The fun kicked off Friday night with a floral version of the Food Network show “Chopped” that saw five floral industry executives compete at designing various floral arrangements. Each contestant was paired with a talented floral designer who provided guidance and coaching, but only the contestants were actually permitted to handle the materials. Brock Atwill of Flower Shop Network did very well, going through to the final and putting up a great fight. Doug Bates of Designs By Vogt's in Sturgis MI excelled as the host.
After creating arrangements for a birthday, a funeral, a patient in a hospital (for undisclosed reasons!) and lastly a casket spray, Joe Clifford of Regency Group and his design partner Derek Woodruff were crowned champions.
FloristWare was proud to sponsor Saturday morning’s business sessions,”Florists & Funeral Directors, a Working Relationship that Blooms and Grows” and “Embracing The Changes: The Business of Sympathy” both of which were presented by Robbin Yelverton AAF, AIFD, CF, PFCI of Blumz by JR Designs in Detroit and Ferndale.
Robbin delivered outstanding material on how to improve your relationships with funeral directors, as well as trends in the sympathy/ “death care” industry. The discussion continued Sunday morning with a Sympathy Roundtable featuring a Michigan funeral director. All of these sessions got rave reviews from the florists who will be able to head back to their shops with actionable ideas to increase their sympathy business.
Other business sessions included “Building Corporate Sales” with Kiersten Schultz, and “Turning Negative Reviews into Positive Results” with Kristin Peters.
Of course the main focus was on floral design and there were many inspiring shows and hands-on sessions. Continuing with the theme of Sympathy, Neville MacKay CAFA, PFCI, WFC presented “Celebrate the Good Times” which focused on how to showcase your talents to make sympathy work more profitable. John Hosek AIFD, CAFA, CF, CFD, PFCI presented a workshop on “Blingtastic Body Flowers”. Tracy Park and Jacob McCall AAF, AIFD, CFD, FSMD both presented sessions on Wedding Trends.
Throughout the weekend the MFA Design contest entries were showcased, with the winners being announced during Saturday night’s banquet. A new twist saw five incredibly talented floral designers compete in the Designer of the Year Run Off on the main stage during the dinner. The MFA had many different levels of competitions from students to Certified Florists and all the winners were celebrated that night.
Throughout the weekend the Trade Show gave attendees unprecedented access to vendors showcasing new products and services. A definite highlight was the Cocktail Reception held before the banquet right in the Trade Show area which really made it easy and fun to network, shop and mingle with all of your industry friends and peers.
Photographs of some the designs and business sessions appear below.