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The EMC Go Live Event Story #2

Jul 29, 2021

Where were YOU on 13 & 14 July 2021? 

I know where I was. At EMC Go Live Event by Sara Marie Andrews.

I felt that one of the comments on Chat encapsulated everything that we had experienced during the day…..’ The passion conveyed by all the presenters to share their knowledge! The platform was exciting and focussed on sharing and learning! The whole programme is about teaching and really a prime example of networking for all across the world’

A wonderful way to end the first day prior to the networking sessions, almost completing the circle of communicating the thoughts and methods of integration and creativity back to the initial lecture by Tomas; and, certainly, giving me so much to consider overnight and the deep desire to be involved in what would take place on Day 2! 

Day 2 has arrived, and the excitement and expectation of what might be happening throughout the day is building!  The welcome from Tomas and Christi is warm and effervescent, as though they too have high expectations of the way we will be taken through integration, communication, commitment, connexion, interaction and duality, along with further emphasis of becoming conscious creatives.

This feeling was not quashed in any way by the totally professional, emotional and inspirational demonstration by Tomas, entitled ‘Where creativity meets you.’  This was all about the totally committed teacher getting his message across on how you can be both artistic and commercial, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. His stunning designs illustrated his message completely and also demonstrating his mantra of adding value to what you do. 

Every botanical element, mechanic and technique was given a reason for being there, together with the items picked up in shopping trips to supermarkets and DIY stores and repurposed – so exciting and something that it was obvious his audience were taking onboard, especially the comment that was made in the Chat that…….’ I love all of this because for me it’s a very restful way to design. When my outcome is already determined before my hands touch the botanicals, then it just becomes easy’ and the undoubted wish from so many that they  wanted to go shopping with Tomas on their next trip to Belgium! 

The entire demonstration just reinforced Tomas’ desire to respect the world we live in, respect the environment and design with a concept in mind, perfectly illustrated in the stunning sympathy wreath, comprised of branches into which a collection of compatible plant material, using the kokedama technique, allowing the design to become a permanent memorial if placed on the grave and once again becoming a part of nature. Once again, the idea of what made a conscious creative came to the fore, with the idea of having an open mind, gaining knowledge to elevate power, to use mistakes as a learning curve by which to achieve an outcome and to inspire both designer and client, sometimes by using improvisation as a tool too.

What a truly inspirational way to lead off the sessions on the second day and on to the session by Arnold Wittkamp, founder of Thursd.  The video allowed us to see into the wholesale markets but also transported us to the flower farms in Kenya and a historical section to get the message across of how there must be an interconnection around the world, between breeders, growers, wholesalers, florists and clients, which is the ethos behind Thursd.  As it grows, they are actively seeking more bloggers from all areas to introduce new plants and flowers, new trends and concepts so that it becomes the ‘go to’ centre of information and inspiration for all those involved in floriculture. Looking positively towards the future, there was much discussion via Chat, when Arnold highlighted the problem of how to get the idea of buying flowers across to the younger members of the population, who are addicted to screen technology! NFTs were even mentioned, along with synergy to bring ideas together globally.  

The emotions and thoughts engendered by his presentation highlighted the importance of needing to keep a balance and to maintain the connexions being built during the event to enable the whole floral industry to grow and how important sustainability will become over the days, months and years ahead. The stimulation and thoughts promoted by this insightful session led to a growing feeling amongst the attendees that they could envisage a positive future, in which their business could prosper and flourish. 

Having looked at the global issues, once again the organisers had judged the mood of their audience correctly and we were taken to the inside of a florist’s shop in Belgium, where Charlotte Bhartolome welcomed us warmly into her domain and, with the assistance of her excellent translator, led us through her workshop entitled ‘Convince your customers with colours and trends'. 

A totally inspirational demonstration of using, repurposing and recycling materials to produce designs which are completely unique and showed Charlotte’s signature style to its maximum effect. Again, sustainability was to the fore and the use of colour was stunning. These were trends shown to perfection and also totally commercial for the florist to complete – a real sense of what all the attendees could take forward and use to their own advantage.

A feeling that was increased by the next session when we were viewers of the most remarkable collection of floral designers and teachers, Jan Van Doesburg, Frederic Dupre, Daniel Santamaria and Tomas discussing ‘Why should we be a conscious creative’.  These four giants of their chosen profession were able to communicate in such a way that we were included into the conversations and were allowed to enter their mindset; learning what makes them tick and the journeys that they have been on to reach this height of conscious creativity.  What a privilege and what a thought-provoking session! Yet again, there was the emphasis put on the importance of making mistakes and learning from them, as mistakes can become concepts and an open mindset leads to the creation of new ideas.

One of the many memories I will take from it is the way in which we learnt that Jan had been Tomas’ first teacher and mentor, was still his mentor but they now meet on an equal standing and have a full respect for each other and their progression to becoming conscious creatives. 

From this interaction between four leaders in their industry, we were taken into the wonderful photographic world of Alex Matieu, with his exhibition ‘Photographic Perspectives with Flowers’.  This, I believe, engendered more active participation via the Chat, than any of the other presentation. As he himself said, Alex has a myriad supply of top photographic equipment but chose to use his phone to produce photographs of designs completed by Diana, bringing it fully into the way many florists record their designs but then demonstrating so many techniques in which to improve the completed images and to showcase all the elements within their designs for their clients and viewers to see. 

Yet again, I am sure that the recording of this presentation will be revisited by many attendees so that they can put the suggestions into action in their everyday lives, especially with the way selling is turning more towards digital methods. Throughout his demonstration, he kept reminding his viewers that the outcome was not to make a beautiful technical photograph but to showcase the botanicals and the design to the highest possible standard using a relatively easy range of techniques with one light source and a phone – something that is easily accessible to the majority of his viewers, leaving me with the feeling that the photographs on websites will become so much better for many that watched, enjoyed and learnt so much in a relatively short amount of time.

Definitely a way to add value to your designs!  This led perfectly into the next session – Setting the wool standard: successful integration of 100% sustainable wool products into the floral industry, hosted by Felicitas Lehner, founder of Stylit. This was a highly professional presentation, covering all aspects of how the products have grown over the years, based on an unexpected synergy between floristry, weaving, carpets and 100% sheep’s wool.  This is a lady who is rightfully proud of the products and passionate about both sides of her life and family and has managed to integrate her loves completely.  She gave a full description of how they welcome a new top designer to the fold each year, to bring new insight and creativity into the production of new lines for the company to develop. 

By this time, the Chat area was almost overworking with questions about uses, supply and availability.  Everyone was buzzing with excitement and ideas. It was obvious that those who had not worked with any of the Lehner Wolle products previously could not wait for an opportunity to get their creative hands on it, to such an extent that by the end of the session, there was an agreement made by Felicitas and Oasis to look into a way in which it could be made more available to designers in the US and also the announcement by Felicitas that her second daughter was actively involved in the setting up of a digital programme by which the products can be sold online internationally, a very exciting step forward.

It was a sad moment when we had to say goodbye to this passionate, forward-thinking lady but the mood was immediately lifted by the expectancy engendered by the arrival on the digital stage of Tomasz Max Kuczynski for his demonstration ‘Unification of styles’. What a craftsman!  His precision in putting together structures to use in his designs was thought-provoking and truly inspirational, and the completed designs were absolutely stunning.  The use of wax on to oasis spheres led to so many questions erupting on the Chat that it was difficult to keep up with them.

It was obvious that the creatives watching him could not wait to be able to try this for themselves and the ideas kept coming as to how this technique could be used. The unification aspects were also very evident in the way he combined florals with non-florals, producing designs that were stunning, different, inspirational and very much of his signature style, as noted by a number on Chat.  A master of his art, he was able to transport us into his way of thinking and designing, and really showing us the conscious creative within. A fitting way to finalise the magical, inspirational, visual presentations out before us over the two days; but that was not the final session!

The very down to earth discussion that followed, led by Anahit Hakobyan, founder of “Viva La Flora Live’ podcasts; with Christi Lopez, a wedding and events designer as well as now running her Business Academy for Florists and having the position of COO for EMC; Tanus Saab from Brazil, who trained as an architect and landscape designer but now also works as an events designer; Sarah Campbell, who is a leading designer for luxury events and weddings all over the world; and, finally, Anuja Joshi, head of Interflora India and lead designer for many large weddings and corporate events.  What a wealth of talent, knowledge and expertise was gathered together for this last session entitled ‘Expanding Creativity through Small, Intimate Events’.  I was wondering how this group of ‘high-fliers’ were going to alter their mindset to respond to the title of the discussion until it became obvious this was something all of them had needed to do over the past two years, mainly due to the pandemic. 

Almost immediately, we learnt that everything had changed dramatically, especially in India, where they are still deep in their second wave of the pandemic and are now only just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  However, for the other four participants, weddings and events are beginning to happen again, often after many postponements and that the bride and groom still want to spend money on the flowers, even with only a very small number of guests, and wish their chosen florist to meet their dreams for something special and different, to surround them and their few family members and friends allowed in a small but beautiful floral experience. 

Tanus intrigued us all with his descriptions of weddings and events that had been moved from their pre-arranged venues in cities out into the countryside, into barns and other rural venues where the bridal party and guests could enjoy the outdoors. It is possible that his picturesque description of the countryside in Brazil has triggered a desire for many to go on a road trip to Brazil to see for themselves – we will just have to wait and see! Where this discussion could have triggered many emotions and negative feelings, it didn’t because all of those taking part had learnt to be flexible, listen to their clients and provide a meaningful and beautiful outcome to their desires, whilst maintaining profitability.  They could see a good future to come and managed to convey these positive emotions to the attendees, leaving us all with hope for the future of the floristry industry in its many guises.

Did I enjoy the event?  Yes, definitely!

Have I learnt from the event?  Yes, so much!

Have I been inspired?  Without a doubt!

Would I do it again? You try and stop me!  I know where I will be on the opening day of another EMC Live event. 

Do I feel that many more should have joined?  Again, without a doubt!  Your creativity will be stimulated and there is every possibility for you to grow your business to greater profitability, if you come with an open mindset and are willing to be flexible.

Just remember ….. MISS IT, MISS OUT! You certainly did this year!

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