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Exotic Flowers in Boston

Thirteen Sign That Might Mean You’re Destined to Become A Florist

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Sep 08, 2017

It’s true… I was a florist for over twenty years in the Boston Wholesale Floral Industry- a job the where the word “difficult” might be an understatement for adequately describing the profession.  Rain or shine, sleet or snow, the crew gathered together in the middle of the night to unload tractor trailer trucks packed with thirty to forty pound boxes which we would have to haul off, open and distribute before the sun actually had risen.  It was grueling exercise, the kind of workout that would leave you aching for days in your back, legs and arms with little to no rest that would allow healing.  Nevertheless, there was something inside of me driving the covers off when the 3:30 am alarm clock rang, the sound of a relentless drill sergeant commanding the start of a new day in the Boston Flower Exchange.  Looking back, I could have left and got a job in an office like most twenty something’s do but instead I made the choice to stay.  Regardless of the empty threats to leave the business in search of “easier” means of work, I continued to show up exactly on the hour required by employees (well, most of the time anyways…) and do my share of lugging, carrying and schlepping while being left with a strange sense of fulfillment at the end of the day.  There could only be one explanation for this feeling that also came along with pain, exhaustion and bruises… I really loved being a florist.


Unbeknown too many people out there, being a floristis actually one of the hardest professions to survive within, and that includes both in terms of physical and financial wellness.  There are long, grueling hours, limited opportunities for pay increases and the toll of heavy weight lifting on the body after years and years of exposure.  Truly, you have to be one tough cookie to make it in the flower biz and as you can imagine- it’s not for everyone.  

You might be wondering, “If it’s so bad, why do it then?”  It’s an honest question with an honest answer-you’re a florist because you were born to become one.  Seriously, it’s the truth.  There are several personality traits that can lead a person into this profession which will determine if it’s the right fit for you.  If you’ve always had an interest in this field, you might want to go over the top 13 traits of a true florist.  Your destiny may be calling you…

The Top 13 Traits of a True Florist

  1. You’re Hardworking No Matter What
  2. You LOVE Anything That Grows
  3. Not Having A Garden Is Sacrilegious
  4. Working Saturdays Is No Big Deal
  5. You’re Inherently Creative
  6. You Like To Gamble
  7. Weather Conditions Don’t Affect You
  8. You See Yourself As An Artist
  9. Your Work Means More To You Than A Paycheck
  10. You Continue to Enjoy Learning Long After You’ve Finished School
  11. You Like People But You Like Time Alone, Too
  12. You Prefer To Move Than To Be Sitting Down All Day
  13. You Use Your Hands More Than Any Other Part Of Your Body

Tags: Wholesale Flowers, Boston Florist, Working in a Florist, Florist Blogger, Florist

Professional Versus Cheap Valentines Day Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Feb 10, 2015

Love is in the air so that must mean that Valentine’s Day is will be here soon!  If you are revving up to wine and dine your sweetheart, make sure that you’ve planned ahead and ordered a beautiful bouquet of roses from your local florist.  Why purchase professionally designed bouquets in?  Yes, grocery stores, super stores and even gas stations are supplying a few dozens for a quick and easy cash and carry but I warn you-you’ll be better off putting in the extra effort with a visit to a real florist.  For the last several years, the debate has been growing on whether spending the extra time and doe is really worth it?  One side of the fence claims that the flowers look exactly the same and smell exactly the same so “a rose is just a rose”?  Coming from twenty years in the wholesale flower business, I can promise you that this statement couldn’t be anymore false and here’s why…


Professional flower buyers are knowledgeable about their product in a variety of areas.  For start, they’ve been trained to distinct between fresh and stale blooms, which in all honesty, most customers cannot do on their own until their purchases croak prematurely.  If by small chance, your unsatisfactory bouquet was bought from a flower shop, you’ll have a better chance of getting a refund where as a secondary carrier is more likely to laugh in your face.  Reason number two in trusting a florist with your Valentine’s Day order is for the simple reason that their designers will create pieces precisely made for you instead of generic vases that are pre-made.  Seasoned specialists not only can manifest your preferences but also suggest new styles and varieties just perfect for you!  Another reason to do things the right way is because these greenery companies keep the market moving with flowers flown in from around the world.  Wal-Mart and Cosco don’t.  Business owners spend years developing relationships with suppliers in countries from Holland, New Zealand, France, Ecuador, Japan and China (just to name a few) to assure that their orders are filled with only the best selection available.  In turn, the growers remain sustainable, which then results in higher quality of crops and new hybrid breeds. 


So you see, it’s a win - win situation when deciding to support your local flower shop instead of cutting corners by falling for a quick and cheap Valentine’s Day arrangement.  You’ll soon understand the undeniable superb presentation of professionally designed flowers that are sure not to disappoint even the most finicky holiday dates. 

suzie_canale_westwood-1Suzie and Rick Canale, Westwood MA 

Floral Photo Credit: Flower Factor


Tags: Floral Design, Flower Arrangements, Florist Blogger, Valentines Day

Joe Guggia and the Stud's Guide for Buying Flowers

Posted by Rick Canale on Fri, Jul 20, 2012

The Stud%27s Guide For Cover for Kindle resized 600
This fun and informative flower buying guide is a testament to the value of forming a relationship with a local retail florist, like Exotic Flowers in Boston.   While using "sexual rewards" as a premise to grab your attention. "The Stud's Guide for Buying Flowers..." covers flower purchases for all relationships, personal and professional. 
Using humor to add to the guide's value, author and floral designer extraordinarie Joe Guggia, AIFD hits the nail on the head and really puts it out there for the world to understand this journey and take advantage of the "rewards" flower gifting can bring.
In Joe's own words, " So Why The Hell Do I need To Read This Thing?


I have a news flash for all you studs that is going to change your life and make me the most awesome guy you know: buying flowers for your wife, partner, mistress, lover or whomever you’re sleeping with is the best thing you can do for your sex life and all around well-being.  While you might be one of those guys that wants to blurt out “but flowers are expensive!” stop that crap right this second and listen to what I have to say.   Trust me that by spending a few bucks here and there on flowers, you can become a wanted lover that will turn your sometimes boring sex life into the romantically overheated experience you want and need.    Know that giving beautiful flowers is an asset to your daily life that will make all your relationships (family, friends, lovers, fellow workers) respond in a positive way to your being.

 joe guggia resized 600

 This world is definitely full of constant surprises and changes at a moment’s notice.  Everyday we’re confronted with something new that grabs our balls and tests us to the max. We get up and go about life hoping that at least one thing we do really makes a difference in our world and the world of those around us.  But sometimes there are those crappy things that get the best of us and we just want to run a hundred miles an hour and yell ”screw you!” at the top of our lungs.

We feel that way sometimes, friggn’ overwhelmed and just plain tired of all the crap that’s thrown our way.  So buying flowers should be one of those experiences we can handle easily and not be confused about.  It’s the kind of experience you should want to do over and over again so you can give that someone special in your life a great gift that they’ll love you up for.  With proper flower buying knowledge you can learn to give something beautiful and get back what you’re hoping for ten fold.  This fact has been proven over and over again, has gone on for centuries and will continue to go on for centuries more.  Humans are created that way, responding in an incredibly positive way to receiving nature’s gift of flowers for any and every occasion.

So trust me and take a few minutes away from that game, food, garage or whatever the hell has your attention. Read and absorb what I have to say.  Follow the techniques I explain in this flower buying bible and be ready to learn how the simplest of bouquets will show them how hot you think they are.     This floral education is sure to get your special someone right where you want them to be, ready and willing to reward you with the best “thank you” you could ever imagine.  And if you were only reading this because someone threw it in front of you and said “Honey, read this!” don’t give them any flack and just do it.  This will be the one time you’ll be damn glad you did!"

A few chapter titles include: 


Chapter 1:  Monkey Men Had It Goin’ On

Chapter 2:  The Village of Testosterone

Chapter 3:  Men, It’s A Brave New World:  The Cyber Florist Seduction

Chapter 4:  Money Will Feed The Beast

Chapter 5:  The New Hottie and The Village Screamers

Chapter 6:  In-House Tail Maintenance

Chapter 7:  Flowers Vs. Plants: Testes On The Cutting Block

Chapter 8:  Sexy Roses of a Different Color

Chapter 9:  Mommy and Friends Need Lovn’ Too

Chapter 10:  The Neighborhood Piss Off

Chapter 11:  Kiss Some Corporate Ass!

Chapter 12:  Hasta La Vista, Baby…

The Last Word:  And This Ass Bite Has More To Say?

This book is a keepsake and should have made the Exotic Flowers in Boston Summer reading list. Special thanks to Joe for sharing his talents with the world.

Tags: Floral Design, AIFD, Joe Guggia, Author, Books, Florist Blogger

Boston's Exotic Flowers Featured in Floriology Magazine

Posted by Rick Canale on Fri, May 18, 2012

At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we actively contribute to floral associations. We are members of FTD, Teleflora and the Society of American Florists, (SAF). We exchance ideas with our colleagues and are always looking to learn so that we may remain Boston's Premier Florist.

Recently, Exotic Flowers and myself were featured in Bloomnet Magazine floriology. Below is the article in its entirety written by Fred Russell in April 2012 edition.

Exotic Flowers floriology

From Facebook to Twitter and everything in between Rick Canale is LinkedIn to everything social.


Rick of Exotic Flowers inBostonis a third generation florist and an industry leader in using social media to help promote his business. Growing up in theBostonarea Rick would help out his parents Sonny and Marie doing a little bit of everything. After attendingBostonCollegeas Liberal Arts major in the early 90’s, Rick went to work full time at the family business that started over 50 years ago.


“Most of our marketing is reinforcing our current clientele”, says Rick. “We combine an aggressive direct mail marketing plan and mix in social media to remain relevant and top of mind”, he adds. Rick sees his new customers result mostly from referral business and a lot from local search engines like Google, Yelp and Foursquare. Because Rick looks at his current customers as an avenue for getting new ones he consistently targets them on different platforms to stay relevant and keep people talking about them.


When it comes to social media Rick was an early adapter and could foresee the movement coming quickly. “You have to collect ‘likes’ on your Facebook page like baseball cards”, says Rick. Between his Facebook friends and Twitter followers Rick has well over 1,000 contacts. This is a lot of potential consumers at your fingertips that can be easily reached at a moments notice. Rick is also very active on his blog ( which attracts 6,000 unique visitors a month and tries to reach out to his customers via a social avenue three to five times a week. “I write about everything; from social issues, what’s going on inBoston, baseball or top five movies of the week”, says Rick. “You don’t always want to make it about you and be to self serving, you just want to be out there so people see your name”. Rick likens it to a Presidential Campaign, “it’s all about shaking hands and kissing babies!”


Rick also monitors closely what people are saying about his shop. He uses Hubspot (www.hubspot) to monitor activity. He gets a notification that his shop name is being mentioned somewhere. “I jump right in and answer questions, talk about the shop and they’re floored to get that quick reaction”. He also monitors what his contemporaries are blogging and follows them on Twitter. “You can always learn from what other people are doing and see if I’m missing anything. I also find a lot of inspiration by looking at what my peers are doing”.


One of the things Rick has asked himself is how do you keep your website and social customer’s loyal? “When we get a first time order on a website order we send the customer a hand written note thanking them for our business”. Rick also sends a personal business card, not just one with the store name to give it a more personal touch. Rick also stays away from discounting and feels it’s unnecessary because they always have great products and are always competitively priced and once you discount your customers will expect it. “There’s no way I’m going to compete with someone selling $9.99 rose and that’s not what we’re about.

Rick plans on continuing to use social media in his marketing plan and thinks Twitter is still in its beginning is about to boom. Rick suggests the Twitter community is just another form of blogging and a great way to catch a customer’s attention with a quick, catchy message. As far as another recent social phenomena—Pinterest, Rick compares it to a coffee table book. “Everybody loves coffee table books, but how often do you read them?” With the recent fascination Rick will observe it’s progress and develop a presence down the road.


Be sure to follow Rick on Twitter @RickCanale!


Owner: Rick Canale


Shop: Exotic Flowers




Employees: 10 full time


Established: 1957



Tags: SAF, Teleflora, FTD, Rick Canale, Florist Blogger

Boston Florist Rick Canale to serve as panelist at SAF Convention

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Aug 04, 2010


 Boston Florist Rick Canale

Above Photo; Boston Florist, Rick Canale speaking at CFA convention in 2008.

Put the Social Back into Networking in Orlando
By Shelley Estersohn
Remember brainstorming over a cup of coffee or perking up when you heard someone else ask a question about his business? Those moments can’t happen if you have your face buried in your BlackBerry or you’re updating your Facebook page.

The potential for those unexpected “aha” moments — inspiration sparked when people with different experiences just get together and talk — is a big part of what draws people to industry meetings. That’s why opportunities for networking between wholesalers, retailers and growers are a mainstay of the SAF convention schedule.

“Everybody in business needs a little face time with folks from similar businesses as well as from other segments of the industry,” said SAF convention chairperson Dottie Pannepacker of Penny’s Flowers in Glenside, Pa. “I go to SAF conventions to get away from the day-to-day.”

Or attendees can walk the SAF Winners Circle and hear experts from Professional Floral Communicators – International talk about the top entries in the Outstanding Varieties and Sylvia Cup Design competitions. That night it’s all about the chatter as attendees gather under the stars for the Networking Reception. 

* * * * * 

 As a florist from Boston, MA  I look forward to not only attending the convention, but also participating in the forums and discussions. I have also been invited to serve as a judge for 2 of the more presigious awards for the event.

My most honored role at the SAF convention wil be serve as a panelist for the importance of social media in the floral industry. Whether you're a florist in Boston or Belgium, or specialize in funerals or weddings; this social media seminar should be attended. 

Tags: Boston Florist, SAF Convention, Florist Blogger

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