Last week saw the fabulous Flowerona Social Media for Florists workshop return to Brixton East for another day packed to the gunnels with creativity, colour, flowers, fun and some really lovely florists. As always, we had an absolute ball: the food was incredible, the venue is always such an inspirational space to be and as a true flower fanatic, it’s always wonderful to spend the day immersed in such a wonderful industry. Obviously, along the way, we managed to fit some learning in amongst all the feasting! Here’s a taster of how the day went… Huge thanks to the fabulous Katie Spicer for such beautiful photographs, you really managed to capture the essence of the day.
A relaxed start to the day (for our guests at least, luckily Katie didn’t capture us running around like loons finishing off our last minute on-the-morning prep!) with coffee, tea and herbal tea in my favourite part of the venue. Downstairs is literally flooded with light and makes for a great place to welcome our students. Our fabulous Flowerona intern, Steph Eastwood, did a wonderful job with the flowers. I love working with Steph because I can literally just wave my arms around and sketch/ describe what we’re aiming for and she just magics up the most beautiful floral arrangements. How cute are the posies on the wall? We were going for a sort of modern take on flying ducks!
This is the first time we’ve used candles for a workshop and I love them! It just felt right for a chilly winter’s day. Each time I plan the theme for a workshop I’m inspired by something, and this time it was the fresh, calm and clarity of a winter snowdrop.
Doesn’t the room just look beautiful? Those of you with a nervous disposition, ignore the trailing cable. We MUST sort something out for that next time… We like to give out nice handouts at our workshop: no A4 photocopied notes for us! Each florist took home a pack of specially printed postcards: one for each of the social channels we covered as well as a few extras, they make such a nice keepsake from the day.
On the backs of the chairs were the goody bags, and oh my, were the florists spoiled! We were lucky enough to be sent some really generous gifts from our lovely sponsors: a huge thank you to Cutture, Geodesis, Higgedy Garden, Jane Means, Lancaster and Cornish, Original Beans, Pipii, Serax and True Grace.
And so after some introductions it was time to begin. One of the things that I love about the Flowerona workshops is the way that everyone is so supportive of each other, and we tend to get a real mix of florists, from some just starting out, some at the very top of their game and everything in between. It’s this mix and the informal networking in between each learning session that I think makes the workshops so special.
Both Rona and I feel passionately that to stand out, gain traction and be compelling on social media, you need focus. An understanding of what makes you different, what your customers love about you and the message you want to send out. And so the first session is always about helping our florists gain focus around their brand. This starts out with a series of exercises before we move on to creating a visual prompt: the mood board.
It was so inspiring to literally hear pennies drop and see faces light up as they began to build their mood boards and articulate what made their brand special. I can’t wait to build on all of this foundation work in our branding workshop: we’re going to be showing everyone how to translate this focus into a website that really sells and a powerful brand identity.
Mood boarding is such a fun and creative activity, but it’s more than that: it brings clarity, understanding and acts as a visual prompt long after the workshop is over.
I loved how each one was different but that each told a story about the florist and her take on her craft.
Food is always a big part of our workshops and our chef, Maddie Hatton, absolutely excelled herself, as always. Those orange and passionfruit cakes were delicious and I’m afraid I also ‘had’ to taste the date and oat slices too which were to die for. Having been up since 5.45am I was in desperate need of some sustenance and Maddie’s elevenses certainly hit the spot!
After coffee and mingling it was back upstairs for Rona’s twitter and Facebook guidance. My goodness, she really knows her stuff. Every workshop we run I come home with notes of things I want to implement. Rona works really hard on all of her social channels and really deserves all her success: she’s a very inspiring lady.
Lunch was as gorgeous as ever. Herb marinated filet of beef, grilled rosemary polenta and heaps of healthy salads to keep things light and wholesome.
I was so disappointed not to have kept room for the cheese. The ash goats’ cheese on the right of the picture is made in the village next to my parents and is something I always buy when we have people over for dinner, it’s so delicious. I’ve never tried it with honey but Maddie is a genus so I’m sure it would be utterly gorgeous.
The lovely Graeme at Zest Flowers once again very generously sponsored the flowers for the workshop and we chose some real beauties: ranunculus, anemones, scented narcissi and two different eucalyptus. For the tables, we decided to go with something a bit different and were bowled over by the scent and beauty of these lily of the valley – plus, as a bonus, we get to plant them after!
Throughout the day we made sure there was lots of time to answer questions and provide one to one feedback – I certainly gave quite a few website critiques on tiny mobile screens at the end of the day which was fun!
After a really fun and inspiring day we headed downstairs for cocktails and a chance to chat everything over. Obviously then there was a whole heap of tidying up to be done, before finally collapsing home at around 10pm, but what an incredible day!
Can you believe that this is the third workshop that Rona and I have run together? Something that started as a ‘what if’ conversation over dinner has turned into something so special that I feel very lucky to be a part of. We have a growing team (thank you, Steph!) and some really exciting plans for this year! By the way, Rona created a lovely behind the scenes video of both the setup of the day and also some behind the scenes moments in this Flowerona Reflects video. And did you see the amazing video Duncan from McQueen’s shot of our last workshop back in October?
Other blog posts about the event
You’ll find Rona’s lovely post on the day here.
Fancy joining us on the next one?
Our next Social Media for Florists workshop takes place on Tuesday 20th October which seems like ages away, I know! But it’s scary how quickly these things come around isn’t it? Full details and booking on the Flowerona website. We are also running a Branding for Florists workshop on 25th March and there are a couple of spaces left – it’s ideal for those of you thinking of updating your website, launching a new business or wanting to win more profitable work. Again, you’ll find all the details on Rona’s website.
Images: Katie Spicer