Here’s the gorgeous arrangement Andrea used to promote her workshop on Instagram.
When she sees an opportunity, Andrea K. Grist grabs it. This Kansas City, Missouri area owner of Andrea K. Grist Floral Design specializes in weddings and events, and she’s a passionate member of Slowflowers.com.
Andrea is seen here in her element, when we lectured together at St. Louis Art Museum (c) Tiffany Buckley
Knowing that American Flowers Week is set for June 28th to July 4th, Andrea got super creative to plan a media appearance and a workshop to promote Kansas- and Missouri-grown flowers. We’re so impressed with this idea, we wanted to share it with you!
First, the workshop.Andrea partnered with The Bloom Academy, a floral design school owned by Emily Walters of Emmy-Rae Design Studio. “She asked me to be a guest designer for some of her workshops and I pitched an idea about doing one for American Flowers Week,” says Andrea. Emily was intrigued and checked out our website here, as well as other online resources about American Flowers Week — and soon, the idea took hold.
According to Andrea, her design students will learn all the basics of floral preparation and care; vase arranging and other tips, tricks and tools from a professional florist. “But we’re adding the twist of using all-American grown product, which will be sourced locally from three flower farms in my area,” she says.
Education and outreach are part of the agenda, as Andrea plans on giving the students a primer on the Slow Flowers Movementbefore they start designing. Signage will highlight flowers from each local farm and Andrea envisions cross-promotion opportunities with area farmers’ markets to attract students.
The Bloom Academy is already promoting the workshop on its web site.
The two-hour evening workshop takes place on June 28th, which is our kickoff day for American Flowers Week. Students of the “American Flowers Week Workshop” will enjoy yummy appetizers and Missouri wine! Click here to see more details.
If that’s not enough good news, Andrea contacted a producer for “KC Live,” a local morning show and NBC Affiliate in the Kansas City media market, and pitched a segment about designing with local flowers. She’s scheduled to appear on set the day before her workshop on June 27th. “This gives us the possibility of selling out if we have extra seats available,” she explains. That’s brilliant!
“I love it when things come together to give me an ability to cross promote with others in our community,” Andrea says. “It’s a happy coincidence.”
Certainly her advance planning adds up to a win-win for everyone, especially for #americanflowersweek! Thank you for sharing your example, Andrea!
Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events was the featured designer at the Field to Vase Dinner held at The Flower House in Detroit last October.
We’ve had so much enthusiastic response to our beautiful, fashionable “Flower ‘Fro” featured in the 2016 American Flowers Week graphics, so it’s time to give you the back story.
Earlier this year, Debra Prinzing featured Susan McLeary of Ann Arbor-based Passionflower Events in an episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast. As part of that interview, Susan shared her concept shoot video with us for the Podcast show notes.
When we were starting to envision an iconic image to illustrate American Flowers Week, Susan’s artistry and her ability to create wearable floral fashions, came to mind. We asked her to design our Red-White-&-Blue Flower Fro — and thank goodness, she said YES!
Here’s a quick Q&A with Susan about her process:
AFW: Susan, what inspired you to create a Flower ‘Fro in the first place?
SM: First of all, it’s really FUN. I was inspired by Sarah Winward who had decorated her husband’s beard. I reimagined flowers in an Afro. I’ve always loved Afros because they’re so beautiful and amazing. So I reached out to a model friend and asked if she could recommend a model with one. I met Monique Montri and she was a good sport about being our ‘fro model.
AFW: Was it complicated to design and create a Flower ‘Fro?
SM: Yes, it’s labor intensive. First, I spent about 30 minutes making a heavy-duty flower crown. I had to wire each stem to make sure it was sturdy enough. And then, I spent another 40 minutes to add individual flowers to Monique’s hair. We teased out her hair so it had more structure to hold the flowers.
AFW: How heavy was it?
SM: Monique said it was pretty heavy — probably six or seven pounds!
AFW: We love the way the flower crown frames Monique’s face! What did you do after attaching it?
SM: I started with Rice Flowers. They’re nice and light, but they added further structure and more body to her hair. Then I layered on everything else and wove stems to balance on top of the crown.
AFW: How many stems did you use?
SM: Roughtly 150 stems.
AFW: We were so fortunate that you volunteered your time to create the Red-White-&-Blue Flower ‘Fro. We were also fortunate to send you a lot of gorgeous American grown flowers donated by farms who believe in this cause (see list below). How did you like using those flowers?
More floral beauty — for American Flowers Week
SM: I’m really passionate about the cause and the Movement. I’ve gotten to know a lot of flower farmers really well and I appreciate their hard work. It makes my designs so much richer to have interesting, seasonal floral items that speak to place.
AFW: What advice to you have for other floral designers to encourage them to use local and domestic flowers?
SM: When you use local and seasonal flowers, it gives your work a “soul,” and I believe you’re part of something special and not just anything that could be designed anywhere.
Thanks, Susan! We love your work and we thank everyone involved in creating this iconic look for American Flowers Week!
SLOWFLOWERS.COM ANNOUNCES 2016 AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK
Set for June 28-July 4, 2016
A campaign to promote American flowers and foliage
SEATTLE, WA (May 1, 2016) – Slowflowers.com, the comprehensive online resource that connects consumers with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers, announced details about the second annual “American Flowers Week.”
In 2015, Slowflowers.com creator Debra Prinzing organized the week-long celebration of domestic flowers to raise consumer awareness and unite America’s flower farmers with the U.S. floral industry. In one month that effort generated more than 400,000 social media impressions on Twitter and Instagram, demonstrating the power of images, ideas and values that promote American Grown Flowers.
“Consumers are more conscious than ever about the origins of the goods they purchase, especially when it comes to food — and flowers,” Prinzing said. “It’s important to raise awareness for and celebrate American grown flowers, as well as flower farmers who grow a diverse selection of botanicals for the cut flower trade. At the same time, we salute floral designers whose ethos and intent inspires them to source domestically.”
Prinzing announced the 2016 campaign launch to more than 700 Slowflowers.com members, unveiling new graphics and a “50 States of American Flowers” contest. The contest encourages farmers and florists to post photographs of their red-white-and-blue bouquets along with the #americangrownflowers tag on social media platforms. Entrants will be included in a drawing for a number of prizes.
Sponsorship support from four marketing partners greatly enhances the impact of the campaign, Prinzing said. Those sponsors include Certified American Grown Flowers, Mayesh Wholesale, Syndicate Sales and Longfield Gardens.
“Certified American Grown Flowers could not be more excited to be supporting a week focused on America’s flower farmers and their flowers,” said Kasey Cronquist, administrator of the Certified American Grown program and CEO/Ambassador of the California Cut Flower Commission. “Origin matters, and we believe a week like this helps drive public awareness about hard-working American flower farmers that they can support all year long. Buying American Grown Flowers makes a difference.”
Support from Mayesh Wholesale Florist, a Los Angeles-based floral suppliers, signals a positive shift in the floral industry, Prinzing noted. According to Patrick Dahlson, Mayesh CEO, “As a flower distributor, we have a great history with our U.S. flower growers. Mayesh is excited to promote American Flowers Week to highlight our American grown flowers and continue our support of the growing community.”
The goal of American Flowers Week is to engage the public, policymakers and the media in a conversation about the origins of their flowers. As an advocacy effort, the campaign is timed to coincide with America’s Independence Day on July 4th, providing florists, retailers, wholesalers and flower farmers a patriotic opportunity to promote American grown flowers.
American Flowers Week supporters can find more information and resources at americanflowersweek.com. Downloadable fact sheets, infographics and the 2016 American Flowers Week logo and social media badges are available for growers and florists to use for their own marketing and promotion efforts.
Submissions to the “50 States of American Grown Flowers” contest will highlight local flowers from across the country, Prinzing said. “Slowflowers.com member farms and florists are invited to submit their designs to a gallery that we will share with the media during American Flowers Week. Our goal is to showcase the botanical and seasonal beauty from flower farms and designers in all 50 states.”
Participants are encouraged to use the social media tag #Americanflowersweek to help spread the word about this campaign across all platforms. To participate in the “50 States of American Grown Flowers” contest, entrants are invited to complete the online form here.
Debra Prinzing is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for American Grown Flowers. Through her many Slow Flowers-branded projects, she has convened a national conversation that stimulates consumers and professionals alike to make conscious choices about their floral purchases.
Debra is the producer of SlowFlowers.com, the online directory to American grown farms, florists, shops and studios who supply domestic and local flowers. Each Wednesday, approximately 1,000 listeners tune into Debra’s “Slow Flowers Podcast,” available for free downloads at her web site, debraprinzing.com, or on iTunes and via other podcast services.
She is the author of 10 books, including Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet.