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Continuing Education...

A new hire that recently came on board got me to thinking about Continuing Education. In our industry our education comes in the form of floral design seminars, conferences and sometimes even floracultural schools such as community colleges. It even comes from keeping up with trends via magazines and websites. Some are floral and some are not. Inspiration can come from something as simple as a "Pottery Barn" catelog!
Our industry is one that is always changing and evolving. What was "IN" last year might not fly today. Colors, styles and flowers used change with your clients desires. Did you know that floral trends usually follow home decor trends? Well, they do!! The colors that are popular for us to carpet our homes or paint our walls, also affect what types and colors of flowers we want to both send and receive.
About a year ago I returned from a Floral Conference and was so inspired by many of the instructors but one in particular stood out to me. In addition to all the wonderful "floral concepts" she shared with us, she also touched upon tidbits of "it's good for business" information. One of the things she stressed to us was that it was the responsibility of the employee, the floral designer, to always be learning, to be evolving, to be up on the trends. As the owner, you can influence your employees, you can even empower them but you can not inspire them. They have to want to be inspired. You can't make them "see" what they need to "see". They must discover, explore, feel and create it all on their own. In our industry if you are not evolving, you are dying. We all know people who dress out of style or never change the look of their house. Unless it affects their health or ability to earn a living - what's the harm, right? Well, in our industry, it does affect our jobs. It affects how we are perceived. It affects the customers we will get. It affects if we are seen as that flower shop that's been there forever doing things the same way, year after year or if we are seen as hip, now, on the cutting edge.

For those traditional customers, I can do what I did last year, even what I did 10 years ago. I do not mind, it does not make me sad, it does not offend me in any way. I refuse to be a floral snob, I want to please the customer. If that's what they want, that is what they will get!

That being said, for those looking to be wowed, I want to surprise them, keep them amazed, keep them guessing on what they will see. For me, I prefer to be seen as contemporary, progressive and even a bit trendy. I prefer to not let my "wrinkles" show.
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