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Exotic Flowers in Boston

Dispel The Poinsettia Toxicity Myth

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Dec 03, 2020


From Our Colleagues at The Society of American Florists:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — December 2, 2020 — The poinsettia is the quintessential Christmas plant. However, many consumers (namely, pet owners and parents of young children) shy away from it because of the belief that it can endanger a loved one.
Set the record straight on this longstanding myth: The poinsettia is the most widely tested plant and has been proven to be non-toxic. Research trials at Ohio State University revealed that a pet or child would need to ingest more than 500 leaves to become seriously ill. (That said, poinsettias are a decoration and should be kept out of reach of children and animals prone to munching on foreign objects.)
About SAF
The Society of American Florists is the only national trade association that represents all segments of the U.S. floral industry. SAF provides government advocacy, education and marketing advice; and connects industry members who want to learn, share ideas and grow; helps the industry recruit and retain talent; and provides guidance to the industry to prepare for and navigate the future. The association was chartered by an act of Congress in 1884. To learn more about SAF or to join, visit

Tags: Poinsettia, SAF, Society of American Florists, Holiday Decor

Exotic Flowers Boston Joins Nationwide Effort to ‘Petal It Forward’

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Oct 24, 2018

Local Business Spreads Smiles and Stress Relief, Two Bouquets at a Time


Roslindale, MA, (October 24, 2018)– Today, Exotic Flowers is joining floral industry businesses in more than 400 cities nationwide to surprise unsuspecting passersby in Roslindale with two free flower bouquets each – one to keep and one to give to a friend, family member, colleague, or even a stranger. The random-acts-of-kindness effort -- called Petal It Forward and organized by the Society of American Florists (SAF), of which Exotic Flowers is a member -- is designed to help people start their day with more smiles and less stress. The effort illustrates new research from the University of North Florida (UNF) that shows living with flowers reduces stress.


“Petal It Forward is the floral industry’s way of giving back,” said Jennifer Sparks, SAF’s Vice President of Marketing, citing the nationwide effort was purposefully planned for a Wednesday to help the mid-week slump. Rick Canale of Exotic Flowers wanted to be a part of the nationwide mood-boosting effort, and make a difference in the community. “We have been in this location for 88 years and we want to help make someone's day in the community,” said Canale. “Through the positive effects of flowers, we hope to make someone’s day brighter, and provide a much-needed moment of calm amidst the hectic pace of life,” he added.


The research findings on flowers and stress relief, and the need for mood-boosting gestures, seem timely: A survey by Wakefield Research in July showed that 68 percent of Americans experience stress weekly, and 32 percent report feeling stressed daily. Women are even more affected, with 25 percent reporting feeling stress multiple times a day.


Canale says the original idea behind Petal It Forward’s ‘keep one, share one’ concept, which started in 2015, came after looking at statistics that showed while 80 percent of people reported receiving flowers makes them happy, even more (88 percent) said that giving flowers makes them happy. “We want to give people the chance to experience both,” said Canale. 


In addition to the new research on stress, previous behavioral studies conducted by Rutgers and Harvard scientifically demonstrate the positive impact flowers have on emotional well-being. For information on the effects of flowers on stress research, visit For research on all of the health benefits of flowers, visit

Tags: SAF, Society of American Florists, Flowers for Emotional Health, petal it forward

What Adding a Weekly Floral Account Can Do for Your Business

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Oct 04, 2017

If you’re a small business owner in the New England area, you already know it’s the personal touches conveyed through your goods and services that keeps a company in healthy territory.  Dependability, efficiency and cost effectiveness are all important factors management must keep constantly in mind to survive the dips and growth spurts of the US economy.  When there is a noticeable decrease in a business’s profits, it’s imperative to take a step back and come up with a plan for what could be done differently.  Many times, there are simple tweaks that can be implemented to increase the bottom line and just as importantly, raise the bar for clientele satisfaction.  While some proprietors decide to invest in expensive décor or pricey marketing materials that may not show the return as expected, others have chosen to lift their company’s presentation in a clever, less expensive way…


Data supports the fact that adding a weekly flower account to your store or office creates a significant difference in several impertinent areas.  For starters, as potential customers enter your shop to browse your selection, they are instantly greeted with a warm welcome that says, “I want your experience here to be one that you remember.”  A bloom’s natural features such as texture, scent and color all positively influence the mass majority of our population’s attitudes which can only bring greater chances for business prosperity.  Another truth to adding florals to your budget is that a pretty arrangement can also increase employee performance as well.  When you make the workplace a happier, more pleasant setting, those who work for you will also experience a better mindset that will likely affect their ability within sales and service responsibilities.  So, you see, it’s a win-win situation all the way around.    

Now that I’ve got your attention and you’re ready to contact the local florist to help set up an account, you might be wondering what are some good options to choose from?  Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend a fortune to add a vase of buds to your business setting.  Adding flora and fauna can be as simple as purchasing a plant or a single stem of roses.  Whatever you budget allows for, there are numerous ways to go about this so don’t get flustered.  These are some top choices that create a beautiful look, plus they won’t break the bank in the process.

Peace Lilies are great plants to invest in, particularly if you do not desire a strong-smelling flower.  Just water once a week and they should stay healthy for a long period of time.  If you want a brighter impact, ask for a 6’’ bubble bowl filled with seasonal cut flowers or request an architecturally interesting design of calla lilies to really display an eye-catching piece.

Tags: SAF, Society of American Florists, Flowers for Emotional Health

The Healing Power of Flowers for Winter Blues

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Nov 18, 2016

I’ll admit it.  This time of year is certainly not one of my favorites and there are several reasons why…

A).  I’m a warm-blooded soul who despises snow and ice.

B).  Traveling becomes tricky with bad road conditions forcing us to become  hermits for most of the season- another personality trait I’m missing.



This last one is enough to depress any blossom lover because the fact remains that there are no wild flowers looming outside in the gardens.  Everything is frozen, stuck to the ground with no life signs what so ever.  I miss the days of carrying bundles of stems with petals scented with pure sweetness and arranging them in vases throughout my home. Did they make my house look pretty and smell good?  Absolutely, but there’s more to this than mere home decorating…

 healing powers of flowers.jpg

It is a scientific fact that flowers have the power to elevate our moods, particularly when we are feeling at our lowest.  All of the senses play a part, including the way a flower smells, its texture, color and arrangement with other species.  Our minds are positively enhanced the moment we set eyes on a bouquet and eventually we learn to connect this sensation of happiness with flowers in general.  So when the weather turns chillier and we lose our stimulation from outdoor gardening and growing, we have to make a conscious effort to seek them out elsewhere.  Contacting your local florist is the best way to solve this problem or you can even begin with indoor seeds such as marigolds and nasturtiums.   They’ll be fun to watch sprout and you’ll have pretty blooms flowering through the coldest months of the year.


Scientific Facts Supporting the Psychological Benefits of Flowers


  1. Flowers arranged in areas such as entryways and foyers are symbolic of the meaning of sharing.  Guests who enter a building and are greeted by a fresh bouquet of flowers on the table react to this by feeling welcomed. 

  2. Flowers are a wonderful gift to a loved one because it actually works as an aphrodisiac.  The gesture can build strong emotions of intimacy and likely bring two people physically closer together.


Photo credit via

Flowers open windows to creativity and often encourage a person’s imagination when exposed to flowers on a regular basis.  Some of our greatest artists of all time like Van Gogh surrounded him self regularly with flowers in order to find inspiration for his work.


Tags: Rutgers Floral Study, SAF, Society of American Florists, Flowers for Emotional Health

Boston Shop Ditches 'Can I Help You?' for 'Go Pats!'

Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Oct 31, 2016

The following article appeared in the SAF Sales Wake Up ! on Saturday, October 29th 2016.

By Mary Westbrook
In Boston, Rick Canale has found a new way to solve the ongoing challenge of helping staff members connect quickly with customers in an authentic way: sweatshirts.

Earlier this week Canale handed out hooded sweatshirts to his employees at Exotic Flowers. On the back, each shirt has the word "Flowers" and the number "98"— both a reference to New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers, whose name is too perfect for Canale to resist.

patriots flowers.jpg

At Exotic Flowers in Boston, employees don a sweatshirt featuring the name of a favorite New England Patriots player — who's last name happens to be flowers — as a way to create connection with customers.

"This visual statement sends a message to customers," Canale said. "It not only opens a dialogue with clients to show common interests, but it shows that we are not just the 'florist behind the counter.' We have similar likes and dislikes."

That personalization is no small thing. According to the research firm Gartner, 64 percent of people say customer experience is more important to their purchasing decisions than price.

In addition to keeping staff warm, the sweatshirts have injected an immediate dose of personality into customer interactions. (Imagine a big smile and shared "Go Pats!" compared to the far less memorable and often ineffective sales approach "can I help you?") 

"It is just another piece that personalizes our relationship with customers," said Canale.

Canale has also taken the flowers/flowers love beyond the physical store, interacting with the football player on social media.

"He has re-tweeted our support to his fan base, which is an added bonus," Canale said.

And Canale says that florists in other metro areas who want to copy the easy conversation-starter have options, too.

"There are many pro and college athletes with the last name Flowers," he said. "Tyler Flowers is a catcher for the Atlanta Braves. Brandon Flowers is on the San Diego Chargers and Marquis Flowers plays for the Cincinnati Bengals." 


Read more about why "can I help you" is ineffective and get 25 ideas for alternative phrasing. 

Tags: NFL, SAF, Society of American Florists, Patriots, Trey Flowers

The Society of American Florists Acknowledges Exotic Flowers

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Nov 16, 2013

Christmas FlowersEvery Saturday, the Society of American Florists (SAF) offers sales tips to floral industry professionals. This week, Katie Hendrick shares some holiday sales tips from Exotic Flowers in Boston.

Inexpensive Perks Keep Customers Merry

by Katie Hendrick
At Exotic Flowers in Boston, convenience and customer appreciation define the company's holiday marketing philosophy. We reached out to Rick Canale, owner of the 2008 Marketer of the Year-winning shop, for some tactics to get customers in the door and spending money, amidst all their other shopping activity.

Here are just a few of them:

  • Sell Christmas trees and wreaths to generate in-store traffic
  • Provide snacks – popcorn and candy canes – to keep tired shoppers in good spirits
  • Offer complimentary containers of hand sanitizer (to keep cold and flu germs at bay). The Exotic Flowers version has "Red Sox World Series Champions" emblazoned on it.
  • Send letters reminding customers of the previous year's holiday order with a personal letter. ("This gets great feedback," Canale said. "People appreciate reminders and they really love the personalization of the letter.")
  • Hand deliver poinsettias to top 100 clients.
  • Hand sign cards to top 200 clients.

Tags: SAF, Society of American Florists, Marketing, Christmas Wreaths, Christmas Trees, Christmas, Christmas Flowers

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

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