ALEXANDRIA, VA — All five champion floral designers participating in the Society of American Florists’ (SAF’s) VaseOff! All-Stars Challenge made flower enthusiasts, bloggers and florists ooh, aah and click, but when the contest wrapped, Bryan Swann of Karin’s Florist in Vienna, Va., came out on top.
“A dear friend taught me one of the best life lessons, which is to live every day to the fullest. Embrace life,” Swann said describing his winning floral arrangement, “Outta the Box.” “As floral artists, we are able to convey that lesson through the beauty of flowers.”
The contest attracted significant interest online. In fact, visitor traffic to aboutflowersblog.com, SAF’s consumer blog, increased 389 percent during the two-week VaseOff! All-Stars Challenge and resulted in nearly 3.1 million social media impressions as people voted for the floral design that most inspires a friend to live life to the fullest, depicting the notion, “Live Colorfully – Dare to be Different.”
“Our goal is to use social media to show consumers the artistry and expertise of professional florists,” said Jennifer Sparks, SAF Vice President of Marketing. “Through this VaseOff! Challenge on our blog, as well as outreach via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and partnerships with influential bloggers, consumers easily saw and shared our message that professional florists create inspiring floral designs.”
The five winning florists from previous VaseOff! contests participated in the All-Stars Challenge, the grand finale of SAF’s online floral design competitions. SAF posted photos of the entries on aboutflowersblog.com, where consumers voted by clicking the Facebook “like” button next to their favorite entry, which automatically posted an update on their Facebook wall so their friends would see the floral message in their newsfeeds.
Among the comments posted about Outta the Box: “This arrangement sends a message of true taste and beauty. Class, consistency and creativity.” Another comment reads: “WOW! Love the colors, choice of flowers, the design and execution, but the little detail of the finely woven ‘ribbon’ of grass really pushes this over the top for me!” And: “Absolutely gorgeous. I love the symmetry and flow of the arrangement and the colors.”
Sparks said, “All of the entries showcased the theme ‘Live Colorfully – Dare to be Different’ and represent the artistry, expertise, quality and customization that you get from working with a professional florist.”
SAF thanks the other winners of the past contests for participating in the VaseOff! All-Stars Challenge:
- Walter Fedyshyn, AIFD, PFCI, of Phillip’s Flowers & Gifts in Chicago, and his entry Art Pop
- Rowena Johnson of Rochette’s Florist in Farmville, Va., and her Color Your World
- Tony Medlock, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, of PJ ‘s Flowers & Events in Phoenix, and his Flowing River
- Coby Neal, AIFD, PFCI, of The Flower Studio in Austin, Texas, and his A Case for Life
Along with SAF and each of the VaseOff! contestants promoting the Challenge, so were several influential bloggers. SAF partnered with Stefanie Fauquet of Mommy Musings, Bethany Herwegh of The Glamorous Housewife, Kelly Stilwell of Virtually Yours, and Linda Vertlieb of Frugal Philly Mom.
“Their participation helped get our messages out to more consumers about the ‘wow’ factor professional florists provide,” Sparks said. “And it introduced their thousands of followers to our social media channels.”
The theme of the VaseOff Challenge, Live Colorfully – Dare to be Different, was derived from one of the features in SAF’s new Live Like A Flower public relations program. Check out how SAF is promoting flowers to consumers through the Live Like A Flower series and members can access for tools and advice to capitalize on this program to promote their business.
VaseOff! is part of SAF’s Consumer Marketing Program, which uses public relations and social media to promote positive messages about flowers, plants and florists. SAF marketing programs are possible thanks to the SAF PR Fund, made up of retail member dues and voluntary contributions by wholesalers, suppliers, importers and growers. Since its inception in 2001, PR Fund programs have generated more than 1.1 billion consumer impressions. Find information about the SAF PR Fund, its programs and research studies, as well as tips and materials for shop promotions at .