It’s with sadness that we bring you the news of another canceled Convention. We were so looking forward to being with you all in person this year, but we’re looking forward to March of 2022 for a fresh new start when we can meet in person for a wonderful time together!
A special thank you to our Vendors and Sponsors for their continued support, to which we could not do with out. Thank you to our wonderful members for baring with us as we seek to do what’s best and safest for the industry during this unprecedented time.
For 2021, we are going to focus on all kinds of fun things like; Happy Hour on Zoom, Flower Classes, Photoshoots, Demos and so much more! We’re going to make 2021 a great year even though it will be different!
The Iowa Florists’ Association works hard to make Education a key component of the Floral Industry. Below you will read a few of our past Graduates’ view on our ICF and IMF courses as well as our past Education Director, Fran Newsom’s comments in agreement.
Fran Newsom: I remember being in the Charter classes of the IFA certified education program and how much it meant to me as a budding florist. The instructors had so much to offer and I was eager to learn. When I received my Iowa Master Florist certificate, I cried because I knew it was a goal worth pursuing and I did it! Here are some reflections from other former students and a tribute to the personal goals and importance of continuing education in the floral industry. IFA is here for ALL our members and we strive to better serve our members by continually listening to you and improving our education programs to fit your needs.
Amy Butz: Because I changed careers and became a floral designer at age 52, time was not on my side when it came to design experience. The classes I took through the Iowa Floral Association gave me the opportunity to gain design experience in a wide variety of floral creations – from wedding bouquets to casket sprays- and allowed me to be a contributing member of my shop’s design team in a significantly shorter period of time.
Fran Newsom: I can relate to Amy as well because I had to take classes when I could and it took more time than I would have liked, but I was able to pick up where I had left off and complete the courses. We have since provided an online program for the classes and have hands-on workshops and testing.
Allison Rohlena: My time in the Iowa master florist class was more than I expected. The classes were hands-on and classroom work as well. They gave us plenty of time between classes to study for our tests. During our hands-on classes they gave us plenty of time to look at our product and get our designs done. The grading was fair on how our designs should look. The teachers also taught us a lot. One thing I wish we would’ve had was a day to practice the designs or what they should look like. Then the next day we could make them for the class. I didn’t have any knowledge of wedding arrangements, so for me, I went in blind to that class not knowing what I should be doing. Overall everyone was friendly and I learned a lot. I was able to take my knowledge with me back to my shop to be able to design my best designs for the customers that came into the shop or ordered over the phone.
Laura Liddle: For a person coming into the “Floral World” with little to no experience, IFA was GREAT! The classes were very valuable and quite fun. I remember going to the first class being really nervous, but once I got there you made me feel comfortable. When I first looked at arrangements I didn’t think it was going to be that difficult, but you find out quickly how flowers have a mind of their own! I would say my favorite part of the classes was learning how to do hand-tied bouquets (which I still love doing), how symmetry is a huge part of designing, and how to make it fun! It was also fun to see how something so simple can be so beautiful. I personally find myself loving flowers more and more every day, which is something that I never thought I’d say. I thought you were an excellent and very patient teacher! It was great to travel to CR and learn from Joanna and Nancy too. There were only two things I didn’t care for. One, I wish the classes would’ve been a little bit longer because there’s still so much to learn and you’re an amazing teacher! The second would be plants, but that’s just me. I still don’t know too much about plants. HAHA. Overall I would say that IFA was a great learning experience, and I’d do it again if I could!!”
Fran Newsom: We listened to our students and have since added extra design workshops to provide more of the hands-on design experience and keep up with current design trends and tips. Mary Brown: I am happy to write about my experience with the IFA classes!! I took the classes about 4 years ago, and enjoyed and learned so much from each of them. My experience in the floristry field was limited when I started, so the classes were both an excellent introduction into the field and real assistance in developing skills that I have used as I became employed. I think the classes are great for beginners but would be a great asset to people already employed as well. The classes give great background knowledge for shop procedure, design principles and excellent examples and experience with technique, (at work you’d have good access to materials for practice and experimentation), they help develop your creative sense, and offer an opportunity for you to network and learn from others. I learned a lot from the text/coursework, but the “lab” work was a really exciting and inspiring experience! First off, all of the instructors are incredibly kind, supportive, and knowledgeable. It is inspiring to see creative people demonstrate their work and process and really helpful to get to learn through their example, and instruction. It was great to learn techniques from these gifted professionals and to have the opportunity to try new techniques with their support and instruction. Each teacher’s style and experience were unique and their sharing really helped bring home the idea that floral work is a wonderful diverse creative path. Because the classes were held in various locations, we got a sense of the variety of business models in the floral industry. We had wonderful materials to work with, which added to the experience. Having the certification is helpful for connecting with other professionals and in job opportunities. I feel that the classes were well worth the cost and time involved and would recommend them to others.
Fran Newsom: Our instructors are IFA Board members who have achieved their own credentials and creative styles and truly enjoy sharing their skills and knowledge to all our members and non-member participants alike. As our Certification classes continue even in this extraordinary time, IFA plans to grow and learn along with you all. I wish to thank everyone who took the time to submit their reflections with us. For information on the class schedule and requirements, please refer to our website.
Joanna currently lives in the Cedar Rapids area. She went to college to be a teacher before stumbling into the floral design world and realizing her new dream! She absolutely loves designing, but personalized sympathy work is her jam. One of Joanna’s current projects is to create photo shoots in the colors of the rainbow including floral design with the colors meaning and sharing them with you. She completed the Iowa Master Florist certification in 2013 and 7 years later was inducted as an AIFD designer. Joanna’s hobbies include photography, hanging out with friends and family, piano, and plants!
Joanna has been on the Iowa Florists’ Association’s board for 5 years now and is the new and current President. She is thrilled to be in her new role and can’t wait to see what the next 2 years hold for her, the Board, and all our wonderful Members. Joanna wants to put a lot of effort into not only securing new Members but really giving our current members good solid reasons to want to be a part and participate in this wonderful organization even though it’s continuously changing and evolving.
Joanna also wants to focus on Education during her term. Education in the Floral Industry is really at a minimum, as many Wholesalers have ceased a lot of their classes and workshops, Cedar Rapids’ Kirkwood Community College’s Floriculture program is no more, and Florists are doing the best that they know, but could flourish even more with education and networking all over the state of Iowa. In case you’re wondering, Joanna is the voice/typing hands behind most of the blog posts, she keeps the website updated and current, and helps with the social media posting.
“Here is a plea from North American Wholesale Florist, Inc that we, The Iowa Florists’ Association are hearing and we want to make it heard more loudly. Please join us and make your voice heard. You MATTER, and your Shop MATTERS. Instructions down below.
“When you’re in one of only six states in the US that haven’t issued a stay-at-home order, it’s best to be proactive! We’re sending our letters today to North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa, requesting to be allowed to continue no-contact delivery. If you would like a copy to personalize, let us know – we’re more than happy to share! We encourage all of you to reach out to your state. One letter might get lost in a pile, but if there are 50 of them our chances of being heard are far greater.”
– North American Wholesale Florist, Inc
Here is the letter in a google document for easier sharing purposes. Copy and paste first into new document, then feel free to make it your own and personalize.
What got you into the Floral Industry? I have always been, and will always be in love with all things wedding and wedding planning. For four years I was the Wedding Sales Manager at Honey Creek Resort in Moravia, IA. I worked with Mike’s Blooms & Things on several different events through the years and always appreciated a well designed bouquet. When my husband and I decided it was time to expand our family, I thought it would be nice to be a little closer to home. So, halfway through my pregnancy, I saw Mike’s was looking for a new manager, I checked it out, fell in LOVE with the floral world (and my new son, Henry), then a year later I bought the shop I loved it so much! We’ve renamed it Blooms & Things and it has been wonderful so far! Areas of Specialty: – Wedding Florals and Planning – Personalized and Detailed Funeral Arrangements Achievements: – Certified Wedding Planner – Working towards her ICF certification through the Iowa Florists’ Association – Secretary of the AAYP (Albia Area Young Professionals) – Voted as one of the Albia’s Chamber Board Members Favorite flower and greenery type to work with and why: If I HAVE to choose a favorite flower, I would most likely choose the ranunculus. They are so frilly, beautiful colors and if placed right in an arrangement can dance above the rest of the flowers. Such a pretty flower! I like everything eucalyptus. I’m really fond of the dusty sage color and the wonderful smell. Favorite design style: Garden Style or Natural. What is a ‘must have’ staple to always have on hand: Carnations, I know over the years carnations have received a bad rap, but they come in SO MANY beautiful colors. They are ruffly and sweet, not to mention very economical. Such a versatile flower if given the chance it deserves. Frequently used words or phrases used around your Shops’ work family: We like to keep it clean around the shop, so when we stub a toe or cut a flower too short, we might say “SHARKS” instead of… well you can fill in the blank! 🙂 We like to call the shop flower world and you can often hear us reference the backup bucket for weddings or other events. If you had one chance to convey your passion for all things floral to a huge group of anti-florists (and cost wasn’t an issue), what would you say or do? I would attempt to demonstrate the wonders of flowers and the happiness they can bring into peoples homes, offices or hospital rooms. As I put together an arrangement (probably a large installation) I would try to educate the people of the benefits of flowers and what colors inspire what feelings, while focusing on some of my favorite flowers and looks! Hopefully my enthusiasm will turn the haters into believers or at least make them consider it! 🙂 What is your goal when someone comes into your Shop for the first time?: We hope that everyone that comes in our shop finds the prefect item or gift, that they may not have even known they were after. We like to learn about the recipient and help them find the perfect arrangement, plant or other decor item that reflect the person they are going to. If you could change one thing about the way that Floral Designers are perceived – what would it be? Our job is not just “easy” or “so much fun”. We actually work really hard to learn each variety flower and it’s different preferences. Ordering the right amount of flowers so we don’t run out or have too many. Keeping up with the latest trends and buying pretties that both fit the trending looks and desires of our customers but also fit their spending plans. We are so lucky to tap into our creative outlets for work everyday, but we aren’t just hanging out and playing with flowers all day. What floral things are on your bucket list? I am so excited to put together a large floral instillation someday. Something tall and gorgeous, or maybe hangs from the ceiling. What’s one thing that you wish the general customer knew? The more freedom you give your designer along with good details of your event and overall look your going for, the more unique and one of a kind your arrangements will be. “Designers choice” arrangements are more often the most beautiful pieces that go out of our shop!
Thank you for reading this post and learning a bit about one of the wonderful many member shops in Iowa! If you get the chance to drive through Albia, please pop in and say hi to Tonia and her crew! Thank you Tonia for sharing talent and pictures!
Pardon me as I get into writing a more personal post! Most of your know me as the nameless person behind these blog posts. But today, you get to see a little bit of what I’ve been preparing for in the past year and learn more about me!
One of the many things on my bucket list was to test and become AIFD certified. About this time last year, I decided that it was my year to start to prepare to test. It was a great, hard, wonderful and exhilarating experience all rolled into one – and time consuming. But as you all know, goals come with a price and sacrifice.
I studied and studied, practiced designing and using some of the different techniques and greenery manipulation. And then I took the Online part of the test, only to fail it. If you’re anything like me, knowledge testing is hard for me. It’s not that I don’t know the answers or even that I didn’t study. No, my brain just sort of psychs itself out and I start double and triple guessing myself and the answers. It’s great (NOT)! But, honestly – it’s okay! I’ve realized that it’s okay to know that knowledge testing is not one of my strong suits, but that it doesn’t exclude me from getting back up and trying again until I succeed! Does this sound familiar to anyone? Anyone else out there? Anyway, I finally got it on my 3rd try!
Kelsey Thompson, AIFD was my Mentor, as she poured over design pictures that I sent her, instructed me and set up a mock test for me to truly see what the real design test would be like. Thank you Kelsey – You were amazing!
Sandy Schroeck, AIFD also set up another mock test for me and answered a whole list of pre-test questions and gave good constructive criticism after the mock test. Thanks Sandy!
Fast forward to July 3rd, I flew to Vegas all by my lonesome, stayed with a dear friend and got to look around Vegas a bit during the day time! Saw the Miracle Mile, Bellagio Fountain and Hotel. Met up with a few new friends that I knew were taking the PFDE test with me and we met at the Mon Ami Gabi Restaurant near the Paris Hotel for dinner (a.k.a. a salad, because our stomachs wouldn’t handle anything else).
On July 4th, check-in was at 10 am, after checking in I forced myself to see a sandwich, and waiting until 1pm for orientation. My new friends Melanie and Linda were kind enough to let me leave my personal belongings in their hotel room during the test.
All 150 students met in a bit conference room at the hotel, where we were greeted, able to ask questions and given our list of supplies and what we were to make when we were able to actually take the design test and start sketching with the pen and paper that we were given upon our entrance to the room.
About 2 pm, we all took a bathroom break, all the AIFD members were lining the pathway on both sides all the way to the actual design room clapping as we walked to the room. It was really sweet. The women in front of me was crying out of excitement and anticipation and probably some exhaustion. Some other students and their mentors were high-fiving.
We walked into the room where our tools were checked over and we were instructed to find our table number. Once everyone found their table, we were allowed to start checking in all our product and supplies, unwrap and organize everything – but we couldn’t start designing until 3pm.
At 3pm, we were told to START! It was finally here, this was the moment I had been waiting, planning, saving and preparing for, for a year. Crazy! I was so ready and petrified all in the same breath! IT WAS TIME!
There was a point where I forgot everything that I knew to do. I couldn’t even remember what colors went together. This happened I was making my casket spray – one of the pieces that I most enjoy making and I’m good at ( I make a LOT of them). Thankfully with a desperate uttered prayer, small pieces started coming back to me, and I somehow managed to get done with all 5 of my pieces done, my table cleared and set up with a little bit time to spare to look over everything and fine-tune each piece and make sure that I had all the Principles and Elements in each.
For about 3 weeks, I fretted about whether I passed the design test or not.I frequently checked and rechecked my email to see if there was any new news, just to get scared and not want to check it, but end up checking it anyway, lol!! The answer finally came Friday, July 19, 2019. I PASSED! I PASSED! I PASSED! I’m invited to be inducted as a certified AIFD designer July 2020!
My point in writing this long and over-due post, is to encourage you – wherever you are to go out there and set your goals and pursue them. They aren’t going to land into your lap with out your effort. It takes hard work and dedication. And sometimes, quite a few failures along the way, lol!
Post written by Education Director and Board Member Kelsey Thompson
My son recently asked me “Mom, why do your hands always hurt?” I explained that Mommy works with her hands all day making flowers, cutting wire and washing buckets, so they get sore and cracked and dry from working. But it got me to thinking…
These hands have hugged brand new dads when they come in to grab flowers for their amazing wives.
These hands have cradled babies and entertained toddlers when I’ve delivered to a young mom’s house and she just.needs.a.minute.to.pee.
These hands have held books up for children to see the pictures as I’ve read for classrooms, or demonstrated a flower technique for a local girl scout group.
These hands have clapped for area students as they do their best in sports, music, art and life.
These hands have written checks for donations and assembled gifts for auctions and gone high in the air during bidding wars at fundraising galas and community dinners.
These hands have decorated churches and homes and backyards and cars and benches and about anything else you can think of!
These hands have grasped the hands of countless beaming girls as they proudly show off their new engagement ring.
These hands text brides-to-be at all hours of the night, answering questions and easing anxieties.
These hands have pinned flowers to shaky grooms and patted emotional dads on the back and run random errands for stressed moms.
These hands have moved in a blur as they create a gift or bouquet for the husband or wife that maybe kinda forgot it was their spouses birthday or anniversary until 5:20 PM.
These hands have taken the garbage out, moved furniture and mailed letters for elderly recipients.
These hands have shoveled snow – the recipient was getting flowers because he had surgery and his hands sure couldn’t go outside and do it.
These hands and arms have given so many hugs to people receiving deliveries for so many reasons…news of a cancer diagnosis, the death of a child, passing their nursing boards, accepting a new job, etc. The sender can’t be there, but my flowers and my hands can.
These hands have held mugs of coffee and lemon bars or cookies as I just sit and chat with the lonely woman that I’m delivering to. All her family live out of town and she misses them, so these hands hold pictures of her great grandkids as she proudly tells me stories that she’s only heard over the phone or email.
These hands have held the hands of grieving families as they choose final tribute pieces for their loved ones.
These hands have carefully cleaned up gravesites and decorated them with respect and care.
These hands fold every night in prayer and thank God for my family, His blessings and the many opportunities He’s given these hands to “work” in our community.