What is knowledge worth to you?


There is a huge difference between cost and value and people often confuse the two.

In our industry there is no requirement for continuing education, those who choose to further their knowledge and their abilities do so to better themselves – they see the value in investing in their future.  When it comes down to it, education in our industry is so affordable compared to most other professions.

Below are my top 5 favorite non-sensical reasons florists give as to why they don’t participate in industry education events such as expos, classes, workshops, seminars, etc.

“it’s just too expensive”

“50 miles away? thats too far”

“can’t teach me anything I don’t already know”

“the weekend? that’s my only day off”

“I don’t need “letters” to prove anything”

Truthfully, I can go on and on with responses BUT just imagine how different our industry could be if florists stopped complaining and stopped making excuses and concentrated on being the best floral professional they could be?

For those who believe you can never stop learning and who invest in their future through education, I applaud you. There are so many incredible educators throughout our wonderful industry sharing a wealth of knowledge – next time you have the opportunity to learn something seize that opportunity because knowledge in invaluable.







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Reality Check: Know your role!

Recently, I sat with a client who was planing her daughter’s wedding. In the middle of the consult she complimented me because I seemed to “listen” to her. That took me a bit off guard, because listening to the client is my job – my job is to help make their vision a reality. Anyway, she  went on to say another florist told her what she wanted was essentially “wrong” and the florist tried to change her mind. This obviously didn’t sit well with the mother of the bride.

After she left,  I felt a sense of disappointment with the florist – whose identity was never revealed. I was angered that they made our industry look bad. As a kid I learned, you can’t always design the way you like – in order to be successful you need to do what the customer wants.

Throughout my career I’ve kept that with me and always offer clients advice based on my professional opinion.  I say, “I’ll always offer my advice but ultimately, I’m not walking down the aisle, this is your wedding and the decision is yours”

As event professionals remember, your job is to fulfill your clients vision the best you can. While it may not be your personal style, its not about YOU it’s all about THEM! With that said, honesty is important and sometimes we need to evaluate if we’re the right fit for that client – you never want to compromise your brand but you also never want your brand to suffer because you aren’t willing to listen and design outside your comfort zone.


Last Minute Wedding Bouquet

Today’s bridal bouquet was inspired by a several pictures provided by the bride. Scroll over the images for a brief summary of the details of the construction.

TIP: Much of the success in designing hand-tied bouquets is having all the materials prepared, cleaned and neatly laid.

Chicken Wire Craze

Chicken wire used as a mechanic…it’s nothing new, in fact it’s pretty old school. I remember my mom sharing stories of day’s gone by when chicken wire was used daily in the flowershop — before floral foam was created.

Recently, the use of chicken wire was re-introduced by Holly Heider Chapple with her “egg” mechanic. A rather ingenious concept which improved a mediocre technique that ultimately shifted how we as an industry design. Now, no one is going to make her trademark egg the way she makes it, however, the key to this mechanic is that the stems go through two layers of hexagonal gaps which help the flora to stay in place impeccably well.

Ironically, chicken wire is not even the material that we as florists should be using. Chicken wire from the hardware store is made of galvanized steel which if comes in contact with water will discolor the water (resulting in tinging white flowers a weird color) and ultimately it rusts. In addition, it’s rough on the stems and our fingers as its relatively sharp.

So, what do you use? It looks just like chicken wire but its called florist netting available from Oasis Floral Products. There are other companies that make a similar product – but buyer beware, you are looking for a product that is coated in a plasticized material NOT painted green.

The best way to familiarize yourself with this design mechanic is to practice. So get going, and maybe I’ll post a video showing my adaptation of this concept inspired by Holly.



By Hitomi Gilliam at Maine State Show, April 2017

By Hitomi Gilliam at Maine State Show, April 2017

New Season, New Blog.

My passion is floral education and this blog is intended to be a resource for that – not just to share my knowledge but to learn from you as well. I’ll be informal, there will be spelling and grammatical errors but I hope the content will be found to be of value. I really welcome comments – share thoughts, tell me what interests you, things you want to learn or something you want to “brush up on”.  To learn more about me visit my website and here is a direct line to contact me with any questions you might have.

IMG_3633Proof that the Fall is near is reflected in the photo above…various vessels that are featured in our Fall Collection at McArdle’s. And yes, I do have the dream job (pretty much) 🙂