When Flowers are more than Flowers
by Alan Masters AIFD
It was a beautiful, clear, cool, South Dakota night in the cutest little town you can imagine named Chamberlain. We were in a resort hotel overlooking the river and spending a weekend teaching and learning more about our craft at the South Dakota Florists Association Fall Convention. Now, I know, from past experience that designers from that part of the country travel for hours to study, do hands on classes, watch stage programs etc. Anything for more knowledge of the industry. This year, though, something was different. While all the normal people were there, something was up. There was an excitement in the air and I wasn’t sure why. So the inquisitive side of me kicked in and I started asking questions. What was happening that had everyone so enlivened? Why the buzz in the air? And then I heard the news. This awesome association was going into uncharted territory. They were hosting a floral couture event with the amazing Adam Havrilla AIFD PFCI. While that was exciting for sure, there was more. The organizers of the event, which included a cocktail party and hors d’oeuvres, had made the decision to sell tickets to the public and there were around 150 people that had made plans to attend.
Early in the day, the hair and make-up stylists arrived along with the models for the night. The day was spent twisting up some hair and curling and pulling back more. Make-up was perfection and the models, both male and female, (all of which were amateur by the way) were having a ball getting ready for the night’s festivities. I was privileged to have been working on my program across the table from Adam and heard the stories behind his sets. There were many moments of tears and laughter in the back room while this presentation was coming together, as well as many, many opportunities for learning for the designers and volunteers in the work area. Flowers, in retrospect, were to become more than flowers that night. People’s lives were changed for the better that night. I know mine was. So, what, you may ask, was this life altering event? Let me paint you a window to look through and maybe, just maybe, you too will experience what we all did that night.
The stage and runway were set as if we were at a New York fashion week event, lighting, music, a beautiful backdrop and chandeliers overhead. The guests were seated and anxiously waiting the beginning of the show. The SDFA president Ann Edleman steps onto the stage to introduce Adam and as she finishes the music shifts to this really evocative burlesque style sound. Just as everyone was looking around to see what would happen, the first model entered the stage and the room burst into applause. Red roses, black feathers, crystals, hair… it was absolutely burlesque translated into flowers. When Adam came out at the end of the first set, all of which fit this theme, with chains, a staff and more; he explained the night. It was a story of sorts about the journey of his life. The burlesque theme was the first he chose for convention when he was President of the Illinois Florists Association. It was a stunning array of color, sensuality and of course flowers. Then, as he spoke, the models went back stage and changed to prepare for the next set, a Wedding set, but not like any you have ever seen. Now the soft music begins and model number one emerges dressed head to toe in white, but now, with a more romantic hair style. The flower tones have changed to blushes, peaches and creams with hints of grey, romantic ribbons, lights and even glitter. One model wore a garland, embellished with ribbon and flowers and what a great idea for a unique bridal bouquet. Even the guys carried bouquets and looked so totally comfortable doing so. Each bouquet and design was so different from the others and each time we were even more wowed by the beauty. The finale for this set found all of the models flanking the rear doors, which, when opened, revealed a beautiful 6’ plus bride with one of the largest, most beautiful bouquets many had ever seen. She strolled through the crowd and up onto the runway with the others following at a distance to remain behind the 14’ train that had been adorned with fresh floral product. It definitely was a set of epic proportions, but there was more to come. How was he going to top this set? Had there been a mistake in order?
Adam again takes the stage to talk between sets, again allowing time for the models to change into their next outfit. As he spoke, his voice cracked. The audience sat silently and almost uncomfortably as the foundation was laid for the final set of the night. The story is not fully mine to tell, but I will share a portion of it without exposing anything that would make involved parties uneasy. Adam dedicated the final set to rape survivors, not victims, but rather, survivors. Having been somewhat directly and somewhat indirectly affected by rape, this is a subject that is very important to Adam and as such he wanted to bring attention to the number of people who are affected by this horrific crime and act. He described the women who have lived through this horror as super heroes, because they have continued on through life with their heads up and their shoulders thrown back and with a strength and resilience that defies understanding. Numbers in the room were in tears as he spoke and the number increased drastically when he revealed that three of the models on stage that night were themselves rape survivors and yet, through strength and perseverance, their beauty shined. As the first model walked out to the song “This Is Me” from the movie “The Greatest Showman,” there was a thunderous applause. This time, however, the applause was for the women and not the flowers. Make no mistake -the flowers were magnificent! They were inventive, they were thought provoking, they were… they were more than flowers. Now, they were a story. Tonight they were a tribute to strength. Here they were an encouraging word to women around the world who have been robbed of their dignity, their will, their choice. While you were a victim, now, you are a survivor! You are a super hero; tonight we celebrate you, your beauty, your strength and your will to continue.
While flowers are our life, our passion, our purpose; sometimes flowers are more than flowers. Here, they definitely were more. The response of the attendees was overwhelming. Several women in the audience were themselves survivors of rape, and more than one had never told anyone until that night. Flowers are empowering when used to their full potential, they are powerful when in the right hands and they are life giving when shared with others. We may never know the full effect that flowers have on the lives of people with whom they come in contact. As I always say, “Keep blooming and go out and make something beautiful today.”
2019 Flower Trends
provided by Southern Floral Company
Click to see the trend videos on our website.
2019 BBB Awards for Excellence
It’s that time of year again to start thinking about the BBB Awards for Excellence for 2019.
Our 2019 luncheon will be held on Wednesday, May 15th at the Bayou City Event Center. Applications are now available online at http://bit.ly/awardspage
Below is a flyer about 2 trainings the Silver Fox judges will be holding in January.
All applications will be due by Tuesday, February 12th.
Message from the President
As we approach Christmas, I would like for each of us to pause and remember why we celebrate this holiday. We each have different views on religion and therefore the reason for Christmas, but there is one thing that we all have in common…It is one of the busiest seasons of the year for us as florists. While it is great that we have the business that we have, it distracts us often times from the things that are important.
It’s true that some of us celebrate for religious reasons and our focus is on the Birth of the Christ Child, others don’t believe that to be true and celebrate from a purely different view point. Our reasons are not our purpose for thought today. I hope that each and every one of you will take the time this season, to stop and let those you love know how you feel, spend time with your families as well as spoil your children and grands. Enjoy your break however small or large it may be, rejuvenate, rest and relax.
With that said, I want to say to each and every one of you how much, I love and appreciate you. I am looking forward to 2019 and I hope that we can start with a fresh energy in January with a great program.
As for the Holiday, best wishes to all of you and I hope that you have all the business you can handle, a smooth, easy flowing ride through December and that Santa is good to each of you come Christmas day. Many blessings and as I always say, Keep Bloomin and go out and make something beautiful today.
Alan Masters AIFD, CFD
President Allied Florist of Houston
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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