint.
We love flowers, so why not paint the wall with them, too!
Pop Boxes Available Soon!
Photo by: Miyuki Sena
Pop has also created what we are calling “Pop” Boxes. They are for “Living Art.” We call them “Pop Boxes” for many reasons besides that fact that they are named after the designer.
- First, you Pop in Cactus Mix Soil.
- Then, you Pop in your succulent cuttings and wait for them to root.
- Finally, you Pop the art piece onto an outdoor wall.
It’s long lasting, fun to look at and fun to make, too. We were recently commissioned to make two “Living Art Pop Boxes” for an illustrator and photographer, Miyuki Sena, who wanted them to help showcase her graphic illustrations at a recent art show.
We will have these available for purchase soon on our Duet Store with instructions on how to put them together. You will be able to fill with your own cuttings of succulents or order a kit from us from our Flower Duet Succulent Nursery.
by Casey Schwartz
Post Floral Design Scenario
- You have been hired for a big event.
- You’ve selected and purchased the flowers, conditioned, created and tweaked them to perfection in your various sized vases and containers.
- Then, you look at your car, van or SUV and wonder, “Will it all fit? How will I keep my vases from falling over?”
Transport Solutions for Flowers Work!
In the early days of Flower Duet we would have to plan for an extra hour just to load our twin Honda Accord sedans to ensure a worry free drive. We saved all the cardboard boxes our flowers came in from the wholesaler, carefully placed each vase into an open box and then bunched up a lot of newspaper around the completed vases and containers to keep them from tipping during deliveries. This would take so much time to get all the vases secured and we knew there had to be a better way!
When we upgraded our floral delivery fleet to Toyota SUVs, we thought it was a great time to upgrade our delivery system as well.
We had been eyeing a few options, and then it became essential to make the investment in a new system. We secured a large job for Chanel and were tasked with a daily delivery of over 25 tall cylinder vases everyday for a week to various Los Angeles hotels for Fashion Week. We needed a good reliable system that did not consist of cardboard and newspaper! I made a call to Seminole Floral Delivery in Florida and placed an order for a full set of grids and pins.
We’ve had this system for five years and it is so easy to use, not bulky, very sturdy and waterproof. Basically you place your completed floral design – vase, container or basket on the grid – and then surround with the appropriate length post.
We have not had a fallen vase using this system and continue to be amazed at how we have been able to fill both our cars full of all kinds of vases and containers.
Another new type of system to market which we have not tried yet is called Flower Tote and we may try it out for Kit’s car. I will be ordering and giving a report on how we like it in a future newsletter. Stay tuned and keep those vases upright!
Check out the latest video in our YouTube channel
We continue to add more free videos to our YouTube channel. Casey appeared on behalf of Flower Duet for the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 seasons of Creative Living, which airs on PBS stations across the country. We are able to air these segments with the permission of Creative Living via our channel on YouTube!
This month, Casey shows Sheryl Borden from Creative Living how to create two completely different bud vase designs. One design features dendrobium orchids and the other showcases classic roses. Anyone can learn to make a wonderful arrangement like this one!
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: fashioningflowers so you’ll know when we’ve uploaded a new show!
Shakespeare’s Flowers by Jessica Kerr
In honor of the classes we are teaching at The Huntington Library this month for Shakespeare’s Garden, we review a book on his flowers. If you want the perfect reference book for your own Shakespeare garden or floral bouquet, this is the one to get. You can download it instantly to your Kindle and start using it today!Complete with beautiful illustrations by Anne Ophelia Dowden, this book would also make a wonderful gift for a enthusiastic drama student who is starring in Hamlet, MacBeth or Romeo and Juliet.
In The News
It’s Just a Better Rubber Glove
Okay…so these rubber gloves are not exactly sexy, but they are wonderful for protecting our hands when things get sticky, dirty and messy. Our dad (see story about succulents at lower left for more on him), bought these to give to his volunteers when he was a house leader for Habitat for Humanity for the last eight years. He bought us a few hundred for our flower jobs and we use them for lots of things. You may think by looking at the photo above that they are just like any kind of painter’s gloves; however, in our experience Nitrile gloves have more durability than latex gloves. The don’t tear easily and can be reused, too.
Use For Messes
Here are some examples of when these gloves come in handy:
- When working with Sphagnum Moss, you should always wear gloves. There is a chance of contracting a skin fungal infection from the moss, so always protect your hands.
- When working with floral spray paint to paint flowers or pots, we sometimes are just holding the item in our hands and again, it’s good to use the gloves so we don’t show up with blue paint on our fingers when handing over some blue hydrangeas. We don’t want to give all our secrets away!
- When working with sticky Oasis Floral adhesive. This stuff is soooo sticky. It’s essential to protect the fingers from that.
- When planting terrariums and using the charcoal in the soil. It’s a good idea to protect your hands from the charcoal. See our February 2012 newsletter on How to Plant a Terrarium.
We know that creativity is messy, but why not keep your hands clean in the process?