Silk Sensation

Apr 24, 2011 3 Comments

Michele Errair founded Floral & Hearty Designs, Inc. in 1997 with the guidance and assistance of her father, Ron.

michele-errair

Photo by: Little's Photography

“I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, so from a young age I knew I wanted to have my own business someday,” Michele explains. “I went to college, got a Master of Science in Sports Administration and worked in the sports marketing industry for about five years. After working in that arena, I decided I’d rather continue working really hard and know at the end of the day  I’m the one who will benefit. From the ages of 5-10, we lived on the second floor of an old farmhouse in Michigan and had the town’s flower shop downstairs.  There were always people around and deliveries to make!  When the opportunity presented itself, I knew it was time to go for it! I really enjoy what I do and most of the time it doesn’t even feel like work!”

 

The Fabric of a Flower shop

Michele began selling silk flowers and trees in Michigan in the early 90’s.  Her company, “No Green Thumb Required,” traveled to arts and craft shows in the northeast.  Her goal back then was to earn enough money for graduate school.  When she and her father started Floral & Hearty, they decided to specialize in dramatic, one-of-a-kind silk floral designs, silk trees and decorative home accessories. Michele’s primary focus is sales and marketing but she also does on-site consultations and her own design work.

floral&hearty

“Our goal is for our pieces to be the “WOW” of any room,” Michele says. “Just as accessories make an outfit, they also complete rooms. Our designs can be used as interior accents for homes, offices, restaurants, hotels, yachts, social events, churches or any other interior environment. We consider our arrangements to be artwork.”

One service that makes Floral & Hearty stand apart from the rest is customization. Michele or Ron, as the customization professionals, determine what a customer is picturing for their silk arrangements by learning where the arrangement will be placed, what the purpose of the arrangement is, how much room is available, which flowers, plants or greens the customer loves, budget, timeframe and even the customer’s own personality. The more details Floral & Hearty get, the better they are able to design  a one-of-a-kind silk flower arrangement that will perfectly suit the customer’s space—and always in a timely and cost-effective manner.

floral&hearty

“We want to be absolutely sure our clients are going to enjoy their silk art piece for the many years that it will last,” Michele says. “So if there’s anything else they want to see modified or added, we want to know. Our job isn’t done until they can’t wait to look at it every single day.”

Fakin’ it to Make it

Floral & Hearty choose to work with silk floral arrangements for several reasons.

“Silks have been gaining in popularity in recent years,” Michele says. “One of the main reasons we chose them is they always look beautiful with minimal care required. For on-the-go decorators, silk flowers are perfect for not demanding attention like real flowers. Today’s silk flowers are high quality and durable and require only a dusting on occasion. I use Swiffer Dusters on my arrangements and they work perfectly.”

floral&hearty

Special Delivery! Tips from Floral & Hearty on Selecting Flowers

Michele shares her expert advice on the basics of floral arrangements:

“First, there are five main categories that we use to classify floral pieces.  These categories are based on the design or feel of the room the piece is being placed in. They are traditional, contemporary, transitional, oriental and garden or fresh. Each type has certain flowers which are associated with it. For each of the categories above, the most interesting, unique floral arrangements use combinations of different types of flowers. Focal flowers serve as the main attraction. They are the attention-getters in a design. A single stem can have one, two or three blossoms. Larger blossomed items usually have longer stems.

Intermediate flowers consist of two or three branched sections. Each branch can have several blossoms and perhaps a bud. The larger size can substitute as focal flowers in a medium or small arrangement.

Filler flowers can be used to fill in gaps and dress up appearance. They impart a delightful sprouting effect to the design.

Finally, there are grassy and decorative filler elements, such as grass, tall rushes, cattails, bamboo, berries… even feathers. There are no exact rules though since you can take traditional flowers and make them in a modern design.”

floral-&-hearty

A Bouquet of Do’s and Don’ts

In order to get the most of your silk floral arrangements, Michele suggests the following:

DO’S

Know what you like.  Be able to say yes/no and move on because you have to start somewhere!  When you work with an experienced professional, they should listen to you and be able to combine elements of what you like with what is stylish and what works in your space.

– Experiment with color! Silk flowers can “set off” an entire room and are one of the easiest, most effective accessories to change the feel of a room.  You can look at fabrics for inspiration to see how colors will blend.

Look for unique, orginal items.  Items sold at mass merchandisers are so common.  Why not use the usual for the unusual? Get creative with your containers and designs.

Know “Less is More”.  Most people over accessorize with silks and decorative items.  The key is to decorate, not fill.  After the focal point in a room is chosen, all of your accessories should enhance, not compete with it.

–  Focus on one space at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.  This will also help you eliminate choices that are not appropriate for the space you are working on.

 

DONT’S

Do not “match” your flowers to your room. The flowers should coordinate or “go with” the area.  Just because you have blue chairs, does not mean you need blue flowers! A great visual is to think of a woman dressed all in black who’s wearing a great pair of red heels.  Strategically placed pops of color is key.

– Do not choose quantity over quality. Concentrate on key spots first – you can always go back and add more arrangements later.  Your accents should be consistent with your furnishings.  For example, don’t put a $39.99 floral arrangement on a high end piece of furniture because it will end up making your furniture look like it goes with a $39.99 arrangement and not the gorgeous piece that it is.

– Do not go shopping without measurements.  It will waste your time and make you more confused/frustrated.  Since there are endless possibilities with silks, when you know what the size of your space is, it will help eliminate choices.

Do not buy a lot of little pieces.  Scale is just as important as style and accessories without substance will get lost in large rooms.  It’s much better to get larger key pieces that decorate, and not fill a space.


What colors compliment each other, which don’t?

There are three main schemes we use when working with florals:

1.  Monochromatic – uses different shades of a single color such as red, dark red and pink.  This gives a clean, elegant and balanced look.

2.  Analogous – uses colors and their shades that are next to each other on the color wheel such as red and orange.  This is richer with more variety than a monotone scheme.

3.  Complementary – uses colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as blue and orange.  This contrasts cool against warm colors.

floral-&-hearty

What flowers look good with different color rooms?

“For neutral colors (tans, beige), I would say reds and oranges if you want to make a statement, or white if you want the piece to be more subtle,” Michele advises. “For bolder color rooms, you can use bold color flowers as well, i.e. if you have a blue room, I’d suggest yellows, pinks, whites.”

“It really depends what other colors you are using for accessories in the room.  For instance, if burgundy is your accent color, I would suggest an orange/red arrangement.  I wouldn’t suggest burgundy flowers.  Your flowers should always be a coordinating color of your main accent color and main color of the room – they do not have to match!”

 

Decorate with Class but Save your Cash!

Finally, Michele offers some advice on saving money when purchasing silk floral arrangements.

1. Use One of Your Own Containers – By using a container you already own, you will eliminate the cost of purchasing a new container and can use the money saved to buy higher quality silk florals and/or have a trained designer create a customized arrangement just for you.

2. Keep it Real – Professional silk floral designers are able to guide you into making choices that are “botanically” correct. In other words, use the individual floral stems the way they grow naturally and don’t be “matchy-matchy.” You will get the most use from silk florals that compliment your area and not match it. When most people purchase fresh flowers they don’t even think about that there is red, orange, yellow and purple in the bouquet and if it matches their decor. They just see beautiful colors – the same should be true with silk flowers.

3. Time = Money – With silk florals, you are guaranteed to save time on cutting, watering, arranging, and cleaning up dead petals and leaves! Not to mention the time saved running back and forth to your florist and/or a home improvement store’s garden department.

Get Your Floral On

Floral & Hearty is now offering an evening of fun and entertainment to groups and individuals.  During the demonstrations you will learn about the art of creative floral designing for your home or office.

Refreshments can be served and Michele and her experts will raffle off a completed piece to one lucky attendee each evening. The demonstrations are perfect for Board Meetings, charity events, PTA meetings, book groups and themed night outs.  Contact Michele at floralhearty@aol.com for more information.

 

Written and edited by: Sherry Liantonio

FLORAL & HEARTY

www.floralhearty.com

 

 


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