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October 19th 2017

The future of Floret Workshops

Written by
Floret

The other day I had one of those memories pop up on Facebook reminding me that 4 years ago this week I was in Philadelphia teaching my very first flower farming workshop with Jennie Love on her small urban farm, Love ‘n Fresh Flowers. It feels like just yesterday and also a lifetime ago. So much has happened since then.

Early in the spring of 2013, Jennie and I were both exhausted and feeling creatively burned out. At the time, we were both doing weddings using flowers grown on our farms and were constantly being told by other industry professionals that it was impossible to design exclusively with seasonal material.

In an effort to demonstrate that it was actually possible to design using only local flowers and also reignite our creativity we set up a blog called The Seasonal Bouquet Project. Once a week we each posted an arrangement using flowers grown within a 25 mile radius of our farms and listed the ingredients we used. Our goal was to further demonstrate the beauty of locally grown flowers to a wider audience.

While this project originally started as a dare between two friends, it quickly took on a life of its own. In 7 short months, together we created 64 artful bouquets using only locally grown flowers and foliage. Blog followers also started posting their own creations, and by the end of the season over 600 bouquets were created around the globe.

As the project was coming to a close, Jennie suggested that I come out to her farm to co-teach and host a little workshop. She was convinced that some of our East Coast readers might want to come learn with us in person. Little did we know that we would fill three brimming workshops in a matter of hours and spark the modern “Farmer-Florist” movement. Those early classes gave me a sense of how many people were longing to live a flower-filled life.

I returned from Philadelphia inspired and motivated to help share everything that I had learned the hard way about flower farming with as many people as possible. After witnessing the power of those transformative gatherings, I made the decision to start teaching workshops here on our farm.

We’ve since opened up our small operation here in the Skagit Valley over two dozen times and have hosted nearly 500 people eager to learn about small scale, high intensity flower production and seasonally based floral design.

If you would have told me back at the start of the Seasonal Bouquet Project that I would have the opportunity to help so many people follow their dreams I never would have believed you. Being able to share everything I’ve learned so far on my flower-filled journey with so many wonderful people has been one of the highlights of my life.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that the demand for them would be what it is today. This past year, tickets sold out in under 5 minutes, and our workshops were featured in both The New York Times and New York Magazine.

Yet, for every person who is able to snag a ticket, there are countless others who are unable to join in. The hundreds of disappointed, heartbroken and frustrated emails we receive during every registration period is almost too much to bear.

Since day one I have dreamed of making this information available to everyone who wants it, but teaching enough in person workshops to meet the staggering demand is not humanly possible. Last year we tried and it almost killed us.

After a lot of soul searching and thoughtful meetings with my family and the team, we have decided to take a break from hosting on-farm workshops in order to focus on our new farm property and to make this information available more widely. I never intended for our workshops to become an exclusive experience where only a select few could afford or attend. I understand what a massive stretch it is to be able to come to one of our workshops and this hasn’t sat well with me for a very long time.

Over the past 9 months, the team and I have poured our hearts and souls into converting our popular 3 day Flower Farming workshop into an extensive online course. In addition to covering all the information that we share during our on farm workshops, we’ve also added a ton of amazing new resources and helpful tools. Concepts that were impossible to demonstrate in person due to time constraints and seasonality are now covered in depth in this new course. Our new Online Workshop is:

More comprehensive. We filmed the training over the course of a season which allows you to see our farm and learn key techniques at critical times throughout the year. Plus, the online version includes a ton of new resources, planning tools and step-by-step tutorials to help you succeed.

More affordable. You’ll get even more training and information for significantly less than the price of our on-farm workshop. Plus no costly airfare, car rentals, hotels or other costs associated with leaving your life, family and work behind to to attend an in-person event.

More convenient. Floret’s renowned flower farm training is now available at your fingertips. Viewable on any device, you can go at your own pace and watch our training videos whenever you want and as many times as you want. All the course content is yours to keep.

 

I know that this news is likely disappointing and upsetting for a lot of people who have had their hearts set on coming out to the farm to learn with us in person. I feel the same way too. But I believe that moving our educational programs online is the very best way to share this information with those who need it in a much more sustainable and accessible way. With the new online format, we’ll finally be able to accommodate everyone who wants to participate.  Registration will be open to everyone starting November 9th.

We’re still fine tuning the last few details, but I’m thrilled to finally be able to share more information about this incredible new resource. You can read more about the Floret Online Workshop HERE.

While our business has evolved over the years, the core is still exactly the same. We are committed to helping as many people as we possibly can cultivate more beauty in their lives and share the magic of nature through flowers.

Next week, I’ll be sharing information about how you can apply for one of five scholarships to the Online Workshop. Making big changes is always a little bit scary, but I’m so excited at the thought of how many people this new program is going to help. I can’t wait to dig into more details next week. 

Seasonal Bouquet Project LIVE photos by Brooke Courtney and Emily Wren

 

33 Comments

  1. Kerry Beattie-Quinn on

    Hello Erin and Floret team.
    I was wondering if your online workshops will be available again in 2019?
    If so, that would give an opportunity to save the money and have a goal to set.
    Thank you for sharing your passion and knowledge. You have inspired me to re-invent myself and to create a’bloomin lot’ for my future grandchild who is due to arrive in this world at the end of this year.
    All the best
    Kerry (Australia)

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Kerry,
      Yes, we will certainly be offering the workshop next year, so don’t worry a bit.
      I’m so happy that you’ve gotten inspiration here! ~Erin

  2. Naomi on

    Hey Floret team!
    What a big step you guys have been taking. I have thought your at-farm workshops would be fun, but I didn’t think of the floods of disappointed emails. I have access to wonderful flowers and I am really looking forward to learning tips of the trade from you people who love to share your knowledge! The want to share is such a rare gift, so thank you!!
    This past September, at the flower farm I work at seasonally, I was asked if I had heard about Floret. I instantly said “Yes!” I was excited that flower farms find your info helpful too, not just people like me who want to have a garden of flowers one day.

    Reply
  3. Sara on

    Hello Erin and Flower team. I have been lurking over your blog. Farming is hard work. Tried working on a csa in my younger days. You must have quite a team to do all that you do. I have been arranging flowers for weddings for about 20 years. I dream of more connection and a different way I doing things.. than working mostly solo and weddings. Your hard work and dreams are most admirable. Really sorry to miss your in person farm workshops. Not really into online classes. Jumped in design with a team of people for a big wedding this past weekend.. must have been 20k floral budget. Sooo weird. Your enthusiasm is a gem.

    Reply
  4. Collin Lines on

    I just started a Zinnia Happiness Farm here in Ga last year and just happened to come across you and your farm on the internet. I was excited to think I would try to come to a workshop this next year and just last week got your book at a lovely shop that I just happened into. Sooooo I believe in no coincidences and am excited for your dreams coming true and that I can learn from you with your new online format. Sad that I missed out on coming there but it sounds like my chances would have been slim anyway. Thanks you for your lovely giving heart….. I can’t wait to get started with you and the online programs . Collin Lines

    Reply
  5. LMM on

    I am SO looking forward to November 9th!

    Reply
  6. Jodi on

    This is really exciting for you, but for the rest of us. To be able to learn and dream with encouragement of someone that knows the ups and downs, what it takes to be still working hard, but also still growing her dream, that’s super exciting!
    Dreaming of taking the course…and to do some refreshing ahead of time reading your book Erin.

    Thanks Erin for sharing all you do; and for sharing your dreams with us. Keeps us going!
    And also for the Floret Team.

    Reply
  7. Farmer sue on

    As we say here at our tiny farm … dreams do come true! Thank You. Knowing it would always be a challenge to leave our tiny farm the workshops were a dream … then the book came and now the online … my heart is smiling and can’t wait for more details of your online class.
    Thank YOU for being a bold brilliant & beautiful women following a dream, achieving success and graciously sharing your passion. You are INSPIRING.
    XO farmer sue & The ArtBarn Crew

    Reply
  8. Mick on

    This news made my day, no week, no month!
    Can´t wait to sink my teeth in the course!
    At last, it is in reach as I live in Spain.
    Keep up the fantastic work you and your team are doing.

    Reply
  9. Ela on

    That is Lovely idea. Best wishes from Poland.

    Reply
  10. Lisa on

    I’m looking forward to the online workshop yet I’m holding my breath waiting for the cost to be revealed. Has the price been posted and I’ve missed it?

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Lisa, we are looking forward to the online workshop, too! And no, you haven’t missed anything–we’ll be sharing more details when we launch the course in November. Stay tuned!

  11. Jess on

    Love this Erin! I’m sure many will be sad, those thinking they’d be making it in person, but for those like me far away, with a family and a biz small enough it’s hard to get away, this is wonderful news. Thanks for making this leap.

    Reply
  12. Amy on

    I’m in Australia so attending a workshop hasn’t been possible. It’s lovely to now have the opportunity to learn from afar! ♡

    Reply
  13. Alicia on

    I’m so appreciative of the hard work you put into sharing all that you do! I cannot wait to see what’s in store with the online workshop, I know it’s going to be fabulous!

    Reply
  14. Kelly on

    I don’t think you should be disappointed, or worried, that you are letting people down. You also need to focus on your exciting new property, and by doing so you’re able to provide your knowledge to many many more people. As someone who lives overseas, and who for so many reasons is unable to afford to (yet!) visit your amazing part of the States, I am so looking forward to your new direction. Looking forward to hearing more about your new & improved expansion!

    Reply
  15. Dellen on

    Erin, I’m a huge fan of yours – have read every one of your blog posts and have read your book about five times by this point. I’ve loved the seeds and bulbs I’ve bought from your shop. I was SO excited to see about the online course… except. Given that there will be an extremely narrow registration window, am I right in inferring that you will have a cap on registration, even though the vast majority of the content will be digital (and therefore theoretically infinitely scaleable)? I desperately hope you will offer a nonlive, digital-only version that anyone can sign up for year-round (like Skillshare, Craftsy, Udemy, etc), with a second, higher-priced, limited-access Jan/Feb version for those who want the real time personal access and extended content. My guess is that the demand for this workshop will blow you away, esp. after your recent exposure in NYT and other high-viz publications. That’s only a “good problem to have” if you’re ready for the onslaught! :). Otherwise… yet another round of the heartbreaking and angry emails you’re hoping to avoid. Anyway, wishing you the very best and CONGRATS on the new farm! Can’t wait to see more photos.

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Dellen, thanks so much for your enthusiastic support and excellent questions. With the new online format, we’ll finally be able to accommodate everyone who wants to participate as long as they register during the enrollment period. As part of the Online Workshop experience, I will be going through the course with you along with an entire team of experienced farmer-florists who will also be able to answer questions and provide support and coaching so we will only be offering the workshop once in 2018. Once you purchase the course, you’ll be able to access it all year round, as it is yours to keep. Registration will be open to everyone for one week starting November 9th. We have made some updates to our Online Workshop page to reflect that, as we suspect others might have similar questions. Hope to see you in the Online Workshop!

  16. Liz H on

    An online workshop is something that could actually be within reach for me, but I hope someday you will open up your new farm. Standing in the field and breathing in the air is its own experience.
    Good luck to you as you enter this massive transition!

    Reply
  17. Anna Price on

    Bummed that I have not been able to make it to the farm in person, but like many other commenters, I’m excited to see this new offering! I’m sure it will be great, and a wonderful way to reach all the people like me who want to learn but can’t really do the trip out to your farm.
    Thanks for all your hard work!

    Reply
  18. Danielle Schami on

    (PS I was delighted to have that same 4-yr memory pop up for me on fb last week.) 💕

    Reply
  19. Danielle Schami on

    This is wonderful. Thank you Erin and Team Floret! 🌸

    Reply
  20. Shannon Jarvis on

    Yay! I hope one day you’ll consider teaching the class on your farm again, but this is a wonderful way to reach lots of flower farmers. Thank you for putting together the online class!

    Reply
  21. Lori Bochner on

    Although I’m disappointed that I wasn’t one of the lucky ones to be able to attend a workshop on the farm, I am excited about the online workshop and hope I’ll be able to get registered to attend!

    Reply
  22. Julie Wilson on

    I am really looking forward to your online workshop, Erin! You and your team have such high standards that I’m sure it will be absolutely amazing. Just can’t wait! Thank you for all of your hard work and your teacher heart.

    Reply
  23. Placidus on

    Super excited about the news! Thanks for all you do!

    Reply
  24. Lynn on

    I’ve so been waiting for this since you announced you were creating it!! You’re right, getting into one of your workshops is probably the most frustrating thing I’ve ever tried, so this will be wonderful. Thank you for all you so generously put out there for everyone. Can’t wait for it to open :)

    Reply
  25. Cher Thorsen on

    So exciting! I’ve been waiting for this but I still need a farm to do it! Congrats on your farm purchase, following your journey is so wonderful. xo

    Reply
  26. Madison Puch on

    I still dream of seeing your farm in person, but I very much look forward to the opportunity to learn from Team Floret, even if it’s online! Everything y’all do is so beautiful, I’m sure it’ll be a feast for the eyes as well as a great source of learning!

    Reply

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