How to With Heather

Reproducing Dream Designs For The Real World

I know you were glued to Facebook and Instagram back in July, enjoying all the posts from the American Institute of Floral Designers’ Annual Symposium held in Washington, DC. (Because I was doing it too!) Were they not spectacular?

Didn’t they make you drool?! Oh, to be able to do that kind of work for clients! But let’s face it; clients don’t generally order over-the-top giant designs. So what do you do with your new found excitement of advanced floral techniques? There are several ways you can use all the exciting ideas you have now seen at various floral events.


If you are lucky enough to have a storefront, make one of those showstoppers for your window! Create something lavish and dramatic to wow your passersby. These designs may not sell but, if you bring in new clients or book a bride impressed with your skills , then you have won the war! That window space is an invaluable tool. It is so important, as it makes the first impression of your shop. So make it count!

Secondly, let’s talk about the inside of your shop. Have you given much thought to your consultation table? Enhancing it with a jaw-dropping centrepiece or garland can nudge a client to sign on the dotted line. One of my favourite designs from a recent AIFD Symposium was a (pictured, right) table Jenny Thomasson, AIFD, PFCI, EMC, designed during her stage presentation in 2015. It made such an impression on me that I went home and built a smaller version for my wedding room. The intention was to use it to wow my clients and get 100% of all event proposals. Well, by golly, if I did not sell that table to one of my clients! Can you believe it!?

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You can also incorporate advanced techniques from AIFD, the Canadian Academy of Floral Arts, Fleurs de Villes, etc., into your daily work. Perhaps just that one decorative detail can separate you from the next guy! At a show a few years ago, I saw a florist decorate the leaves of an orchid with rhinestones and pearls. So now I add rhinestone hearts on the leaves when I have an anniversary order. Clients love it and it makes me a bit different from competitors. I also like to wrap the root ball of orchids in moss and lay it on the top of the container (a tip I got from Hitomi Gilliam during her Neotropical design show) and that is selling like hotcakes on my website!


We florists are a very imaginative bunch of people. Remember, you do not have to replicate what you see exactly. But using elements from the creative designs at the forefront of our industry, you will get more for your investment of attending design programs, and you can bring in a bit of the bacon to boot!

Heather de Kok
Heather de Kok AAF, AIFD, PFCI is the owner of Heather de Kok Floral Design and Grower Direct in Edmonton, AB. She also founded The Maple Leaf Cup.

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