Notice Board

 Welcome to the BFA notice board.

Wedding Flowers magazine seasonal flowers


The next issue of the Wedding Flowers and Accessories magazine will be for June and July.  We at the BFA are delighted to continue our working relationship with the magazine and compile the popular 'SEASONAL FLOWER PAGES'.

We wanted to share with you the list that will appear in the magazine sold in countless outlets nationwide.

All the flowers have been checked with leading experts, growers and distributors to ensure their availability throughout this 'seasonal period'.  

  • Lisianthus
  • Agapanthus
  • Roses
  • Echeveria/succulents
  • Sweet peas
  • Hydrangea
  • Corn flower
  • Clematis
  • Ammi visnaga
  • Lilies

If you missed the previous issue's pages, here they are;

Once we have the artwork through for the current issue we will share it with you.

As you can see the BFA logo is a promenant part of the page.  Do you have your membership decal in the window? On you website? On wedding documents? Email footers? The logo can be downloaded from the member area.

Public recognition of the BFA is constantly growing, ensure you use this to your best advantage!

Mother’s Day Survey Results 2017

Mother’s Day Survey Results

Thank you to everyone that took the time to enter our survey for Valentine’s Day. It makes really interesting reading.

Below is a brief summary of the results.

How did your 2017 Mother's Day sales compare to those last year?

32.6 % of our florists had a slight increase in comparison to previous years where there was a significant increase. The comparison between the significant and the slight was however only 6% difference. Not enough to cause a panic.

A similar answer on the 2nd question, where ‘’How did your footfall on Mother's Day compare with last year?’’ and once again the answer was, the same as last year rather than greater than last year. Only a 3% difference between the two questions.

The next is the interesting part, because once again the relay orders do seem to have fallen in comparison to your websites, with significant less incoming relay orders than last year. When we follow this with ‘How did the number of online orders from your own website compare to last year? Is a resounding increase with a total of 42% saying yes it had increased. Rather worrying is the 32 % said it was not applicable.

What is really amazing is how blooming good florists are at getting their numbers right. A huge 67.4% accurately estimated that they predicted the demand correctly. This simply because of the skill and experience florist have in handling the peak periods.

Based on the high prices most florist had during Mother’s Day, not one person decreased their prices over MD, 46.67 increased them and 53.33 % kept the same as last year.

The trend we keep on finding is that 58% of the florists in our survey found that the orders were placed in the last 2 days leading up to MD. Having a crystal ball would be good, so considering that most people accurately predicted the demand, this is really good. Do some people have a crystal ball?

Question 8, grab and go, was mixed a bag as you can see from the results.

The last question shows that 35.48% were satisfied with MD. It’s always good to have bit more business.  One florist added- ‘’ had two people steal flowers from outside my shop. I posted to Facebook and within an hour my shop went crazy!’’.


Q1: How did your 2017 Mother's Day sales compare to those last year?


Q2: How did your footfall on Mother's Day compare with last year?


Q3: How did the number of incoming relay orders compare to last year?


Q4: How did the number of online orders from your own website compare to last year?


Q5: Overall, how accurately did you predict the demand in your shop this year?


Q6: How did your selling prices on Mother's Day 2017 compare to last year?


Q7: When were the majority of your customer orders placed?


Q8: What percentage of sales were grab and go impulse purchases that you had ready for customers


Q9: Overall, on a scale of 1 to 5, how satisfied were you with Mother's Day 2017? Where 1 is very satisfied and 5 is very dissatisfied.


Academy of Floral Art training of a different sort

Devon’s Academy of Floral Art brought Poltimore into bloom for the
first ever Poltimore Flower Festival

·      Poltimore House brought to life for a weekend of floral design
·      45 floristry students of the Academy of Floral Art past and present participated
·      £4500 raised for the Poltimore Trust

Over St George’s Day weekend, hundreds of flower enthusiasts visited Poltimore House just outside Exeter for the first ever Poltimore Flower Festival. Dozens of stunning floral designs staged throughout the Grade II listed property by 45 students past and present of Devon’s acclaimed Academy of Floral Art brought Poltimore House to life.
“It was such a real privilege for us to bring Poltimore into bloom for St George’s Day,” said Julie Collins, one of the two Principal of The Academy of Floral Art. “At the Academy of Floral Art, we are always seeking out valuable design experiences for our students, and it was wonderful to showcase their creative floristry in such a raw and romantic location as Poltimore House, our local historic landmark.”
The florists from the Academy of Floral Art worked with the Club of the Exe to decorate a number of rooms in Poltimore House such as the entrance hallway, which the florists filled with chairs of all shapes and sizes, each dressed with fresh flowers and foliage to reflect the grand hallway’s former use as a reception room.
In the Music Room, the team designed a specially commissioned floral harp frame and a dressed a music book with trailing stems of fresh foliage. The Tudor courtyard and its spiral staircase inspired the florists to create a Knot Garden with a St George’s dragon of foliage, a floral fountain and an archway, whilst in the Drawing Room where the Treaty of Exeter was signed, the florists reconstructed the volume in flowers.
Meanwhile, in the old Operating Theatre left from Poltimore’s time as hospital (1945-1975), the florists adopted a playful, scientific approach, displaying flowers in petri dishes, labelling test tubes with the botanical names of the flowers, and presenting displays in cages and in jars.

Co-founder and Principle of the Academy of Floral Art will be one of the masterclass tutors at this years BFA FleurEx, to find out more about why this is an unmissable event and the other two incredible top tutors, click the links below.

Administrative Professionals Day

 Administrative Professionals Day - April 26

Administrative Professionals' Day (also known as Secretaries' Day or Admin Day) is a day observed annually.  The day recognizes the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, and other administrative support professionals. 

Yes, it is very popular in the states and many other countries, no, the UK isn't really one that recognises it too widely at the moment, however that's not to say that we, as florist businesses throughout the UK can't offer a service to the companies that we deal with and are in our local vacinity.....

Marketing to Administrative Professionals

We've heard of a great idea that we're confident you can borrow, and whilst we don't expect you to gain orders from all of the corrospondence you send out, we'd be shocked if you didn't receive some interest!

Also don't forget the importance of 'touching base' with these companies, this way you remind them 'we're here' and when they do need flower, they'll recall you.

The great idea to market the day for FREE!!

Send out creative emails that playfully goad business leaders into buying, you could write something along the lines of....

“If you already rewarded your administrative professionals with an extra week of paid holiday and an all-expenses-paid trip to the south of France, then read no further. But if you haven’t done that, then maybe flowers would make a great way for you to express your appreciation for your valued employees.”

Send out the emails to corporate clients as well as companies you network with. Heck, why not go for it and contact banks, insurance companies and other corporations with lots of helper employees – you could offer a special discount for a large order to a single location. 

Whilst the day isn't so popular in the UK sometimes bosses do want to express their gratitude, you may even find some are greatful for the opportunity!

We'd like to thank Kay Cross, from 'Flowers Naturally' in Westfield, New Jersey for her idea.

More about the day.

The "suits" may come and go ...

... but for so many companies it's the professional expertise of secretaries, administrative assistants, and receptionists who keep the engines running everywhere — from small business offices to the upper reaches of multinational corporations.

The role of secretaries and executive assistants have been recognized since the end of World War II, when industry boomed in the early 1950's. Jobs were also plentiful, as women were called upon to take on the role as assistants to the new captains of industry. Today, their role has become increasingly important to day-to-day operations of companies worldwide.

While Bosses Day is fixed to October 16 every year, Secretary's Day changes, it's celebrated on Wednesday in the fourth week of April during Administrative Professionals Week! a week that again is more recognised in the US than the UK.

Worldwide in the modern workplace, new titles such as Administrative Assistant and Executive Assistant represent a legion of women - and men - who are highly skilled and educated. Far from just possessing the stereotypical "interpersonal and communications skills", admins are responsible for office duties ranging from expert computer troubleshooting to managing new hires, one of the reasons the name was changed from secretaries day, as it was previously know.

Dates for following years

2017 Wednesday April 26th
2018 Wednesday April 25th
2019 Wednesday April 24th
2020 Wednesday April 22nd


BFA in wedding flower magazine


Earlier in the year we shared the fantastic news that the BFA are working with THE Wedding Flower magazine and will be sharing our expertise and featured in each of their magazines and working together!

We're delighted to have formed a good relationship and working with the Wedding Flowers & Accessories magazine - the UK's only magazine dedicated to wedding flowers, one of the few magazines that have seen the sales of their hardcopy continue to  increase!

In their latest issue we have creating the content for their very popular seasonal guide pages that go into each issue.  We have spoken with experts in Holland to ensure that each flower we feature is available to florists throughout the 2 months of the magazine issue.


Featured in this issue May June issue which went on sale 13th April are:

  • Lily of the valley
  • Peony
  • Calla lillies
  • Antirrhinum
  • Astilbe
  • Delphinium
  • Brodea
  • Astrantia
  • Alchemilla

As can be seen from the image above the BFA Logo is clearly shown to all the readers - make sure your BFA member logo is prominently positioned in your window and on your website, stationary etc. so brides can make the connection from our work in magazine. To read more about this CLICK HERE and see our full article

BFA Exhibit at RHS Chelsea

British Florist Association to mark its 100th anniversary with floral feature at the

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 

  • 6000 fresh cut flowers to be used to create a 2.5m high ‘100’ feature
  • The British Florist Association is the voice of the independent florist
  • The back wall will showcase portraits of pioneering British florists past and present

The British Florist Association is proud to announce that it will be creating a floral stand feature at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this May as a highlight of its 100th anniversary celebrations.

The stand ‘The British Florist Association at 100’ will be staged in the heart of the floristry zone of Chelsea’s Great Pavilion, and has been designed by floristry students at BFA Member College, Moreton Morell in Warwickshire, led by its award-winning tutors Jane Benefield and Laura Leong.

“What better way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the British Florist Association than at Chelsea, the world’s greatest flower show?” said Brian Wills-Pope, Chair of the BFA. “The British Florist Association has always been the voice of the independent florist, and Chelsea is an extraordinary showcase of the best of professional floral design. This year, we are not only organising the RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year final and heats in partnership with the RHS for the 8th year in succession, but we will also have our own floral feature as a platform to share our passion for floristry with a wider audience.”

To the front of the stand will be a colossal freestanding number ‘100’ some 2.5 metres high, decorated with over 6000 fresh cut flowers in eye-catching, vibrant shades of pink, orange and green. Visitors will be able to look through the giant circles of flowers onto the future of floristry: the RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year competition. Taking pride of place amidst the of fascinating archive photographs on the back wall of the stand - showcasing florists, florist shops and floral styles of the past century - will be the original wooden ‘Presidents’ Board’ of the founding flower trades organisation.

The BFA is grateful to eFlorist and to Florismart for their generous sponsorship.

About the British Florist Association

The BFA is the voice of the independent florist. Founded in 1917, the British Florist Association is currently the only trade body representing the UK’s 7000 independent florist businesses to both government and consumers. The BFA publishes the UK’s only printed trade florist magazine, organises the UK’s only florist industry conference, the UK’s only trade show for florists, as well as nationwide networking and education activities and high-profile floristry competitions including the RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, UK Florist of the Year at BBC Gardeners’ World Live and the WorldSkillsUK floristry heats.

The History of the British Florist Association

The first recorded industry trade body for the British cut flower industry was established back in 1917. Called the British Flower Marketing Association, it was founded by a group of growers, florists and wholesalers at New Covent Garden Flower Market, where the board bearing the names of the association’s presidents is still proudly displayed today.

What we now know as The British Florist Association is one of two organisations that succeeded the British Flower Marketing Association. The BFA was founded in 1948 when a group of florists formed it to lobby against government plans to introduce a tax on funeral flowers. Today’s BFA ran in parallel with its sister body, the British Flower Industry Association (for growers and wholesalers) before taking it over in 1977. Such was the close relationship between the two organisations, that the last BFIA President, Mr Philip Colman, bequeathed a substantial sum to the BFA to ensure its continued work for the floristry industry.

In 1956, the BFA was one of the founder members of Florint (originally FEUPF), which has brought together the national florist associations of more than 20 European countries. In 2010, the British Florist Association acquired the Society of Floristry to become the only floristry trade body, and the voice of the independent florist.

For more information on the BFA's history CLICK HERE

Rhod Gilbert's Work Florist Work Experience



Many will recognise Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert, he's been on numberous TV shows including 'Mock the Week', 'Have I got news for you', '8 out of 10 cats', he's also hosted 'Never mind the Buzzocks' and more recently The apprentice - Your Fired! All that on top of the countless appearances as a comedian (who has won many awards).

Another programme of his that you may have enjoyed is one that Rhod has not only starred in but written, his hugely popular programme Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience which is now on it's 7th series.  The show airs on BBC One in Wales, and BBC2 across the network, after taking on many roles Rhod thought it was about time he turned his hand to floristry!

Rhod was thrown in at the deep end and worked in our industry over Valentines! But his ambitions didn’t stop there – he wanted to get a taste of competitive work and join in the Birmingham Chelsea heat! 

Whilst Rhod explained he came into the industry with no preconceived ideas and admitted “I haven’t given flowers that much thought in my life” however shocked with the volume of work the business dealt with, over Valentine’s 5,460 roses were sold and more than 550 deliveries were done throughout the three branches.

The shop gave Rhod a taste of many roles within the floristry world, but this had to start with the basic – what flowers were silk and which were real! He really couldn’t tell them apart! He received a crash course in conditioning flowers, insight into the purchasing of flowers, went out on deliveries. Perhaps unsurprisingly he was excellent with serving customers, and Alison said “I really think he has a natural ability” as with guidance, he even produced a ‘pretty good’ hand-tie. It wasn’t all plain sailing though, he found the cold conditions an issue and was hopeless at being a tidy worker, and despite his best attempts flower wrapping caused him much frustration and failure!

When speaking about this time Rhod “I can see it’s tremendously hard work with pressured when your busy, but take out the pressure, take out the busyness, stress and all, and it’s actually really therapeutic and relaxing” 

When talking about his experiences Rhod explained “I’ve had a massive conversion, got really into it and really enjoyed it on the retail side, but especially on the competition side – I’ve had a ball, I’ve really got into it!”

Rhod, along with all the competitors had to create a ‘Create a structural arrangement for a wedding being held at the Tate Modern Gallery’

The production team and Rhod came along at 8.30am to start filming before competitors arrived - It was made clear from the very first conversation with the small team working on the show that the competition came first and could not be desrupted by the filming, when we pointed out that competitors take the day very seriously we were reassured as they explained Rhod would too!



Rhod gained confidence as took on the task of creating the competition piece almost entirely unaided – “The idea is mine, and the construction and execution is mine” he came a long way in a little time as he said in his own words – “when I came into this 4 days ago, I couldn’t tell a fake flower from a real one, I’ve come a long way in 4 days’

Speaking with Rhod whilst the judging was taking place he explained “I’m quietly confident” and went onto say “I think I’m going to do alright”. Although he had only seen fellow competitors work in passing at that point his observations were “Some of the standard looks amazing, some of the things look really creative” “It’s interesting that some people have gone quite conceptual, some people have gone quite literal – I’ve gone quiet literal.”

Rhod created a bed with red roses and white chrysanth complete with the newly married couple!  The bamboo bed frame work was balanced on 4 tall vases filled with green cymbidium orchids, giving an overall free-standing design.  Judge - Tracy Tomlinson’s feedback included compliments about the concept and excellent undulation of the red rose duvet, but explained some of the workmanship let him down - along with this his ‘chunky legs’ the disproportionate vases in relation to the rest of the design.  Rhod was thrilled with his total score, a respectable 68 points, but was brought down to size by Tracy as she reprimanded him on the rubbish left in the corner by the side of his design. 

After the announcement of first second and third place – none of which were Rhod! we presented him with an honorary student Institute of professional florist’s certificate –  it was clear that Rhod was quite touched by the gesture.  It was a pleasure to have him with us throughout the day, he was very interested in all the competition pieces taking a good look at each work and chatting with each designer.

RHOD GILBERT'S WORK EXPERIENCE AS A FLORIST - Aired on BBC Wales Friday 31st March and is available now on BBC Iplayer.

The date of airing across the network on BBC 2 is still to be announced.


Previous episodes of the show are available on line CLICK HERE to see more details

Our episode will the final in the series and speaking about the show with Rhod, who is associate Producer on the programme, he stated “after doing this for 7 series we know when we have a good one – and this is going to be a good one, honestly.” 

We’re thrilled that Floristry is getting exposure with prime-time TV coverage again, but what's set's this apart from other shows such as The World's Biggest Flower Market that aired last May, is this time the camera are inside the florist shop! 

A few months back, we at the BFA were contacted by the TV company & producers with the exciting proposition! Rhod worked in BFA Members; Guttridges in Porthcawl, a very busy family run florist business with three branches, over Valentine's, and whilst Alison (third generation florist that helps run the business) initially had reservations, she knew the pros were bound to out-way any cons, and as we all were, was keen to have floristry’s profile raised she was also optimistic that it may inspire viewer to become florists. 

We were pleased to help Rhod's competitive streak come to the fore, when he took on the mantle to compet in the BFA Chelsea Heat competiton in Birmingham. When talking about his experiences Rhod explained “I’ve had a massive conversion, got really into it and really enjoyed it - on the retail side, but especially on the competition side – I’ve had a ball, I’ve really got into it!”

Rhod receiving feedback from the Judge (and BFA Association Manager) Tracy Tomlinson.

One of the reasons the programme has been such a success is the way Rhod throws himself into the role. We saw this on the day of the competition and Alison confirmed this had been the case throughout his time with them - It was fantastic to witness how seriously Rhod took ‘being on the job’.

We still have far more information to share with you and look forward to floristry having more exposure when it airs nationally.  We enjoyed the programme a great deal and were pleased that Floristry and The BFA recieved some great exposure!!

New Covent Garden Flower Market's New Home

A new home and era for the UK’s biggest and only dedicated flower market

Historic move for New Covent Garden’s Flower Market after 43 years


On Monday 3rd April, the Flower Market at New Covent Garden Market - the UK’s biggest, specialist flower and plant hall - headed for a new home. Remaining in Nine Elms, in the heart of London, it relocated half a mile down Nine Elms Lane from its existing site, affording its 21 world-class traders a more inspiring place to sell flowers. The opening hails the start of a new era for this historic market which dates back to 1670, and will ensure the wholesalers continue to flower London for many generations to come.

London’s home of flowers

The Flower Market is at the heart of the floristry industry in the capital and beyond, supplying 75% of London’s florists, from high street retailers to high-end event companies. It is a community where the lives of expert traders and creative florists are intextricably intertwined, who, together, flower London every single day. The market’s flowers dress London’s royal palaces, shops, market stalls, hotels, offices, parties, homes, weddings and funerals.

Its first incarnation was situated in Covent Garden, W1, housed in the market square from 1670 under Charles II’s reign. Then in 1974, the market moved to Nine Elms in SW8, just two miles from Mayfair, four miles from The City and just three miles from its original trading site at ‘Old’ Covent Garden. And on Monday 11th November 1974 the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market in the UK began trading on the new site.



A smart move

The new Flower Market provides a better home for buying and selling top quality flowers, plants, foliage and sundries from around the world, building on the markets unique position as the UK’s only specialist flower and plant wholesaler. The new building has been designed to give its customers a richer buying experience. Bright lights blend with natural light to make it easier to see each petal in high definition. A simpler layout creates a livelier market with a more vibrant atmosphere. The modern space provides a clean canvas that accentuates the kaleidoscopic colours of the flowers. For the traders, simple, effective logic makes the market work more smoothly and easily for them. And a conditioning system conditions the Flower Hall to a constant 14°C, the perfect temperature for storing flowers.

Pam Alexander, Chair Covent Garden Market Authority, said: “We are thrilled to be able to offer our traders and customers a better, more inspiring space to buy and sell flowers. Our wholesalers’ knowledge, expertise and relationships are the life blood of everything that goes on at the market and we’re hopeful that this new home will help them and their customers to take on new creative challenges and grow their businesses ever further.

“The Flower Market is the first new market building here at New Covent Garden Market. Over the coming five years, we are transforming the whole site into a Brand New Covent Garden Market for our 175 businesses and thousands of customers, and will be creating a new Food Quarter and food business hub for London. All the while, continuing to feed and flower London throughout.”



The market that flowers London

As the UK’s premier flower market, New Covent Garden Market houses two Royal Warrant holders supplying blooms to the countries most prestigious households. The market’s well-known customers include the The Dorchester, The Savoy, and celebrity and royal florists Simon Lycett, Shane Connolly and McQueens, supplying the likes of the BAFTAs,  the V&A, Natural History Museum,  St Paul’s Cathedral , and Vanity Fair. Many of the traders at the market are third or even fourth generation and these ladies and gentlemen are the thoroughbreds of the floristry world, holding an exceptional level of knowledge and expertise on flowers, plants, foliage and sundries through the decades and from around the world. The market is unrivalled when it comes to sourcing of the best quality, seasonal flowers from the UK and around the world.

British Flowers Week Judges

British Flowers Week Judges are chosen!

The Fantastic Four are: Simon Lycett, head judge and celebrity florist Shane Connolly, florist by appointment to both HRH The Prince of Wales and HM The Queen Alice Vincent, Daily Telegraph journalist ‘treading the line between plants and pop culture’ Amy Gray, Horticultural Adviser, National Farmers’ Union This team brings together a unique mix of floristry talent, media expertise and flower growing experience. Their mission is to decide which five florists will feature during British Flowers Week. 

To find out more about the competition


Each day for five days New Covent Garden Market will share three designs from each of the famous five across social media, email and the web. British Flowers Week celebrates the best of British flowers and foliage, uniting the industry in celebrating what outstanding florists can do with the best locally-sourced materials. Last year the campaign reached over 12m people on social media and 6m viewers of BBC1’s Countryfile

Simon Lycett 

As well as being florist to the stars, Simon frequently appears on both TV and radio. In 2016 he co-hosted BBC 2’s documentary on the flower industry as well as standing in as guest presenter on BBC Radio London’s Jo Good show. Simon’s career has included the flowers for ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ as well as the Beckham’s wedding, Elton John’s 50th birthday party and the dinner the night before William and Kate’s wedding where more than 50 crowned heads of state were present.

Shane Connolly

Shane’s company proudly bears Royal Warrants By appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales and HM The Queen. He designed all the flowers for the wedding of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 so he is a perfect ambassador for British Flowers Week with his strong commitment to British and seasonal flowers. Shane’s green credentials are impeccable as is his support for Floral Angels the charity that repurposes flowers from events to enhance the lives of those less fortunate. Shane is also the author of a number of books.

Alice Vincent

Alice Vincent is a journalist and author who has been working on The Telegraph's arts desk since 2013. She keeps a column on urban and contemporary gardening and, in March, released her first book, How to Grow Stuff, an approachable guide to gardening for those who don't know where to start. She has written about floristry and featured British Flowers Week in her coverage last year.

Amy Gray

Amy is the National Farmers’ Union adviser on fruit, protected edibles and ornamental plants. She develops policy in these sectors and needs to remain abreast of political, commercial and economic developments. Amy has a specific interest in cut flowers and in 2016 produced ‘Backing British Blooms’, a report looking at the state of the British cut flower industry. 

Take a look back at the stunning designs and remind yourself about the success of last years British Flower Week.

Take me straight to.....



We will we'll keep you informed of the events, images and designs of British Flowers Week, including a series of specially commissioned floral designs by five top florists at London's New Covent Garden Flower Market as they did last year, but start thinking now - what can you do within your business.  Alternatively just click on the link below and we'll take you through exactly what you can do, please bear in mind this is last years marketing material, we'll bring you details of the 2017 batch the second it becomes available...

Mothers Day Campaign


After our great success with the valentine's campaign we're now calling on you to 'Paint Facebook Pink' for Mother's Day.

Last month we shared images, videos and gave the consumer a 'fly on the wall' view of behind the scenes in a florist.  The flower, the conditioning the creating of the order, the completed product and so much more was shared - We showed the great British public what a florist will do - what sets us apart from other 'Flower sellers'

We are under great pressure with Mother's Day sales and whilst we individually, can't compete with the cash advertising budgets of moonpig, asda, tescos and alike, we can make a heck of an impact together, show the difference when you buy from a professional florist, get across the value of our own work and influence consumers through the country!

Let's show a united front and all do our bit with this innovative promotion suggestion, that all florists can get behind.

We all know our florists grade flowers are better than those from any Tom, Dick or Harry, along with all the other things that set's us apart! Now, let's get all 4000 or so florists shops on Facebook from Wednesday 22nd March telling everyone....

HERE'S THE PLAN Get up images or videos on facebook, from Wednesday 22nd March


The van full & being unloaded, piles of boxes, the empty buckets ready!


Florists conditioning the different flower selection, the piles of leave, the full buckets! The sea or flowers! - probably more than most people on facebook have ever seen!


Florists hands on making the handties and arrangements at different stages: from the very beginning to the very end. As well as:

  • funny shots - you and all your colleagues callapsed in a heap!? 
  • The sea of designss ready to be collected & delivered
  • the vans and vehicles lined up ready for deliveries to begin
  • Happy customers collecting their flowers
  • Customers receiving their flowers from the driver with delight!
People love to be a fly on the wall, see what happens behind the scenes - let's show them the effort we put into making their flowers so stunning! What makes us the experts - the undoubted professionals, we're not just flower sellers we're florists - let's be proud and show the difference!
Where we work in the industry all the time we forget what a breath taking scene it is, allow yourself to consider what would make you go 'wow' or 'I never knew that - that's really interesting... SHARE!' If you were a consumer!

These are just some suggestions please put up your own image ideas too, but - LET'S TAKE OVER FACEBOOK! PLEASE REMEMBER...

  • On facebook post please @Britishfloristassociation so we can share them.
  • use the #paintitpink  - let's all use this hashtag and build up great momentum.
  • Also #bfa #britshfloristassociation #mothersday

 We are all in this fantastic industry and our strength is our diversity, no images will be the same yet, the fact we produce different styles is a beautiful concept, and shouts the message we taylor-make every bouquet by hand!

Please start posting from Wednesday 22nd March to give us 5 good days of painting facebook, instagram and pinterest pink!

Post as many times as you like, not only will you be sending out a strong message to your local customers, but together we can build up a storm.

Let's turn facebook over to florists this Mother's Day and every florist whether a BFA member or not can proudly state they are part of our great industry with a trade association that encourages that we all pull together.... Together lets bring floristy home.


To help you promote mothersday we have created 6 posters for you to use and adpat as you wish.  These are available to download as a pdf, jpeg or Word document - allowing you to add your own details or message.  Theses are all available in our Member area CLICK HERE or on the images below.

Apprenticeship latest news

DFE approves developement of the trailblazer floristry apprenticeship


The Department of Education has given approval to the Floristry Trailblazer group under the chairmanship of Sandie Griffith, Jemini Flowers Oxford to develop an apprenticeship standard for Floristry which will replace existing standards. They stated “that they were content that the proposal has the potential to have sufficient breadth and depth to be a high quality apprenticeship”.

As Chairman of Training and Education for the British Florist Association and having owned her own Floristry business for 30 plus years, Sandie has a wealth of experience in training florists.  Her training group is supported by employers, training providers, the awarding body City and Guilds and Sector Skills Council Lantra.  She has also canvassed and gained the support of a large number of employers in the Industry who are committed to help develop this standard.

This is a really positive development for Floristry and we need employers to take ownership in the development and invite anyone who would like to be part of this consultation to contact the Chairman at

Why is this such great news?

You may recall The Department of Education ran a survey to see if a Floristry Apprenticeship would be supported by the industry! Our concern was that as we are perceived as Retail that we may have been asked to use the Retail standards with some Floristry units bolted on - this would not be good for our Industry, the training of florist or the standards of the next generation of florists.

However, our fears were not realised... our industry pulled together and the proposal put forward persuaded the Department of Education that we should develop our own standard. Great stuff, thank you to everyone that filled in the survey in February.

How is it developed?

There are some rules around the development of the apprenticeship - namely it has to be developed for employers by employers. 

We're exceptionally fortunate to have Sandie Griffith who is the approved Chairman of the Floristry Trailblazer group - the group that will develop an apprenticeship standard for Floristry which will replace existing standards.

As you may image developing these standard isn't a straight forward task, which is why as an owner of her Floristry business Jemini Flowers in Oxford for 30 plus years, as well as being Chairman of Training and Education for the British Florist Association, Sandie has a wealth of experience and is the perfect person to lead the project.

Sandie has spoken with many employers but would like to hear from you if you employ staff and are committed to taking part in the development and consultation of these standards - now is your chance to have your say and help develop the future of floristry.

What happens now?

The current apprenticeship, we understand will run until December 2017, another win for the Industry - we appealed for an extension to continue running this, the department of education wished to stop this spring which would have left the flower world without a floristry apprenticeships.  With Young people having to stay in education until 18 years of age, and the government encouraging apprenticeship schemes this would have left our industry disadvantaged.

Now the hard work begins

Sandie and her team will now begin the task of working on and writing the apprenticeship standard and assessment plan - with particular attention being drawn to ensuring all apprentices will be competent in all the knowledge, skill and behaviours (KSBs) covered in the standard as set out in the proposal to The Department of Education.

The Department of Education has advised Sandie that they will be scrutinising her draft when it's submitted, paying particular attention to ensuring sufficient emphasis on the floristry KSBs relative to the retail components.  They highlighted that "we already have retail standards and your group's standard will need to be very clearly distinct from these."

Have your say!

If you would like to comment about any of the success of the project, the forthcoming Trailblazer group or the development of the apprenticeship standard for Floristry please email who will welcome your comments.

Watch this space.

We will of course keep you up to date with the latest information.  If you don't currently get our weekly emails it's the best way to keep on top of all the activities happening in our industry use the link below and sign up now.

Valentines Survey Results

Valentine’s Day results and the Trends for 2017.

Thank you to everyone that took the time to enter our survey for Valentine’s Day. It makes really interesting reading.

This year we changed the questions to reflect the changes of our industry and to look for the trends that we should look out for next year.

Below is a brief summary of the results and a couple of comments from florists, we especially like the one about heads rolling if the guys bought from Aldi!

The first question was:
How did all of your Valentine's Day sales in 2017 compare to those in 2016 when Valentines fell on a Sunday?

With Valentines falling on a Sunday last year it’s always a bit harder to judge but if you a keep a book on the sales from the last week day Valentines fell, it can help. The majority, at over 36% said it had significantly increased. Even the 2nd question for when Valentines fell on a Friday there was a big increase and this is positive news with a huge 46.7% said it was greater.

Relay didn’t really change as you can see below but on-line orders in your shops went up by 22% compared to last year.

Interesting to read that some florists sold less red roses than last year, but the trend continued with that red flower still being the most popular, however, the trend for mixed flowers seems to be creeping up. 

It’s also good to see that the vast majority at 47.9 % predicted accurately the amount of red rose bought and sold. There’s some very savvy florists out there!

70.21% saw an increase in prices. This can have a massive effect on profitability and more reason to visit Vision 17 this year.  When 81% of florists had, their orders coming in the last 2 days of business in the lead up to Valentines, it’s time to have readymade orders as question 14 said and 56% agreed they had a good amount of impulse purchases bought (in addition to pre-ordered collections and deliveries).  

Comments for a couple of florists (anonymously)

Really do not know why, after 34 years in the business I failed to judge the decline on a peak trading day, trade has always been excellent at these events, despite overall business falling away. Are customers not bothered about buying the best quality produce from independent stores and prefer to go on price from the supermarkets, they advertise so much in the press what deals they have, I've always said a florist does not need to advertise at the peak periods, there is always enough business there to keep us flat out, not any more tho' !!!


We've now got an aldi's in our town but a decent amount of guys saying that they'd have their heads to play with if they'd turned up with supermarket flowers. Loved them more personal touch you get from a florist shop.


How did all of your Valentine's Day sales in 2017 compare to those in 2016 when Valentines fell on a Sunday?

How did all of your valentines day sales in 2017 compare to those in 2014 when Valentines day fell on a Friday.

How did the number of incoming relay orders compare to previous years, if applicable?

How did the number of online orders from your own website compare to previous years?


Overall was the proportion of red roses you sold more or less than last year?

How many red roses did you buy this year?


Did you see a trend away from red rose sales to mixed flower designs?

If you sell other Valentines' Day gifts such as chocolates, soft toys, cosmetics etc what percentage of your Valentine's Day
sales were made up of fresh flowers?

Overall, how accurately did you predict the demand in your shop this year?

How did your selling prices on Valentine's Day 2017 compare to 2016?

Overall, on a scale of 1 to 5, how satisfied were you the level of business on Valentine's Day 2017? 

(where 1 is very satisfied and 5 is very dissatisfied)

How many people did you employ (including drivers) during the period of Valentines?

When were the majority of your customer orders placed?

On Valentines Day which describes your business?

New National Minimum Wage

Get ready for the new national minimum wage increases

On 1 April 2017, the rates of the national minimum wage will increase, (despite an increase in most rates on 1 October 2016.)

From now on the national minimum wage rate will be in alignment with the  national living wage! (previously one increased on the 1st October and one on the 1st April)

What's the difference? The national living wage is for all working people aged 25 and over, this was introduced on 1 April 2016. The national minimum wage is for everyone under 25, but now they'll be increasing at the same time it's just a title - as long as the rates are correct!! so take a look below!

Start date 25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 under 18 Apprentice*
1st April 2017 £7.50 £7.05 £5.60 £4.05 £3.40


Apprentices are entitled to the apprentice rate if they’re either:

  • aged under 19
  • aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship


An apprentice aged 22 in the first year of their apprenticeship is entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £3.40

Apprentices are entitled to the minimum wage for their age if they both:

  • are aged 19 or over
  • have completed the first year of their apprenticeship

Comparing previous years rates


Year 25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
April 2016 £7.20 £6.70 £5.30 £3.87 £3.30


Rates before April 2016

The following rates were for the National Minimum Wage before the National Living Wage was introduced. The rates were usually updated every October.

Year 21 and over 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
2015 £6.70 £5.30 £3.87 £3.30
2014 £6.50 £5.13 £3.79 £2.73
2013 £6.31 £5.03 £3.72 £2.68
2012 £6.19 £4.98 £3.68 £2.65
2011 £6.08 £4.98 £3.68 £2.60
2010 £5.93 £4.92 £3.64 £2.50


Rates before 2010

The age groups were different before 2010 and there were no National Minimum Wage rates for apprentices.

Year 22 and over 18 to 21 Under 18  
2009 £5.80 £4.83 £3.57
2008 £5.73 £4.77 £3.53
2007 £5.52 £4.60 £3.40
2006 £5.35 £4.45 £3.30
2005 £5.05 £4.25 £3.00

Planned National Insurance hikes for the Self Employed are Scrapped!

Planned National Insurance hikes for the Self Employed are Scrapped!

Following a lot of criticism on the planned National Insurance contribution increase for self employed made as part of spring Budget, The chancellor's Philip Hammond, stated he's listened and gone back on his plans!

The U-turn came during an emergency 8am meeting between Mr Hammond and Theresa May on Wednesday 15th March, reports state the decision was taken by the pair jointly.

Mr Hammond broke the news in a letter to all Tory MPs just before Mrs May took Prime Minister’s Questions at midday, a week on from the budget.

The letter to MPs read;

“I am writing to clarify the government’s position with regard to the changes to National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for the self-employed, announced in last week’s Budget

“As I set out last Wednesday, the gap between benefits available to the self-employed and those in employment has closed significantly over the last few years – most notably buy the introduction of the new state pension in April 2016, worth an additional £1,800 to a self-employed person for each year of retirement.

“It remains our judgment that the current difference in benefit entitle no longer justify the scale of difference in the level of total NICs paid in respect of employees and the self-employed.

“Colleagues will be aware that there has been a sharp increase in self-employment over the last few years.

“Most commentators believe that at least part of the increase is driven by differences in tax treatment.

“HMRC estimates that the cost to the public finances of this trend is around £5bn this year alone and the parallel increase in incorporation will cost more than £6bn a year by the end of the Parliament.

“This represents a significant risk to the tax base and thus to the funding of our public services.

“The measures I announced in the Budget sought to reflect more fairly the differences in entitlement in the contributions made by the self-employed and addresses the challenge of sustainability of the tax base.

“The Government continues to believe that this is the right approach.

“Since the Budget, however, there has been much comment on the question of the commitments made in our 2015 manifesto.

“Ahead of the Autumn Statement last year, the Prime Minister and I decided that, however difficult the fiscal challenges we face, the tax-lock and spending ring-fence commitments we have made for this Parliament should be honoured in full.

“I made this clear in the Autumn Statement speech. As far as National Insurance contributions we concerned, the locks were legislated for in the National Insurance contributions (Rate Ceilings) Act 2015.

“When that Bill was introduced, it was made clear that the lock would apply only to Class 1 contributions (employer and employee).

“The measures proposed in the Budget fall within the constraints set out by the tax-lock legislation and the spending ring-fences.

“However, in light of the debate over the last few days it is clear that compliance with the ‘legislative’ test of the manifesto commitment is not adequate.

“It is very important both to me and to the Prime Minister that we are compliant not just with the letter, but also the spirit, of the commitments that were made.

“In light of what has emerged as a clear view among colleagues and a significant section of the public, I have decided not to proceed with the Class 4 NIC measures set out in the Budget.

“There will be no increases in NICs rates in this Parliament.

“We will continue with the abolition of Class 2 NICs from April 2018.

“The cost of the changes I am announcing today will be funded by measures to be announced in the Autumn Budget.

“I undertook in the Budget speech to consult over the summer on options to address the principal outstanding difference in benefit entitlement between employed and self-employed: parental benefits.

“We now intend to widen this exercise to look at the other areas of difference in treatment alongside the Government’s consideration of the forthcoming report by Matthew Taylor, CEO of the RSA, on their implication if different ways of working for employment rights.

“Once we have completed these pieces of work, the Government will set out how it intends to take forward, and fund, reforms in this area.

“I plan to make a statement in the House later today.”

Floristry Hit's Prime Time TV



Many will recognise Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert, he's been on numberous TV shows including 'Mock the Week', 'Have I got news for you', '8 out of 10 cats', he's also hosted 'Never mind the Buzzocks' and more recently The apprentice - Your Fired! All that on top of the countless appearances as a comedian (who has won many awards).

Another programme of his that you may have enjoyed is one that Rhod has not only starred in but written, his hugely popular programme Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience which is now on it's 7th series.  The show airs on BBC One in Wales, and BBC2 across the network, after taking on many roles Rhod thought it was about time he turned his hand to floristry!

Rhod was thrown in at the deep end and worked in our industry over Valentines! But his ambitions didn’t stop there – he wanted to get a taste of competitive work and join in the Birmingham Chelsea heat! 

Whilst we need to take care not to spill the beans too much, we'll be the first to share all the behind the scenes gossip, once the programme has aired and bring you our interviews with Ali the brave florist that let him work for them, the judge of his competition piece and of course the man himself!

RHOD GILBERT'S WORK EXPERIENCE AS A FLORIST - Airs on BBC Wales Friday 31st March and will be immediatel avaialbe on BBC Iplayer. The date of airing across the network on BBC 2 is still to be announced.

Previous episodes of the show are available on line CLICK HERE to see more details

Our episode will the final in the series and speaking about the show with Rhod, who is associate Producer on the programme, he stated “after doing this for 7 series we know when we have a good one – and this is going to be a good one, honestly.” 

We’re thrilled that Floristry is getting exposure with prime-time TV coverage again, but what's set's this apart from other shows such as The World's Biggest Flower Market that aired last May, is this time the camera are inside the florist shop! 

A few months back, we at the BFA were contacted by the TV company & producers with the exciting proposition! Rhod worked in BFA Members; Guttridges in Porthcawl, a very busy family run florist business with three branches, over Valentine's, and whilst Alison (third generation florist that helps run the business) initially had reservations, she knew the pros were bound to out-way any cons, and as we all were, was keen to have floristry’s profile raised she was also optimistic that it may inspire viewer to become florists. 

We were pleased to help Rhod's competitive streak come to the fore, when he took on the mantle to compet in the BFA Chelsea Heat competiton in Birmingham. When talking about his experiences Rhod explained “I’ve had a massive conversion, got really into it and really enjoyed it - on the retail side, but especially on the competition side – I’ve had a ball, I’ve really got into it!”

Rhod receiving feedback from the Judge (and BFA Association Manager) Tracy Tomlinson.

One of the reasons the programme has been such a success is the way Rhod throws himself into the role. We saw this on the day of the competition and Alison confirmed this had been the case throughout his time with them - It was fantastic to witness how seriously Rhod took ‘being on the job’.

We'll bring you far more information as soon as we can, whilst we won't know exactly what will end up 'on the edit' floor we're quietly confident that Floristry, The BFA & IoPF will all be getting some great exposure!!

Of course we'll remind you about the show and bring you the link to the BBC Iplayer link, keep a close eye on our newsletters, if you don't get them sign up using the link below now.


Wedding Flower Magazine Awards

Last week we shared the fantastic news that the BFA are working with THE Wedding Flower magazine and will be sharing our expertise and featured in each of their magazines and working together on different forthcoming projects!

We're delighted to have formed a good relationship and working with the Wedding Flowers & Accessories magazine - the UK's only magazine dedicated to wedding flowers, one that has completely bucked the national trend of falling sales with a whopping 6.9% year-on-year rise in sales!  (and this excludes their popular downloadable digital edition!)

We will be creating the content for their very popular seasonal guide pages that go into each issue.  We have spoken with experts in Holland to ensure that each flower we feature is available to florists throughout the 2 months of the magazine issue. Make sure your BFA member logo is prominently positioned in your window and on your website, stationary etc. so brides can make the connection from our work in magazine. To read more about this CLICK HERE and see our full article


As new for 2017 Wedding Flowers & Accessories magazine's search for the best wedding florist in the land has started!

As our friends explain; If your bouquets are the best in the country, your floral crowns fit for a queen, or your tablecentres are Instagram-worthy, then you'll want to show off your talent and enter. Here is your perfect opportunity to show our brides and your peers in the wedding industry exactly what you can do – and oh, did we mention that you could be crowned the ultimate Wedding Flowers Magazine wedding florist of the year?

The Categories

There is a fantastic range of categories with something for everyone; 

  • Bridal designs
  • Bridesmaids' designs
  • Chair decorations
  • Hair decoration
  • Buttonholes, corsages and boutonnière
  • Tablecentres
  • Reception décor
  • Vintage
  • Newcomer (in business for two years and under)
  • Use of British flowers
  • Best use of roses
  • Embellished bouquet
  • Decorations for cakes
  • Showstopper

the full details of the categories and entry details can be found on their website CLICK HERE. You can inteperate the titles how you wish and select the category for your designs, however, we can assure you that the friendly team will contact you if they feel your entry would be better suited to another category.

How to Enter

There are a couple of points to consider:

1. You can enter as many works into each category as you wish, each entry is £50*. You will need to include a clear photograph for each piece you are entering and the work has to have been created within the last 12 months.

2. Based on the image you have provided the judges will announce the shortlist of three finalists per category at a later date.

3. The judging and awards will take place on the same day, September 6 2017, at The Noak Hotel in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

*DISCOUNTED ENTRY FOR BFA MEMBERS - We're pleased to announce that BFA members will be entitled to discounted rates and there will be other incentives for florists everywhere, these details are currently being finalised so, we'll bring you the full extent of the good news and savings to be had soon.

CLICK HERE to enter the competition, t&c's can be found on this page too.

Winner's Prize

Each category winner will receive a trophy for their category along with a Wedding Flower Awards winner logo.

All the winners from each category will be automatically put forward for the Wedding Flowers – FLORIST OF THE YEAR award, the winner will receive the following;

  • Front Cover Shoot
  • Interview with' feature in mag
  • Wedding Flower Awards trophy and Florist of the Year logo
  • Certificate of achievment
  • Florist profile on
  • 2 full page ads in Wedding Flowers and Accessories magazine
  • VIP Winners goodie bag

What this could mean to you!

This is the first time The Wedding Flowers Magazine are running awards! in association with the BFA. You can get involved and have an opportunity for your business to be showcased in a way that money simply can't buy!

If you're not currently a BFA member you connection with the association has never been more important - for many reasons, this being one of them CLICK HERE and join now.

2017 Budget

The main points that might affect you & the running of your business

Following the chancellor Phillip Hammonds Spring Budget on Wednesday 8th March, below we've highlighted the key points that might affect you and your business

£435 million to support businesses affected by the business rates relief revaluation

This means no small business that is coming out of small business rates relief will pay more than £600 more in business rates this year than they did in 2016-17.

Funding for local authorities will allow them to provide £300 million of discretionary relief to provide help to businesses most affected by the revaluation.

The main rate of National Insurance contributions (NICs) for the self-employed will increase


On Wednesday 15th March, after much criticism about the conservative's breaking a manitesto promise not to increase N.I Contributions, Cancellor Philip Hammond scrapped his plans to increase N.I Contributions for self employed individuals. CLICK HERE to read more

Currently, the self-employed pay both Class 4 and Class 2 NICs:

  • Class 4 NICs at 9% are paid on profits between £8,060 and £43,000
  • Class 2 NICs are paid on profits of £5,965 or more

Preposed cancelled plans; From 2018, Class 2 NICs will be abolished. Class 4 NICs will rise to 10% in April 2018 and to 11% in April 2019.

Taken together, only a self-employed person with profits over £16,250 will have to pay more as a result of these changes.

The government state “this better reflects the fact that the differences in contributory benefit entitlement between the self-employed and employees are now small, following the introduction of the new State Pension in April 2016”

They go onto say “In the summer, the government will also consider whether there is a case for greater consistency in parental benefits between the employed and self-employed.” We’ll keep you posted. The future of developement of further plans that Philip implied in the budget now remain unclear - we will keep you updates as news unfolds.

Small Businesses and landlords under the VAT threshold will have an extra year to prepare for Making Tax Digital (MTD)

Unincorporated businesses (businesses owned privately by one or more people) that have an annual turnover below the VAT registration threshold will have until April 2019 to prepare before MTD becomes mandatory.

Under MTD, businesses will use digital software to keep tax records and update HMRC quarterly.

At Spring Budget 2017 the government announced that it would provide 3.1 million small businesses with an extra year (until 2019) before they are required to keep digital records and send HMRC quarterly updates. You can read more detailed information about this announcement in the tax information and impact note.

Tax-free dividend allowance will be reduced from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018

This will reduce the tax difference between the self-employed and those working through a company. Typically, general investors will need over £50,000 worth of stocks and shares outside an ISA to be affected.

Tax-Free Childcare will soon be available to working parents

Tax-Free Childcare will provide up to £2,000 a year in childcare support for each child under 12.

Parents will be able to receive up to £4,000 for disabled children up to the age of 17.

Parents of younger children will be able to apply for the scheme first, with all eligible parents able to access the scheme by the end of the year.

Working parents in England will also be able to apply for an additional 15 hours of free childcare for three and four year olds, bringing the total to 30 hours a week.

The Lifetime ISA will be available from 6 April this year

The Lifetime ISA will allow younger adults to save up to £4,000 each year and receive a bonus of up to £1,000 a year on these contributions. Funds can be withdrawn tax-free to put towards a first home or saved until a person turns 60.


The Big Event

Taking on ‘The Big Event’ with the Academy of Floral Art

Staging the floral displays for a prestigious celebration in a large, imposing venue can be a daunting prospect. How do you cost for profit, how do you design and create decorations that will make an impact and not just disappear into the vast space? What sort of insurance, contracts and risk assessments do you need in place, and how do you make the florals come together seamlessly on the day? This sort of project can propel your flower business into the next league, but we know – not least from our BFA Florist Get Togethers – just how fearful many of you are about taking on larger-scale events.

BFA member college, the Academy of Floral Art, is tackling this issue head-on with a unique residential course entitled ‘The Big Event’. They are inviting intermediate to experienced florists to Devon’s magnificent Bridwell Park, where they will have exclusive access to the property and the chance to immerse themselves in the world of event floristry at this luxurious stately home, working, sleeping and eating here for two full days.

“We are very excited about ‘The Big Event’ at Bridwell Park”, says Academy tutor, Tina Parkes. “We are passionate about giving florists the knowledge, confidence and hands-on experience of how to pitch, cost and plan for a large-scale event as well as the techniques to create designs to complement the scale and style of the space. looking to build on their existing skills and take on more challenging projects.”

Students will be instructed, guided and supported throughout by the Academy’s expert tutors - Tina Parkes, Julie Collins, Amanda Randell and Kathryn Delve. All four are not only highly qualified (they include Dutch, British and American Master Florists, Chelsea Gold medalists, and IoPF Academic Fellows) but also experienced commercial florists with plenty of practical experience of event floristry.

“It’s going to be a pretty packed two days and our students will learn a lot,” explains Julie Collins. “We will detail how to research and present your pitch, how to design for a big space and sketch your ideas to help plan the structures, mechanics, flowers and foliage you will need. Florists will learn the essentials of how to draft a client contract, a risk assessment, an ordering grid and a staff work plan. And, above all, they will be getting hands-on with real-life big event floristry, creating stunning floral designs in four of the magnificent reception rooms at Bridwell Park.”

 ‘The Big Event’ will take place at Bridwell Park, Devon on 6-7 June 2017. You can read more about the Academy of Floral Art on their BFA member page here, and to find out more about ‘The Big Event’ course and how to sign up, call the Academy team on 01392 834893 or visit


Exciting News

BFA working with the Wedding Flowers Magazine

We're delighted to announce that the BFA have formed a good relationship and will be working with the Wedding Flowers & Accessories magazine on different forthcoming projects!

Wedding Flowers and Accessories magazine is the UK's only magazine dedicated to wedding flowers, and whilst magazine sales have declined on the whole Wedding Flowers & Accessories have entirely bucked this trend with a 6.9% year-on-year rise!  (and this excludes their popular downloadable digital edition!)

I'm sure every one of us reading this has spoken to a bride armed with one, if not half a dozen of these magazines - we know they are read by brides to be up and down the UK and we're thrilled to be working with them.

Whilst we have lots to tell you, at the moment we're delighted to reveal that they have asked us to create their seasonal guide pages.  These go into each issue and are a very popular section of the magazine. The next issue - May - June will feature our first work.  

We will - of course be sharing the very typical, favourite seaonal flowers for the time the issue is on the news stands, but we will be ensuring that the flowers we promote are also available to you - the fabulous florists that thrill brides throughout every season.

Previous Issue's Seasonal Guide double page spread

We will be credited for our assocation with the Seasonal guide section and our BFA Logo will be featured on the page - We highly recommend you make sure that your decal is prominent and your member logo feature on your webistes, stationary, vehicles etc.  

The BFA (and it's logo) has become far more regonised of late and this will continue to a far greater degree as we continue through 2017. (You can find it to download in the member area).

As we've suggested we have more to reveal and will continue to bring you exciting news on how you as our BFA members can be involved with our new relationship - Keep your eyes on our weekly newsletter for the latest updates.

Need to sign up to the newsletter - CLICK HERE

Need to become a BFA Business member - CLICK HERE


Competition launched to find starring florists for British Flowers Week photoshoot

Competition launched to find starring florists for British Flowers Week photoshoot

New Covent Garden Market are searching for five florists to feature in the national campaign promoting British flowers and floristry

  • Florists can win the chance to star in the British Flowers Week photoshoot
  • Photoshoot is the cornerstone of national campaign, now in its fifth year
  • Opportunity for florists to showcase their designs to millions of people 

New Covent Garden Market, the team behind British Flowers Week, are launching a competition to find five fantastic florists with front page grabbing designs to be the stars of this year’s British Flowers Week photoshoot. 

This competition is an opportunity for florists to get their designs seen by millions of people across the country; last year the hashtag #BritishFlowersWeek reached 12 million people on social media alone. Previous florists hand-picked to star in the photoshoot include Simon Lycett, Rebel Rebel, Shane Connolly, Zita Elze, McQueens and Jane Packer.

Some images from British Flowers Week 2016

What it would involve

Florists are being asked to create three floral designs; a showstopper, a technical challenge, and a signature arrangement, all celebrating the best of British flowers and floristry. The photoshoot will take place at the brand new Flower Market at New Covent Garden Market on 6 June. Each florist will be given a budget of £300 for the three designs.

How to enter

Florists can easily enter the competition by CLICKING HERE or going to and completing an entry form. 


The deadline for applications is midday on 14 April 2017. The five winning florists will be announced on Monday 1 May. The judges will be announced soon. 


The five featured florists, to be chosen by an expert panel of judges, will each create three designs for the British Flowers Week photoshoot, which forms the cornerstone of the campaign. During British Flowers Week each florist will have one day devoted to showcasing them and their designs.

More info on the competition

You can find more information on the competition by CLICKING HERE and visiting the British Flowers Week page.


Take a look back at the stunning designs and remind yourself about the success of last years British Flower Week.

Take me straight to.....



We will we'll keep you informed of the events, images and designs of British Flowers Week, including a series of specially commissioned floral designs by five top florists at London's New Covent Garden Flower Market as they did last year, but start thinking now - what can you do within your business.  Alternatively just click on the link below and we'll take you through exactly what you can do, please bear in mind this is last years marketing material, we'll bring you details of the 2017 batch the second it becomes available...

Imminent re-evaluation of business rates

Imminent re-evaluation of business rates - action by BFA on your behalf.

At the time of writing the Business Rates review is very much 'up in the air' as Ministers are expected to soften impact of business rate changes. Chancellor Philip Hammond has told Conservative MPs he is "listening" to their concerns about an imminent re-evaluation of business rates.

Ministers are under pressure with MPs warning the changes will lead to "eye-watering" bill rises for some firms.  Business groups and some Tory MPs have warned of high street store closures and are urging Mr Hammond to use next month's Budget to mitigate the impact. However, it might not be all bad news as government reports that the changes that come into force on 1 April as a result of a revaluation of premises carried out by the government, will result in three quarters of businesses' rates either going down or stay the same. 

We at the BFA, act on behalf of florists - as the only trade association in the florist industry that is recognised by Government both in the UK and EU.  As such we felt is was necessary to act on behalf of florists and make our thought known on the subject - the British Florist Association Chairman Brian Wills-pope has contacted the Chancellor, his letter can be seen below. 

We will of course bring you more news when confirmation is made.  In the mean time you may want to visit the website to

Find and check your business rates valuation 

The tool includes:

  • a simple search tool to find your property
  • a draft valuation for 2017
  • business rates estimator for 2017
  • current valuation (rateable value)
  • previous valuations (valuations applied on 1st April 2010 & 1st April 2005)

Click on the link here Find and check your business rates valuation.

Letter from BFA Chairman to the  Chancellor of the Exchequer




YOUR LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ADR & ODR! - Don't pay out when you don't need to!!

We have been notified of Florists being contacted by a very credible sounding company trying to sell their services quoting new laws…. Don’t be fooled into paying for a service you don’t need here are the facts!

What is it?

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to ways of resolving disputes between consumers and traders that don’t involve going to court.

The government wants to encourage the development of ADR. Better ADR and easier access to it should also be good for all businesses committed to giving their customers the best possible service.

Common forms of ADR are:

  • mediation, where an independent third party helps the disputing parties to come to a mutually acceptable outcome
  • arbitration, where an independent third party considers the facts and takes a decision that’s often binding on one or both parties
  • In the UK, there are already several large and well-established ADR schemes in regulated sectors.

These include:

  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for financial services
  • Ofgem for energy providers
  • Ofcom for the communications industries

When did it take effect?

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) regulations came into force on 1st October 2015

Does this apply to me and my florist business?

Yes and no… The regulations do not make participation in ADR schemes mandatory for traders. However, the regulations do require almost all businesses which sell directly to consumers to point the consumer to a certified ADR scheme – where they cannot resolve a dispute in-house – and declare whether or not they intend to use that scheme.

So what should I do?

As we are not in the regulated sectors (financial service etc. some examples of which are above.) As stated on the government website - 

“In all other areas the Secretary of State will be the generic competent authority and has appointed the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) to carry out these functions on his behalf. “

In short, you can say we use trading standards!

This covers all UK retailers, including florists.  They can be the ones you can direct customers to, the ADR – Alternative dispute resolution body in the event of a dispute that cannot be settled between a consumer and a retailer aka you and your customer!



Is that all I need to know?

Maybe not do you sell online? if so read on!

Do you have a website that sell flowers online? 

The Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) regulations came into effect in February 2016 and also affect all retailers that trade on line as well.

The information is a little confusing but we have done a great deal of research on your behalf, so here goes!

Whilst it is stated;

“If you are an “online trader” who sells goods, services or digital content to consumers online, you will need to make changes to your website, and in some cases to your contractual terms” i.e your terms and conditions

However before you get too concerned It is also states

Does this mean that all online traders and online marketplaces need to use ADR?

No. The Regulations do not oblige traders to use ADR, only to provide notice of the ODR Platform.

So what should we do?

We at the BFA want you to fully know all the facts so we have taken factual information from expert sites, but look out for our comments as to how we suggest you proceed.

Who has to comply?

All online traders who sell goods, services or digital content to consumers (or in the words of the Regulations who “intend to enter into online sales contracts or online service contracts with consumers”) via their own website within the EU (with some exceptions, such as “health professionals”) and any online marketplaces (such as eBay).

How do you comply?

  • Online traders must provide a link to the ODR Platform on their website. The link should be easily accessible for consumers. A logical place would be alongside existing complaints procedure information on a trader’s website.

BFA Note – this is the European Commission official website’s link to their ODR form :


  • In addition, all online traders must state their email address on their website (an online contact form that does not show the email address is not sufficient to meet this requirement).

BFA Note – this only needs to be in your t&c’s if you don’t want to make it too public, but it’s an easy thing to comply with.

BFA Note – There is a lot of addition requirements that apply to a traders that are required to use an approved ADR provider however this does not apply to us as we are not in the regulated sectors and required to use an approved ADR provider – please see above. If you wish to read this use the links at the end of this feature.

How will the ODR Platform work?

  • The consumer fills in an online complaint form on, and submits it to, the ODR Platform.
  • The complaint is sent from the ODR Platform to the relevant trader, who proposes an ADR entity to the consumer (if applicable). The trader has 10 days to state whether it is either obliged to use a particular approved ADR provider, or if it is not obliged, if it is willing to use one of the approved ADR providers detailed in the message from the ODR Platform.
  • If the trader is unwilling to use an approved ADR provider, then the ODR Platform will not be able to process the complaint any further.
  • Once the trader has responded to this message the ODR Platform will then send a similar message to the consumer.
  • Once (and if) consumer and trader agree on an ADR entity to handle their dispute, the ODR Platform automatically transfers the complaint to that entity.
  • If that transfer occurs, the ADR entity handles the case entirely online and reaches an outcome in 90 days.
  • It will be apparent from this that if the trader is not willing to use an ADR provider, then the matter does not proceed to ADR – so in that respect, this is not a compulsory regime.

What is it?

The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes introduce to the UK the European Commission’s online dispute resolution platform (the ODR Platform). The ODR Platform is intended to encourage cross-border purchasing by consumers across the EU and is part of the Commission’s Digital Single Market initiative (There is more information of a dedicated Digital Single Market hub here).

Online dispute resolution is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedure conducted online. The ODR Platform will provide a portal for consumers to submit a complaint to a relevant, registered ADR provider with the aim of resolving the dispute. It will offer a translation function to help facilitate cross-border disputes. The aim is to make consumers and traders more confident in trading online and across borders. Consumers and traders alike will know that they will have a platform to settle their disputes out of court in a simple, fast and low-cost way.

Closing comments

The fact is that without know all the information It’s easy to be blinded with science, with this being fairly new there may well be companies that contact your business convincing you to join their schemes of only £xxx per year!! no doubt promising additional advice and services! – If this is something you want to do for your business – please go ahead, however we want you to be armed with the facts and not to feel obliged to sign up to a membership scheme that isn’t necessary!  The BFA know of emails being sent out earlier this month if you have already signed up to something you wish you hadn't whether regarding ADR or not - remember, you always have a 14 day cooling off period to cancel contracts!

Sources of information and further information: website - Alternative dispute resolution for consumers Link - - Europe’s new online dispute resolution platform: what do you need to do? Link -

Business companion information Link -

Business companion information as a downloadable pdf - (Just so you know this is a 39 page document!)

 European committion setting disputes online pdf - (A surprisingly consise 3 page pdf document!)

Please note

This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.

You will find a great deal of information in the information links provided.


Results of the Christmas Trade survey

The Results of the Christmas Florist Trade Survey are in.

Throughout January we've been collecting results of the Christmas survey, thank you to the hundreds of you that took the time to fill it in.  We've now calculated the results and they are as follows... please scroll down the page and see all the stats at your leisure and draw your own conclusions.

So what's the outcome?

Sales up sales down?

On the whole our Christmas sales increased this year compared to last. 54.54% of you reported this... how did we fair compared to the rest of the retailers?  Well fantastically!! The Centre for retail research gave us the stats that In 2016, the fall in sales in traditional stores was down -1.6%. In 2015 it had been -0.1%.  Let's just reflect on that a moment... whilst we didn't drill down into the exact % your sales increased, I think with 17.17% of you saying it significantly increased and 37.37% of you saying it slightly increased, we as an industry can feel very positive about these results!

WhIist passing trade was down, again lets review this compared to others.... there were just 6% more florists businesses that saw a down turn... 33.33% remained the same, 30.30% reported an increase in passing trade with 36.36% having a decrease.  The national trading figures report "compared to several previous Christmases, there was an unexpected dearth of shoppers in the main cities on many days, whilst the smaller retail centres looked like ghost towns. All that was missing was tumbleweed blowing through the streets." with reports like that (again from The Centre for retail research) I think we can all be 'very satisfied'

Internet sales!

we saw an increase in internet orders. This very much reflected the general trend in the UK. But it's well worth bearing in mind the big online story was not the fact that online now represented more than one-quarter of total retail sales, but the rapid growth in mobile retailing. Many ecommerce retailers found that up to 80% of shopper visits to their websites were done via mobile phones and tablets, and 42.3% of all online purchases were made using mobiles.  How does your ecommerce site work on mobile devises? - a very serious question, don't ignore this! We have to be ontop of our game and our websites with shopping facilities have to be good and mobile friendly to say ahead of the game!

Added extras?

Half of florist had less than 10% of their sales made up of items other than flowers followed by 1/3 getting 10 - 25% of sales on items other than flowers, with sales up obviously it follows that flower sales on the whole increased.  However, this wasn't from relay companies as these were clearly down.

How did you predict demand?

Half of all florists surveyed predicted their demand and ordering acurately, more good news is that around 40% of you increased your prices around 60% left your prices the same as Christmas 2015, thankfully none of you decreased your prices. Following feedback from our Florist Get Together Evenings, it seems clear that more florists are switching to fixed pricing, which may be why they didn't need to move their prices around so much. What were other retailers doing?  Well the November Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend became ten days of offers and promotions, and was preceded by offers and followed by other offers. Not surprisingly, for most retailers this pulled forward sales from December which became rather flat for everyone except electrical goods specialists and the grocery and licensed victuallers. So does this matter to us, obviously we come under the 'goods specialist' and we can't have cut flowers being purchased in November for Christmas, but should we bear in mind that more consumers are buying Christmas items earlier? Should we consider adding a Christmas marketing campagin to our November activities so Auntie doesn't get reduced black friday gifts rather than the usual christmas handtie?  You'll recall we kept on in our newsletters and in articles to promote yourselves in conjunction with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, not to 'give away' but to promote your business, is this something that should be a must? We'll let you decide!

Satisfied with trade?

On the question of satisfaction is was a close run thing. Almost the same amount of you said that you were satisfied (27.27%) neither satisfied, or disatisfied (28.28% If we assume that 3 meant that's how you felt) but we can't ignore the 22.22% of you that weren't satisfied with your Christmas sales, and the very dissatisfied florists that made up 12.12% of the survey, compared to 10.10% of you that were very satisfied with your Christmas sales. We all have individual businesses and aspirations so these figures maybe considered a little difficult to precisely interpret, we'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Food for thought!

There are a few things to note here, research shows although many consumers loathe Christmas shopping, most active shoppers love the buzz, the decorations, the crowds and the vast range of products available at Christmas time. Retailers that survive are those that can create that excitement - we know that we need to make shopping a positive experience for our consumers, but research shows this is especially important at Christmas, let's make the visit to their local professional florist a really fantastic experience, so it's something they do on numberous occasions on the lead up to Christmas!  I'm sure you know how you don't feel Christmasy until you've heard that song, or had your first Baileys well let try and make your customers visit to your business be part of their 'must do's' to feel Christmasy too!



How did your Christmas 2016 sales compare to those of Christmas 2015?

How did your footfall compare with that of Christmas 2015?

How did the number of incoming relay orders compare to those of Christmas 2016? 

 How did the number of online orders from your own website compare to those of Christmas 2015? 

Overall, was the proportion of flowers you sold more - or less - than those sold during Christmas 2015? 


What proportion of your Christmas 2016 sales came from product?

Overall, how accurately did you predict Christmas demand in your shop in 2016?

How did your selling prices compare to Christmas 2015? 

Overall, on a scale of 1 to 5, how satisfied were you with Christmas 2016 sales? 1 = very satisfied, 5 = very unsatisfied. 


To read more about the centre for research information we used CLICK HERE and view their website page.



Click here to fill in the survey

The Department of Education are running a survey to see if it is necessary to continue with Florist Apprenticeships! We are all part of the same industry and we think the training of our next generation of Florists is important to all sectors of the Industry whether we are employers, florists, training providers, wholesalers, growers etc. and I hope you will all agree,  that even if you will not be delivering this apprenticeship it is important for the Industry to have the choice.

The problems and risks we face

One of the main problems we may have, is that the department of education may not let us develop our own standard but try to get us to use the Retail standards with some Floristry units bolted on, this would not be good for our Industry as the products we sell are taken by a florist and enhanced.  As you all know this requires a skill which needs good underpinning knowledge, if we dilute these skills we are not doing ourselves or our Industry justice.  Sandie Griffith the BFA Training and Education manager suggests that we are a 70% Florists 30% Retail-Customer Service but would value your comments, contact

Your voice needs to be heard, your opinion really matters

Click here to fill in the survey

We appreciate that you may feel that  this survey is aimed at employers but if you take a quick look, I think you will see it is aimed at all interested parties and please can you encourage any employers you are in touch with to complete the survey also.

We have had a lot of support from employers but obviously there are a lot more out there that might not have heard and we only have a week to put in as many surveys as possible. 

  The Survey Closes 5th February - so act now!

I'm sure you agree, it is really important that we can train florists by this route and that floristry is seen a profession, with strong qualification that are suitable for florists.

We are at a disadvantage as a small industry, so your support is essential. Please take 2 minutes to fill in the survey now, it closes 5th February!!

The message from the department of education

Dear All,
Many thanks again for submitting proposals to develop new Apprenticeship Standards.

As part of the assessment process we have placed all bids online to give interested parties an opportunity to comment on your proposals. Those who participate in the survey are asked to feedback against a number of factors that will help us assess the bid.

This survey is live and the link to it is available here. It will close on the 5th of February. In order to ensure we have the broadest evidence base for making our decision, we would encourage you to forward this to any relevant contacts, for them to complete.

Thank you once again for your application.

Warm Regards
The Trailblazer Team
DfE Apprenticeships Directorate

Click here to fill in the survey

How to fill in the survey?

Simply fill in your name, email and organisation in boxes 1 - 3, in box 4 select Floristry in the drop down list.  On page 2 you can view the document which has been submitted by Sandie Griffith the British Florist Associations Training and Education Director. 

Box 66. Asks "Do you support the development of the Apprenticeship Standard set out in the Expression of Interest?" please click yes.  If you wish to add a comment such as..

Is it essential for the continued success of the florist industry that this apprenticeship goes ahead, and the department of education back the professionalism and training of florists through this apprenticeship.

Box 67. questions the necessity of the appreticeship, specifically asking if it needs to run for the necessary 12 months - please answer yes, or as suggested give comments.

Box 67 - An Apprenticeship Standard must involve rigorous and substantial training of over a year to achieve full competence. Do you think this Apprenticeship Standard would take at least 12 months to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviour required for sufficient competence in this occupation? If no please give details.

Box 68. Asks "Are you aware of any other existing or proposed Apprenticeship Standards that may overlap with this one? If Yes please give details."  As mentioned above, we are at risk of being told to use other standards that will not benefit our industry. It is far more suitable that we produce our own tailormade qualification as we need.  We will be consulting with many employers regarding this, so please answer no.

Box 69. if/how many apprentices you will be taking on per year.  If you feel there is a possiblity of you taking on/have an employee that could be trained this way please indicate appropriately.

Please fill in the final few boxes as you wish before hitting submit, and confirm submission.

Thank you for making your voice heard and helping to strengthen the industry.

If you have any further queries regarding this, or need any more assistance, please contact

CLICK HERE to view the Proposal to develop a new apprenticeship standard


The Valentines Survival Guide

The Valentines Survival Guide


Everyone at the BFA know's exactly what it's like to be a florist at Valentines - we either are or have been in your shoes. You plan, research, consider and try and get predictions spot on and think of everything... but there are so many points to think about, and this is whilst your still running your business day to day!

This is why we've created the comprehensive 'Valentines Survival Guide' full of top tips, ideas and reminders to make this your best valentines ever.

We all wish you the very best of luck & are rooting for you to excel.

Here at the BFA we will be shouting to the consumer from every direction to use their local professional BFA florist - It's time for the florist fight back & we're right with you.



A new era is dawning on New Covent Garden Flower Market

A new era is dawning on New Covent Garden Flower Market

In just over ten weeks, the brand new Flower Market will open at New Covent Garden Market. The new market is a modern, bright and pleasant space for the buying and selling of flowers, plants, foliage and sundries. 

Located just along Nine Elms Lane from the current market, the new Flower Market remains in the heart of London and brings new benefits to give florists a richer buying experience on every visit. 

Everything you need to know about the new Flower Market

  • The brand new Flower Market will now open on Monday 3 April 2017
  • The new home will be a more inspiring place for florists to buy beautiful flowers, plants, foliage and sundries
  • New Covent Garden Market have created a guide to the new Flower Market for customers and florists, here:

The whole complex has been well considered with covered parking available to allow orders to be loaded protected from the elements, which means no more damp flower heads. Inside the new modern market bright lights let customers see each petal in high definition, so they can handpick only the best for their customers. The new Flower Market will be a more vibrant space with a better atmosphere and more buzz. A warm café, that is not chilled, will be a cosier place to visit during those early mornings. 

But not everything in the new Flower Market will be different. It will be home to your favourite market wholesalers, as well as a dozen contract florists. The things florists love; the energy, the spirit, the community and the banter. These, the essence of the market, all stay.

Everything florists need to know about the new Flower Market can be found here on the Brand New Covent Garden Market website: The guide has visiting information as well as a map of the Flower Hall.

The new Flower Market will open for business on Monday 3 April 2017. The last day of trading in the current market will be Friday 31 March 2017. The wholesalers will move over the weekend 1-2 April.

Alastair Owen, New Covent Garden Market’s Communications Manager, said:

“We can’t wait for our customers to see our new home. It’s a bright, fresh and modern space that will make coming to the Flower Market an even better experience. The current market has served us very well for 40 years, but it’s now time to give our customers a more inspiring place to buy beautiful flowers, plants, foliage and sundries.

“Our online guide explains all about the new Flower Market. From day one, you’ll be ready to continue buying, seamlessly, from your favourite wholesalers. With the new building we are sure the Flower Market will continue to be a very special place.”

It seems no time at all since we brought you the plans at the beginning of August and it'll seem even less time until the doors open, but if you want a preview of what's behind those new doors explore the new Flower Market in a guide for customers and florists by clicking here -

Now Even More Connection with consumers

Now Even More Connection with consumers

The BFA promote the message to 'Support your Local Professional BFA florist' to the consumer at every opportunity.  But now we take it a step further...

Within this month Consumers around the UK will have the first consumer newsletter in their in-box.  Thoughout 2016 we ran competitions to collect names and email addresses of the great British public that were keen to get their hands on a beautiful handtied.

This has given us a great head start with well over a thousand names and addresses to launch with.  As you know more than most - people love flowers, so having inspirational articles brought  straight to them will be a hit...... and of course, this enable us to promote you - the local professional independent BFA florist and all the benefits of  buying flowers from you brings!

As we write articles each week for our consumer website  which we then share on our consumer facebook page we have endless content for the newsletters... of course the first issue will also feature our competition winner.

If your business hasn't updated your 'Find a Florist Profile' take the time to do this now, before Valentine's swamps your workload CLICK HERE and login your details in the member area.  If you are not a member and wonder what the profile page is all about CLICK HERE and find out more, don't miss out on this which is entirely free with BFA membership which is currently still half price just £40 + VAT for the year - with promo code CB50 CLICK HERE to join now!

The Flower Lounge are the Wedding Industry Awards National Winner


The very best wedding suppliers in the country were honoured on Thursday 12th January at The Wedding Industry Awards, which hosted a glittering ceremony held at the world famous Café de Paris in London’s West End. With 26 national titles up for grabs covering everything from photography, entertainment and flowers to venues, cakes and wedding dresses, the competition was fierce and those who picked up awards were rightly jubilant.

None no more so than the winner that we're all most interested about - The National Winner of the Wedding Florist of the Year, we're thrilled  to announce that The Flower Lounge from Didsbury nr Manchester grabbed this top spot.

 Roger Black MBE and TWIA founder Damian Bailey along with Sian.

You may recall us telling you about Sian as we were delighted to share that she has joined the BFA team as the  Retail officer, we knew we'd made a fabulous addition to the team, even before this national accolade.  CLICK HERE to learn more about The Flower Lounge and the lady behind it and what makes her tick.... 

The Wedding Industry Awards (TWIA) ensures that there is a credible, reliable, independent regional and national awards process.  Sian's business The Flower Lounge had previously won the North West Regions Florist of the Year for three years running, so had consistently been working her way up to the top spot.  The awards are the only client-voted regional and national awards in the wedding industry and the judging panel is made up of industry experts.

Founder of The Wedding Industry Awards, Damian Bailey said: “The Wedding Industry Awards really have become the gold standard for wedding excellence in this country both regionally and nationally, with the TWIA logo now a trusted and coveted mark of the very highest quality throughout the industry. Every year, the standard of entrants just gets higher and higher so to make the regional shortlist is a huge achievement, let alone going on to be crowned a regional or national winner. Of course the cherry on the cake is winning a national award in such esteemed company! Having received more than 25,000 client-only votes and after our judges reviewed every entry with a fine tooth comb winning a national award is a feat worthy of notice.”

We all know how much couples spend on weddings, but with all calcualtions tolled the UK wedding industry is worth an estimated £10 billion annually.  Sian, fellow wedding florist and suppliers throughout the UK are constantly working hard to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Happily, for Sian, The Flower Lounge and the winners of the other 25 categories, they’ve now got a coveted award to help them woo clients in 2017 and beyond.

In the spectacular surroundings of the Cafe de Paris, set in the heart of London's West End, there was plenty of chance for the finalists to rub shoulders with others at the top of their game, forge new relationships and reinforce existing ones. Enjoy debriefing about your weddings of 2016, or just raise a cheeky glass to the best industry there is to work in as complimentary drinks flowed along with the delicious food. There was also an array of incredible entertainment from Dancefloor Couture, Thom Music and Abigail Katie Lambert.  A fantastic celebration of excellent winners (well we know we can vouch for our category winner at least.)

Grower of the Year 2015 dies

It is with great sadness that we have to announce the sudden passing of the BFA Grower of the Year 2015 -  Peter Warner from SE Warner & Son in Spalding. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Warner family at this difficult time


Expert Demonstrations! Come along!

Come and join us to watch some of the best florists in the UK demonstrate at the Chelsea Heats & Newcomer competitions.  

You're very welcome to attend the demonstration even if you or none of your team members are taking part in the competitions (although the newcomer competition is free to enter!)

You'll be able to view the competition designs & see the heat winners too!  


DATE VENUE TIME * Demonstrator
Sunday 15th January 2017 Berkshire College of Agriculture,
Hall Place, Burchetts Green,
Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 6QR

11.30am – 2.30pm      Louisa Cooper
 Wednesday 1st February 2017 CAFRE, Cafre College,
45 Tigracy Road, Muckamore,
Antrim, Co.Antrim BT41 4PS

11.30am – 2.30pm Victoria Richards
Sunday 19th February 2017 Excelsior Wholesale,
37 Shirral Drive,
Drayton Bassett,
Tamworth, Staffs
B78 3EQ

11.30am – 2.30pm Jane Benefield
Sunday 12th March 2017 Country Baskets,
297 Blochairn Road,
Glasgow G21 2DU

11.30am – 2.30pm Tina Arum

* Times are approximate and only for demonstrations only - Competition entry must be in place before these times, for more info CLICK HERE for Chelsea heat information & CLICK HERE for newcomer competition information.


Entry to the demonstration for Chelsea heat competitors is free, tickets are required for all other attendees and £10 + VAT + Booking fee for BFA or IoPF members, for non members £20 + VAT + Booking fee.

BFA Business membership is still currently half price become a member now and benefit from tickets at half the price plus a whole host of other benefits. CLICK HERE and enter promo code CB50

Self Assessment – live sessions

Self Assessment – live webinars sessions

You may have been reminded already that 31 January 2017 is the deadline for sending us your 2015/16 tax return and for making any payments that may be due.

We also wanted to let you know about HMRC’s interactive live sessions this coming week in the form of videos and webinars about Self Assessment.

Self Assessment help and support

Join the Self Assessment help and support sessions with HMRC expert staff to answer your Self Assessment questions. They won’t have access to your account.

Live webinars:

How to complete your online tax return

How to register for Self Assessment Online and complete your tax return.

Live webinars:

Watch a recording of this webinar from June 2016.

Contact HMRC online for other webinar help.

CLICK HERE to go directly to the HMRC page for more information.

VAT annual accounting scheme

VAT annual accounting scheme - online application now available

Source: HM Revenue & Customs | | 10/11/2016

HMRC has added an online application service for the VAT annual accounting scheme. The main benefits of the scheme include the requirement to file only one VAT return per year.

The VAT annual accounting scheme is open to most businesses with a turnover of up to £1.35m per year. Businesses will usually make nine interim VAT payments during the year, based on their estimated total liability for the year, followed by one balancing payment with the return.

The scheme is aimed at small businesses. It can either be combined with the flat rate scheme or used by a business which uses standard VAT accounting. The use of the scheme reduces administration time and the associated cost of preparing and submitting quarterly VAT returns.

The annual accounting scheme can also help a business manage their cash flow position as instalment payments of the expected VAT liability are made on account, so that the business is not faced with a large VAT bill at the end of the year.

If you would like to know more details CLICK HERE and read more details on the GOV.UK website to go directly to filling in the online form CLICK HERE.

An application to join the scheme can continue to be made using the VAT600AA form or the new online option. All outstanding VAT returns must be submitted before HMRC will allow a business to join the scheme. There is a separate application form (VAT600AA/FRS) to join the annual accounting scheme and the flat rate scheme at the same time.

Danielle wins Silver Medal and 'Best of Nations at Euroskills.

Danielle wins Silver Medal and 'Best of Nations' at Euroskills.

From 1st until 3rd December Danielle has been representing the UK and Floristry in Gothenburg at the Euroskills 2016, where she did us proud.

Danielle Scandone won a silver medal and the title of 'Best of Nations' which means she has the highest scores of all UK competitors in the disciplines, an amazing achievement - one that the whole industry should celebrate in!

The competition saw the most talented young people come together to compete in over 35 different skill areas ranging from engineering and construction through to floristry and hospitality.  

Over 45,000 visitors came to the 3 day show and saw the creme de la creme of young representatives from 28 European Member countries and 7 international guest destinations compete.

Overall the UK has struck gold with its best ever performance in what was dubbed a Brexit stress test at the EuroSkills finals in Gothenburg.

The 22-strong team cleaned up with four gold (in three disciplines), one silver and three bronze (in two disciplines) medals, as well as eight Medallions of Excellence following three days of top-level competitions in a range of disciplines from Beauty to Bricklaying, Cooking to Carpentry, Plumbing to Plastering and Web Design.
To clarify, Danielle's 'Best of Nations' Award - because the standard of the floristry competition was so high, although Danielle was awarded a silver medal, the points she received thoughout the competition were more than her fellow UK team mates that were competiting in other disciplines.

The Floristry competition

The Floristry competition consists of six different designs

Wedding bouquet

Handtie Bouquet


Arrangement using floral foam



Floral jewellery/accessories for a model.



Table centre


Danielle, 21 years of age who works at Moonflower in Cobham, Surrey and who trained at Merrist Wood College, was delighted to be selected for this competition earlier in the year she explained  “When I found out that I had been selected to represent the UK at EuroSkills, I was thrilled.  My training has opened so many doors for me and I'm determined to give it my all.”  

Preperation for the competition has been taking place for many months working with Laura Leong and Lynda Owen the training experts. Laura was thrilled with the outcome "Lynda and I are super proud of what Danielle has achieved. When speaking about the training provided by Laura in the run up to the competition Lynda wrote "Laura Leong my absolute hero and a fab trainer it's been a pleasure to be part of Danielle team and share Dani's success with Laura"

If you're wondering how to get where Danielle has the Worldskills Jouney began 3 years ago.  Danielle was selected for Team UK after she excelled in the National Finals of the WorldSkills UK Competitions back in 2013.  The Worldskills UK competitions are managed by the British Florist Association and held at The Skills Show each year.  The most recent competition was held Nov 17 - 19 2016.  In the spring the information for registration for the 2017 worldskills will be announced - it's an amazing competition that every young florists should get involved in.

As the name suggests EuroSkills is Europe’s biggest skills competition and aims to improve the quality, status and attraction of vocational training. 

Dr Neil Bentley, CEO of WorldSkills UK, which oversees the UK's regional and national competitions, as well as Team UK's selection and preparation, said:

"We are overjoyed - our best ever performance - just at the moment when we really need it.  

"This competition is a microcosm of how the UK is doing against economies across Europe.  You can see us competing cheek by jowl against the French, the Dutch, the Germans, the Scandinavians and others.  You can actually see what we are up against. 

"The pressure that these people are under is ensuring that they compete at an international standard, and its crucial for the economy and business that they perform at that level.

"These young people are going back into their workplaces and sharing that knowledge and experience - which helps businesses to thrive and that's what's going to help businesses compete with others across the world.

"They are the future, the future of our economy, the future of our nation...they are going to help our economy to grow.

There are so many people that make this possible and the BFA as well as Danielle would like to thank sponsors that assisted in her journey; Florismart and Oasis floral foam.


Welcome Sian, Our New Retail Officer

Welcome Sian, Our New Retail Officer

We are delighted that Sian Wild has joined the BFA team and is our new Retail Officer.  Sian as owner of the exceptionally successful retail florist the Flower Lounge in Didsbury, is ideally placed to take on the role.

Speaking about her new appointment Sian said “I am very excited that I have been appointed as British Florist Association Retail Officer. This is a fantastic opportunity to work with the rest of the floral industry and raise the awareness of the skill involved in our trade. It is a big challenge but I have a fantastic network of florists around me and I really hope that I can make a little bit of difference to the industry. I am looking forward to getting my teeth in to this voluntary role”

Preferring that the flowers take centre stage, it could be that you may not know of Sian, so let’s change that…

Having grown up in a horticultural family Sian has always been surrounded by plants and flowers and inherited her green fingers and thumbs.  After completing her City and Guilds Floristry course she decided to get as much experience under her belt as possible; working in everything from the local village florist to a large city centre shop. Working hard and learning from some of the best, Sian cut her teeth on weddings and events all over the country and in Europe.  This gave her the knowledge and confidence to launch The Flower Lounge in 2009.

Having her own florist shop was something Sian always knew that she would do and even after 7 years in business and working 12 to 14 hour days, as Sian says “I love my job!”  Her artistic flair and attention to detail encapsulates what she and The Flower Lounge is all about. She loves getting hands on and sometimes struggles to park herself behind a computer, preferring to be up front and snipping! You’ll often find her chatting away to customers, fascinated by the emotional connection people have with flowers and scent.

She won the BFA 2016 Industry Awards Retail Florist website of the year title and has won the North West Wedding Florist of the Year for three years running, so weddings keep her and her team very busy, particularly on weekends. Sian admits days off are a thing of the past! But this doesn’t put her off at all, far from it – “The real highlight for me is when we deliver a bouquet to a bride and it takes her breath away. There’s so much emotion involved and they usually shed a tear or two (good tears I may add!). “

I’m sure many of us can relate to Sian when she explains “Whilst there are the daily tasks involved in running a florist shop, I can truly say that no one day is ever the same. Trends are all ways changing, there’s new customers, new events and weddings to plan and every single design we produce is unique. Every shape of the flower, bend of the stem is completely different and beautiful, so it has to be the most creative and inspiring place to work and I get to meet extraordinary people every day."

Sian continues "However, I think the reason I’m still so passionate about what I do is that being a florist, there’s almost a never ending opportunity to learn new skills, techniques and styles. I experiment with flowers every day and attend at least two courses a year to absorb new ideas and feed my creativity.  I am so driven by championing the incredible skills that exist in our profession and supporting those who recognise that outstanding quality and exceptional customer service is what sets them apart, not competing with the supermarkets.”

On a personal note Sian tells us “Aside of my passion for flowers and growing ambitions, I love the outdoors, my dog Charlie and have a weakness for veggie Percy Pigs from M&S. My favourite season is Autumn and am inspired by everything that’s around me, from art and design, fashion and interiors, to wildlife and nature.”

"I recognise how incredibly lucky I am to love what I do and wake up each morning excited by the day ahead. "

We look forward to working with Sian and know she’ll be a fabulous addition to the BFA Team.

Poinsettias - Time to Take a Different Approach?

Poinsettias - Time to Take a Different Approach?

Let's take back control of our Poinsettia sales! We have a sure-fire way to make that happen!

Poinsettias are just so well known as THE plant of Christmas - their sales have topped a staggering six million plants sold in the UK alone.  
We all know that they are available for sale in so many retailers, so whilst the sales of the plant are staggering, gone are the days where florists would be the first choice for most consumers! However, let's not role over and accept this, let's fight back...

We have two ways of ensuring we have good Poinsettia sales:

1.  When selling Poinsettia's as a plant or plants, we need to set ourselves apart from the other retailers - They don't have the skills we do, they don't have the creativity or know-how to take a plant and with the additions of a stunning container and some accessories make it a work of art that consumers will be willing to pay for.

2.  Use Poinsettia's as a stunning cut flower! - We'll come onto this a little lower!

As well as elevating our work with poinsettias above that of other retailer, we must be sure to point out the benefits of buying these plants from us - a professional florist!  Below we have care information we urge you to share with your whole team, and in turn with your clients, this advice alone highlights why we are the best placed retailers for Poinsettias.

To help you show your customers and passing trade that you are 'a cut above the rest' when it comes to selling Poinsettias we've created a range of nine posters, to download, print and use how you wish to generate sales. Simply click on the link below to go to the download page in the member area.


CLICK HERE or on the images to DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY.

Cut Poinsettias

yes, you read it correctly Poinsettias as a cut flower.... take a plant this week, condition it as explained below and do your own vase life test - this could be an excellent cut flower for you to use.  With the correct buying it could be a good cost effective flower too.

Correct conditioning of cut Poinsettias

  1. Cut the stem from the plant, if necessary re-cut to get a good clean angle and the length you want to keep the flower.
  2. Then continue with the hot water treatment; dip the cut ends in boiling water for 20 seconds or until all air bubble are expelled from the stem.
  3. Immediately transfer the stem into cold water, this will seal in the milk sap
  4. Done... your cut poinsettia will last at least a week in water. 

This treatment supersedes any quartrising with a flame that was the previous conditioning suggestion for using poinsettias as a cut flower.

Cut poinsettia looked stunning in handites, single bud vases or arranged with other flowers and foliages straight into a vase for orders, impulse purchases or corporate work.

We Care - pass the message on!

With the plants being the undisputed stars of the festive season we must highlight the reasons why florist should be the number one choice for consumers, we are the expert retailers lets share this.

We all know that with the wrong care they can be 'tricky' or to put it another way; can drop ever leaf or droop and callapse!   So, make sure everyone in your shop is clued up on the care tips they must give to customers, share them as necessary and of course, follow them yourselves!

Care guide - Temperature

Poinsettias need warmth and light and must be kept away from draughts. That means they must be kept away from fireplaces, doorways, open windows, and breezy hallways.  Poinsettias originate from Mexico, hence their sensitivity to the cold and wind.  Share this with your customers and make sure they Just keep it somewhere that has some natural daylight.  They're most happy in temperature between 15 and 20°C, so it will be completely at home in most living rooms.

Pass on the essential buying tips…

We should share the message that If the retailer hasn’t handled your poinsettia correctly, it may well not last at home.  No doubt we've all had customer explain the disasters they've had with Poinsettias - enquire a little, explain; you should never buy a poinsettia that’s been sitting next to a set of automatic doors that open every 30 seconds, because it will have been damaged by chilly winter draughts, they don't appreciate the cold blast of air, then a hot blast from air heaters!

Care guide - Watering

Poinsettias don’t like a lot of water. The plant’s root ball should neither dry out nor be drenched. Overwatering can quickly lead to waterlogging, which in turn causes the roots to rot and leaves you with a dead plant.

The easiest way to care for them is to either immerse the whole pot and root ball in water once a week in tepid water and let it drain before popping it back in the pot.  Similar to how you would a phalanenopsis orchid.  The alternative is to give it a small amount of water every few days. 

Pass on the essential buying tips…

Plants shouldn't be too light or heavy - it should be neither soaking wet nor totally dry before being bought.  Other information worth sharing is how you can spot how healthy a plant is feeling by just looking carefully at it; dense foliage and yellow-green budding flowers in between the coloured bracts are sure signs of quality. 

Safe Journey Home…

Finally, make sure poinsettias are all wrapped up to protect it from the cold on the journey home.  Don't let any Poinsettia's leave your shop without adequate protection - and explain to your clients why you insist on doing this!

Amazing varieties

It's almost a given these days of the range of colours Poinsettia's are available in, however, we must not take this for granted, we must shout about this to our clients... not all consumer know the varieties we have to hand.  It's another way we professional florists can shine leaving other retailers in the shade.

Flecking in the bracs is called glitter
This Variety: 'Feeling Glitter'

A stunning salmon/pink Variety
This Variety: 'Feelings Pink'

The red Poinsettia, still the best seller
This Variety: 'Feelings Red'

Known as white but a beautiful cream
This Variety: 'Feelings White'

This beautiful Bicolour is known as marbeling.  This Variety: 'Ice Crystals'

A true barbie pink variety.
This Variety: 'Luv U Pink'

Delicate colour of this apricot this Variety is called: 'Premium Apricot'

With the bracs pointing upwards this Variety is called: 'Jester'

A subtle but stunning bicolour
This Variety: 'Marble'


Danielle Scandone represents Floristry and the UK at EuroSkills in Gothenburg.

Danielle Scandone represents Floristry and the UK at EuroSkills in Gothenburg.

From 1st until 3rd around 500 young people up to the age of 25 have met in Gothenburg to compete for the European title in vocational skills including our very own Danielle Scandone.

Over the past few days, Competitors, Team Leaders, Experts and other delegates, have arrived from all over the world. To be more exact, from 28 European Member countries and 7 international guest destinations.  It might be the first time that a EuroSkills competition is held in Scandinavia, but the competition is actually the 5th of its kind and expects more than 40,000 visitors to come to the competitions during the three days

EuroSkills is Europe’s biggest skills competition and aims to improve the quality, status and attraction of vocational training. The competition will see these most talented young come together to compete in over 35 different skill areas ranging from engineering and construction through to creative and hospitality.  The competitors all have one aim - to win a Gold medal in their chosen skill and prove they are the best in Europe. 

The Floristry competition

The Floristry competition consists of six different elements: Bouquet, Wedding bouquet, Arrangement using floral foam, Arrangement, Display and Floral jewellery/accessories for a model.

Danielle and her fellow competitors will only receive the competition schedule just before the start of the competition.  only knowing the instructions for the tasks just before hand adds to the pressure of the competition where participants must work quickly and creatively.

Danielle Scandone, 21 years of age who works at Moonflower in Cobham, Surrey and who trained at Merrist Wood College, was delighted to be selected for this competition earlier in the year she explained  “When I found out that I had been selected to represent the UK at EuroSkills, I was thrilled.  My training both with Moonflower and Merriest Wood College has opened so many doors for me and to be able to say I could be the best young florist in Europe has made me determined to give it my all.”

Danielle was selected for Team UK after she excelled in the National Finals of the WorldSkills UK Competitions back in 2013.  The Worldskills UK competitions are managed by the British Florist Association and held at The Skills Show, the most recent competition was held Nov 17 - 19

Danielle has been trained for the competition by Laura Leong and Lynda Owen.  Supported in her training has been provided by provisions of material from Florismart and OASIS® Floral Products Ltd.

In the run up to the competition Lynda Owen, the UK Expert for Floristry said:  “Danielle is an extremely gifted young florist but she has a challenging journey ahead of her as she trains to take on the very best florists in Europe.  With support from her employers at Moonflower and the wider training team at WorldSkills UK, we will work together to develop not only Danielle’s technical ability but also key attributes including communication skills, working under pressure and stamina all of which are needed to achieve a medal winning –performance.”    

WorldSkills UK is responsible for managing the UK’s entry into the EuroSkills Competition. By entering international competitions, WorldSkills UK can benchmark the employability skills of the UK’s apprentices and learners with those from around the world, ensuring more young people are being equipped with the right skills to help UK businesses better compete globally. 

Danielle is part of the UK team of 20 young apprentices and learners.  The competitors who take part in EuroSkills this year may also go onto compete for a place in the team that will represent the UK at WorldSkills, the largest international skills competition, which takes place every two years.  The next WorldSkills Competition will take place in Abu Dhabi from 14 to 19 October, 2017.

More information on Worldskills can be found by clicking on the links below


December 2016: Azalea is Houseplant of the month

December 2016: Azalea is Houseplant of the month

Whether they’re snow white, December red, solemn purple or bright pink, the one thing that all Azaleas have in common is that you can hardly see the plant for the flowers. That’s why this profuse bloomer is the Flower Council of Holland's Houseplant of the month for December.


It's so simple to boost your sales of the Azalea in December with the  POS material, in the form of the images and the poster which is free to download (see the bottom of the page)  The flower council of Holland will also be sharing inspiration through their website and we at the BFA will be using our consumer website to promote buying some of these great winter plants from professional florists too.


If you're unsure how to use this promotion in your own business CLICK HERE and see the advice we give on how to promote the Flower Agenda - all of these ideas can easily adapted for the campaign, there are some great, simple ways you can promote your business along with this months plant - why not give it a go, what have you got to loose?


The story of the Azalea

With lavish flowers and available in classic December colours, the Azalea is an  original alternative for creating atmosphere  while still being a  real seasonal classic. Azalea’s official name is Rhododendron syn. Azalea. Rhododendron is a compound of the Greek words for ‘red’ and ‘tree’ and freely translated it means ‘a woody plant with rose red flowers’. Azalea means ‘dry’ in Greek, which refers to the tough wood and not the soil, which - should always be slightly damp. As the word Rhododendron conjures up images of the large garden shrub for most people, the name Azalea is used for the houseplant. 

The rhododendron has a wide area of distribution in Asia. The source of the houseplant is the Indian Azalea. This Azalea R. simsii mainly originates from the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Hubei and Guangdong. The plant grows there on mountain slopes as undergrowth at an altitude of between 1000 and 2600 metres, and is used as firewood by the local population. The soil is limestone covered with a layer of humus in which the plants grow. This plant has been referred to in Chinese literature as far back as 1578. The first plants were first brought to England from China in 1806, after which cultivation of the Azalea soon began.

Origin and production of the Azalea 

The other less common species is the R. Obtusem group, the Japanese Azalea. This is usually single-flowered and reasonably hardy, unlike the R. simsii group. This Azalea is found on the islands of Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Yakushima. The Dutch brought the plant to Europe from Japan, and it is still associated with Japan, even to the extent that it is subjected to bonsai techniques. Azaleas are cultivated in Belgium and the Netherlands in particular. It’s actually a forced shrub, which a grower can bring into bloom by cooling and warming. The supply starts in late summer and continues until the spring, with a major peak around the holidays. 

What to look for when buying Azaleas

  • When buying Azaleas it’s particularly important to look at the plant shape, the pot size, the number of buds with flowering potential and the ripeness. To be sure that all the buds will flower, it’s sensible not to buy a plant which is too unripe, particularly in the winter. 
  • A lack of light can cause bud shedding. Buds also regularly dry out, particularly on plants which are too unripe. If a plant is kept too dry leaves can yellow or be shed. 
  • A low temperature is advisable during transportation and storage in order to prevent rapid flowering. If too much moisture is deposited on the petals, Botrytis (grey mould) can occur, which results in brown discoloration. 

Choice of Azaleas

The Azalea is one of the most diverse flowering houseplants, loved around the globe and very varied in its forms, from minis to standard Azaleas. There is also a lot of variation in the flowers, from single and double to plain and unusual bi-colours. The range is classified as follows: the most common is the R. simsii group (Indian Azalea) with single-flowered and double-flowered cultivars. 
The Obtusem group with Japanese Azalea has single-flowered and spider-flowered cultivars.  

Care tips for customers

  • Azalea likes a drink. Give the plant plenty of water on a regular basis, or immerse the pot in a bucket of water to saturate the soil completely. Special pots are available for plants that need a lot of water which provide the plant with the required moisture from a water reservoir. 
  • The plant cannot cope well with heat, which will cause it to droop. You should therefore avoid a position in bright sunlight or near a source of heat. The Azalea prefers a cool, light spot. 
  • To ensure profuse flowering, feed the plant with plant food once a fortnight. If the plant needs to be repotted into a larger pot, it’s important to use special acidic potting soil especially designed for acid-loving plants. 
  • If the Azalea has grown too big as a houseplant, it can be planted out in the garden after flowering in shady, acidic, moisture-retaining soil. The plant prefers to spend the winter sheltered in a greenhouse or shed with some shelter. 
  • Regularly sprays the plant when it’s in bud.  Do not spray once the buds open.

Sales and display tips for Azaleas

  • Use white and red Azaleas in your display for the holidays, and use the pink ones after Christmas: customers often want something other than red and white by then. The pink Azaleas offer a spring vibe, particularly when combined with narcissi and hyacinths.
  • Azaleas can obviously be used as part of an arrangement if there’s demand for it, but the plant looks better solo, particularly if you display it in an attractive cachepot for a ‘just add that one as well’ effect. 
  • Small Azaleas are surprising elements in bowl gardens and terrariums. 
  • Use the POS material that can be downloaded below to create more Azalea atmosphere in your store.

Azalea poster

You can download the poster using the link below.


All images courtesy of the Flower Council of Holland CLICK HERE for more info. and higher resolution images.

Exciting Job Opportunity


Customer Service Agent (36-40 Hrs)

You will liaise with many customers every day, responding to queries on all aspects of customer service to achieve customer satisfaction and carry out all related administrative tasks .

Being the focal point for customers to contact and using your customer service skills to convert calls to regular clients. There are some tasks pre defined in the role but the job requires self initiative to be pro-active to grow the business.


  • Excellent computer skills.
  • Proficient in English and a knowledge of German an advantage.
  • Able to work alone and in a flexible environment.
  • Team player and eager to learn.
  • A passion for flowers / craft business

Opiflor is part of the Opitec Educational Materials Ltd. Opiflor ( is a supplier of florist sundries to retail florists throughout the UK.
Opitec ( is a supplier of handicraft products for the hobby craft and educational sector. 

Please send your application & CV: Jacqueline Bigwood Opiflor Ltd 

Note from BFA, more details of Opiflor can be found on their Member discount page by CLICKING HERE 

or by viewing their website 

Is Black Friday a No Go For Your Businesses?

Black Friday is usually linked to large retail chains who can afford to offer mighty discounts to eager customers. But is it possible for small independent shops to get in on the act - and if so how?

What is Black Friday?

Firstly, for those out the loop lets establish what Black Friday is.  It began in the United States and is the day following Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday of November). Since 1932, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S., and most major retailers open very early (and more recently during overnight hours) and offer promotional sales.

When is Black Friday?

Friday November 25th 2016

Should small businesses get involved with Black Friday?

Back in the UK British consumers spent £3.3bn over the epic shopping weekend last year, and analysts have predicted that Brits will spend a whopping £5bn this year so there’s no doubt that this is a profitable trading period for large retailers, but what about small businesses – should we florists get involved?

Well the answer could be a resounding yes!  There are some strong benefits to taking part in Black Friday for small businesses – consumers are in the mindset to shop; they have the intention so let’s use that intent to drive footfall towards your business.

Gareth Poppleton Managing director of Retail Merchant Services Explains “Small retailers should make the most of the hype around Black Friday and promote the convenience of local shopping, showing customers that they can still get great discounts in local stores while supporting regional and independent businesses.”

Independent shops can not only offer the feel good factor of shopping local but we can offer better customer service as well as competitive prices, this is a message that will be further strengthened as Small Business Saturday falls just a week after Black Friday - more on this later.

Discounts presents a great opportunity to win over new customers 

The fact is that Discounts presents a great opportunity to win over new customers but small businesses must be mindful to keep profit at the front of mind and maintain a sale but healthy margin on all sales.

Now the retail giants can slash prices and swallow significant margins in a bid to sale unwanted stock and beat competitors but this will not be the case for small retailers. However, we can use it as a tactical move to use the opportunity of Black Friday to shift out-of-season stock or surplus that is taking up store-room space and proving tough to sell at full price, although this will only help us so much - with stock rotation being at the forefront of our minds every day.


So, what can we do to win over the Black Friday Trade?

Let’s learn from the big boys - It is important not to forget that retail giants have invested in marketing promotions ahead of Black Friday in a bid to ensure that customers are geared up and ready to purchase in their stores.

"There is a lesson to learn here for small businesses who should hint at and promote deals for Black Friday via social media and email. By optimising customer databases to deliver promotions and one-off offers to loyal customers, small businesses will begin to reap the rewards of engaged customers. " says Gareth.

Professional email campaigns can simply be created and sent from mail chimp and other email marketing platforms completely free.  Don't just think of Black Friday as giving money away, use it as a way of connecting with your client base and show that you're a forward thinking company that isn't afraid to think of their customers and offer added value.

Consider what is viable for your business; could you offer a stunning Christmas arrangement to be sent with a free box of chocolates or a Christmas gift card? (in a delivery window of your choice on the quieter days) Could you offer added value / a discount – don't make rash decisions, do the sums and price accordingly!! But with some careful consideration could you run with this idea?

Flowers are the perfect gift

We need to capitalise on flowers being the perfect gift for so many.  We know ourselves how many family and friends can be difficult to shop for at Christmas, we need to harness this message and shout about it.  Couple this with a consumer appetite to buy Christmas gifts and we could have the perfect combination.

Cyber Monday & Small Business Saturday - more chances to gain business

The opportunities don’t stop there – we have another chance to gain business immediately after Good Friday we have Cyber Monday CLICK HERE to learn more about this day, with any website you too can use the continued momentum to gather more orders.  If those two days haven’t had your customers spending, we’ll then hit them with Small Business Saturday on 3rd December.  

We highly recommend that you take these opportunities to you promote your company and use the continued momentum to your advantage - don't just market on Black Friday, if you email out to your data base or use social media to publicise your business using the continued momentum to your advantage is a must.

Christmas is a great occasion to promote every year, but creating a campaign with these three excellent marketing opportunities you won’t fail at picking up additional trade, also importantly keep in the forefront of your customer’s minds. 

What is Cyber Monday? And is it for Florists?

Cyber Monday will be on November 28th, 2016 following Black Friday on November 25th, 2016.

Cyber Monday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, when retailers of all kinds bring deep discounts to their online stores. 

Why do we have Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is the online-only shopping equivalent of Black Friday. Over the years, Black Friday morphed into the major shopping holiday that it is now, and with the rise of the internet and the popularity of e-commerce came its online counterpart, Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday came about as the kick off to the online holiday shopping season. We’ve all seen a rise in the popularity of Black Friday -  CLICK HERE and read an article highlighting how your business can tap into the Black Friday marketing opportunity. 

Along with the rise in Black Friday sales has come a lot of hype and sometimes chaos, the idea of tapping into sales buying online in the comfort of your own home seems a very attractive proposition.


How could Cyber Monday Deals work within your business?

All Cyber Monday deals and events are offered exclusively to online shoppers by retailers of all sizes. Many retailers will wait until the day of Cyber Monday to announce any online deals. Then, once the day finally rolls around, clients head over to the website.

Almost all retailers who participate in Black Friday will also join in on the Cyber Monday fun, we recommend that you too do a campaign for both days – you don’t have to recreate the wheel - simply take the offer you had available the previous Friday and put it on your website.  Again we have some examples on this page.

Your customer and prospective clients won’t be expecting your company to join into Cyber Monday, however with the right advertising this is a way to show your business is forward thinking and willing to offer discounts to its customer base.

Use social media and email marketing to your benefit.  Read our recommendations HERE to see how you can simply tap into the mood of the nation.

When Black Friday and Cyber Monday are past we have Small Business Saturday to use as an idea opportunity to promote to clients.

Whilst you may not usually run so many campaigns in such a short period, this regular contact with your client base will reap rewards, as if they haven’t used your discount codes or promotional offers before the 3rd of December, Small Business Saturday might be just the event to have them support you; their local Independent shop, you can offer the feel-good factor of shopping local.

Small Business Saturday - 3rd December 2016

Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots campaign, which exists to support, inspire and promote small business.


We, at the BFA feel this is an excellent opportunities for all florist businesses around the UK.  We have created a downloadable document which you can CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD '7 Marketing Tips for Small Business Saturday & Christmas on a Limited Budget.'


We have created a poster for you to print and use in your businesses this is available in our member area 
CLICK HERE to enter the page and download the poster.


A press release template is also available, simply fill in details of your business in the highlighted areas and in less that one minute you'll have a document to send your local papers, publications and community websites.  We have been pleased to do this to assist you to market your business and have increased trade on Small business Saturday.
CLICK HERE to enter the page and download the document.


The first Saturday in December each year is designated Small Business Saturday and it encourages consumers to swap their shop from a large business to a small, independent one.  The campaign encourages businesses to promote themselves and work with other small businesses, and consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. The first Small Business Saturday UK took place in 2013 and each year has grown in popularity.

British consumers spent £623m with companies throughout the UK as part of Small Business Saturday in 2015, according to analysis.

Small Business Saturday organiser Michelle Ovens, has promised the event will be bigger and better this year. “The purpose of Small Business Saturday is not just to raise awareness of our diverse and innovative small business sector, but also to create a campaign from which they can derive tangible benefit,” she said.

“The fact that spend with small businesses on the day was up by £119m demonstrates that this is happening, and I am confident it will carry forward into 2016.”

This year the day falls on 3rd December, the initiative, is now in its 4th year. 

Last year the day attracted 24% more cash than in 2014, as Michelle stated an increase of £119m.  In 2014, it was suggested that 64% of consumers were aware of the campaign.  Last year #SmallBusinessSaturday trended on Twitter on and 100,000 tweets referring to the inititaive were sent on the day itself, according to American Express, a supporter of the event.

With the day gaining in popularity year on year the signs are very promising for your business if you take the steps to get involved.  The BFA will be providing business suggestions and material to boost your trading on this day - more information to follow.

The Small Business Saturday UK initiative has attracted the support of leading business organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses, Association of City and Town Management, Association of Convenience Stores and Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association. It has received wide support from all political parties and a number of large corporations.  

The initiative doesn’t just apply to bricks-and-mortar retailers but also online firms and businesses that sell to other companies as well as consumers.

American Express founded the successful Small Business Saturday initiative in the U.S. in 2010 and is a principal supporter of Small Business Saturday UK.

There is a designated website www. which explains - "We want all kinds of small businesses to get involved, so know that whether you are a family business, local shop, online business, wholesaler, business service or small manufacturer, Small Business Saturday is supporting you!"

They offer ideas and tools for ways you can get involved, go onto their website and check out the links below, we too at the BFA will be bringing you suggestions and material to boost business, this will soon be available in our member area.  Watch this space!

Tools from Small Business Saturday Website:

My Small Business Finder

Register and advertise your business on the Small Business Finder for free!


Download the logos to use on your website or social media!

Marketing Pack

Send off for, or download (and print at home) their free marketing pack 

Social Media

If you’ve got any plans for the day, be sure to tell us about it & we’ll give you a shout out via FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Why Tina is Such a Special Winner

Why Tina is Such a Special Winner?!

Following the glittering gala dinner and awards ceremony at FleurEx 2016 Tina Parkes home is sparkling.  

Tina, Principle of the Academy of Floral Art already has a string of qualifications to her name including NDSF, FBFA, CERT ED, Dutch Master, AIFD, LCGI, IOPF Academic Fellow, MDPF (British Master). Read on and find out why Tina decided to challange herself with gaining the level 5 Masters qualification.

Tina explains:

"My shelf at home has a definate silver theme, along side my silver medal from my first time at Chelsea earlier this year it now has the company of two silver trophies.

These were awarded to me at last weekends BFA Fleur Ex gala dinner. One was awarded for the highest practical mark in the level 5 theory exam and the other for the highest marks in the level 5 practical exam.

These trophies are part of BFA gala dinner as a celebration of those who have achieved one of the higher levels of Floristry education which include the Higher Diploma in Floristry Level 4 and the Master Diploma in Professional Floristry Level 5.

These course ensure recognised professionalism, trend setting, improving technical mechanics and skills along with theoretical developments in many areas including business and marketing.

I am fascinated by education, an enternal student and a passionate tutor. I believe if we want to raise our standards its important to continually develop our own skills. I have the old NDSF qualification but the new level 5 was an interesting challenge which saw me facing the concerns and challenges which many of my students have also overcome.

The commitment of these courses requires time, effort and putting yourself outside your comfort zone. This is rewarded with focused time to play with designs, a deepened confidence, a self realisation that all the design ideas you need can be found within you and that you have the drive to make your dreams a reality. 

A worthy and rewarding qualification that I believe is creating amazing floral designers and that I hope has aided me to becoming a better tutor and it has also deepened my own belief in the value of personal growth for your own wellbeing and that of your business.

Now I'm looking forward to what next year may hold for me and the Academy of Floral Art."

Tina started working in the Floristry industry when she was 16 and within her career has managed a Floristry shop, in Exmouth then become Head of the Floristry School at Bicton College where she also taught for 10 years.

In 2002 Tina took two years out to move to the Netherlands to study the Dutch Masters in Floristry, she is currently the only English Florist holding this qualifications and it has enabled Tina to originally pilot the Higher Diploma in Floristry, level 4.  

The Academy was set up in 2008 by Tina and fellow Floristry Masters and qualified teacher Julie Collins to create an unique training experience.  Sharing her knowledge Tina has been a consultant to other colleges around the country on professional qualifications. 

You may recall reading about Tina and her team earlier in the year when she worked with a team of top Floral Designers in America and whilst out there took and passed her American Institute of Floral designers qualification.  Unsurprisingly Tina has demonstrated and held workshops all over the country.

Tina and Julie developed a vision of how they felt floristry should be taught while working as lecturers at a horticultural College.  They have recently expanded and welcomed to the team tutors Amanda Randell and Kathryn Delve. Between the four of them they have more than fifty years combined experience in the industry.

The Academy aims to offer a different approach to learning: to find out more about the Academy CLICK HERE.

Best Improved Online Presence

AWARD: Best Improved Online Presence

How to improve your online presence in today's digital world

Now, more than ever, your business is judged within seconds of visitors visiting your website or social platforms. We have a new generation of online shoppers who are influenced by a multitude of online platforms, by both big brands and strong independant trendsetters directly. Users are aspiring to a whole new concept and how they interact with the world on a daily basis, and how they want the world to perceive them. The main question is, how do you bring your brand up to date in the digital age?

Our friends at the Flower Council, have realised that there is a big gap, or as they prefer to put it, an opportunity, for florists to bring their businesses up to date, and therefore,  have decided to launch a 8 month programme for florists to sign up to or follow, to help improve their online presence.

They would like to be clear that this programme has been designed to make a difference to florists who are proactive, who follow their simple guidelines, and who are actively going to make the effort to improve the image of their business by making it a priority. It will be a very basic programme designed to guide you with the basic information to get into the digital age.


As we said... an excellent opportunity, really one no florist should want to miss!


For full details of how it will work CLICK HERE and go to the Flower Council of Holland page, where you'll find all the information and the registration form!


  • Applications are now open and will close on 30 November 2016, so please submit your details before then.
  • There are only 30 places available to stand a chance to be awarded fantastic prizes
  • Only British Florist Association Members are able to enter to win the award prizes which will be announced at next year's FleurEx 2017
  • This programme is open for all florists to follow so anyone can sign up, but to stand a chance to win the awards prizes, you must be a BFA Member
  • Winners will be announced and awarded at FleurEx in October 2017

Much more information and prize details are available HERE

*Terms and Conditions Apply



floristPro websites clean sweep at Industry Awards

floristPro websites clean sweep at BFA Industry Awards

What an amazing result for floristPro at the British Florist Association Industry Awards. All 3 of this year’s BFA Retail Florist Website of the Year winners are floristPro customers!  Speaking with Cara Cousins floristPro Marketing Manager she expressed her delight "It was an honour for our websites to be nominated for this prestigious award, but we never could have dreamed of taking a clean sweep on the night. "

The Flower Lounge won 1st prize, Design Element came in a close 2nd and Mad Lilies took 3rd place. (CLICK HERE to take a closer look at the finalists and results) floristPro wanted to pass on the message "A huge congratulations to you all - your hard work and commitment to your website and business has resulted in being nominated and receiving this special award. And not forgetting our fabulous in-house design team - Mark, Tomas and Josie –whose dedication and talent help turn all of our customers ideas into beautiful bespoke florist websites."

floristpro offer a generous BFA member discount   ½ price set up on  the website (making set up £39.95+vat instead of £79.95+vat).  Find full details and read all about it by CLICKING HERE.   They're also pleased to offer free demos, so you can see the system and how it would work for you.

As floristpro explain "We are the largest independent provider of websites just for florists, with over 600 customers across the UK. Our passion for helping florists bloom their online business combined with our expertise in IT, means we can offer all our customers unique websites that truly reflect their business personality combined with easy online ordering systems. With a friendly team who offer on-going support to our customers, floristPro are the future for online florists. "

The BFA would like to pass on their congratulations to all the BFA Retail Florist Website of the Year winners and to floristPro.  Keep up the good works everyone.

November 2016: Speciality Orchids Houseplants of the month

November 2016: Speciality Orchids Houseplants of the month

Eye-catching shapes, fabulous colours, spectacular flowers:  Speciality Orchids is the Flower Council of Holland's Houseplant of the month for November,  is all about orchids that the general public are not yet familiar with.


It's so simple to give these remarkable beauties an extra-prominent place in your store this month, you could use the POS material, in the form of the images and the poster which is free to download (see the bottom of the page)  The flower council of Holland will also be sharing inspiration through their website and we at the BFA will be using our consumer website to promote buying some of these stylish and stunning plants from professional florists too.


If you're unsure how to use this promotion in your own business CLICK HERE and see the advice we give on how to promote the Flower Agenda - all of these ideas can easily adapted for the campaign, there are some great, simple ways you can promote your business along with this months plant - why not give it a go, what have you got to loose?

The story behind Speciality orchids

To give credit where credit’s due: within the Orchidaceae family Phalaenopsis is the original trailblazer that introduced the public to the exotic beauty of orchids. However, this family of plants includes many other fabulous bloomers, all equally easy to care for and just as charismatic – and those exclusive undiscovered treasures deserve to be better known. Not least because they fit so well into the current interiors trend for a bit of mystery and supernaturally beautiful shapes.