All tagged Hiring

Building and Navigating Team Dynamics with Stems Brooklyn

Suzanna has great insight and wisdom regarding transition, and in this episode we’re talking about what it’s like to shift brands multiple times—as well as when it’s necessary to diversify your revenue stream. We’re chatting about hiring that first person and what it looks like to expand a team. Suzanna is sharing how she interacts with her team and navigates conflict with her staff.

Sammy Go of Lambert Floral Studio

In this episode we are chatting about Sammy’s philosophy of providing flowers for a weary world and what that looks like for Lambert Floral Studio. He is sharing the story behind the name of his design studio and why it is dear to his heart.

Video: Comprehensive training on floral supplies

There are so many materials and supplies used in the floral industry, and it can get quite overwhelming to know everything you need as well as how to use them! In this video, Kelly Perry of Team Flower lays out an extensive list of floral supplies used in the industry. From Quick Dip to flower tubes, she walks through each item, detailing what it is and how it is best used. Demonstrations are given for each tool to allow for greater understanding of safe and efficient ways to use the items shown.



Hi, I'm Kelly from Team Flower and I wanted to introduce you to some of the floral supplies that you will be working with. I'm going to go through just a broad overview of all of these different things and then we'll learn how to use them where they fit into the big picture. I'm going to start with this, this is the big chopper. This is something that you may or may not be working with but just in case you are, I just wanted to demonstrate how to use it. So this is primarily used when you're processing flowers. So there's a lot of flowers coming through your studio. This is a really great way to get the stems cut quickly and popped in water. So I have some roses here and you'll see I'm just able to put them underneath, keeping very careful watch that my fingers never get close to that giant blade. And I just bring them down and cut, cut, cut. These are ready to go in water. So that is a, that's the flower chopper. We'll get that off the table here. Now the other cutting tools that are commonly used whenever you're working with flowers are three different types of scissors. So here we have the general all-purpose scissors. These can be used for all kinds of different things right down to really specific detail work. You'll notice that the tip on them is very pointed so whenever you're cleaning flowers, say you have a lot of things that just need to be clipped off and really manicured, these are great. They're also great for general purpose. They can cut through stems, they can cut through branches. It's a really great sharp scissor. So, here's one. And the next one is a little bit different. So you'll notice that this one has a curved blade. So if you are trying to get around, perhaps a bouquet or something like that, to clip it off, these can be really great for something like that. Also, if you have a thicker branch that, maybe, these ones can't get through, this is like, level two. Some people use these as general purpose as well, but they're a little bit heavier than these. So this is something I can hold in my hand for several hours and be fine with. These are a little bit more to hold and to carry around. The other difference is that if these kind of slip off the table and onto the ground, they're not quite as heavy. Where these, the heaviest part is blade on this, so it's more than likely going to fall blade down and could cause some damage to the floor or to your feet. So, I like to keep these ones off the table, only use it when it's necessary, and this is the great general purpose. The last scissor is a ribbon scissor. So these are special, these are only, only used for ribbon. Nice and sharp so that you can get through and make a nice clean cut. So no flower guts on these, really, really important. Those are your three scissors. Now, in keeping with the ribbon, I have a little miniature hair straightener here. If you're asked to prep ribbons you can, and they're a little bit wrinkly, particularly with the silks, you can warm this baby up and do a quick little ironing of the ribbons. So this is another tool in the toolbox. And along with that, the ribbons, you may keep a bulletin board on hand so that you can take the ribbons, maybe you're making, asked to create some streamers that will go onto the bridal bouquets. Let's make one quick. And I'll show you how the bulletin board is helpful. So the specific way that the streamers are made is something that you'll want to ask your supervisor. How they'd like those to look. Of course, the colors, the lengths, all of those things because they'll be very familiar with the client's preferences. Perhaps, even, they can make one for you and then you can copy. So we've got these little ribbon tails here. And that can just get folded together neatly and folded under. And a lot of times with ribbon tails I will actually do the pin underneath, just like that. And so this will go in and the front tails will cover the pin. You could also do it so that the pin goes through the front. Again, just ask your supervisor and go from there. But I like doing this because they can all clip on to the bulletin board. And then you can make sure that all your tails are nice and professional and an even length. So there's a few supplies that you might come across, in terms of ribbon. Next, the rose stripper. So there's a lot of ways to do this and I'm actually, I'm going to demonstrate this whenever I process the flowers. So we'll wait until we have these things cleaned off, but I wanted to introduce you to that. You put the stem of the flower here and do a quick motion down and that gets rid of all the thorns in a really safe, easy way where you don't hit your hand because you're completely covered by this nice, heavy plastic. There's several different kinds of tapes. I'd say flower arranging is about tape and scissors. If you have those two things and a container you can do just about anything. So, tape, there's different sizes and types. So this is one of the quarter inch clear tapes. And this is great if you're working with a container, maybe you're going to, you've been asked to create a grid on the top of the container. This is great to use with glass because you don't see the tape. So what you do is you just take the tape and you do like a tic-tac-toe board. And the type of flowers that you're using and the overall style of the design will determine how wide or how close together this grid goes. So that's something that would be great to do one. Ask your supervisor if it suits them and then repeat and do the whole lot. Or, if you have one that's already done that you can copy, then you know for sure you're on the right track and you can go from there. But I want you to know the general concept of a grid before you even get started. So this one we're going to do four and four. And depending on the end use, some folks like to then take their tape and go around the outside of the rim to catch all of those ends for some extra security. So sometimes I do this and sometimes I don't, just depends on the occasion. That's something that you'll learn as you go. So this is the thin, skinny quarter inch clear Oasis tape. And then we have two other kinds. This is the half inch and then we have the quarter inch in the green. And what's a little bit different about this tape is that it is tackier. So, where this, if it gets water around the edge it can loosen up a little bit easier than one of these more heavy duty tapes. This is like a florist's duct tape as opposed to a florist's scotch tape. So you can see the difference there. This bouquet tape, well I just called it bouquet tape, but this is what I commonly use for bouquets. So whenever you're prepping, maybe you're asked to prep the tape for bouquets. I would want a piece of tape that's about this long, about just a little bit over a foot. And that's enough to wrap around my bouquet once and then to go backwards so that I have a sticky spot for my ribbon to hold onto. So that's a common use. You can also use this in larger arrangements as a grid as well. And then the smaller. I could use that, easily replace this with that over here. This is something that I like to use on boutonnieres as well. These two are interchangeable it just depends how much stick I need, or what's most important. If its most important that I have a transparent background or if I can afford to have a little bit of tape, like if that's going to be covered with ribbon or something like that, then I'll always choose this heavier duty tape, it just sticks a little bit better. So these are our sticky tapes. These are called stem tape. They come in all different kinds of colors and when you unwind it it does not have a sticky surface like this one. So this gets its stick from being stretched. The more you stretch it, the stickier it gets and it also warms up a little bit under the warmth of your fingers. So this is commonly used whenever you're wiring flowers or creating a crown. So I'm going to show you here. Here we have a little flower crown that would go on. So if you're asked to prep something like this what you're going to do is take some of this. This is another one of our supplies. This is just a simple it's just a simple piece of wire. Wire can also come wound on a spool, so this would be called spool or paddle wire. And wire comes in all kinds of different weights. So, the higher the number, the more flexible the wire. So this is like a number 24 and you'll see it's very flexible. And this one is about 20, 18 or 20, and it has a little bit more stability to it. So for flower crowns I think that a little bit of stability is great, particularly if you're going to have quite a lot of flowers on here. They need a nice stable surface to live. So what you do is you take your stem tape and you stretch as much as you can and you pull it really tight. And you twist as you go and now this surface is becoming nice and sticky. And then here at the end if you need it to be an adjustable crown, you can just do a small little hook here and keep your tape going to get these two little ends put together here. And then you wrap around and you can do that little hook. So this is a great size for just a small child, an infant-sized crown. And then this one is better for a full, full, full-sized adult, but it can also be adjusted to whatever size is needed whenever you get there. So just that little hook is helpful to have. And this one just has two pieces of wire that are wound together. So that's a little sample of what you can do and what a commonly used application of the wire is. Now this paddle wire is something that we'll see a lot whenever we're creating garlands. So if we're putting bunches of flowers together and we're doing a lot of, like, whips around, this is the paddle wire. Because this, you would have to, you know, be going back to get more and more each time, but in a pinch, you can certainly use it. This is just a little more economical for the garlands is what I use that for. Okay. Next I have a zip tie. These are great for attaching things to different, you know, pillars or arbors, things like that, if you need to hold quite a lot of weight. You could use wire if you were in a pinch, but these zip ties are great and that's something that you're going to find in your florist's toolbox, more than likely. I also have some pins here. Pins can be used for all kinds of different things, most commonly ribbons and bouquets and attaching those small, detail works and personal flowers and pinning boutonnieres onto jackets and things like that. Just a note about pinning boutonnieres to jackets. They go over the heart and on the lapel of the suit. There'll be a little buttonhole and that's where you're aiming for, that boutonniere to go right on that buttonhole. Then what you do is you take the fabric and you pinch it so you're making a little cocoon around the, let's see here, we could use this as an example. So let's pretend that this is the stem of the boutonniere. You'll, and this is the lapel of their jacket, you'll bend the jacket just like that, and then you'll take your pin and you'll go straight through. So when you're pinning this is something that you'll want to practice and you'll want to get real good at. So you're just, instead of doing one of these numbers where you're going up and around, you're just going to go straight through so the fabric, you'll go behind the fabric and straight through. Great thing to, to just make a couple boutonnieres and that's something great to practice and get really good at. That'll be really helpful to your supervisor. Okay, next we talked about ribbon, so that's good to go. Rose stripper. Just another note about this stem tape. I will show you how to wire a flower once we process the flowers that I have down below. But you'll want to match this to whatever color the stem is that you're using. So, renunculus, I like to use this light green that's a common flower that I'll wire for boutonnieres or flower crowns. Same thing with spray roses. So this is my most commonly used color, but you can just take a quick inventory and see. This darker one works great with tropicals. The brown one for branches. If you're wanting to do branches. Another thing that'll be your friend, Goo Gone. A lot of times the containers come in, they have stickers on them that need to come off and be shined and polished up. So, Goo Gone to get those stickers off or some nice glass cleaner can also sometimes get those stickers off just depends where they're coming from and how sticky they are. So, Goo Gone, Windex, paper towels, those are all going to be a part of the studio experience. I also have some Super Glue. This comes in really handy whenever something breaks on you. So I have this Super Glue. I also have Gorilla Glue. So sometimes, this is aqua strength, so if something breaks that's glass that also needs to hold water, this is a really great fix for that. The other thing that I use the epoxy for is attaching flower frogs to containers. So something that you might be tasked with is setting the containers up to receive the water and the flowers. So right here we did the grid, like I showed you. So this might be, this is one way that you can set your containers up. Another way is using these flower frogs and this varies depending on each job that you're doing, the purposes, what the priorities are, what types of flowers you're using. I use all kinds of different mechanics, it just depends which one is best suited for what I'm doing in the moment. So that's something that you'll see switch up as you're working in the studio. This can get attached down at the base of the container with some of this epoxy. It smells terrible, if you want to use a little, you know, cover your nose with a scarf or something. But it's very fragrant and it does take a little bit of time to set and to get dry. So follow the instructions if that's something that you're going to use. You can also attach these to the containers using a product called Cling, which is basically sticky putty. And the goal with the sticky putty is to not have any spots where water can get underneath and then pop it out. So you just want to go around real carefully and there's detailed instructions on these different ways to prep a container on So, that's a flower frog. Next is chicken wire. This is used in all kinds of different applications in the floral studio. I use it to provide a base for my containers. So I have the frog, the tape graph over top, and then another option would be to take this and to use it wound into a ball in the container. Some floral studios like to use wire clippers for any kind of wire cutting. In my studio we use these Joyce Chen's for just about everything. It allows me to clip through really quickly and I just find that the wire cutters are quite heavy so maybe there's a pair, like these are designated for ribbon. Maybe there's a, there will be a pair in your studio that are designated for wire. So, that's something to keep in mind. So I'm just going to remove the grid here. Now prepping with the chicken wire I like to make a little bit of a cylinder. It just depends on the shape that I'm working with. So this time for this one the cylinder actually needs to go in the other direction. The goal is to have the wire create a place for the flowers to go through at the top and the bottom because that's what will hold the flowers in place. So if this is a flower stem and I only have it at the top, this will, this has a lot of flexibility about where it can go. But if I'm trying to get it in this general vicinity, that second one is what keeps it in place and keeps it from going all over. So it's important that you have those two layers. Now, if you're working with some really thick stemmed flowers, amaryllis perhaps, you'll want to do a little bit less so that your stems can fit down in there. But for general purpose, this is a great thickness. You've got lots of great little places for the flowers to catch. So this is an opportunity to take that heavier tape and to do just a small X to keep that sturdy in the container. You'll find that different florists have different preferences about the exact mechanics and how they get set up. Don't become frustrated by that, everybody does it a little bit differently. And um, you'll just want to ask how they'd like you to do it and follow suit. So there is that. Now, I picked one of my containers that had a little piece of flower gunk on it here because I wanted to remind you that in the flower studio there's going to be things that pop up that you can be doing whenever there's, maybe, a lull. And one of those things is cleaning containers. There's always going to be a messy container somewhere that needs to be cleaned up. And I really like to just use a simple dish detergent for that, although there are special bucket cleaners and things that you can use as well. You'll just want to ask about that and know where those supplies are in your studio. So cleaning containers is one thing that we're always happy to have done, counted, organized, even better. Now this is called floral foam and we use this floral foam. This is something that you'll find in most studios no matter where you go because there's some things that floral foam allows us to do that chicken wire and the flower frogs just simply can't. So if we need to attach something, maybe, to the side of a fence or an arbor and we really need that water source, this is a great product for that. So you might be asked to prep this. I use the long wire, that we had demonstrated the flower crown, to cut it. That keeps big knives out of the studio, just in case those might fall and hurt somebody. Wire's pretty easy and it works. I like to do the cutting for this after the foam has soaked. So you'll notice that there was just a little bit of a dust that popped up from that. It's not great for you to breathe, but if you cut it after it's soaked, you don't have that problem. So soaking Oasis, you'll want to follow, as each type of Oasis has a different instruction for soaking on the box. But the key, generally, overall is that you set it in there and you wait for it to sink just below the surface of the water. So you don't want to take it and shove it into the bucket because it will become, you'll find that this area, when you do that, it appears to have been soaked completely, but this area in here will not be fully wet. So a flower could get in there and it could just be in a dry spot in the Oasis and then you have flower loss. So it's really important to give this time and let it soak. The different types soak for different lengths of time. Some of them will say that they can soak in 10 minutes, and I believe that they can, but I still like to soak my Oasis overnight whenever possible just so that they are really full of as much water as possible, especially if I'm going out on a warm day to do my, do my work. So, that is that. You can also use Oasis in containers as well. So, rather than putting this chicken wire in here I could cut a brick that fits perfectly into my container. So this is a great size, I think, for going into the container. And what I would do is pop that down in there and I would still include water in the container. Some people glue this to the base of their container and then add a little bit of water to top it off. But what I do is just pop it in there underneath and then I take this tape and put it across the top so that I have that stability in there as well. This one is a little bit taller so if my Oasis didn't go the whole way down to the floor I could stuff with a little bit of chicken wire down there at the base. Key thing is just to make sure that all the flowers are in water. You know, if they happen to be in there at the side or if you're using flowers that don't do really well in Oasis they can pop down there right in the part that doesn't have Oasis. Staplers are helpful to have whenever you're doing the ribbons. You can just staple this little section together. So there might be some designs where a stapler comes in handy. It's also great to have if you're gathering invoices and flowers to put on that main packet or quote for the client is to keep stapling all of the receipts that are coming in to that particular client's bill. Lighters. That's something that you'll use commonly if you're doing an event install. And then we also have the candle dampener. So this keeps wax from going everywhere, if that's a concern. Also, measuring tapes. This is something you'll find in the floral studio as well. All kinds of uses, of course, measuring different things being the core of those. Another thing that we have here are gloves, white gloves. So whenever you're doing candles or glasswork and maybe installing for an event, if you have something like this it keeps fingerprints from getting on the candle holders that you're working with and the glass. Okay, this little fancy toothpick, these are great for installing on cakes. So you can put your flower on there and then insert it into the cake. So this is something that might find in the toolkit that perhaps needs refreshing or replenishing. I also like to keep these skewers with me as well. These are helpful if I'm doing, like, amaryllis or something like that. I can put this up the hollow stem and trim the stem here and insert this part into the floral foam or whatever it may be. Amaryllis do really great without a direct water source. You can also just put a little cotton ball on the end to have a little bit of moisture up there in the flower head. So this is something you keep in the toolbox. Also have flower tubes. So this is something that you fill. You may be asked to fill a whole bunch of them. Put water in there the whole way up to the top, close it shut and then the flower stem goes in there and this pick can go into garland, it can go into arbors. Anywhere, even maybe a single rose that's going out the door for a delivery. Just a way to have a water source for that flower, but just one flower at a time in these guys. The last thing that we have here is the lazy Susan. And the lazy Susan is great for making arrangements because you can pop your container on there and you can work 360 around the flower arrangement. So, these are some of the general supplies. A few other things that I have down here. A broom, because it's always a welcome sight to see things being cleaned up off the floor. So that's one of those things. And then I wanted to introduce you to the different types of chemicals that are helpful with flower arranging. So this one is called Quick Dip, it allows the flower to take a really quick drink after they're being processed and I'll show you how to use that as we go through the processing flowers demonstration. And then the Floralife flower food. And this has a mixture of sugar and Clorox and it helps keep the water clean and the flowers fed. This goes in buckets. This does not, very important. So the flower food goes in buckets. The Quick Dip is just a quick dip and then the flowers go in the buckets. If you accidentally do Quick Dip in the water, pull it out, start over again, replace it with the flower food. The other thing we have here is Crowning Glory. This is a spray bottle and it is a solution that seals the moisture into the petals. So one of the biggest dangers with cut flowers is dehydration. So waters, flowers can drink from their base and then they also can, but they can lose moisture through their petals. So this is just a solution that seals and keeps all the moisture inside the flowers and helps them to last a little bit longer. You also might have another water bottle filled simply with water and that can be really helpful for flowers that maybe don't prefer to have the Crowning Glory, or if maybe, you don't have Crowning Glory in the studio. It's a way to moisturize those petals. It's great for hydrangeas, they drink through their petals, so a quick little mist on the tops of them is helpful in keeping them nice and fresh. The other thing that the water is helpful for is votives. So if you have a lot of votives going out for an event if you spritz them and then put your votive candle in it will help the wax from sticking to the container which makes clean up a lot easier. And these are my flower claws. So, you can use a dust pan, but I have these claws to pick up the big clumps of flower waste that fall on the floor to keep everything nice and clean. Keeping the trash emptied in the studio, relatively clean while an event is taking place, is so important and welcome. Just to have that clear space and be able to get, you know, maybe tables that roll, in and out and just to keep our feet safe. So, that's what we've got with that. And the last thing I have to show you is a really dirty bucket. It's gross! This is what happens when flowers get left in the buckets too long. You get all kinds of nice stuck on slime. And this one's been outside so it has, like, rain, dirt and grass and all kinds of stuff stuck to it. I'll use, a lot of times, the Dawn in these and a toilet brush bowl, like a nice, sturdy bowl where I can really get in there and scrub, scrub, scrub because the important the about processing flowers is that you have a nice, clean bucket. So, this is an example of something that needs attention. Okay, let me get these things off the table and then I'll show you how to unwrap flowers whenever they come in and get those ready to go out again. Okay, I'm back with a few flowers I wanted to process with you. The first one I have is marigolds and then I also have some roses. Roses are something that I have on almost every single order, so I think this is a good one to practice with. And then these are representative of my specialty seasonal flowers. So this is what I, this is what we're working with here, these little marigolds. Now, flowers, they can be fresh, they can be less than fresh. They have a long life before they actually get to us. Some of them are being shipped in from Holland. So they go from growers in Holland, or in other parts of the world, through the Dutch flower auction and then they come to you. So sometimes flowers can be cut several weeks and they get stored in that cold chain. So it means they're going from the farm, to the auction, to the truck or the plane, and they're kept cold throughout that entire process which is what allows them to then wake up whenever they get to their final destination. So, you are the final destination. You are the point at which these flowers begin to wake up and come to realize their full potential. If it's time for the flowers to not quite reach their full potential yet, it's important to keep them cool. So let's take a little look at these marigolds. I want you to see the difference between some flowers that are really on their way out and then some fresher ones. So you know that these flowers are on their way out because you'll see that the stem, or that the petals have started to dehydrate. So they're starting to turn brown, they feel a little crispy. These are things that obviously need to be removed from the flower before it's used. And if something like this was received in my studio, this is something that I would be requesting a credit on, because they're really, the amount of loss that we have on here is pretty significant. So if you come across flowers that look like this, whenever you're unpacking them, it's important to take a quick picture and take a look at that invoice and notice how many bunches of them were past prime, because you really need fresh product. Now some parts of this can be salvaged. And then other times a lot of times with events in particular, there's just not time to do all of that salvaging work. But I wanted to do a couple stems of these so that you can see what can come off and how different the flower can look whenever you give it a little bit of love. So, you'll notice here that this one doesn't have a flower bud at the top of it. So I'm going to clip that off with these little detailed scissors. And I'm going to just get rid of all of this dehydrated foliage. Sometimes foliage further up on the flowers is not dehydrated. It just depends what stage the flower is in. In this one it's really the whole way up the stem, but sometimes it'll just be, you know, lower in the base of the stem and you can leave some of those pretty little frilly pieces on at the top. But the goal is whenever you're thinking about processing the flowers, the question is, is it beautiful? And if it's beautiful it gets to stay, and if it's not beautiful then it needs to go. So this one, another one without a bud at the end. And when I'm processing I like to leave the stems as long as possible. Unless I know specifically where they're going to go. So that allows the designer optimal flexibility whenever they go to place this flower in an arrangement. So, they may find that this piece needs to come off whenever the flowers are actually being arranged, not when they're being processed, but when they're arranged. And they can use this little guy right here to pop out on a side. So when you're looking at the piece as a whole it might not look like you would necessarily be drawn to this particular piece, but sometimes the way that it bends and gives is the perfect addition to an arrangement. So that's something to keep in mind. Give the designer optimal flexibility with how the flowers are cleaned. So you can see what a difference that looks like. The blooms on here, they're very sturdy. These are still going to be nice and these are going to last for a long time. Just this, this you know, these decapitated pieces and some of this that just is not, not as good. Just that little indicator that they've been through a lot. So that, great for event work, but if I was sending that out for something that needed to last for longer I know that these are, I know that these have been, been out because of that dehydration factor. Okay, so, there's the difference. That's what you're going for with marigolds. When you're thinking about putting them into a bucket you want to find the bucket that suits the length of the flower stem. So there are buckets that are taller, right about this height. That would be a perfect fit for a flower like this. Putting them in here means that they flop around a little bit too much. So you would want a taller bucket like a Home Depot five gallon bucket or one of the square flower buckets for something that's a tall stem like this. Unless they were being used in shallow applications the whole way around, in which case, this would be fine. I wanted to show you some Quick Dip. We talked about this in the supply section. What I'll do is just get a small little container to put it in. And you take your cleaned flower, give it a fresh snip. Whenever you're snipping, you just snip at an angle that allows for more water absorption. You do a quick dip and into the bucket. Now already in the bucket I have some of the Floralife Crystal Clear. And you'll just want to follow the instructions on the container as far as mixing, how much needs to go in the different sizes of the buckets. Okay, let's do roses next. Alright, so this variety is called combo. Oh no, sorry, not combo, Camel, this one's Camel. Most roses will come wrapped up just like this. And when this rose first comes in, when it first pops into your studio, something that you'll want to do is to give it that fresh cut. Give it the Quick Dip and then set it in water upright for about two hours. Now what this does, it allows the flowers to have that initial drink with the support of this covering, which means that they're not going to, if they're a little bit dehydrated whenever they come to you and they have like, a wobbly neck, sometimes they can absorb the water and their necks can stay wobbled. You'll see this with lots of different types of flowers. So sometimes letting them, if they are dehydrated when they come to you, it's not a terrible sin, they can be rehydrated in most cases. But having some little bit of a support when you're processing is helpful. So getting familiar and taking note of when the flowers have a little bit of a weak neck, and whenever they're already hydrated whenever they get to you, is important because sometimes you might need to go grab some newspaper or some craft paper and just add a, you know, stretch the flowers out and wrap them up, give them that little piece of tape and put them in to soak that water up so that the necks can absorb the water fully. So after they've had their initial drink, and these have, you can take them out of their wrapper. There's usually staples in here and a lot of times in the flower boxes themselves that the flowers are being shipped in. Be really careful that you don't cut your fingers on those because they can be very sharp. Okay, so the flowers are packaged in two layers. So whenever you buy them you think, oh, there's only a dozen flowers in there, but you pop open and there is a second layer hidden underneath. Now between each layer there's a piece of cardboard. So this just protects the flowers from bruising. Now, a lot of times with roses I'll grab a pair of gloves if they have a lot of thorns on them and particularly if they're are a true garden grown rose, those thorns can be really nasty. So you might want to have a pair of gloves in your apron or your pocket whenever you're working with processing roses. This is the stem cleaner that I showed you. You just grab it, squeeze it and down you go. All your thorns are taken care of and these few beautiful leaves at the top are fine to leave on. I actually encourage leaving on a few leaves, if they're beautiful, at the top. If they need to come out and they're being, maybe used in a bouquet or something like that where the leaves aren't needed, that's something that you might want to ask your manager. Again, knowing where these flowers are going and what the end goal is that they're being used for. Because if this is going in a bouquet, I'm probably going to want to go ahead and pull these extra petals off and put those in the bouquet pile. You'll just want to give it another cut at an angle, maximum water absorption, Quick Dip and in. And with the Quick Dip you can do multiple flowers at a time. So I'm thinking about efficiency whenever I'm doing something. It's not important to me as a designer that every single thing is perfectly clean, although it might be important to yours. I'm thinking about, usually I'm doing weddings, so I'm marching towards this deadline of needing to get the flowers out and prepped and to their final destination. So for me, speed is important. I want it to be done well. I want it to be done professionally. But, for example, where it may be necessary in some applications to trim this little nib that's here to make the flower perfect, for what I'm doing, that's not necessary. So knowing that final end use, what it's for, important. So as you process these, as they have that little bit of Quick Dip they're going to open up and they're going to be so beautiful. Sometimes the flowers come in and they're very tight and sometimes they are not. And how you can tell is by just squishing this rose head right here. If it's flexible it has give, it's going to open up beautifully in a day or two. So, great for event work. Other times you squeeze this and it's really hard, that means it's going to take a little bit longer or it might not open at all. Some varieties of roses just don't open. So that's something important to keep in mind. Another way that you can handle these stems, if you don't have a rose cleaner like this, is simply clipping them off with your scissors, a nice, clean cut. Another thing that people will do and some people, you know, prefer, there's so many ways to take care of, the goal is clean the stem. There's many ways to clean the stem. Some people use a knife. I don't like to have knives in the studio, I think they're a little bit dangerous, but you just the whole way down the stem to get those off with a knife. So that's, that's what we're looking at here. Okay, so let's go fast, right? The same repetitive motion over and over again is how you can get going really fast at things. So, that one didn't have pretty leaves on it so I took all the leaves off. This one doesn't have pretty leaves on it so all the leaves come off. But it's doing the same thing over and again. So unwrapping all of the staples off the roses. Laying all the roses out. Then going after the rose stripper with all of them. Once you get the hang of it, once your manager is like, oh, it looks great, then you know you can repeat it and just go to town. Get your work environment set up in a way that's really efficient. So right down here, garbage can. All those leaves are just plopping right into a garbage can as they go down. I find that it's so helpful in doing things like this. I mean, it takes a lot of concentration to keep it moving at a quick pace. I love to do stuff like that quick and concentrated and then have time over a break to catch up on, catch up on different things. So you might find that the people that you're working with aren't chatting and that's fine, don't take it personally. And sometimes they do, just depends the, just depends from place to place. So you could also run these through, I showed you the chopper. This would be a great opportunity to run those through if you wanted to handle it that way or you were doing large, large quantities. Dip and done. Another way to get the roses to open is to keep them warm and keep them in light. And whenever you're thinking about filling up your buckets to receive the flowers, again, clean, clean buckets and generally room temperature water will suffice and is a perfect fit for most flowers. Some things like hellebores that grow really cold in the winter. Some varieties really need to be in chilly, chilly water. Maybe they have a hot bath and then they go in chilly water. Other things like sappy flowers, like daffodils and milkweeds, you'll notice that they ooze. These don't ooze, but things like that do, so you'll want to put them in their own bucket while they seal and all that sap comes out and then you'll just transfer them into a bucket of clean water. And then when they're being arranged with they get clipped and swished to let that seal come out again, and then into the arrangement with the rest of the flowers. Just to help keep the water clean. Sometimes even if I'm using a lot of things like that that have sap and that ooze, even though they're hardened off, I might just dump the water and refresh the water after the arrangement is completely made. And I really, I have not seen any major longevity or loss issues that were directly related to that with that process. Sometimes the life of the flowers before they reach you, they just not a super healthy plant or super, an older established plant that holds well. So sometimes there's things that are a little bit outside of your control, but generally I find that that works quite well. So, that is processing flowers. Those, some of those specific things like hot water, cold water, you may just want to ask your manager, is it okay if all these are in lukewarm water today? Or do you need them in cold water? If you're wanting, perhaps peonies, something that you don't want to have open up really quickly, cold water is going to, anything cold is going to keep the flower asleep and anything warm is going to wake the flower up. So those are some core principles that are important to know about processing and handling the cut flowers. I wanted to show you how to wire a flower which is really helpful for prepping for boutonnieres, corsages, flower crowns, things like that. The benefit to wiring flowers is that we can make a thin, flexible stem which keeps some of those things from being really bulky. There's a few ways to wire, I'm going to show you two. The first one you put the wire through this part of the flower right here. You fold it down like a bobby pin. And then you wrap the wire around like this. Now, depending on the application that you are using this particular flower for, you may not want the stem to go down long. You may need it to be short so, you can cut the flower off it just, again, knowing how it's going to be used. You can cut if off nice and short like this which would be nice for corsage. You need that little bit of a lip to get the wire going around, but after that you're all set. Then you take your stem tape wrapping real, real tight to get it nice and sticky. Make a nice, clean line up there around the base of the flower. And bring it down just like that. So this can very easily get attached to the flower crown that we had talked about in the supply section. And it just goes on just like this. And then you build and work and that's a little behind the scenes on how those get created. But it's so helpful to have a part of this ready and prepped to go for the designer that's making all of the pieces. So, that is wiring a rosebud. Another way to wire. If you have something that is a little bit more open like this rose, for example, we can get to open the whole way here. Going to give it a little clip. And what we can do is we can actually, this is helpful for renunculus, for boutonnieres, I like to wire renunculus this way. You make the bobby pin first and that goes down through the actual center of the flower. Right there in the sweet yellow part. So it's piercing both sides. You're bringing it down, you're tugging it until you don't see the wire. You want the wire to be hidden. So just a gentle, but firm tug. And then same thing for finishing like we did with the last one. Just around this small nib there. Making a nice, clean professional border and down we roll. Okay, that's wiring flowers. You might be wondering what should I wear? And I can answer that question for you. On studio days it's really helpful and super duper important anytime there are clippers anywhere that you have closed toed shoes; boots, sneakers, anything like that, that if a blade were to fall on your foot, it would protect your foot and keep your foot nice and safe, really important. There's also a lot of water, leaves, possibility to slip. It's important that they have good, solid traction on your shoes. That's the most important thing about what to wear. On days whenever there's installation work and there's a lot of moving and lifting and all those kinds of things taking place, I think it's really helpful to wear black pants. Black pants are a great friend because if you're carrying a bucket of water and it starts sloshing and gets a little bit out of control, the black, it just blends. You don't look like you peed your pants anymore, it just blends in with the black. So I speak from several times of experience that those black pants are really a lifesaver. The other thing with tops that I really love to do on event day, or really most days, I love to have an undershirt that I can tuck in because there's a lot of bending and all those kind of things. So having an undershirt that's tucked in and has a higher waistline or a higher neckline, modest neckline, it's really helpful. And then I will toss, if it's an event day, I'll toss a fancy, maybe like a little sparkly shirt underneath and then I'll put a button down kind of work shirt. Like maybe a dark chambray or some kind of a, something that can cover my sleeves because you're out, or cover my arms, because you're out in the sun, sun's beating down on you, don't want to get that sunburn. So having that collar and having those sleeves to keep from insects and sun, so helpful. And then if I need to stay and there's a flip happening at the reception or something like that I can pop that one off and it's usually dirty and yucky. And I can have my cute little sparkly shirt underneath with the black pants, switch out the sneakers or the boots for just, like a little flat in the car. That's my quick, quick switch on event day. So I hope that helps whenever you're deciding what would be helpful to wear and what would be most efficient for you to wear on work days.

How To Hire and Work with Freelancers

In this article, I will address a few of these questions and give you my experience both as a business owner who has hired help and as a working freelance designer. Many questions can arise such as — where do I find people? How do I best manage them? How do I give over my creative and process? We'll focus on the aspect of being a business owner and hiring and managing freelance designers.

Growing Your Team

Sophie talks about the decision making behind adding two new people to her team. She shares what made her come to the conclusion she needed extra help, and what it's been like since she hired them on.