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Exotic Flowers in Boston

Exotic Flowers in Boston Gets a Nod in the SAF Weekly Sales WakeUp!

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Sep 14, 2013

Exotic Flowers in Boston is a long standing member of The Society of American Florists (SAF). Every week, SAF offers sales advice to those in the floral industry via their Sales Wake Up email on Saturdays. This week, Exotic Flowers is honored to be featured by writer Katie Hendrick.



Five Focus Points for Success

Boston retailer Rick Canale says in a recent blog post that e-mail confirmations are a basic and simple but effective way to make a great impression.

by Katie Hendrick
Ever wish you had a report card to measure the impression your shop makes? Consider this blog post the cheat sheet you’ve been craving. It comes courtesy of Rick Canale, owner of Exotic Flowers, the 2008 Floral Management Marketer of the Year winner.  

Here are a few highlights he insists his staff executes:

  • A thorough customer experience: email confirmations for orders and delivery, logoed polo shirts, logoed vans, “please” and “thank you” in every conversation, courtesy phone calls, personal handwritten notes
  • An emphasis on special occasions: employees should teach customers that flowers make all occasions more special — not just Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and anniversaries
  • Upscale packaging: tissue, gift boxes and ribbon improves presentation immensely
  • A dynamic storefront: the shop strives to have something exceptional to create buzz, be it new or exclusive variety of flowers in the window or a celebrity arranging flowers (Baywatch star Traci Bingham helped out during Valentine’s Day 2013)
  • A strong social life: the shop regularly updates its blog, Facebook page and Twitter account with three objectives: entertain, educate and engage. Equally important is what happens when employees leave the store. Running errands in a logoed shirt and a logoed van is outstanding advertising.

Tags: Baywatch, Floral Indusrty, SAF, Floral Management, Marketing, Traci Bingham

Can a Trip to the Local Florist Save General Petraeus ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Nov 12, 2012

Petraeus Flowers
Not to capitalize on the misfortune of others, but flowers have always been a symbol of apology. Often times, men and women call or come into our store looking to bring flowers to their loved ones who they wronged. Can General Petraeus' marriage be saved by a visit to his local florist ? Maybe, maybe not.
Flowers are certain to help start the healing process. The 'Exactly How Mad Is She' bulletin board is famous for showing that flowers are a universal symbol of apology. 
Even if General Petraeus does not choose to bring flowers to his wife, then he still can romance his two mistresses with roses.

Tags: Apology Flowers, Sorry Flowers, Emotion Flowers, SAF

Harvard Study Shows That Fresh Flowers Decrease Anxiety

Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Oct 01, 2012

flowers delivery in boston resized 600


CONTACT: (RICK CANALE,  617.524.4455)

Harvard Study Investigates the Home Ecology of Flowers Behavioral Research Concludes:Living with Flowers Strengthens Feelings of Compassion, and Decreases Anxiety and Worry


(BOSTON, MA)  With people’s desire for tranquility and stress relief stronger than ever, fresh research takes an insightful look at flowers and the important role they may play in our daily lives. A behavioral research study conducted by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, reveals that people feel more compassionate toward others, have less worry and anxiety, and feel less depressed when fresh cut flowers are present in the home. 

“Other research has proven that flowers make people happy when they receive them,” Etcoff says. “What we didn’t know is that spending a few days with flowers in the home can affect a wide variety of feelings.”

The Home Ecology of Flowers Study at Harvard uncovered three main findings:

  1. Flowers feed compassion. 

    Study participants who lived with fresh cut flowers for less than a week felt an increase in feelings of compassion and kindness for others.

  2. Flowers chase away anxieties, worries and the blues at home. 

    Overall, people in the study simply felt less negative after being around flowers at home for just a few days. 

    Participants most frequently placed flowers in their kitchens, dining rooms and living rooms, where they spend a lot of time at home. They reported wanting to see the blooms first thing in the morning. 

  3. Living with flowers can provide a boost of energy, happiness and enthusiasm at work. 

    Having flowers at home can have a positive carry-over impact on our mood at work, too. The study found that people were more likely to feel happier and have more enthusiasm and energy at work when flowers were in their home living environments.

“As a psychologist, I’m particularly intrigued to find that people who live with flowers report fewer episodes of anxiety and depressed feelings,” Etcoff says. “Our results suggest that flowers have a positive impact on our well being.”



Editor’s Note: For high-resolution floral photography, visit

The Home Ecology of Flowers Research Methodology

Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and her research team investigated the effects of flowers in the home environment on well being. Fifty-four people, ages 25-60, were studied using a series of self-report measures allowing the research team to know where the person was, with whom and what they were doing when they experienced an emotion, both when flowers were and were not present. Half of the participants received a “control” home decor item, other than flowers, to ensure study validity. After living with either flowers or the control intervention for approximately one week, participants rated their feelings during specific periods of the day, recording emotions during each episode. The research team also took photographs before and after flowers were delivered to determine any changes in use or appearance of the room. 

About Dr. Nancy Etcoff

 Dr. Nancy Etcoff is a faculty member of the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard University Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative and a practicing psychologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry where she is the Director of the Program in Aesthetics and Well Being. At Harvard, she currently teaches a course entitled “The Science of Happiness.”

 Use these tips  to put this historic floral research into action immediately.

• Display flowers in common areas
such as your kitchen, dining and
family rooms to experience the
greatest mood-boosting effects.
• The kitchen table might be the best
place for flowers, because it’s
where people gather.
• Match a room’s décor with one of
the hottest flower trends —
monobotanic (arrangements of all
one type of flower) and
monochromatic (using all one color
palette, such as a range of pinks).
• Even just a few flowers in a bud vase
can perk up a room.
• For a contemporary look, group
several vases together holding just
one or two stems.
• For an easy, elegant table
decoration, set a series of crystal
vases on a fabric runner. Place fresh
flowers in each of the vases and
surround them with greenery.
• In the foyer, create a space to hang
your keys that also includes a
weekly vase of flowers. It will be
the last place you see on your way
out the door and the first you see
on your way back inside.
• An abundant arrangement of lilies,
gladiolus, hydrangea or any large
blooms creates an inviting
environment for an expansive
entryway or dining room.
• Choose soothing colors, like blues
and greens, to create a tranquil
feeling, or bright reds and oranges
for a sensual arrangement.
© 2007 SAF

Tags: SAF, Society of American Florists, Harvard Medical, Floral Studies

What is National Make Someone Smile Week ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Sun, Jul 22, 2012

Happy Flowers in Boston 

Sponsored by Telelfora, National Make Someone Smile Week 2012 (July 22 thru 28), is all about making others happy with the gift of flowers. Throughout the country thousands of local florists will deliver more than 30,000 smiley face mug arrangements. Scientific studies guarantee that flowers make people happy.

Of these 30,000 bright colored fresh flower arrangements, some will go to hospital patients, foster care children, Meals on Wheels residents and nursing home residents. As a National Account in good standing with Teleflora, the staff at Exotic Flowers is honored to be associated with this humanitarian program.

The 2005 Rutgers University study: 

Research Findings

A team of researchers explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction in a 10-month study of participants' behavioral and emotional responses to receiving flowers. The results show that flowers are a natural and healthful moderator of moods.

    1. Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness. All study participants expressed "true" or "excited" smiles upon receiving flowers, demonstrating extraordinary delight and gratitude. This reaction was universal, occurring in all age groups.
    2. Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods. Specifically, study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated after receiving flowers, and demonstrated a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction.
    3. Flowers make intimate connections. The presence of flowers led to increased contact with family and friends.

    "Common sense tells us that flowers make us happy," said Dr. Haviland-Jones. "Now, science shows that not only do flowers make us happier than we know, they have strong positive effects on our emotional well being."

    Tags: Rutgers Floral Study, Floral Design, Make Someone Smile Week, SAF, Teleflora

    The Beach Inspires Florists from Boston to Dallas - #VaseOff!

    Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Jul 12, 2012

    beach theme flowers boston resized 600It's summer time and we are fortunate to live on the east coast where trips to the beach are regular. Some of our favorite beaches include Old Silver Beach, Long Beach and Minot. When our floral designers make beach trips, they cannot help but be inspired by the awesome beauty of the ocean. Why go to Pinterest when inspiration can be had on the beaches of Cape Cod ?

    This beach like inspiration is catching fire with floral designers throughout the United States. As a long standing member of The Society of American Florists (SAF), Exotic Flowers in Boston is offering its full support to SAF's latest public relations program. The latest installment of The VaseOff! Challenge, Society of American Florist's (SAF) online floral design  competition series, went live to the public this week, flaunting florists’ talent for matching flowers to recipients’ personalities. The Challenge: Design an arrangement sure to delight a friend who loves the beach and can't get enough of the sun, surf and sand.

    VaseOff! Boston Florist 

    The VaseOff! Challenge is SAF’s latest public relations program designed to drive traffic to the blog and promote positive floral messages to consumers and the media.

    “In this world that revolves so much around social media, consumers like interaction,” said Jennifer Sparks, SAF Vice President of Marketing. “This challenge provides a fun, interactive way to spread the good news about the benefits of flowers and the expertise of florists, with the capability of going viral very quickly.”

    VaseOff! is part of SAF’s 2012 Consumer Marketing Program, which uses public relations and social media to promote positive messages about flowers, plants and florists. SAF marketing programs are possible thanks to the SAF PR Fund, made up of retail member dues and voluntary contributions by wholesalers, suppliers, importers and growers. Since its inception in 2001, PR Fund programs have generated more than 1 billion consumer impressions, according to Ogilvy’s measurements.

    Tags: VaseOff, Floral Design, SAF, Flowers for Emotional Health

    Top 5 Reasons Guys Buy Flowers in Boston

    Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Jun 27, 2012

    holiday flowers in boston resized 600#1 Holidays: Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas; most guys in Boston need to cover the bases on Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. These two holidays are the Super Bowl and World Series of flowers. Holidays are great for men, they get lots of national advertising and are always on a guy's radar. Holiday flowers are often the most memorable and can be tied into creating your own memories and traditions.

    funeral flower delivery dorchester resized 600 #2 Funeral Flowers - You may not expect funeral flowers to be the number 2 reason guys send flowers in Boston. Funeral flowers have been scientifically proven to ease the grieving process. Funeral flowers are the backbone of our business at Exotic Flowers. Funeral flowers represent more than 30% of our sales.

    roses in boston resized 600#3 Anniversaries - Wedding anniversaries, first date anniversaries, anniversaries of your engagement; these special days are often commemorated with rose purchases. Although not a huge delivery item, most men will walk into our flower shop to grab roses for their anniversary.

    flowers at work in boston resized 600#4 Adoration - Guys send flowers to men and women they adore. No mystery there. Some of our top clients order flowers for their favorite person more than twenty times per year. Of course adoration can be viewed in many ways. We also have a handful of clients who will woo love interests with flowers. We often have guys come in who only know the first name of the recipient and they will often include their cell # on the card message in hopes of getting that first date. 

    how mad is she flowers resized 600

    #5 Apology Flowers - perhaps the greatest billboard ever created for the floral industry by the Society of American Florists (SAF), 'Exactly how mad is she ?' tells a story in three images. One of the reasons florists have stood the test of time is because guys screw up a lot and flowers are the peace pipe of our generation.

    Tags: Boston Flowers, Guys Guide to Flowers, Boston Florist, SAF

    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

    Exotic Flowers in Boston Nets Top Story from Floral Management

    Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Jan 02, 2012

    The following notification has been taken from the Society of American Florists (SAF) Member Wake Up email on 12/31/11


    Sales Wake Up resized 600

    Best of Floral Management’s Hands OnIf you think Sales Wake-Up is the only place where SAF members can get innovative ideas for increasing sales, then you likely are not reading the monthly Hands On column in SAF’s Floral Management magazine. It’s a treasure trove of best practices, management tips and, yes, sales ideas. As we bid 2011 farewell and get ready to ring in another year of Sales Wake-Ups, we want to pay tribute to you, our loyal readers, by gifting you with our top five sales-boosting stories from Hands On: 

    No-Fail NeW Year’s
    > Resolved to start 2012 on the right foot? Take a step forward
    with these practical changes, culled from a review of New Year’s
    resolutions for florists and small retailers.
    Invest a higher percentage of your marketing budget in
    packaging. One year ago, florist Rick Canale resolved to shift
    Yellow Pages ad dollars into monogramed bags and cellophane,
    as well as interior and exterior signage for Boston-based Exotic
    Flowers. The exterior signage, in development now to replace
    two illuminated “relics,” “will pay for itself the first year,” he said.
    “The new signs are grabbers.”
    Canale also updated the staff uniforms: “The polished look
    has made a huge difference in the psyche and approach of staff
    when we all dress in the same color” (maroon), he said. Even
    seasonal personnel will sport matching, logoed jackets for
    Valentine’s Day deliveries.

    Exotic Flowers in Boston remains an active marketer in the floral industry. We are proud to share our ideas. Honored that our ideas are shared with our colleagues. And Exotic Flowers in Boston is confident that our business ideas not only benefit our growth as a Boston Florist but benfit the entire floral industry.

    Stay tuned for more exciting marketing ideas from Boston's Premier Florist as we start planning a new entry for the Floral Management Marketer of the Year.

    Tags: SAF, Floral Management, Marketing

    Is Exotic Flowers in Boston a Florist for Change ?

    Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Sep 08, 2011

    Florist in Boston

    Florists for Change ?


    A lot of Buzz in the floral industry has been about Florists for Change. Who are they ? Why are they meeting ? Are they game changers ? Are they revolutionary ? Before I present Exotic Flowers in Boston's position, I would like to recap a call I received yesterday from an established flower shop in Manchester, NH.

    On the morning of September 7th, 2011 an order appeared on our fax machine (yes people still use a fax machine and not for spam). The order arrived from a high profile flower shop in Manchester, New Hampshire who we have been doing business with for decades.

    Usually this NH shop sends orders to Exotic Flowers via FTD and our orders will print on our printers. This order however was a bit different. The usual items were there like flower recipient, Beth Israel Hospital, fresh flowers, card message, sending shop etc.. This order also had a credit card # on it ( I am not going to into the PCI Compliance issue here). The order also stated that Exotic Flowers in Boston give a $60 value but give the NH flower shop a 20% discount.

    At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we get this request a lot. Mostly from florists and those who do flowers out of their homes that choose not be in FTD or Teleflora. At Exotic Flowers we are happy to take any credit card order, but do not offer a 20% discount for those who choose not to belong to a wire service. Sorry, just not something we do.

    What made yesterday unusual was, the NH shop had been sending us FTD orders for years. When our rep  Shannon Rizza called their shop and explained that a discount was not an option, their sales rep explained that it was something they had just started doing. Their rep in turn got their boss to ask for me and what follows is the conversation:

    NH Shop Owner: Is this Rick ? The guy who writes and appears in all the magazines ?

    Me: Yes, but you can call me whatever you want. I respond to most anything.

    NH: do you know this order will represent more $ in your pocket ?

    Me: yes. but we choose not to fill credit card discount orders.

    NH: But you would have filled this as an FTD order and lost 30% of the order.

    Me: I know, but we do not fill wire orders to make money. We fill them because we send a lot of orders and hope that you will do a nice job on our orders when we send them to you.

    NH: so you are not a Florist for Change ?

    Me: who said that ? I feel if you were really a florist for change then perhaps I should be getting 90-95% of the order.

    The conversation went on and ended with me recommending a shop who I knew could help him.

    Which leads me to; is Exotic Flowers a florist for a change ? Of course. We believe the customer service in the industry is fractured. But change begins in your shop first; then at a national level. Exotic Flowers believes in working with FTD, SAF, Teleflora and BloomNet to have a collective set of guidelines for all florists. Start with business ethics, honesty, integrity. If all florists work within the walls of their shop, the rest should take care of itself. FTD and 1800flowers are not going away. Florists who fill those orders are not going away either. My job as a traditional retail florist in Boston is to be the florist for my community.

    Flowers to Boston

    Tags: 1800flowers, Florist for Change, SAF, FTD

    Boston's Exotic Flowers Shows How Flowers Boost Seniors Happiness

    Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Aug 31, 2011

    Flowers in Boston

    CONTACT: (RICK CANALE - 617-524-4456)

    University Study Links Flowers to Senior Citizens' Well Being

    Research Shows Flowers Boost Seniors' Happiness, Memory, Social Networks

    BOSTON, MA - Everyday, America's aging population - 40 million and rising - faces the challenges of growing older, including depression, memory loss and social withdrawal. As a concerned nation, we are continually exploring new means to ease daily-life anxieties. Researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, released the results of a six-month behavioral study on the health effects of flowers on senior citizens. The study demonstrates that flowers ease depression, inspire social networking and refresh memory as we age.

    "The results are significant because as our nation grows older and life becomes more stressful, we look for easy and natural ways to enhance our lives - and the lives of our aging parents," said Dr. Jeannette Haviland-Jones, lead researcher and director of the Human Development Lab at Rutgers. "Now, one simple answer is right under our noses."

    This research follows a study conducted in 2000, which links flowers to greater happiness and life satisfaction in women. In 2001, the Rutgers team set out to explore the effects flowers would have on senior citizens, who experience different living situations and greater life changes.
    Dorchester Flowers

    Prevention in a Bud, Not a Bottle 
    More than 100 seniors participated in the Rutgers research study, in which some received flowers and others did not. The results shed new light on how nature's support systems help seniors cope with the challenges of aging. The results are as follows:

    1. Flowers Decrease Depression. Study participants showed a significant increase in happiness and positive moods when flowers were present. 

    2. Flowers Refresh Recent Memory. Seniors performed higher on everyday memory tasks and experienced enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers. 

    3. Flowers Encourage Companionship. Seniors who received flowers re-engaged with members of their communities and enlarged their social contacts to include more neighbors, religious support and even medical personnel.

    "Instinct tells us that flowers lift our spirits, but, their effects on seniors are especially profound, if not surprising," said Haviland-Jones.
    Cambridge Florist
    New Evidence Sprouts Up 
    Specifically, 81 percent of seniors who participated in the study reported a reduction in depression following the receipt of flowers. Forty percent of seniors reported broadening their social contacts beyond their normal social circle of family and close friends. And, 72 percent of the seniors who received flowers scored very high on memory tests in comparison with seniors who did not receive flowers.

    "Happier people live longer, healthier lives and are more open to change," said Haviland-Jones. "Our research shows that a small dose of nature, like flowers, can do a world of wonder for our well-being as we age."

    # # #

    The Flowers & Seniors Study (2001) is the second floral research project conducted by Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., professor of psychology, Project Director, Human Development Lab at Rutgers. Dr. Haviland-Jones is a psychologist and internationally recognized authority in the role of emotional development in human behavior and nonverbal emotional signals and response. In 2000, Haviland-Jones completed the first phase of her research on the emotional impact of flowers on women. The study, known as The Emotional Impact of Flowers, can be viewed at The Society of American Florists worked in cooperation with the Rutgers research team, bringing its expertise of flowers to the project.

    Tags: SAF, Flowers for Emotional Health, Flower Facts

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