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Vancity Vendor – Blooms & Beyond

June 8th, 2012 by Jeannine

Vancity Vendor: Blooms & Beyond

Becoming a floral designer was never in the plans for Barb Konrad, she simply just fell into it, fell in love with it, and never turned back! She became a certified floral designer at the University of the Fraser Valley and worked for a couple years at a busy flower shop before opening her own business, Blooms & Beyond, in January of 2007. It’s been 5 years and she’s still going strong!

Blooms & Beyond is based in Aldergrove and they provide fresh floral arrangements for weddings and other special occasions. They create bouquets & corsages for the ladies, boutonnieres for the gents, arrangements for your ceremony or reception decor, and more! Barb says her creativity allows her to easily bring your vision to reality, but she is also inspired by designs she sees in the media and floral design shows. To add pizzazz to your bouquet, Barb has a large selection of embellishments at her disposal, such as diamond wire, rhinestones, beads, pins, ribbon, and feathers, just to name a few. The great news? She says many of them can be incorporated into your bouquet inexpensively! Blooms & Beyond offers free delivery with a minimum $350 order to a single location in close proximity to their studio and varying rates depending on location, anywhere in Metro Vancouver. Great customer service is of utmost importance to her so setup of your flowers is included in your quote. She’ll even pin the boutonnieres and corsages on those who need them!

Be sure to like her Facebook page to see more of her beautiful work. She also makes announcements on there as to when you can meet her at events or even showcase some promotions!

A Few Words With Barb…

What flowers would you suggest for brides with lower budgets and why?
“Some of the most economical and versatile flowers available year round are standard and miniature carnations, alstroemeria and many chrysanthemum varieties such as daisy, spider, cushion and button mums. All of these flowers come in a wide range of colors and perform very well in many types of arrangements. Tulips are also great for value, but are limited to season. Larger blooms such as hydrangeas, Asiatic and Oriental lilies, or standard size gerbera daisies are also pretty good for availability year round. Although they do cost more per stem, you need less blooms because of their size. The same is true for dahlias and peonies, but the local (& more affordable) ones are very seasonal.”

How do you stay competitive when it comes to pricing?
“My motto is to keep flowers affordable for everyone without compromising on excellence or a client’s personal preferences. However, I know I’m not the lowest in my pricing and I’m far from the highest. I will ask my colleagues from time to time what they charge for certain items and we’re all pretty much in the same ballpark. Location is key and I know that most clients here in the Fraser Valley won’t pay the prices that high end designers charge, and so I’ve had to adjust accordingly without underselling my exerptise, abilities and product quality.”

What sets you apart from others in the same field?
“Not all floral designers are keen on the detail that wedding work entails. But this is what I love about my craft and I think it’s the little things that can bring a unique quality to any composition. Also because mine is a small business, I’m able to give more time and attention to a client with a more personalized approach to services. It begins with welcoming them into my living room as guests for their free consult. But probably what’s rare to none in my industry are the complimentary services I’m able - and very willing – to give when I deliver the flowers pre ceremony. I figure that since I’m already at the venue, I may as well flower everybody up so they’re ready to roll for ’show time’. I find it’s appreciated and I sincerely enjoy the interaction!”

What do you enjoy most about your job?
“Wow, where do I begin? It’s a given that I adore flowers and that, combined with the gift of creativity, has got to be tops. I get so excited when it all comes together and I see the finished product myself. Oh, and what’s really neat is that no two weddings are the same because the combinations are endless! Other highlights are meeting with a bride for the first time to learn about her wishes, and then to present the bouquet to her when I have the opportunity. That’s probably the most rewarding!”

What was the most unique arrangement you’ve created for a wedding?
“That’s easy. It’s the ’September Whimsy’ bouquet. The bride wanted something unique and her taste is whimsical. She was quite specific about certain things, but also gave me creative license {yay!!}. The floral content and embellishments were actually very inexpensive. Rather, the time I put into this piece {some ended up being free} probably added the most value. But I was in my element in adding the details such as ‘water drops’ (aka pearls) on the flowers and on the branches of curly willow. And no, the green part is not broccoli {grin}. It is Queen Anne’s Lace that I color enhanced slightly.”

What are your favourite flowers to work with and why?
“To me all flowers have their own intrinsic value whether it’s a simple daisy or an exotic gardenia. But I do have my personal favorites. Callas for their simplistic style, grace and elegance. Tulips for their easy flow and shape. And I’ve really taken a shine to lisianthus for their charm and vintage appeal, as well as their gorgeous colours.”

Describe a real life situation when you had to deal with a low budget bride. How did you make her dream bouquet come true?
“I do recall a bride who came for a consult and gave me a magazine photo of a bouquet that she wanted!!! It contained some of the ‘cadillacs’ in flowers and it really was to die for. Sadly, her entire floral budget was not nearly enough for that one piece alone and I had to burst her bubble. I actually spoke with the designer of the bouquet who confirmed it’s high price tag. I explained to the bride that if she was able to extend her budget a little I could give her a similar look with the same color palette & textures, but that I would need to modify much of the content to keep it affordable for her. She was able to invest a bit more, and this is what I did for her at a fraction of the price. She loved it & that so made my day!”

If you had to make a bridal bouquet for $50, what flowers would it include?
“A $50 bouquet could be comprised of any number of flowers. But using a single flower type en masse is the most cost effective and also looks impressive. For example, I could put together a generous hand tie of just alstroemerias, a beautiful hand tie of fluffy carnations, or a big ball of hydrangea blooms. Greens can accent the flowers if desired. And adding inexpensive embellishment such as gem picks, pearl pins, wire or feathers could be the icing on the cake.”

If you had one piece of advice for a bride and groom, what would it be?
“Not all couples share the same priorty when it comes to flowers. But I do say to clients quite often that “flowers are an investment towards visual memories of an event you plan for once in your life. If the flowers look fabulous & the photography captures those beautiful images – even the small stuff – that’s one of the things you have left of your magical day. So make your flowers count as affordably as you possibly can!”

To contact Barb, visit her website.
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All photos provided by Blooms & Beyond.

Vendor prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are accurate to the date published.

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