Have you ever really thought when purchasing your flowers, where have these florals come from? Have you considered that the cheap roses that you just purchased at the grocery store were flown half way around the world. That these florals were harvested by under paid workers, sometimes in very poor work conditions, that they have been sprayed with unknown chemicals, and handled by so many hands it is hard to track? Well, maybe not, it is a lot to think about, but, maybe it is time we do.
There is a way you can purchase your flowers that affords you such knowledge, it is called the slow flower movement. It is a way of purchasing florals that contribute back to your local economy, allows you to know where exactly your flowers are coming from, how far they have travelled, when they were harvested, by whom, with a gaurentee to be the freshest floral product you have ever experienced. But, you may ask, why is she talking about this now?
As many of you know, who follow me and are our regular customers, I am not only a florist, a business owner, a mother, and a wife, but I am also a student. Currently, I am on my final two courses for my Business diploma before going on to my full B-Commerce degree. I took my business course after someone suggested to me that "I had no idea how to run a business", after owning my own floral shop for 7 years. So I thought, what have I missed and I wanted to be sure I was not conducting XQZT Floral Design on a whim.
So started my journey at Fanshawe College as a business student in 2016, 4 years later and I am finally going to graduate. But, before that happens, I have two major final assignments that I must complete, an accumulation of all the skills I learned while taking my courses. Of all things, one of them is creating a business plan, and the other is conducting secondary marketing research to develop a business. True to my floral passion roots, I decided to do my business plan for a new farmer florist business and the secondary marketing research on the demand for a CAS bouquet program in Oxford and Norfolk county.
The reason for these two topics is that I am also very passionate about where my floral selections are coming from for the shop. In recent years, I have been doing more and more local sourcing for our floral creations and been leaning toward providing more sustainable, ethical, locally grown and harvested florals. This often means that two to three days a week, I am out at our local growers gathering florals to bring into the shop. In the summer, when the field flowers are ready, the trips increase and so do the varities of florals we are able to offer. These trips are within Oxford, Norfolk, Haldimand and Elgin County. On the rare occasion, sometimes to Middlesex County to get a few tantilizing blooms not available as close to home. All in all, if I can purchase locally grown flowers, they will be in our cooler at XQZT Floral Design. We love incorporating these blooms into our designs or even selling them by the bunch for our customers to use in their own DIY projects. It is an aspect of the business that I have become so driven toward that we have even started our own garden of fresh cut flowers.
Last year, we started our own garden of annuals, including Zinnias, dahlias, asters, sun flowers, bells of ireland, and galdiolus. On the property as well, there are also several perennial beds that we harvest from that include hosta's, peonies, holly, hydrangea, lily of the valley, and many others. These florals add new textures and colour to our designs and have become an exciting part of our creations. Never mind that it has created a bonding experience for myself, my husband, my kids and their Grandparents as we all work together to tend to the flowers. Riley, our youngest was even able to enter one of the dahlia's we grew into the Norfolk County Fair and received a fourth place ribbon for the bloom. She assures me that this year she is going for that first place ribbon and wants to grow some of the dinner plate dahlias. She says "go big or go home", and that she knows that the huge dahlias will "dress to impress". I will let you know how we make out at this years county fair when it comes along.
This spring we plan to plant more perrenials and annuals adding more native and heirloom blooms.to our selections.
As part one of where do my flowers come from, you can now answer that you can purchase locally grown flowers at XQZT Floral Design, and you now know why I am asking this question too.
I remember my first decoration day as a florist, 16 years ago now. I was working at Newman Flowers with Wayne and Jane Newman, Carol, Lynn, Lori, and Joanne. I had no idea what decoration day meant, or what is was all about when it came to providing flowers and especially glads, but I was educated quickly.
I remember when the glads came in, there were thousands of them, and they all had to processed and then grouped into pre-orders for dozens, dozen containers, dozen and a half containers, and mixed glad and mum containers. It was an awesome sight to behold, all of the flowers ready to be placed at cemeteries across several counties, in memory of those who have passed before us.
It is an area tradition that is just as important today as it was when I started 16 years ago. It is a tradition that adds a meaningful bond between ourselves and those who we now only have memories of. Memories honoured by the flowers that are laid at the markers; they are placed as a sign of respect and of love for those we have lost.
This year things are going to be a little different in the Town of Tillsonburg, as one of our long time floral providers of glads, and all things related to decoration day is no longer able to provide these services. Our local gorcery store that had thousands of glads come in every year has shut down, while there are still flowers avaialable at the store, the full-service option is no longer a part of the floral department, so pre-ordering galds is not an option this year with them. I am, at this point, unsure if they are even going to have glads in the store for a cash and carry option. Which I know will leave a lot of people scrambling to find a floral shop to fill the void. XQZT Floral is here to help balance the impact the loss of the gorcery store may have on customers.
XQZT Floral has provided Decoration Day tributes since we started our retail shop 11 years ago. We have sourced from local farms over the years and are proud to say that the glads we provide have been grown right here in Oxford and Norfolk county.
Previously, we have always taken orders for galds, containers, and fresh memory vases just by phone or in person at the store, but this year, to help customers find a quick and convenient source, we are offering this service on-line as well. Under the Decoration Day tab on our web-site you can pre-order items needed for Decoration Day. Listed on the site are galds by the dozens, containers, fresh memory vases, permanent botanical memory vases and permanent botanical stone toppers as well. Please note that our permanent botanical items are one of a kind, hand-crafted, unique designs that are not repeated. However, if you require two permanent botanical designs with similar attributes those orders can be called in or ordered in person at the store.
Please take some time to look through our page at the tributes and flower XQZT Floral has to offer. We are honoured to help you with your Decoration Day needs as you commemorate those who have gone, but are always in our thoughts.
DECORATION DAY LIST
July 29, 2019: Lynedoch
Aug 4: Langton
Aug 11: Burford, Kelvin, Norwich, Rhineland, Springfield, Windham Centre
Aug 18: Tillsonburg, Aylmer, Bethel, Bookton, Calton. Lynville, Mt.Elgin, Orwell, Otterville, Richmond, Springford, Straffordville, Tillsonburg, Waterford, New Road, Springwater
Aug 25: Courtland, Guysborough, Simcoe, Vienna, Richmond Bayham
Sept 01: Delmer, Eden, Port Burwell, Woodstock
Why Should You Send Flowers?
There are a lot of meaningful gifts and reasons to give, as a florist though I maybe slightly biased. I believe that flowers are the perfect gift for every occassion, as our slogan says "XQZT Floral, making your life moments XQZT".
Flowers are the perfect extension to your life moments. Whether it be the birth of a baby, the celebration of a birthday, a thinking of you, get well soon, or an anniversary, there is no lack of reasons to send flowers. The best way to get some brownie points is to send that "just because" bouquet, and make sure to send it to the office so it gets the ample attention the gesture deserves.
My biggest pet peeve is the one phrase I hear all the time, "but flowers do not last, they die", well they last longer then some other gifts. The last time I checked my meal out only lasted an hour, two hours at most, and 12 hours later it was evacuated entirly from my system, sometimes with not so great results. So then why not flowers that could last up to two weeks or more?
I am not saying that I do not enjoy a good meal out, heck anyone who knows me knows that I do, what I am saying is that despite the fact the flowers do die, they make a lasting impression. If they can also make a person feel better, the pick me up is well worth it.
I have always believed that flowers should be part of your life and that they should not cost a fortune to be a part of your life. They can be econimical for everyone and I am not meaning just by purchasing them at the gorcery store.
XQZT Floral runs a special weekly on Friday. These specials consist of locally supplied florals grown by farmers that I travel to myself in the early hours of the morning. Each week I feature a very economical bouquet, cut flowers, or design that are cost effective, and which benefits are well worth the stop by XQZT Floral Design. These little pick me ups, gifts, or what have you run from $10-$25.00 are sourced locally and sold locally. Therefore also making you feel good about supporting your local businesses and your local farmers, it is a win win all around.
Check this out.
I saw this posted on Monday Morning Flowers and Balloon Co. page and I just had to share it
92% of women remember the last time they received flowers.
88% of survey respondents say a gift of flowers changes their mood for the better.
83% say they like to receive flowers unexpectedly.
86% say receiving flowers makes them feel special.
99% say that a person who gives flowers is thoughtful.
89% believe the giver is sophisticated.
So the next time your are searching for something to give someone and flowers are mentioned please do not think "Flowers just die". There are a lot of great memories created with floral arrangements and the beauty that they can bring to the world. Bring that beauty into someone's life and send them flowers today.
In 2009 we started XQZT Floral Design in a retail location downtown Tillsonburg. The pictures above are from that first year. Riley and Bronwyn on the pumpkins that they grew that year, Quinn at his first Santa Claus Parade in Tillsonburg, and finally little Miss.Riles outside the first floral cooler that we ever built. I love all of these pictures because it reminds me of where we started and how we have grown as a business and as a family, my kids are the perfect measurement.
Fast forward to 2017, we are now in our third location and in the process of making it the new home of XQZT Floral Design. And here are my kids now, although they have actually grown again since this picture was taken in June.
As our shop has evolved our kids have grown, but from the start they have been a part of XQZT Floral Design. It is a huge challenge being a mother and raising kids in a floral shop, but when I look back I would not change it for the world. That is a lie, there are a few things that I would change.
I have learned a few things from owning a floral shop and raising kids. Being a parent is all trial and error, and there is no manual for it. As parent's I know that we all struggle with is getting information about "how did your day go?" from our kids. Often the answer we get is "fine", like that answer tells us anything and everything all in one. It is the one size fits all answer. I know when I say "fine" it is not by any means "fine", just ask my husband.
This catch all phrase is one I know I have unwillingly passed down to my children, and it can mean anything and again everything. The floral shop taught me a new way to communicate with my kids, to the point where they are actually eager to tell me how their day went and now say to me "ask me how my day went?".
How did we go from a single answer of "fine", to them wanting me to ask how their day went? Simple. We used a rose.
Each day, each child gets asked three questions, "what was your rose today?", "what was your thorn today?", "what is your bud for tomorrow?".
The rose is something good that happened to them or even someone else during the day, or something that they did that they were proud of. It is a moment during the day that they want to share with you. It makes your child think, it makes them open up, and then you actually have a chance to interact and ask more questions.
The thorn is something that happened that they did not like, that made them feel bad, that maybe made someone else feel bad. It can be a part of their day that just did not go right. It allows your child to express frustration, but also provides an avenue for the two of you to work through it constructively. Sometimes there will be no thorns and that is amazing, but on the days that there are, would you not rather know about it so you have a chance to address it?
The bud gives your child a chance to elaborate further by saying what they are excited for, or what is happening the next day. It is a great way to learn about what is happening in your kids classroom, with their friends, with their lives.
I have been using this method for the last three years and it has been a great way to open up communication between my kids and I. It gives us a chance to connect one on one as each child takes a turn telling me about their day, and I get a glimpse of what is happening in their lives.
Running a floral shop is often just that, running, and taking the time to listen can be hard, especially when you get the one size fits all answer day after day. Using the rose has been a great tool to have in my belt and I hope it may work for you too.
And here you thought roses were just a pretty flower, who knew they could also be a pathway to creating great communication.
What was your rose today?
What was your thorn today?
What is your bud for tomorrow?
Thank you for taking the time to visit our brand new web-site. To be honest, this is the first time that we have actually created a site and I have taken on the task of doing so myself. Like my blog title says everyday I learn something new. Today, it is all about starting a blog and a web-site. I wanted to take XQZT Floral to the next step and learn what I need to do to help XQZT Floral excel in this new on line adventure. We have had a Facebook page since 2007, but I have resisted creating a web page due to the fact that several floral web pages are cookie cutter replica's of each other. I have been to many a florist web page and have seen the same designs on all of their pages over and over again which is okay for them, but those who know us know no two designs are a like from XQZT Floral. We create unique individualized designs that reflect a personal sentiment or a personal life moment, we want our creations to be a personal reflection. So, you can see where my hang up is. How do you create a web-site that highlights your ability to convey personal messages through flowers, but also allows people to see the work you have created?
I am still not sure exactly how to do that , but I am working on it by starting this right now. I also wanted to make sure that I got this up and running as I had posted about offering a Breakfast Club and night classes for the up-coming winter season and several of you have indicated a keen interest in participating. I have added a page title "Classes" that has the information on it. Please take a look and contact us if you are interested.
I will be posting regularly on here about all kinds of floral related things. If you have questions you want me to answer on flowers feel free to comment.
Mandy Babbey has a drive to educate individuals on the world of floral design through what she calls a floracation. By offering classes, as well as public and private speaking engagements, she hopes to expand the floral industry into each and every ones homes by sharing her passion for flowers.