Alan Masters AIFD CFD, is from LaPorte Texas, he is married and has two children. A 31 year veteran in the industry, Alan is the 2015 Houston Cup winner has placed 2nd at Texas cup twice and 2nd at the Houston Rodeo cup once. Alan has presented on several occasions to floral groups and garden clubs and loves inspiring others. He was inducted into AIFD in July 2015.
How did you get into the floral industry (what were you doing prior)? Was there a defining point along the way that shaped you as a designer?
I started 31 years ago when a shop owner I went to church with asked if I wanted a job. We worked on the flower committee together and she saw me rearranging one of our permanents, realized a possible talent and took a chance on me. My defining moment was in 2008 when I joined the staff at Compton's Florist. My boss is a tireless promoter of education in our industry ( I must mention that I thought, at that time, that education was useless and that I didn't need to learn any more about design.). She encouraged me to go to a design program, which, in the matter of about an hour and a half completely changed my mind about education. I HAD to have more. I don't think I have missed but maybe 2 programs in our area since then.
What has been the best advice you’ve been given?
What has been the best advice you’ve been given?
Keep everything you do clean, clean, clean. Speaking of mechanics of course. One of the major things that separates us as professional floral artists from the crafters and DIYers, is our mechanics, a customer should be able to turn our corsages and boutonnieres over and it look as good (clean and finished) on the back as it does on the front.
What advice would you give to someone looking at the floral industry as a career choice?
Jump in with both feet and go for it. A career in the floral world is one of the most rewarding choices you will ever make. Get as much "good" education as you can, starting with the basics and building on that foundation. We are creating smiles with every design we send out the doors, but the joy that we get in seeing those smiles is priceless.
Tell us about your design process. Do you visualize a concept first, or does the concept come together as
You work on it.?
I start with a general concept in my mind, but for the most part, it comes together as I work on it. It sounds a little like the cray cray wagon may come get me, but I listen (pay attention to) the flowers, they will tell me where they want to go.
How do you recharge creatively? What is your ‘go-to’ place or source of inspiration outside the floral world?
I surround myself with awesome designers, and attend every design program and educational experience I can. I also compete every chance I get in design competitions, believe it or not, it challenges your creativity and I find that refreshing. As far as outside influence and inspiration, I love music, the creativity in music is staggering to me. I can close my eyes and listen and it takes me to a quiet place that allows me to relax and absorb, if you will, new inspiration. I love nature as well. How can you not walk down a garden path or along a lazy stream or through a wooded forest and not be inspired to create.
How has your work evolved since you began in the industry?
I have grown tremendously in 31 years in my design style. I started as what I like to call a posy poker. I could put flowers in a vase and make them look pretty good and even sell them and people like them. I have through the years, evolved into a floral artist, having learned the principles and elements of design and employing them has moved my work from looking pretty good to well thought out and orchestrated. As artists, we are continually growing and evolving, I have a long way to go, but wow, what a journey it is.
What new corsage trends do you see emerging in your area, and which ones are on the way out ?
We are still seeing wrist corsages as the norm in our area. We have seen over the past few years a growing interest in more and more keepsake bracelets (We use Fitz jewelry and bling) to attach the flowers to. Wire work is very very popular for us as well. Silver is on its way out and Gold is coming back. Nude colored dresses have been a huge trend and it's looking to be a big color again this year. .
In the next few months many orders will be placed for Homecoming, Winter Formals and of course, Prom. Many times they are placed by customers who have never been inside a flower shop before, much less order a corsage or boutonniere…
What do you think is a common misconception these customers have about their floral piece and/or their florist?
Most consumers feel that they can get the same corsage or boutonniere anywhere or just make it themselves. All corsages look the same anyway, right?
No no, a thousand times no!
The average girl spends over $1000.00 for prom, on hair, makeup, nails and dress. More if they are paying part of the transportation and dinner. If you are going to spend that much money on everything else, why cheapen it with the wrong or badly constructed corsage or boutonniere?
How about a common misconception florists have about these new customers?
I think some florists think they just have to open their doors and new customers will just come in waving money while waiting to be told what they want or need. That could not be further from them truth. It is our job to educate them about quality floral art and why they should care about the design style of their corsages. One thing I do, is wear a boutonniere to church every Sunday, it is always something different and creative and has caused quite a stir. We have gained several new customers as a result. Participate in your schools fashion show, donate corsages and boutonnieres for the kids to wear. Make them different and show your style. Show them something they have never seen before.
Favorite flower variety or new product you’re obsessed with right now?
I love orchids, any variety but especially Lady Slipper (Paphiopedillum) and I am obsessed with bling. Anything shiny and sparkly, I love it.
If you were asked to provide a floral accessory to be worn on the red carpet, what would it be?
(and who would wear it?)
I would create a really cool, funky and edgy boutonniere and put it on the lapel of Eddie Redmayne or Ian McLellan or a musician like Bruno Mars or Ed Sheeran.
Final thoughts for our readers?
Shopping for a corsage or boutonniere? Make sure you do your homework and find the best in your town. Be the one that stands out at your prom as the girl/guy that has the coolest flowers.
Florists: Learn everything you can about design. Pursue excellence with a passion and be the best in your area. You can follow me on facebook, pinterest or Instagram, just search my name and follow away. Every Sunday I post my boutonniere for the day and I would love to share some inspiration with all of you.
Alan Masters AIFD CFD
1031 S Broadway St.
La Porte, Texas
Many Thanks to Alan for taking time to be a part of the
Designer Spotlight series! If you have a question or just want to say hello, please leave a comment below.