The 2009 Spring Conference, "Passion", was a huge success. Florists from across Illinois and surrounding states gathered at
the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield for a weekend filled with education, fellowship and fun. Details of the conference is in this issue.
If you were unable to attend this year's conference we invite you to mark your calendar and join us next year, March 4-7, in Springfield.
Spring Conference Sponsors
Education...Spring Conference offers the opportunity for members to see some of the top designers in the country as they share new and creative ideas to set us apart from the competition. Because of the generosity of the following companies, who provided financial support and product, this year's design team was one of the best ever. We salute you and thank you for your continued support for ISFA.
Baisch and Skinner
Bill Doran Company
Bonnett Wholesale Florist
Holzer Floral Products
LaSalle Wholesale Florist
Service Insurance Agency
State Auto Insurance Co.
Van's Floral Products
Past Presidents Dinner
ISFA President and
Standing l to r: Len Wlodarski, Bernie Curtis and Eldon Haab, AIFD, ICPF; Seated l to r: Connie Baker, ICPF, Sherri Knoblauch, ICPF and Linda Roberts, ICPF
Eldon and Jane Haab, Debbie and Len Wlodarski and Jeff Baker
Jeff and Connie Baker and Donna and Bernie Curtis
Linda Roberts and Sherri Knoblauch
"Face The Music "
by Jodi Duncan, AIFD
"In Style...Permanent Botanicals"
by Brent Leech, AIFD
"Weddings From A to Z"
by Deborah De La Flor, AIFD, PFCI
Land of Lincoln Competition
Design by Chie Mori
Design by Jodi Duncan, AIFD
Design by Rick Orr, AIFD
Hands On Workshops
Danny Whitehurst, AIFD
and J. Schwanke, AIFD
The following articles are provided by SAF Deadline
SAF Members are Talking...on Facebook and Linked In
You're there, and now so is SAF. Following the growing popularity of online social nerworks, SAF has set up groups on Facebook and Linked In where members and others interested in floral topics can meet and chat.
Each group has around 200 people participation so far, with more added each week. The purpose? Whatever they want it to be. Some are using the groups just to connect, some to promote what they're doing, others are asking questions and getting help through the discussions. For SAF, it's another way to share information about the association and - more importantly - to listen.
One of SAF's firt posts was the list of session topics for SAF Phoenix 2009 along with a request that group members tell us about the day-to-day issues the want the sessions to cover. Other conversations have been about getting the most out of employess, cutting costs and promoting business during the recession, care and handling problems and how people are using social media for business.
To join a group, log in to Linked In or Facebook and sarch for "Society of American Florists."
Take 30,000 Eggs, Mix in Flowers, Blend at Full White House Speed
On Monday after Easter, some 30,000 people waited hours to take part in D.C.'s annual rite of spring - The Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House. They were greeted by a bright, festive floral display by Ardith Beveridge, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, of Koehler & Dramm Institute of Floristry in Minneapolis and Sherry Reinking, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, of Armstrong Flowers in Fort Wayne, IN. This is the fifth year SAF has provided flowers for the Egg Roll. "It gives SAF visibility before the administration, federal officials and members of Congress," said Drew Gruenburg, SAF's chief operating officer.
View From The Hill
Decisions on Capital Hill are made with the input of attentive constituents who keep a watchful eye on the people they vote for and the issues that concern them. The legislation written in Washington, D.C., directly affects your business, your family and your community. You have the right and responsibility ensure that members of Congress representing you look out for your interests.
When SAF members are active participants in the legislative process, they get results and become key contracts for their lawmakers.
SAF has recently launched a renewed grassroots effort in order to encourage members of Congress in a new way. Whether you choose to attend a free, public town hall meeting or met with a staff member in your district, you bring positive attention to your business and the floral industry.
Do you know your member of Congress? Would you like to find out how to become a grassroots activist in 2009? Contact Brian Gamberini at Bgamberini@safnow.org
by Len Wlodarski
All I can say is what a show! For those of you that attended I am sure you enjoyed and appreciated this year's Spring Conference. I would again like to thank everyone that was responsible for putting together this year's conference. Thank you as well to all the vendors that contributed product and sponsorships to the programs. Without you there would be no show. Please support these vendors throughout the year. They have made a commitment to bettering the floral industry here in Illinois. I also would like to thank all the presenters this year. I am always impressed at how dedicated these individuals are to their profession and how unselfish they are to share their secrets with us. I am amazed each year at how hard everyone works to make these shows a success. It is a shame that the people that work so hard don't get a chance to enjoy it themselves! My suggestion to that is to attend another state's show. Not only can you relax and learn while someone else is doing the work, you can also probably get a few ideas to bring back home.
Speaking of ideas, your board of directors is already planning next year's conference. Mark it on your calendars, March 4-7, 2010, same great facility. We welcome any ideas you may have to improve on this year's show. If there is something you did not like or something we failed to do let us know. If there were things you enjoyed let us know that as well.
We are also looking to improve our ICPF program as well as our Hands-on classes that are offered. Dee Dee Klockenga and Judi Borah respectively head up these important programs. I know they would appreciate input into improving these already fine educational programs. What is really needed is participation. No matter what your skill level is or how long you have been a florist, I can guarantee you would learn many new ideas and improve your business if you would get involved in one or both of these offerings.
With this issue we have gone digital. You are most likely reading this (and the whole bulletin) either on a computer or possibly a printed out pdf file. The board of directors had many requests to either email the bulletin and/or post it on our website which we have done. If you are reading this on our website we are updating that as well. If it hasn't been done yet, it will shortly. Please visit often to check on next year's conference, ICPF and hands-on class schedules and of course to read the bulletin. We also now have a Facebook group started, ISFA Illinois State Florists Association. Join and say hi, who knows where it might go. If you don't know how to Facebook, have any high school or college kid show you. You'll be amazed as to how many people you know are on there once you get the hang of it.
I hope everyone can take a little time to enjoy the Spring weather before we all get (hopefully!) busy with all the Spring holidays and the upcoming wedding season. Your association is working hard to offer you the tools you need to set you apart from your competitors. Please take advantage of them and also please give us your input...good or bad. This is YOUR association; it is only as good as our members will make it be. As I have stated before, let's all Move Forward Together!
|Victory Gardens Anyone?|
by Joe Mioux
Over the past several months, with the slow down in the economy, we have been seeing and reading more about consumers planting their own vegetable gardens. Many of your customers already grow their own fruits and vegetables in their gardens, why not take advantage of some extra Spring, Summer and Fall Sales by adding a plant rack or two of vegetable plants and bedding plants.
Traditional Garden or Container Gardening:
We have seen an increase in people's desire to grow vegetables in containers. Most popular are Tomatoes. Peppers are another easy container type plant. A few other ideas for your customers would be growing lettuce. Combination planters of all sorts of herbs also work well in patio pots.
This year, we might see more people turning some of the back yards into a true garden. For this to happen make sure you recommend to your customers that they remove the grass from the proposed garden space. Do not allow them to till the grass into the garden. The garden will be to cloddy if they do and thus not produce much in vegetables. Once the grass has been removed, the gardener must till up the garden. Amending the soil with composted manure, dried blood and bone meal are all good ways of adding some additional organic material into the garden.
Tomatoes are far and away the best selling crop. Of the varieties that you might want to sell Better Boy and Jet Star are two old and widely recognized varieties. Better Boy is a good all around tomato while Jet Star is a little smaller but a beautiful tomato for canning. Big Beef has also become a very good seller. It is a large tomato that is very smooth. Some of the older varieties used to grow with creases in them and crack. Big Beef doesn't.
For the Salsa and tomato sauce customers San Marazano or Roma are both pear shaped tomatoes that provide a lot of meat with few seeds.
Over the past couple years, grape tomatoes were popular but after growing them for a few years, I still prefer Sugar Snack. Sugar Snack is about the size of a quartern and they are absolutely delicious. They also make great snacks for kids---assuming the kids like tomatoes. They are very sweet and continue to bear even into late Fall.
Yellow tomatoes are also popular amongst people who prefer a low acid tomato. Lemon Boy has been around for years and it is still a great tasting good producing tomato. Pink tomatoes are also popular just not as popular as Lemon Boy. Actually, if a gardener leaves the red tomatoes on the vine to ripen, they will get sweeter.
Heirloom tomatoes are also making a big splash in gardens this year. Most of these tomatoes are old fashioned that have been replaced with Hybridized tomatoes. However, they are regaining popularity due to their flavor and unique colors. Rose is a good producing tomato that bears large fruit. Other varieties include Brandywine, Pineapple, Oxheart, and Mortgage Lifter are all popular.
Peppers are probably the second most popular vegetable plant, especially with many people making their own salsas.
Of the peppers you might be interested in selling, the green bell pepper is the most popular. Better Belle is a good all purpose variety. They have thick green side walls and a flat bottom. The flat bottom is important for stuffing peppers.
Big Bertha is a larger bell pepper. They have good flavor.
Gypsy is a cross between a bell pepper and a banana pepper. They work well in salads, salsas and for canning.
Banana Peppers are just a thinner narrower version of Gypsy.
Another favorite with container gardeners is Garden Salsa. It is a slightly spicy pepper that works well in Salsas.
Giant Marconi is a great grilling pepper. Toss these on the grill and blister the skin.
Hot Peppers.....There is a scale of hotness called the Scoville Scale. Bell and Banana peppers have a zero rating, Pepperoncini have a rating of 100-500. Moving down the scale Jalapeno peppers heat rating of 2500-8000. Chipolte peppers have a rating of 5000-8000. Tabasco and Cayenne have a rating of 30,000-50,000. On the upper end of the scale are the Habeneros with a rating ranging from 325,000-500,000. There are a few hotter peppers than that but aren't really popular.
In addition to Tomatoes and Peppers, the cole crops are also very popular. Cole crops include Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi and Brussel Sprouts. These crops should be planted early in the gardening season. March and April are good times. In addition to growing a spring crop, gardeners can also grow a Fall crop. These fall crops generally produce a better crop because as the crop matures the days and nights get cooler.
Herbs: Herbs work extremely well in containers and actually present a very attractive display on the patio. Chives, Rosemary, Parsley, Oregano, Basil all make for a great combination planter.
Hopefully, these suggestions might help boost your spring sales a bit. If you already sell hanging baskets and a few bedding plants, vegetable garden plants are a nice addition.
Hall of Fame Award
William J. "Bill" McKinley, AIFD, ICPF was the recipient of the ISFA 2009 Hall of Fame Award presented at the Presidential Banquet and Awards Ceremony at the Spring Conference.
Bill has taught at Kishwaukee College in Malta, IL for years and is now there Associate Dean of Career Technologies Division. He also serves on several committees at Kishwaukee and is very involved in the International students program. One of his former students had this to say, "I entered into the floral program just wanting to learn the basics, but what I soon discovered was that I had more potential than I ever dreamed possible. Bill McKinley makes learning fun and easy. He also pushed me to do my best and gave me the confidence to start my own business".
Mr. McKinley is an instructor for the Illinois State Florists' Association's certification program and has been with it since its inception. He serves on our Board of Directors as the College/University Advisor. He is also an associate instructor of the Benz School of Floral Design at Texas A&M University. He serves on the AIFD education committee and is the chairman of there certification program. Bill is a contributing editor for the Flowers& magazine and is co-author of the book Flowers: Creative Design, a book used as the foundation for our certification program. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Missouri State and his Masters from Texas A&M University.
This December, Bill and his wife Nicole will celebrate their 25th anniversary. They have three wonderful children, Elissa, Logan and Christian. A college student at Texas State, a high school student and an 8th grader.
Bill is not only a gifted designer and educator who shares so much of his time and talent to this industry but we also here he is an amazing cook.
In closing, "Cheers" to William J. "Bill" McKinley, Jr., AIFD, ICPF, the newest inductee to the ISFA Hall of Fame.
|Designer of the Year|
by Margie Dobler, TCF
This year we had 15 contestants entered in the Designer of the Year contest. They were as follows: Maria Buskirk - Petals & Perks Floral Shoppe, Casey, IL, Shirley Colsant, ICPF, IMP - Renee's of Ridgefield, Crystal Lake, IL, Tina Davis, ICPF - Blythe Flowers, Ottawa, IL, Diana Ferguson - Novak Flowers, Bloomington,IL, Frank Feysa, AIFD - Aurora, OH, Adam Gavrilla - Kabloom of Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL, Jane Lindley - True Colors Floral Artistry, Springfield, IL, Rick Orr, AIFD - Rick Orr Florist, Champaign, IL, Frankie Peltiere', AIFD - Festive Atmospheres, St. Louis, MO, Rae Roberts-Griffith, AIFD, ICPF - True Colors Floral Artistry, Springfield, IL, Patti Siegert ICPF-IMD, Pana, IL, Missy Standefer - True Colors Floral Artistry, Springfield, IL, Amy S. Steiner, AIFD, Illiopolis, IL, Debbie Strand, ICPF - Periwinkle Florals, Cary, IL and John Windisch AIFD - Simply Elegant Florals, Plano, IL.
The competition was very close, The winners in the Sympathy category were: 1st place Frankie Peltiere', 2nd Amy Steiner and 3rd Rae Roberts-Griffith. In the Bridal category the winners were: 1st Maria Buskirk, 2nd Frank Feysa and 3rd John Windisch. In the Surprise Package the winners were: 1st Amy Steiner, 2nd Rick Orr and 3rd Frank Feysa. The 2009 Designer of the Year went to Amy Steiner, with Frankie Peltiere' 1st runner up and Rick Orr as 3rd runner up. Thank you all for participating. Everyone did a great job.
|Land Of Lincoln Competition
by Judi Borah, AIFD, ICPF
Nine talented designers competed this year for the coveted Land of Lincoln Trophy. Each designer was to create a floral design of fresh flowers and materials to interpret the conference theme "Passion". Following is a list of the competitors.
Maria Buskirk, Petals & Perks Floral Shoppe, Carey
Shirley Colsant, ICPF-IMD, Renee's of Ridgefield, Crystal Lake
Jodi Duncan, AIFD, At Home With J. Duncan, Harrisburg
Chie Mori, American Floral Design School, Chicago
Rick Orr, AIFD, Rick Orr Florist, Champaign
Sherry B. Rauch, Sherry's Creations, Plainfield
Rae Roberts-Griffith, AIFD, ICPF, True Colors, Springfield
Amy S. Steiner, AIFD, ICPF, Illiopolis
John Windisch, AIFD, Simply Elegant Florals, Plano
The winner and recipient of $500.00 was Chie Mori, second place and recipient of $250.00 was Jodi Duncan and third place and recipient of $100.00 was Rick Orr.
A special thank you to each of the contests for participating and congratulations to the winners.
|Bill Blythe Scholarship|
by Sherri Knoblauch, ICPF
The Bill Blythe Scholarship contest is made possible by Teleflora and ISFA for the winner to attend the Teleflora Educational Center and covers the tutition, plus and additional $500.00 from ISFA to help cover travel expenses, lodging and meals. If for any reason the winner cannot attend the school the first alternate will be awarded the scholarship. If the winner and first alternate cannot attend the school the scholarship will be awarded to the second alternate.The scholarship must be used within 12 months of the contest or be forfeited. This year the contest theme was "Passion---Love" and was held on Friday, March 13th form 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm in conjunction with our Annual Spring Conference. The flowers and hard goods for the contest were provided by The Bill Doran Company, Peoria, IL. There were 5 entries in the contest this year.
1. Diana Ferguson, Novack Flowers, Bloomington
2. Adam Havrilla, KaBloom of Merchandise Mart, Chicago
3. Nikita Ndorongo-Moss, Forget Me Not Flowers,
4. Sherry B. Rauch, ICPF, Sherry's Creations, Plainfield
5. Debbie Strand, ICPF, Periwinkle Florals, Fox Valley
To begin the competition they were required to design a centerpiece and briday bouquet and were allowed 1 hour to complete. Next they were individually interviewed by a panel of 3 judges. After the interviews the designs were immediately judged. The judges used a total point system with a possible 100 points per judge. All 5 of the contestants are to be congratulated on their excellent work an interpitation of th theme. Th winners were as follows.
Winner - Adam Havrila
1st Alternate - Nikita Ndorongo-Moss
2nd Alternate - Diana Ferguson
Congratulation for a job well done by all of the contestants.
by Rae Roberts-Griffith, AIFD, ICPF
Every year ISFA offers a great opportunity for our members to apply for a grant to use to continue their floral education. It takes about two or three hours of time on Friday of conference. Applicants are asked to produce two designs, which were a funeral arrangement and a centerpiece. They are also interviewed and asked questions such as, "what education and training programs have you participated in?"
This year we had three applicants; Debbie Strand, ICPF, Patricia Brown and Chris Fitzsimmons. After the floral arrangements were critiqued and the interview results were tallied the awards were decided. Debbie Strand, ICPF received the first place of $600.00, Patricia Brown received 2nd place and $400.00 and Chris Fitzsimmons received 3rd place and $300.00.
Watch for the application for next year's 2010 grants in our bulletin or at our website at www.isfaflorists.org.
by Karen Koven, AIFD, ICPF
Four ISFA members competed this year at Spring Conference in the Tablescape Contest. Each contestant was provided with a 72" round table and were required to create a tablescape interpreting the conference theme "Passion". The contestants were:
Frankie Peltiere', AIFD, Festive Atmospheres, St. Louis
Katy Selmi-Downs, Selmi's Bridal, Rock Falls
Joseph Vera, Baisch and Skinner, Quincy
John Windisch, AIFD, Simply Elegant Florals, Plano
First place and the recipient of $100.00 was John Windisch, second place and the recipient of $50.00 was Frankie Peltiere' and third place and the recipient of $25.00 was Joseph Vera.
Congratulations to all the contestants for participating.
by Karen Koven, AIFD, ICPF
ISFA invited high school and college students from across the state to participate in the ISFA Student Design Competitions held at Spring Conference. Contestants created an arrangement of fresh flowers suitable for a wedding anniversary interpreting the conference theme. Division 1 was for high school students and Division 2 for college students. 1st place received a cash prize of $50.00, 2nd place received $30.00 and 3rd place received $20.00.
Following are the results of the contests.
1st place - Catie Martynowiz, Naperville Central High School
2nd place - Caitlin Hubbard, Naperville Central High School
3rd place - Jeanette Kuchler, Naperville Central High School
1st place - Sarah Odle, Richland Community College, Decatur
Congratulations to all of the contestants.
|Quick Tip-Managing Money|
by Joe Mioux
Quick tip management formulas. - Managing Money in the Flower Shop.
Every florist looks at the product they buy each year for holidays and makes adjustments to those purchases-numbers the following year. For instance, many shops will take the Easter Lily sales and compare that to the purchases made. Obviously, if they had left over Lilies, they will adjust the order next year. That is just common sense and practical.
However, fewer florists will compare some of their other expenses and just guess at what they need to run their business'. For example, few shops will look at their Gross Sales and compare it to their labor costs. Or few shops will look at wire service and compare those costs to the total sale and to the variable costs associated with these orders.
Establishing a base line for these various costs and then implementing a few mathematical equations can help you as the owner/manager make better decisions with regards to staffing or participating in Wire Service associations.
I always love crunching numbers and making decisions based on numbers. Over the past several years I have shared some of these formulas with other flower shops.
For this article I will establish certain target points for various expenses as they relate to Gross Sales.
In this example, we will use a Cost of Goods Sold of 30 pct, Labor should be 30 pct, Other Overhead should be 30 pct and Net Profit at 10 pct of Gross Sales. These numbers have traditionally been used for flower shops, however, you need to establish your own numbers. Remember if you want 10 pct Net Profit, but your COGS goes up to 40 pct, then you will need to change one or both the other to expenses, those being Overhead and or Labor.
Cost of Goods Sold as a percent of Gross Sales is the easiest cost to control. You either buy at a lower price or you increase your retail price. Remember, though that if you want a 10 pct Net Profit and your other expense/Gross Sales targets are 30 pct, you need to multiply your wholesales price by 3.33, not 3.
Here is an example: If you buy roses for $1.00 and you want to maintain a 10 pct Net Profit you need to multiply $1.00 by 3.33. A $3.33 retail price on a rose accounts for 99.9 cents for your COGS, 99.9 cents for overhead and 99.9 cents for labor which then leaves you 30 cents for Net Profit.
Had this florist used a 3 times markup, the retail price would be $3 per rose and the COGS/GS sales percent would be 33 pct and not the target percent of 30 pct.
That 30 cents might not sound like a lot however, if you factor this into your overall sales for the year it becomes a large number. For every $100,000 in Gross Sales, a shop would lose $3000 in Net Profit, or only earn $7000 in Net Profit compared to the target Net Profit of $10,000.
This is why these numbers are so important. For a $500,000 shop, would have a loss in revenue of $15,000.
Labor is another component that can and should be based on Gross Sales. If the shop does $500,000 in sales every year, total payroll should be $150,000. That includes the owners pay.
Traditionally, no shop employee should earn more than 10 pct of Gross Sales. In this next example we will assume the owner takes 10 pct which leaves 20 pct for the staff.
Now lets also assume the shop earns $10,000 in Gross Sales every week. We now know that labor expense should not total more than $3000 per week. If the owner is going to keep $1000 per week, the remaining staff will have $2000 to divide up.
We also need to know the average per hourly wage of the staff. In this example and for the sake of keeping the numbers simple, we will assume the average pay is $10 per hour. This will include the employers portion of Medicare, FICA, Workers Compensation Insurance, Unemployment Insurances and any other taxes that are associated with hiring employees.
We also need to know the hours of operation. In this example the shop is open from Monday-Saturday, 8 hours per day equals 48 hours per week.
Two thousand dollars divided by 48 hours gives you a total of $41.67 total employee labor per hour. Now you can compare your $10 per hour wage per employee with this number. If you have 6 people hired your per hourly-staff expense is $60 and you are losing $18.33 per hour in overstaffing.
Conversely, if you only have 3 people hired per hour-staff outlay is $30. This means that the flower shop is retaining an extra $11.67 per hour.
Now, if you have weekly sales figures from previous years, you can use those numbers to determine how much labor you will need for this year's upcoming weeks' labor. Scheduling like this will help you gain control over labor costs in an impartial manner. It is also understandable that a shop that does a lot of funeral business will have to be more flexible with labor budgeting than a shop that has more consistent weekly sales.
During the course of the week, if you see sales are slow and your labor is running ahead of 20 pct, then you know that you should cut back on staffing. Also, if you have computers tracking hourly sales, you could staff more heavily during certain times of the day and less at other times of the day.
Other overhead is also manageable up to a point. Overhead would consist of Rent, Utilities, Insurance, Property Taxes, other local, state and federal taxes, memberships, donations, fuel for delivery vehicles, vehicle lease payments, vehicle purchase payments, etc. Look closely at these costs and see where these costs can be reduced or eliminated. Obviously, not all these expenses are going to be changeable but some will. The flower shop owner's goal is to get those numbers under 30 pct of Gross Sales. So, for every $100,000 in sales, you want no more than $30,000 going to Overhead. Making adjustments or budgeting for adjustments are possible.
The local wholesale companies across the state of Illinois and in St. Louis are major supporters of ISFA and our Spring Conference.
Show your appreciation by supporting them throughout