Friday, August 9, 2013

How Much is a Dozen Roses?

As florists, the question we hear everyday, many times a day, that is both easy and complicated to answer is, "How much is a dozen roses?" Now, you're probably wondering how that is easy and difficult to answer, it sounds like a straight forward question, but the answer can take a little work.

Look at our website, a dozen red roses is currently $64.95. Of course, that assumes that you are purchasing long stem roses arranged in a vase with assorted foliage and accent flowers, like babies breath. However, if you would like a presentation style bouquet of roses wrapped in pretty cellophane with foliage and a satin bow, you're looking at $45. How about a dozen roses with nothing else, no ribbon, no foliage, no accent flowers? Well, we just charge you for the loose roses, about $2 each.

Now that all seems easy enough but some of you are saying, "$2 x 12 doesn't equal $65." So let's talk about how we get to $65 for an arrangement of roses.
  • First the roses, 12 @ $2 = $24
  • A standard vase $8
  • Foliage 12 @ $.75 = $9
  • Babies breath 5 @ $2 = $10
  • Labor 20% of the retail price = $13
  • Miscellaneous things like the card, cardette (pick for the card), water, floral food in the water, etc. = $3
Total $67. Hey, you're getting a bargain.

But let's look a little more closely at two factors, the cost of the flowers and the cost of the labor.

As florist, the price we pay for roses is based on a couple factors, the length of the stems, the breed of the rose, time of year, and a few other things. As you would expect, the taller the roses, the more expensive. It takes more work, water and time for a farm to grow a 70 cm rose than it does a 40 cm rose (yes, we measure roses in centimeters). Flower lovers want long stem roses with big heads so if a florist is looking for quality they will purchase longer stems. If they are looking for low price, they will buy shorter stems.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different breeds of roses. Some are beautiful when grown in a garden, but florist roses have been bred to have strong stems that will support large blooms with lots of petals and will also last for many days on your kitchen table. Rose breeds go in and out of style as new ones are introduced. There was a time when everyone wanted Sterling roses, a beautiful lavender color. Every once in a while someone will still ask for them and my heart breaks when I have to explain that they aren't grown any longer. I either get a look of disbelief or sadness. Usually, it's disbelief because some other florist has been selling them Cool Water roses instead of telling them that Sterlings no longer exist. I guess it's my loss for wanting to educate everyone. Currently, the hottest red rose on the market is Freedom. They hold their shape, last well in a vase and have big blooms. Of course a newer, more in demand breed will cost more than one that was popular years ago.

Why roses cost more at Valentine's Day and Mother's Day than any other time of the year is a whole post in and of itself, so I'll leave that for another day. But a lot of it has to do with the increase in our labor costs at that time of year.

Industry standards suggest charging 20-30% of the retail price of the design to cover labor. The more complex the design the higher the charge for labor. One thing to note though is the labor is not just about the time it takes to artfully arranging flowers in a vase, it also includes the time it takes to take your order, process the flowers when they arrive from the wholesaler, wash the buckets to put the flowers in, and the years of design classes, training and industry events our designers attend to become the florists they are today. There are probably some other things I'm forgetting but this blog post is getting long so let's wrap it up.

As a side note, these prices are based on our costs at the time I'm writing this. Other florists have different costs for their flowers and hard goods and a dozen roses can be arranged with any number of different foliages and accent flowers. So the next time you see a sign for $19.99 roses, remember, you are probably, getting unarranged, short stem roses. And when roses are $99.99, you're probably getting high end foliage and accent flowers in a keepsake vase designed by highly trained florists.

Hopefully, I've explained why roses cost what they do but if I have left you with unanswered questions, feel free to let me know in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. Have a wonderful day and enjoy the beauty of flowers.

Monday, July 29, 2013

"Passion" 2013

The American Institute of Floral Designers held their annual design symposium in June 2013 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas and it was another wonderful event. In the last post I shared pictures of last years symposium, "Caliente," held in Miami, so now I want to share some of the beautiful work from this year.

One of the wonderful things about symposium is that there are flowers everywhere you look. My room was full of pretty blooms, the dinning roos was gorgeous and unique at every meal, and the shows were so inspiring. After every program, the designs were taken into a separate room to allow everyone to take pictures and inspect them up close. The room had hanging bubble chairs and white couches but the "simple" floral touches on the tables were the best part. 

Towering designs were showcased in just about every presentation on stage (pictured top) and in the dinning rooms (pictured bottom). Everyone is always worried about centerpieces being to big to talk around but let me tell you, we had no problems talking around these giants!

There were beautifully intricate wedding designs from tabletops to backdrops, bouquets and beyond. Truly one of the best parts about attending symposium is the inspiration it provides. We may not have a reason to recreate each of these ideas but the mechanics behind them can be put to use in so many ways.
It takes an army to put together designs like these and the world class designers at AIFD Symposium have teams of designers assisting them in the production of each of these creations. It's a pretty awe inspiring event to be a part of. I hope these images give you some ideas for different ways to use flowers. Thank you to all the amazing talent at this year's "Passion" symposium.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Symposium to Remember

In 2012 I took part in my very first American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) symposium, "Caliente," and in just a few days I leave to attend my second, "Passion". But this time, I will be inducted into AIFD as an accredited member. I'm so excited, I feel like a school kid just waiting for summer to get here, I can't focus on anything productive at all! This week, I want to share some pictures from my first experience.

First, background. The American Institute of Floral Designers was established in 1965 with a mission to advance the art of professional floral design through education, service and leadership, and to recognize the achievement of excellence in this art form. AIFD and its worldwide accredited members are in the forefront of the industry in presenting educational design programs and in designing flowers for such renowned events as the Tournament of Roses Parade, Academy Awards and Presidential Inaugurations. Across the world there are approximately 1500 members and in just a few days I will be one of them! For more information AIFD and how to become a member click here.

"Caliente" was held last year at in Miami, FL, with more than 10 days of events. First thing on the list was the Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE). After going through one of the education pathways and successfully passing an online test, you are allowed to take the hands-on PFDE. Designers must create 5 specific arrangements in 4 hours with the flowers and hard goods provided to them. Along with 71 other designers, I created a sympathy easel, a duplicate of a photographed arrangement, a ring bearer's pillow, a floral necklace and an arrangement for a cocktail table.

Then they are judged by a panel of AIFD designers on the principals and elements of design. If you score high enough, you receive the recognition of being a Nationally Certified Floral Designer (CFD). If you score even higher, you also gain membership into the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). Of the 72 of us, from across the world, who tested in 2012, 24 attained CFD and of those, 12 were accepted into AIFD. And shut the front door, I am one of those 12! It was more than a month before we found out our results and boy was I tense!

The rest of symposium was far more relaxing. I had the pleasure of working on the stage show "A Fresh Look at Christmas" with Paul Miller AIFD. It was big and bold and so full of beautiful ideas. He had four vignettes, Tropical Holiday, Sugar Plum Fairy, Country Christmas and White Christmas. When you design for AIFD it's go big or go home and Paul went BIG! Flowers and props and models in one of a kind gowns made from repurposed floral materials. Talk about a show.

There were tons of wonderful presentations over the next few days and cocktail parties and meals with so many beautiful floral designs, it's flower heaven for a girl like me. Check out one of the designs in the lobby before dinner. that's me with Tricia, a designer from Colorado who will also be inducted into AIFD next week.
Here are the flowers in the lobby. These designs were created in huge organic shaped bowls. Just to give you an idea, there were four or five of these sitting on the side of the lobby and tons of other designs throughout the lobby. What a treat for the hotel guests that weekend.
There are practical designs, and over the top floral explosions.


 Then there are friends and floral family to meet and reconnect with. It was an amazing experience and I can't wait to be part of the AIFD family. See you in Vegas!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Colors of a Sunset

We always say that we send flowers for every occasion from birth to death, and sympathy flowers are one of the occasions that require the most care. It used to be that a funeral was a time for mourning the loss of a loved one but times have changed and now people want to celebrate the life of the departed. This is evident in every facet of a funeral, from the increase in cremations so that ashes can be spread over a memorable site, to the little touches our customers like to add to sympathy bouquets.

In early June, I (Marisa) had the opportunity to travel to Amarillo to present a four hour workshop on sympathy design to members of the West Texas New Mexico Florist Association. This was a wonderful experience for me since I have always wanted to present these types of educational programs, and I couldn't have asked for a more supportive group of floral industry professionals to present my first big show in front of. Check out some pictures from the show below.

That's me, showing a garden style design made to sit on the floor in front of a casket. The wholesaler who sponsored the show, J & E Wholesale had these wonderful, rustic, handmade, wooden crosses that they wanted to feature and this was the perfect way to show off the largest size. The flowers and foliage in a garden style design are grouped together which also makes each flower type stand out from the crowd.

This design above, is on the opposite end of the spectrum in regards to size. Prayer cards could be placed on this miniature arrangement designed to look like a tiny landscape. There is so much interest in the textures and little elements that make this unique and personal.

So often, we see funeral arrangements designed in a very traditional fan shape but there are so many beautiful ways to create an outstanding design. The phoenix style bouquet groups each flower in concentric circles at descending heights. This style requires lots of flowers but the lush effect is worth the cost.
I talked about the growing popularity of cremations. Last time I read an article on it, they said about 42% of people are cremated, not sure if we see that many in our area but we do see them often. The arrangement above is two pieces, the bottom is a basket full of blooms that the urn can be placed into, but there is also a floral adornment for the urn itself. The urn (I had to use a vase) is often left without flowers but a lovely "corsage" adds so much to a humble container, it's like a tiny casket spray.

Next time you order sympathy flowers, bring in a special memento from your loved one's life or let us create a unique arrangement that stands out from the crowd, not because it's big but because it is beautiful.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Celebrate Your Assistant

Next week is Secretary's Week...I mean Professional Secretaries Week...I mean Administrative Professional's Week. Well, whatever you call it, next week is the time to celebrate your assistant and all that they do!

Administrative Professional's Week started more than sixty years ago, in 1952 as Secretaries Week and as we have become more politically correct and their jobs have changed, the week was officially re-named Administrative Professional's Week in 2000.

Flowers have always been a way to show your thanks and this year should be no exception. Mugs full of long lasting flowers have always been a popular choice.

But our large selection of gifts lets us make your "Thank You" even more personal. We scoured our store to find gifts that might be perfect for your assistant, like our new Dammit Dolls. They are cute stuffed dolls in funky patterns and colors that are made for when you are having a bad day. The poem on them says it best,
Whenever things don't go so well,
And you want to hit the wall and yell,
Here's a little dammit doll,
That you can't do without.
Just grasp it firmly by the legs
And find a place to slam it,
And as you whack the stuffing out
Yell "Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!"
So next week, don't forget to tell your Administrative Professional how much you appreciate them with a gift from Debbie's Bloomers.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Flowers at your doorstep

We live in a wonderful time when flowers are available from all over the world and can be delivered right to your door. Tulips from Holland...Roses from Ecuador...Orchids from Thailand.

Imagine for a second that you only had the flowers that grew naturally on the land around us, like these brilliant orange cactus blooms.
Or the tiny yellow blossoms of a creosote bush.
Now, we have to trek through the desert to appreciate these blooms. Will these be cultivated on the massive flower farms of Columbia or California one day or will our desert treasures stay hidden in our backyard?

When you walk through the Chihuahua Desert this spring, enjoy the beauty that is right at your fingertips. If you're lucky you might get a short rain that will really bring out the fragrances I remember from a childhood trips to Hueco Tanks. The beauty of the world is available right at your doorstep but sometimes we need to just get into our own backyards. These plants that are so common place to us are unusual and foreign to so many.

What is your favorite El Paso area plant or flower?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring is here...and it's already 85 degrees outside! While half the country is buried in snow and bad weather, El Paso is amazing right now. At Debbie's Bloomers, we aren't spring cleaning but we are sprucing things up.

First of all, you obviously noticed that we started a blog. I hope that this will allow us to keep you in the know about all the fun things we do here at El Paso's largest flower and gift shop. We will keep you informed about the latest in flower care, all the happenings around town that we are involved in and just some general musings.

We are working on our website, too. There are already a number of new floral arrangements available (like the one above), and today we are working on creating fun gift collections for Administrative Professionals Week, April 22-26 and Mother's Day, May 10 - Mexican, May 12 - American.

Every once in a while, we also design flowers! Haha. The high schools are already geared up for prom, Hanks High School was last weekend, and we are making corsages and boutonnieres even more beautiful and unique than ever before with keepsake bracelets, tons of sparkles and amazing flowers. Plus, the administrators are already looking towards graduation. We have received numerous orders for their ceremony flowers and plants. Did you know that we provide more than 12 of our El Paso schools with blooming plants and podium arrangements?

Look for our blog every Wednesday and don't hesitate to give us your two cents. Whether it questions about flowers, ideas for our blog or just a little note to let us know what were doing right (or wrong), we would love to hear from you.

I never have a favorite flower for long and this week hydrangeas, those lush flowers above, are at the top of my list. What is your? Tell us in the comments what your favorite is and why.