The Allied Florist

 Monthly Newsletter of the Allied Florists of Houston

 February 2018

AFH Quick Calendar of Events

No February AFH Meeting

 Feb 14

 Valentine's Day!

 Feb 19

 President's Day

 Mar  3

Texas Designer of the Year Competition
Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor & Education Center at Bayou Bend – Houston
In conjunction with River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail

 Mar  6

 Jim Johnson Cup at Pikes Peak of Texas

 Apr 10

 Houston Cup Competition - "Houston IS" at Pikes Peak of TX

 Apr 11

 Texas Floral Showcase “Metroplex Region” City Club Fort Worth, TX

 Jul 14-15

 Texas Floral Forum – South Shore Harbor Resort and Conference
 Center, League City, Texas

 Oct 3

 Texas Floral Showcase “West Texas Region” McKensie- Merket Alumni
 Center Lubbock, TX

  About Competition by Alex Torres

Competition. The mere mention of this word sends even seasoned designers scrambling for a place to hide. It brings the best and the worst in all of us and there is no such thing as a sure thing. We have witnessed superstar designers brought to their knees as well as amateur first timers shine bright like diamonds. Competition is a great way to not just compete, but really test the limits of your fiercest competitor : YOU.

Most competitions are structured the same way. A panel votes on a theme, which is then presented to the prospective contestants. There are usually 3 categories and a surprise situation. Categories or themes are chosen and every contestant receives the same flowers, supplies, containers and accessories. The competitors are then timed while they create their designs. Time is called and a panel of judges evaluates the work based on a scoring system which focuses strictly on the elements and principles of design. If there is a tie, the work is re-evaluated and the designs are judged strictly on artistic merit.

To say it is nerve wrecking and stressful would be a huge understatement. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and commitment, but it is by far one of the most satisfying endeavors you will ever face as a designer. It is totally about personal growth. Oh sure, the trophies and accolades are nice, the cash prizes are even better, but in the ideal circumstances, we learn a lot about ourselves and what we are made of. We grow as designers, and we learn new tricks and techniques to take and make our own and that is indeed the best prize which every single competitor, win or lose, gets to take home.

My foray into the world of competition started in 2001. I was nervous, terrified and totally felt unworthy of competing against all these talented, seasoned designers. I competed in the Houston Cup and I was lucky enough to win!! Competition is extremely addictive and I was no exception. For a while, I competed in everything I could every chance I got. I won some, I lost some, but I persevered. It’s not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you pick yourself up and carry on. I met amazing designers from all parts of the United States and made friendships to last me a lifetime. I won’t lie to you and say it was always wine and roses, but if I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t change a single thing. My experiences made me a better designer, a stronger competitor and just gave me the confidence I needed to finally take the plunge and shoot for the big one AIFD. You see, AIFD is a HUGE competition, but you are only competing against yourself.

Competition season has officially started. The Houston Cup, The Texas Cup, The Jim Johnson Cup, The Mid-Americas Cup and the grand daddy of them all, THE SYLVIA CUP are all coming up soon!! Get involved, get informed and dare to dream and dream big!! I can tell you as a competition addict, the sky is the limit and it is absolutely within your reach. I hope you will all compete or at least be there to support and cheer on your fellow designers. I promise you a wealth of knowledge and memories to last you a lifetime.

Jim Johnson Cup flyer

  Houston Cup Information
Houston Cup Flyer

Houston Cup Rules

All entrants must be in good standing with Allied Florists of Houston. The winner of the Houston cup advances to the TSFA Texas Designer of the Year competition in 2019. The winner must maintain AFH or TSFA membership throughout all levels of competition. Previous Houston cup winners are eligible to compete provided they have not won the Texas Designer of the Year competition or the Sylvia Cup competition. All entrants must be present for the judging and for the announcement of the winner.

Limited to the first 25 entries, the deadline for AFH members is February 18th 2018. If there are available spaces after the deadline, those spaces will be open to members and non-members who are residents of the state of Texas (on a fist come first serve basis), with a deadline of March 18th, 2018. The non-refundable registration fee for AFH members is $75.00 and non-members is $150.00. Members who have not renewed their membership before February 1st, 2018 will be charged the non-member fee for the Houston cup competition. All registrations must include the official entry form, the non-refundable registration fee, a short bio and photo. Please make all checks payable to Allied Florists of Houston.

There will be a preliminary round in the Houston Cup competition. "The Interpretive design will be the preliminary round." Only the top 50% or top 10 will continue on to the next round. Interpretive designs will be a designer’s choice arrangement for the "Houston Is" Theme. Designers will create a design interpreting what they feel "Houston Is" this design will be viewed from all sides, not to exceed 30x30 with no height restrictions and at least 50% of the total composition MUST be flowers. Each entrant will provide their own prop/container for the interpretive design not to exceed $75.00 wholesale cost. A receipt must be provided for prop/container by each entrant.

Timeline for 2018 Houston Cup Competition- APRIL 10, 2018

1:30 - 2:00pm     Check in with Prop and receipt
2:00pm   Mandatory meeting at Pikes Peak of Texas. Each entrant must attend.
- Those not in attendance will be disqualified
2:15pm   Interpretive design begins
6:00pm   Announcement of the final 50% or top 10 will be made. Interpretive designs that did not make the final stage of the competition cannot be removed until the competition is over at 9:00 pm
6:30pm   Final phase will start promptly at 6:30 with two categories and times for each piece will be strictly adhered to. First category:  Centerpiece for a fundraiser to support rebuilding Houston.  - 40 minutes allowed to complete- all materials for this design will be provided by AFH.
7:10pm   5 minute break
7:25pm   Surprise Situation - 30 minutes allowed to complete - all materials for this design will be provided by AFH.
7:55pm   End of competition

Judging will be divided into 10 categories: Creativity, Scale, Unity, Line, Balance, Focal Emphasis, Depth, Color and Mechanics. The judging will be on a scale of one to ten (poor to excellent). In the event of a tie, the judges will re-evaluate the work of the tied entrants considering strictly artistic expression.

Each entrant must bring their own tools: knife, scissors, non-decorative wire, tape (floral stem wrap, water proof tape), wire cutters, needle nose pliers, picks, floral adhesive, Tak 1000 or 2000, Ulgu. A station will be provided for your hot melt glue pan or glue gun, you will need to provide your extension cord. No paints, ribbons, decorative wires or accessories of any kind may be used by the entrants. Only materials supplied by AFH may be used. Failure to comply with this rule will result in disqualification, at the discretion of the Houston Cup Chair.

1st Place: $300.00 and AFH representative to the Texas Designer of the Year Competition for 2019. The first place winner will also be compensated up to but not exceeding $100.00 entry fee in the Texas Designer of the Year competition and reimbursed up to but not exceeding $400.00 in expenses for hotel, food and travel expenses (TSFA membership is the responsibility of the designer). All receipts must be turned in for payment.

2nd Place: $200.00. In the event that the first place winner cannot represent AFH at the Texas Designer of the Year Competition, the 2nd place winner will take their place.

3rd Place: $100.00. In the event that the first and second place winners cannot represent AFH at the Texas Designer of the Year competition, the 3rd place winner will take their place.

  Why Should I Use Social Media  
By Alan Masters AIFD CFD

As most of you know, I am a big user of social media to promote myself. Over the past couple of years I have had several people ask, “Does it work?” “Should I be using it in my shop?” and more. The answers are yes and yes. Yes it works, I get emails regularly asking about a design I posted or a product I used in a particular post. The consumer, in my case, other designers, are always watching to see what you are posting, but it must be a regular posting. Timing is everything, post at 3:00 at least 3 times a week. People are getting off work and the first thing most of us do is check our social media pages. So this is the optimal time to post your thought for the day, pictures of the days work, specials for the next day, etc. Also, as noted in the previous thought, post regularly, at least 3 times a week so that people are looking for what you are doing. Wednesday at 3:00 is the absolute best time to post. Other days work too, but make sure one of your posts is on Wednesday. Create a following by doing it on the same days and at the same time, so that your consumers will get excited about seeing what you are going to post that day.

Facebook has nearly 2 billion subscribers, most of which are online daily, checking to see what is coming up on their newsfeeds. It is a great place to start reaching your market. Give an incentive for them liking and following your page. Put a note on your envelopes that says if you like our page you get ( )% discount on your next order with us. Yes it is work, someone has to be responsible with keeping up with all of the people liking your page each day, but it is worth it. Do a drawing for a prize, have people like and share your page in order to be placed in the drawing and then do a video of the winner getting their prize and post it. There are numbers of ways to drive people to your social media.

Make it easy on yourself and link up your social media pages. That way when you post on one, you will automatically be posting on all of them. It make quick work of posting. Keep in mind where you are posting. Facebook is obviously the largest, but Instagram, Pinterest (as much as we all hate it), Linked In and even Snapchat are all growing rapidly and each reaches a different demographic. Make your post universal and appealing to many age ranges. Statistics say that “Visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared than any other type of content.”, according to Pictures are still best. Create a “happy” feed by showing your work, but pay attention to it and make sure that it is a good photo before you post it. Sometimes it is lighting and sometimes it is just angle that makes a picture better.

Dreamgrow also reports that there were over 4.4 million videos uploaded directly to Facebook in February of 2016 which generated over 199 billion views. Videos are a powerful way to connect with your followers and promote your brand. How do you do that? Do a video on your phone walking around your newly and seasonally decorated shop and talk about some of the new product you have in for sell for that season. Show the new vases, line of candles, seasonal décor and plush that you will be carrying for the coming season and post that on Facebook. Maybe create your selection of arrangements for the holiday and do a video showing your customers what will be available for the next holiday with a spoken description on what you are showing. Take the time to write a script beforehand and follow it, make it exciting and enticing so that they can’t wait to come in our call and order what you are showing.

One last statistic to entice you to use more than just Facebook. 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35 and 32% of teenagers consider Instagram to be the most important social network. This is an opportunity to reach young families and Millennials with your brand. One of our challenges is to reach the younger generations. My son told me the other day, “Dad, Facebook is for old people”, it honestly offended me at first, but it made me think more about who I am reaching with Facebook. Now there is nothing wrong with Facebook, but, we are only reaching a very specific demographic and chances are, one we’ve already reached and have as our customer. Try linking Instagram and Facebook together and see if you are not reaching another group of people with your posts.

Online marketing and shopping is not going away, we need to embrace it and use it more and better than we have been and start reaching more people with our brand. Until next time, keep blooming, go out and make something beautiful today.

Message from the President

Greetings Floral Family, 

Well, it looks like winter has hit with a vengeance this year. It has been a crazy year for weather here in the Houston area. Our apologies for changing the date of the Valentine’s day program, we, as the board, always are trying to keep your safety first. Education is wonderful, but we never want to put anyone in harms way to provide it. I hope everyone is prepared and ready for a big Valentine’s day this year. I know you are all prepping vases, getting coolers rearranged and the shop lined up and set for our biggest day of the year. I want to wish you all lots of luck that it will be your biggest day in several years and that you go through it without a hitch.  

March, as you know, is a busy month for flower competitions here in Texas. Once again the Jim Johnson cup will be held at Pikes Peak and this year the Texas Designer of the Year competition will be held at the Azalea Trail in Houston. There is a lot going on that I hope you will all attend and participate in. In the next couple of weeks, we will be announcing plans for our March program as well. I am excited about some of the opportunities that are arising for Allied and some of the ideas that are coming about for the next year. Please make plans now to attend the end of year meeting and elections so that you will be aware of many of those changes that will be presented at that meeting. As always, I am honored to serve as your president and to work with some of the greatest people in the industry here in our area.

Keep blooming and go out and make something beautiful today. 

Alan Masters AIFD, CFD

Become a Member of Allied Florists of Houston

To see all the benefits that membership provides go to the About Us page.

Dues can be paid online and fax your completed application to 281-360-1035 OR
Mail your check and completed application to:
Allied Florists of Houston
c/o: Taylor Wholesale
1601 W. 21st
Houston, TX 77008

Retail Membership Qualifications 
Retail shops actively engaged in the full time sale of flowers, plants, and related items and located within 100 miles of Houston qualify for this classification. 
The locations shall be clearly identified by an outside florist sign; shall have a separate sales area; a floral display refrigerator; and shall have a delivery vehicle.
At the time of application for membership, the retail shop shall have been engaged in the florist business for at least six months; have a commercial telephone listing; have a full time designer on duty at all times; and belong to at least one wire service.
~ Annual dues are $150 billed each July
~ Includes Voting Privileges
Download the Retail Membership Application.

Wholesale / Grower Membership Qualifications
Individuals, wholesalers or wholesale-grower firms who are actively engaged in the production and/or distribution of cut flowers and/or plants and/or related items and located within 100 miles of Houston qualify for this classification.
~Annual dues are $150 billed each July
~ Includes Voting Privileges
Download the Wholesale/Grower Membership Application.

Associate Membership Qualifications
Associate Members shall be firms or individuals engaged in wholesale or floral related businesses not qualifying for retail member classification.
~Annual dues are $150 billed each July
~ Includes Voting Privileges
Download the Associate Membership Application.

General Membership Qualifications
General Members shall be individuals employed within the floral industry or students or instructors of floriculture, landscape gardening, landscape architecture, or ornamental horticulture. 
~Annual dues are $50 billed each July
~ NO Voting Privileges.
Download the General Membership Application.

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