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Exotic Flowers in Boston

10 Signs You Are Born to Be A Florist

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Mar 07, 2018

I was a wholesale florist for twenty + years and even though I’ve moved on to other career choices, the industry will always be a part of me.  It is a business like no other I’ve ever found that sinks below your skin and maybe even into your heart long after you say goodbye.  Many people wonder why this is and ask, “What makes being a florist so special in the first place?”  If you’ve worked in this field, you know it’s not because it’s easy.  In fact, that is one of the greatest misconceptions of the floral industry and no- not everyone can do it.  For whatever reason, the flower biz is often thought of as a “creatively whimsy” existence demanding very little education or know-how to get started.  A general opinion that “working with flowers must be such a joy!” or “being a florist must be like an eternal vacation!” is often a preconceived view.  Is there any truth to these statements?  Well… Not really….  


Becoming a florist is honestly one of the hardest professions to stick with for a prolonged period of time do to the mental and physical stresses put upon employees.  Realizing the image of designers and managers stopping to smell each and every blossom throughout their work day is a common misunderstanding, shedding light on the real conditions about what it’s like to work in the industry might prove interesting!  Here is a list of the top ten signs you’re meant to be a florist and I’ll bet you’ll be surprised by the reality of the business.  If you find yourself matching at least half of the qualifications, contact your local Boston florist immediately.  They will be lucky to have you!

10 Signs You’re Born to Be a Florist

  1. You don’t mind waking up early-like REALLY early. (Retail 7am; wholesale as early as 2am).
  2. You’re okay looking messy most of the time.  (Jeans, T’s and sweats are your go-to wardrobe.  New clothes just get ruined.)
  3. Kissing most holidays and weekends goodbye is no big thing.  (Yes-you’ll work through most of them).
  4. You can’t sit still.  (Most florists rarely sit down for more than 1 hour during a 12-14-work shift.  Nine-hour work days during busy seasons usually don’t exist.)
  5. Lifting twenty to thirty pounds is what you consider a healthy workout. (Florists unload dozens of pounds of product within a week. Weaklings need not apply.)
  6. Speed is your middle name. (You have to move and MOVE FAST in the flower business for unloading, setting up and design tasks).
  7. You have a strong memory.  (You’re going to need to know hundreds of varieties of flora and fauna.  Triple that if you work in a garden center.)
  8. You can multitask like nobody’s business.  (Doing five things at once is your expertise.  Small businesses rely heavily on their employee’s ability to work in several other positions than merely under their title in the shop.)
  9. You can be nice when you don’t feel like being nice. (Florists have to be upbeat for customers.  No grumpy-gusses.)
  10. You’re satisfied with an honest day’s pay instead of an exec’s salary. (You may not make a ton of $$ but you’ll feel good at what you’ve accomplished.)

Tags: Boston Florist Staff, Working in a Florist, Florist

Questions You Should Be Asking Your Florist

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jul 24, 2017

When we have an important event to plan or a special anniversary to prepare for, we often turn to the advice of a florist to steer us on the right path.  Whether its an order of red roses for Valentine’s Day or the organization of a bar mitzvah’s centerpieces, we know our local flower shop is always available to help make our floral dreams come true.  For those of you who are anticipating a similar occasion and aren’t quite sure how to begin to approach a conversation with a designer, you might want to do a little research beforehand in order to be prepared.  It’s always good to do a little homework as well as be equipped with some suitable questions to ask the professional so you get the full picture what they can and can’t do.  If you’re not sure where to start, let me help you with some general points it might be wise to convey to your florist before finalizing your order.


Brooke Shields in “Flower Shop Mystery: Mum’s The Word”

Valuable Questions You Should Be Keeping In Mind…

  • Where does your product come from?

Most probably, you’ll get more than one destination for an answer since flower shops almost always use a wide range of suppliers from around the globe due to cost and availability of particular species.   Where the flowers come from will have a large bearing on the price and quality.

  • Can I get my favorite flower year round?

Unless you’re talking roses or pom poms, the answer is usually no.  Certain flowers grow at certain times of the year, especially those found local to New England.  Is it true that it might be possible to order these from another country instead of relying on local harvesting?  Yes, but be prepared for a cost increase or a variation in quality.  Examples may be sweet peas, freesia, grape hyacinth and lily of the valley.   

  1.  What exact colors do the blooms grow in shade?

This is something you should always be aware of when it comes to matching an exact tint to a fabric or other “idea” you may be relying on… you must be flexible!  It is more than likely your florist may not be able to perfectly copy a color to a swatch so please remember that tractability will save you a lot of stress, anxiety and most importantly, disappointment.  Flowers were meant to contrast and compliment décor so give the pro’s a little wiggle room to do their work.  

Tags: Community Florist, Boston Florist, Boston Florist Staff, Weddings, DIY

Misconceptions about florists and their jobs

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Sep 29, 2016

I just saw this hysterical video on line where two women put on a skit about the common misconceptions of becoming a florist.  The plot begins with a customer entering the store, presumably asking “typical” questions to the proprietor about different buying situations that are familiar to well seasoned florists.  If you work in the industry, you may have already seen the clip because the link has gone viral, particularly within the floral community.  Some of the inquiries and comments include: “This must be the most relaxing place in the world to work” (giggle, snort, sigh) and “Is this all you have to browse today?” when there are buckets of blossoms lined up in the background.   The whole thing is a farce and made to show the incredible misunderstandings that seem to be connected with the floral occupation.  So it got me thinking about a laundry list of lies that I have heard over the twenty-year stint I experienced while working in the wholesale sector.  


These are the ones I laugh at the most… Have you ever experienced any of these as well?

  1. Retail florists make so much money; they can afford to take as much time off as they desire.  Although wholesalers make more, they don’t even work past 1pm in most places.  Fact: Retail florists typically work six to seven days a week, generally from seven in the morning until eight or nine o’clock at night.  Wholesalers commonly start their day anywhere from two to three o’clock in the morning to meet the shipments arriving by truck from airports.  They don’t work less; they have to punch the clock in while you’re still in bed asleep.
  2. Working in a flower shop is the easiest job you can get because it requires no physical activity, the most being the task of arranging pretty blossoms together in vases.  Fact: The manual labor associated with the floral industry is congruent with the restaurant business where there is little to no “down time” during shifts.  Accurate physical responsibilities include heavy lifting, fast paced movement and constant up and down bending.
  3. Becoming a florist takes no prior talent or experience and there is absolutely no education required.  Anyone can do it.  Fact:  Most florists hold college degrees in horticulture, agriculture or business where it is imperative that they know how to handle, care and operate a successful self-supporting company.  Many flower shop owners now also make it mandatory for all staff to attend conferences, design clinics and other continuing education opportunities available within the industry to keep on top of trends.
  4. The majority of flower shops in Bostonstay open for at least five years with few closing before their one-year anniversary.  Fact: Opening a flower business and keeping one open are two totally different issues.  One in every three shops end up closing before twelve months in operation and only a few today have been around as long as ten or more years.  The flower industry remains one of the top most competitive markets in Boston.
  5. All that’s needed to run a successful flower shop is a few nice flowers and some empty vases.  The rest will work itself out on its own.  Fact: In order to organize a well run flower business, you must have a talented staff, a well thought out business plan, a great location, access to a demographic that will spend money on flowers, a dependable wholesaler that will supply product of the appropriate grade, enough start up cash to float you during the rougher months of the year, genius merchandising and marketing strategies, top notch sales people, talent and most importantly LUCK!  

Tags: Boston Flower Shop, Exotic Flowers Employees, Boston Florist, Boston Florist Staff, Florist

Exotic Flowers' Sonny Canale Marking 57th Year in Boston

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Jul 12, 2014


57 Years at the Helm 

Sonny Canale Exotic Flowers Boston
Sonny Canale

On July 12th, 1957 - Arnold 'Sonny' Canale purchased Lombardi Florist & Nurserymen at 599 American Legion Highway in Roslindale. Sonny had worked there for years as designer, grower, salesman, delivery driver and floor sweeper.

Sonny's mantra since that day has been 'never hire anyone who cannot sweep the floor.' That work ethic has remained in place at Exotic Flowers for 57 years.

Sonny remains at the top of the Exotic Flowers hierarchy. He works seven days on the property. So clients can rest easy knowing that the boss tends to every detail. 



Tags: Exotic Flowers Employees, Sonny Canale, Boston Florist Staff

Favorite Summer Foods from Exotic Flowers in Boston

Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Jul 08, 2014

clam bake resized 600
If you read the Exotic Flowers in Boston newsletter, blog, our facebook page or even visit our store in Roslindale, you know that our floral staff loves food. Here are some photos of some of our favorite foods.
baby back ribs resized 600
StkSalad resized 600 Nothing in New England like an authentic clambake which includes lobster, steamers, corn, potatoes and kielbasa. But if sea food is not your thing then how about barbecued ribs or a steak salad. smores resized 600And of course why finish off your meal with smores ?

Tags: Steak, Barbecue, Seafood, Dessert, Boston Florist Staff

How to get a Job as a Florist or in a Flower Shop

Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Apr 28, 2014

Flower Shop Employee

Having worked in a Boston flower shop for more than thirty years, I am proud to share my experience in how to go about being a florist. I always joke that my first job was cleaning geraniums in the Lombardi Florist greenhouses in Roslindale when I was six years old. But you'd be amazed that creating amazing weddings and stunning florals starts at the bottom. My father has been an established florist in Boston for more than sixty years. His best advice has always been, 'never hire anyone who cannot sweep the floor,'.

floral design I strongly suggest starting at the bottom, sweeping floors, cleaning roses, assisting flower delivery drivers. Start as an intern or apprentice in any flower shop. Whether you are in a Boston florist or New York city flower shop, never lose sight that the basics are so important to provide with you a solid foundation for your career choice as a florist. I also believe that your career path as a florist should begin in a flower shop and not in someone's garage or design studio.

I am not knocking the design studio florist. As a matter of fact, some of the most elaborate floral displays and wedding flowers are created in these flower design warehouses. I suggest working in a flower shop because you will be a witness to all types of clients and their unique requests. 

In a flower shop, you will learn how to wrap flowers, make corsages, design funeral tributes like rosaries, crosses and heart shapes of flowers. The more every day requests you fill for a client, the greater your skill set will be. You will also be forced to think on your feet when dealing with rushed and demanding clients on the retail sales floor of the flower shop.

floral design as a career

Turnover in a flower shop is generally pretty high. New associates often have no idea that the job is so physically and mentally demanding. What the floral apprentice must learn is that paying your dues, working for little starting pay and working holidays can lead to a great career. As florists, we make a difference in people's lives. Florists share emotions. When someone dies, when someone is born, married, sad, celebrating a birthday, falling in love; your local florist becomes a part of your life.

If you cannot wait any longer and your visits to Craig's List are just let down for job openings then get on Twitter and follow @GetFloralJobs. Recently, they posted a job link for a florist in Boston. Check out these requirements, do you have what it takes ?

Ability to work well in fast-paced environment
Completing tasks in an efficient manner
Pleasant manner and outstanding customer service skills
Ability to work well with others as well as independently.
High level of enthusiasm and self-motivation

Team members manage the following responsibilities on a daily basis:
Provide excellent service to customers
Assist clients with product selection
Flower Preparation and Processing
Floral Design
Ability to take phone orders.
Making impressive outdoor displays daily

Please send your availability include hours, from Monday-Sunday. Candidate must be able to work 30-40 hours/wk including at least 1 weekend day.

Tags: Floral Design, Boston Florist, Boston Florist Staff, Working in a Florist

March Newsletter from Exotic Flowers in Boston

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Mar 12, 2014

exotic flowers boston resized 600

Dear Friends, 

The weather has been brutal. Thankfully, the Red Sox are in Florida and that crack of the bat is right around the corner. The past few weeks at Exotic Flowers were enlightening, entertaining and exciting. 
We are proud to bring you a crisp and clean update to our website. Please let me know what you think. 
If you have Comcast for your cable TV, then I hope you saw us featured on their get local for Valentine's Day. If not, no worries; I have provided a link in this email.
Our most exciting news is Suzie's new children's book. This is her fourth children's book, maybe even her best yet. She has even decided to donate 100% of all her royalties to the One Fund to support the Boston Marathon bombing victims and their families.
Boston You're My Home  
New Children's Book by Suzie Canale 
Boston You're My Home
Order Your Copy Here
Boston, You're My Home is the story of a young girl named Sweet Caroline who is nervous about her family moving to Boston. Her mother and father attempt to soothe her fears by telling her a bedtime tale inspired by Boston's strengths. From its education to the arts and its heroes, Caroline learns about the wonderful benefits about calling Boston her new home.
Exotic Flowers on TV  
Comcast Video
Click Here to Watch
Aired in February
If you ever visited the shop, you know our story is better than most reality television. We even turned down a reality show opportunity this past year.
This winter however, we had the TV cameras from Comcast rolling and we were able to tell a wonderful piece of our story without the drama.
"The true harbinger of spring is not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of the bat on the ball."




Rick Canale
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our profile on LinkedInFind us on Google+Find us on YelpVisit our blogView our videos on YouTube

Tags: Boston Strong, Sonny Canale, Rick Canale, Boston Florist Staff, Childrens Book, Boston

Do You Tip the Boston Flower Delivery Guy on Valentine's Day ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Feb 11, 2014

describe the image
Although many of our drivers at Exotic Flowers do not look like Ashton Kutcher, they do love their job. Our two senior drivers have been with us for more than 20 years combined.
Delivering flowers in Boston can be stressful, but also rewarding. What better way to share an emotion with someone than handing them a beautiful flower arrangement.
At Exotic Flowers our Boston flower buyers often ask us if they should tip the driver ? Please do. Our drivers do not expect gratuities, but they sure do appreciate them.
Thank you for sharing your Boston Valentine's Day with Exotic Flowers.

Tags: Boston Flower Shop, Flower Deliveries, Boston Flower Delivery, Boston Florist Staff, Valentine's Day

Baywatch Star Traci Bingham is Exotic Flowers' Qupid for Valentines Day

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Jan 30, 2013

traci bingham baywatch resized 600"I mean it's just a bunch of pretty people runnin' around on the beach, ya know. CHANDLER: Well that's the brilliance of it. The pretty people... and the running." Friends

Baywatch was a pop culture phenomenon and remained on television for more than ten years as one of the most popular TV shows in the world. From 1996-1998, Cambridge native Traci Bingham played the role of lifeguard Jordan Tate on the hit show.

After a successful career in Hollywood, Traci has returned to her Boston roots. Traci remains at the top of every A-list in Boston. Actress, reality TV star, spokesmodel and Playboy model, Traci Bingham personifies the Exotic Flowers' vision statement of 'Reaction Guaranteed,'.

traci bingham playboy resized 600

This Valentine's Day, Boston's Premier Florist is proud to work with Baywatch Star Traci Bingham as our very own Qupid. Traci loves flowers and really loves the flowers at Exotic Flowers in Boston. One of Traci's recent tweets lavished praise for her recent flowers from ExoticFlowers.  ":   !!!! .com !!!" You Do the BEST!!"

traci bingham florist As Exotic Flowers' Qupid, Traci will be tweeting about Exotic Flowers in Boston and the benefits of having beautiful flowers for the most romantic day of the year. Traci will promote her relationship with Exotic Flowers on all her social media pages as well tweet daily the week of Valentine's Day. Traci will make a personal appearance at Exotic Flowers headquarters at 609 American Legion Highway in Roslindale on Valentine's Day from 2pm-4pm. She will be available for meet and greet, autographs, fan photos and even assist clients in helping select the perfect flowers.

At Exotic Flowers, we continue to be on the cutting edge of the flower business in Boston. We strive to bring new ideas, exciting in store events and the best flowers in Boston.

Tags: Exotic Flowers Marketing, Baywatch, Qupid, Exotic Flowers Employees, Boston Florist, Valentine's Flowers, Boston Florist Staff, Valentine's Day, Traci Bingham

The Life of a Floral Designer in Six Photos

Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Oct 09, 2012

Floral Designers
Thank you for and my colleague Lisa Greene of Eric's Greenhouses and Flower Emporium of Reading, Mass.

Tags: Floral Design, Boston Florist, Boston Florist Staff

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