women in business


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How many times in your life, do you have the opportunity to experience a mega moment? I can only think of a few times in my life where I’ve had to stop and pinch myself  just to see if it was really happening.  This past week was one of those amazing moments that I will never forget.  Things like this happen in the most amazing ways. In retrospect, I  had to look back and wonder how it all evolved over the week.   It was a scheduled big event, and people on our board were signed up to help and work throughout the week.  Some how I ended up being the one of the volunteer’s to help with the presentation.

How can you describe a woman who is a trend setter, an artist,  a person with such incredible energy  & talent that all she can offer you is the opportunity to strive to be the very best you can possibly be! I can’t think of anything else to say about this amazing woman!

Not only did I get to spend the day with the fabulous floral design artist Hitomi  Gilliam, her son Colin, who is a very creative photographer,  but in the process I was introduced to an amazing new line of tropical products from Green Point Nurseries in Hilo.  I had the pleasure of meeting Eric & his father Harold from Green Point Nurseries  &  I loved the joy that they experienced from watching the creative design process happen with their tropical product. I think I even heard Harold say that his next career is going to be as a floral designer like Hitomi, but don’t quote me on that! 🙂

Thanks to our local floral wholesaler Northwest who was so kind to offer the use of his facility to promote the Teleflora design show. Overall,  I think it was a huge success and an inspiration to all of the floral design professionals who attended.

Here are a few photos from the event, sorry I couldn’t have had time to photograph the event, I should have gotten one of the many amazing photographers to come take photo’s for the event.  Darn..to many things to do sometimes.

Anthurium Bouquet

Hitomi's wedding boquet using tropicals

More Bouquet Designs

My Bouquet with Hitomi

New Flower Wrap Treatment

A grand finish with Hitomi!


I was just sent this link to another fabulous photographer’s work,  who was at the ABC/ ISES event at the winery.  I have to say that I just love that shot of our Waltz Martini!  Great photo!  Please contact Jack if you want to order any prints from the show.  I was just so involved with what Stacy & I & Tamara had going on during the design process, I failed to realize how much beauty was in that room!  Jack managed to capture both the creativity and the beauty in these pictures!

I always think I’m creative, but then I see the pictures from photographers, and I am so intimidated by their vision of what we do.  The world is only made more beautiful by photographers!

Thanks for capturing the spirit of the event!

Lately, I’ve been hearing all the talk about buying local, and supporting mom & pop business owners and I agree that it is important to try and do that.  Recently in talking with some of my customers, I realized that they have no idea where flowers come from, and how buying flowers is helping many families survive in small villages around the world.

Everyone has heard the stories about pesticides and pollution and harm to workers, but for every one of those stories, there are new stories about how the industry is working hard to create standards that improve quality of life and promote the safety of workers.  What workers wanted was for the Western consumers to be their voice , because without a demand for certified-organic and fair trade flowers, the Ecuadorian flower industry would have had little incentive to change, and it’s working. Companies are finally working to improve their environmental management.  What they don’t need is people campaigning for consumers to stop buying flowers, because they are very dependent upon having a market. Same holds true for me, although I understand the need to eat, and if given a choice of buying flowers or food, of course I’m going to choose food, but in some countries, working the land and growing flowers gives them their food.

I invite you to read some of the stories and educate yourself on the subject.  It’s an important issue.

The Rainforest Alliance is just one of the many organizations working to conserve biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods by focusing on  land-use practices, and business practices and the health and welfare of agricultural workers.  They are trying to bring forth social responsibility by working with people who make their living from the land . They are focused on sustainable land practices that do not harm the environment or the health of the workers.



I was reading this article on the status of agriculture in Africa,  http://www.new-ag.info/developments/devItem.php?a=1029 you really get a sense when you read the article, on  how much of a global business flowers are.  The country has been hit by more drought in the flower growing regions, and the economic aspects have hit them hard as well, since demand for flowers has diminished.  I know the economy has hit every one hard, but in some countries, it’s a bit harder, that little plot of land is all they have.  One of the positive things to come out of the drought, is that it is forcing them to look at new solutions, like hydroponics which reuses the water and makes more sense for a country that doesn’t have much in the way of water resources .  Nature always has a way of taking charge!

My friend use to make these little plush widgets, and he used to talk to me about how people were critical of the fact that he had his product made in other countries, but he was always so proud of the fact that this little village of people were able to make a living and improve there lives by hand sewing these little items.  He loved to go to the village and visit, and see them so happy at having a way to market their skill. I learned from him that there are always two sides to the story.  You can read more about flower growing in Kenya here: http://www.kenyaflowercouncil.org/floricultureinkenya.php

This past week I was talking to one of the growers in Ecuador  who was telling me that roses would be in short supply from their farm for Christmas because they are pinching back the plants to have them ready for Valentines day.  Unfortunately they have to either sell their product at Christmas, and have none for Valentines day, or skip Christmas and have product for Valentines day.  Most of the farms in Ecuador are pretty small, something that I did not know until I became a florist and starting talking to farms.  What is amazing to me is that a rose that you buy on a Tuesday in my store was probably harvested on Thursday in the Andean highlands of Ecuador or Colombia, shipped via Fedex direct to my door and then to you the consumer.  Here was an interesting article in the Latin Times newspaper regarding Valentines day sales.  One more example of how we are all connected in a global economy. http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=326798&CategoryId=14089

A nice article explaining a bit about the Andean trade act and a more about Ecuadorian roses gives you an insight into the bigger issues facing our industry in general.


I have by no means covered all the countries that we get flowers from, which I will save for another post. Places that I will talk about in future posts, all the places that we get flowers from,  New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Holland, Italy, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru,  & yes, even the United States.

Don’t forget to make time to stop and smell the roses!

I recently became aware of Laura Dowling on Twitter, because someone posted that she was in the running to become the next florist to the White House.  The Washington Post http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2009/10/rs-florist19.htmlalso had some news stories about her, and said they had heard from a good source that she was going to be the next florist for the Obama Family.  According to the reports she is just one of the floral designers in the running.  I haven’t heard any announcements since then, so I do not know if she was chosen or not. The story did make me curious as to who she was, and what kind of design she does.  You can see her work here: http://www.lauradowling.com/

I do have to say that after exploring her site and reading her blog, I was impressed!  I like the fact that she has a very refined sense of design but it is not overly formal.  I feel like she has a great sense of how important nature is to the design process, and she does a good job of reflecting this in her work.

I’m really inspired by her work, because I feel like it is reflects the trends that  I am seeing in my day to day encounters with brides and my flower loving customers.  One of my clients  just returned from living in France for two years and one of the first things he noticed when he returned was how terrible flowers were here in the US and we had a long conversation about how it could be improved. I  like the fact that the White House is searching for a new look that is less formal. It might just reflect our sense of getting back to the basics.

Since I am a floral designer, I am always looking for new inspiration, heart and soul! I think this designer shows a little bit of all of these traits, plus a contemporary twist that is quite refreshing!

I’d love to hear from anyone who  has fresh ideas about flowers here in the United States or even the worldwide flower industry in general, whether it is with regards to production, distribution, design or growing.

Can’t wait to see who becomes the next floral designer in the White House, I’m sure she will have influence in how the trends develop.

Nov. 20th ……….An Update:

Check out this latest update on Laura Dowling~ I’m happy!


Another updated article, worth checking out…


Well, since I have written the previous post, it has now been confirmed that Laura Dowling is the next florist to the White House.  The above link was interesting reading regarding future trends and the difference between the US and French style to design.  It is a terrific article, with lots of design aspects to think  about & I suggest reading it if you are interested in the subject of floral design.

I’m pretty sure that my link to her blog and website will no longer work, since she has become a world figure,  her  online persona has to now take a step back from the public limelight, which of course I can relate to! The floral business is all about being discreet!

I agree with all the media hoopla,  I can’t wait to see what Laura brings to the state dinner on November 24th. Wow, talk about pressure? Yikes! Having been in similar situations, I am impressed, and also so excited to see her work. I have no doubt that it will be amazing! She is turning out to be a rock star, and a great role model  and she is providing inspiration to the talent that exists in our industry that has yet to be discovered!


Congratulations to Laura!


Of course I am always  interested in anything that promotes women owned business…The CRAVEcompany connects small business owners with the customers they crave.

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