This week we caught up with Derek Woodruff AIFD, CFD, CF owner of Floral Underground and La Fleur Couture out of Traverse City, MI. Derek has brought us beautiful designs from state show stages, all the way to the 2013 AIFD Symposium stage; he is always pushing the envelope and bringing amazing floral productions. As one of the USA’s premier young designers, floral.today was excited when Derek agreed to a short interview. Here is what Derek had to say.
What are the names of you companies and give us a brief description of each? D. Floral Underground: Wedding and event floral design, commercial and residential floral art installations. La Fleur Couture: A fresh take on performance art utilizing fresh flowers. I am an Independent Floral Designer that educates, competes, designs and entertains in the Floral Industry What are 3 Non-floral hobbies or interests you enjoy? D. Theater, Dance, and Fitness What kick started you into the industry and how long have you been active so for in the floral industry? D. My instructors at the Jackson Area Career Center really got me involved in the floral industry. They encouraged me to compete in a state level competition and to become a certified florist. From there, my career grew exponentially. I have been active in the floral industry for 14 years. Congratulations on your recent Michigan Floral Association Designer of the Year and 2014 Bobbi Cup wins! How excited were you for each event? D. I get quite nervous and excited while competing in live floral design competitions. It is ver exhilarating and they were both such wonderful events. What other floral competitions will we be seeing you in this year and what do you do to prepare yourself for competition? D. I hope to compete in the Sylvia Cup at the Society of American Florist’s national convention and I will also be competing in the National Association of Florists Association’s (NAFA) national design competition. When entering any competition, just keep a clear mind and budget my time appropriately while simultaneously trying to create a simple, striking design. We also want to congratulate you on your engagement! D. Thank you!! D. I have learned over the years that the best way to avoid difficulties in planning weddings and events is to just stay focused on the floral aspect. I try not to get caught up in doing things that aren’t related to floral design and this has been a pretty successful plan of action thus far. As someone who has a great relationship with the Michigan Floral Association, what advice or words of wisdom do you have for designers or businesses thinking about joining their state floral associations and being active? D. I think that there is nothing better. Making strong connections to others in the industry is what makes partnerships strong. Floral designers are like a big family and whenever you need something, someone will be there. Also, you can never be TOO educated. It is important to continue you education whenever you can. Staying educated and well rounded will help keep you on top! As a designer for Syndicate Sales what are some of your favorite products that you’ve designed with on your web show so far? D. One word: ‘Stackables’. The first time that syndicate sent me ‘Stackables’ to work with, I didn’t even open the box. I had no idea what the product was or how to use it. But, as soon as I had the opportunity to use the product, it quickly became one of my favorites and I used in many of my shows, including the Las Vegas stage. Our episode featuring ‘Stackables’ even won a Telly Award! How to Design the Perfect Sympathy Piece How hard is it to run your own company and work for others all at the same time? D. It can be quite challenging, but I find if I am only gone for a few days at a time, it is manageable. Are there any fun and exciting projects that we should be keeping an eye on in the near future? D. La Fleur Couture has some projects in the works. (La Fleur Couture is a performance troupe that utilizes fresh flowers and foliage as costumes, props, sets, make-up, fashion, etc.) We are putting on a show in Traverse City, MI this month that we are using as a submission to Art Prize! Who have been some of the more interesting designers you have gotten to work with so far and whom are you looking forward to working with? D. I have to say that my favs are industry vets: Jerome Raska, Robin Yelverton, J. Schwanke, Helen Miller and Jackie Burrell just to name a few! I always enjoy meeting new people and designing alongside others. I had the most fun in the workroom at the AIFD symposium! What a great bunch of people!! In your personal opinion, where do you see the floral industry in the next 10-15 years? D. I think the floral industry is on the cusp of a technological boom! Better get you iPad ready! If we don’t change to meet our new consumer’s needs, then we will be left in the dirt! What are a couple goals that you are working toward right now and how important do you think it is to always have a list of goals? D. My current goal is PFCI (Professional Floral Communicators International). I always like to have a goal in sight. Something to work on…. If I don’t, I get bored! For all the amazing experiences you have gotten to partake in so far, what words of wisdom do you have for your fellow floral designers? D. Find what you are good at and what you love to do and never stop doing it!
Floral.today wants to thank Derek for giving our readers some of his time out of his busy schedule. We also all want to congratulate Derek on his engagement and wish him good luck with all of his upcoming endeavors. Make sure to find Derek on Facebook and follow all the amazing things he’s up to.