This week we speak with Aasad Miller manager at Flora’s Avenue in Huntington, NY about the best flowers for winter to how to best care for cut flowers. We even learn how to make our own flower solution.
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15 Questions to Ask Your Florist with Asaad Miller Of Flores Ave
[00:00:00] Dee: Okay, so we have Assad as our special guest today. He is a florist at Flora’s Avenue, in Huntington, long Island.
[00:00:09] Aasad, what you sippin on?
[00:00:10] Aasad: In on. Oh, today I’m sipping on a chamomile lavender tea.
[00:00:14] As you can hear, I’m a little congested, so I figured the simplest and most soothing tea would be the Chamomile and lavender with the hint of honey and some lemon. Hopefully it brings me back to together.
[00:00:27] Dee: Hopefully.
[00:00:28] Yeah. So Assad, can you tell us, I know it’s winter now, but what can we do to have life within the space all year around?
[00:00:37] Aasad: Well, personally, because it’s winter, I think it’s always best to just have fresh green plants. But there are a few flowering plants that you could have inside your house that don’t require too much light.
[00:00:46] Like we were discussing before, I would say African violets, which are pretty popular and they’re beautiful. If you’re looking for that deep romantic type of look. There’s also Ethereum, which isn’t a traditional flower, but it comes in various [00:01:00] colors, doesn’t require much light. Bagonias, which are beautiful.
[00:01:03] They’re very common. Lipstick plants are beautiful as well. They sprout a beautiful red. Bell, like flower. But always remember that because it’s winter, the plants will go dormant. The only time that you really have a flowering plant is if you bought the plant fresh from the greenhouse and it’s already flowering in the winter.
[00:01:21] But you know, as the, the cycle goes by, they should come back in the spring depending on how well you take care of them.
[00:01:29] Dee: Awesome. And What’s your favorite flower?
[00:01:31] Aasad: I would have to say in Amenomies they come in various colors. My favorite is the pure white with the dark center. It’s just a beautiful contrast of what nature creates.
[00:01:42] Dee: And do you have any specialties?
[00:01:44] Aasad: When it comes to floral arranging, I prefer garden style, a loose, romantic type of arranging. Working with the natural shape of the plant as opposed to creating your own shape. Even though, you know, at the flower shop we do all different types of designing, I [00:02:00] prefer a loose, romantic garden style.
[00:02:02] More rustic.
[00:02:03] Dee: Hmm. And is that what you find most people want?
[00:02:07] Aasad: think it varies. A lot of people are, you know, they like to play it safe with that traditional round shape, but when it comes to cost, I think loose and romantic rustic garden style is always gonna be best. Which I try to push, you know, that’s our design specialty.
[00:02:23] So I try to, you know, I try to only work with clients who are open to that, but you know, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet. .
[00:02:32] Dee: And what type of events do you typically provide flowers for?
[00:02:36] Aasad: Weddings, small parties you know, offices and pretty much the wide range. Wide range of events and or small parties.
[00:02:46] Dee: What has been the most difficult event you have ever planned flowers for?
[00:02:52] Aasad: Oh, difficult. Mm-hmm. . I don’t know. I think, I think for me creating is, is. [00:03:00] isn’t difficult. It’s, it’s more exciting. But the biggest event that I had was at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Mm-hmm. . It was a year of planning, which is, you know, always best for a wedding.
[00:03:10] You kind of, you know, map out the design, you do your samples, you, you know, you get to know the bride and figure out exactly what she likes because sometimes those things change. But this, this was a beautiful wedding with soft colors, lavenders, pinks touches of yellow, beautiful. They had these beautiful tall olive tree-like arrangements that, you know, cascaded over the table just to give like a more ethereal vibe into this beautiful palm house.
[00:03:37] I think the most difficult part of that though was installing these, you know, 20 foot garland, draping from the top of this giant palm greenhouse . And you know, just getting everything there, getting everything there. You know, we’re, we’re about an hour away without traffic, so could be two hours on the way there.
[00:03:58] Mm-hmm. with traffic. So, [00:04:00] you know, we had a U-Haul, we had two personal cars. I had six designers on staff, you know, just to make sure everything was correct and right. I think the hardest part was not having a tall enough ladder, right? So I’m climbing this scaffolding, basically attaching this garland, you know, 20 to 30 feet in the air.
[00:04:24] It was, it was intense, but very, very beautiful. Very beautiful, all worth
[00:04:27] it at the end. And what are the most popular flowers requested by brides?
[00:04:31] I would say mostly things that are seasonal. So a lot of people are actually not fond of roses anymore. Mm-hmm. people love like sunflowers, which are only in the summer.
[00:04:42] Peonies which are only in the spring dahlias, which are only in the fall. Those specialty flowers stephanotis, which is like, one of the most expensive, tiny little flowers that, you know, it grows only about four inches or so, you know? Mm-hmm. . What else? I would say, [00:05:00] I would say anemone is like my favorite flower which are pretty popular.
[00:05:04] A lot of people love them. We use a lot of Lisianthus which is almost like a weed kind of flower. So very inexpensive, really common. also very delicate and beautiful. So it’s a wide range. It really just depends on the, the bride itself. But I would say the top three flowers would be keese, sunflowers, and dahs.
[00:05:23] Dee: Wow. And are there any popular flowers requested by the grooms?
[00:05:27] Aasad: Never. Not really. Actually, no. No, I never, I actually, you know, I deal with a lot of brides and not all the time do they bring their grooms. Yeah. Yeah. I think the men just, they’re okay. They don’t. Care. Thank
[00:05:41] Dee: you. And put whatever on their lapel.
[00:05:42] Do they ever have full on their, do they ever have flowers on their lapel?
[00:05:47] Aasad: Oh, yeah. Yeah. We, we do lots of boutonniere. I always try to push a boutonniere because you just wanna make the whole bridal party cohesive. Mm-hmm. . So whatever the bride specialty, flower, as long as it’s delicate enough, I like to [00:06:00] use that for the grooms.
[00:06:02] Dee: Has anyone ever requested the use of artificial flowers with fresh ones or, yes,
[00:06:07] Aasad: Actually, yes. And the thing is, is that artificial flowers are a lot more expensive than real flowers, live flowers. The markup is about, I think three, three times sometimes. So if I, you know, if I get a flower for $3, that same flower for a silk or, you know, artificial is going to be around.
[00:06:30] Which will hike up the cost extremely. I think a lot of people ask that though, because they don’t wanna waste the flowers. But you know, they really, you know, they run their course. , we also try to do designs that are easily to take so that people can take them home with them after the wedding.
[00:06:46] Mm-hmm. . I have a strict policy of not reusing flowers, which a lot of floors do. I try to stay away from that because I want each of my brides to have a fresh, you know, the freshest look that they possibly could have.
[00:06:59] Dee: [00:07:00] Oh, I didn’t realize they reuse flowers, fresh flowers.
[00:07:03] Aasad: A lot of people reuse fresh flowers.
[00:07:04] Yep. Yeah. Oh,
[00:07:06] Dee: I guess they’re think environmental or ?
[00:07:09] Aasad: think it’s more about cost. Because the flora industry is an industry that we, we have to literally turn pennies into dollars. We charge per stem, anytime I give you a price, it’s because that’s per stem where, you know, I’ll have a bride who comes in and she’ll say, well, the other floors said this, and I’m like, I don’t know how it’s possible.
[00:07:29] I don’t know how it’s possible for this floors to make money because there’s no way that they can just give you these flowers for this. You know, there’s no markup. They won’t, they won’t make anything from it. But then, you know, the trick is that they would reuse the flowers. So the markup is there. One wedding, , spends the money for the flowers.
[00:07:48] The next wedding, they just receive the money which I just, which kind of bothers me. It gives a bad name for Flores. , it, it becomes very tricky for us to book clients. [00:08:00] Mm-hmm. , because we’re not the one that reuses the flowers and we can just give them away, you know? Mm-hmm. . I think that’s the trickiest thing with the flower industry is, is working with competitors.
[00:08:10] Even though, the floors shop that I work with, we are very special. We have a very special technique. Not to say that we’re the best because, , you can always be replaced . I feel like because we have a special technique, we’re , inclined to get more brides. Mm-hmm.
[00:08:26] but it’s also harder when another florist is offering a better price.
[00:08:31] Dee: Do you ever tell people why the price might be better or you don’t get into that?
[00:08:36] Aasad: I try not to get into that because, you know, that’s, that also displays like a bit of a I don’t know. . I don’t know. It just, it, it could be off-put. Mm-hmm.
[00:08:46] I just, you know, I let them know like, Hey, you know, we charge per stem this is the price of all the stems together. And then we, you know, we have a service fee at the end of it all.
[00:08:56] Dee: Because you have to install everything, right?
[00:08:59] Aasad: Yep. Yeah. [00:09:00] Designing, installing, transportation, all those little things, which is usually the minimal, you know, as minimal as possible.
[00:09:06] I try to keep it very small, but I also, you know, I have a team that I have to look out for as well.
[00:09:12] Dee: What do you think are the most important elements of a good bouquet?
[00:09:17] Aasad: Oh, texture. Color theory. So the way that you blend the colors, the shape of the bouquet. And that all depends on what the bride likes.
[00:09:26] So if a bride just likes completely round, Then, you know, it’s gonna be a lot easier, more expensive, but a lot easier. If a bride likes loose and dramatic, then it’s gonna be a little bit more technical, but inexpensive, you know. So I, I would say shape color blending and the bride .
[00:09:48] And do you have any tips for choosing the right floor flowers for a particular occasion?
[00:09:54] Always go with what seasonal. because that’s always gonna be less expensive. Anything that’s imported is gonna be more [00:10:00] expensive.
[00:10:00] Dee: Hmm. Okay. That’s a good tip. And how can I make my bouquet last longer?
[00:10:06] Aasad: So there’s a few tricks. A lot of people like to use cold water. I feel like that shocks any plant, even when watering your plants at home, you should always use a tempered water.
[00:10:15] Yeah, keeping your plants in tepid water. You can also like put like a little sugar in the water. Sometimes people put a little bit of bleach to disinfect. And then, you know, there’s the classic flour food, which there’s actually a mix of bleach and sugar, which a lot of people just don’t know.
[00:10:30] Mm. Okay. And fresh water every day. If you do fresh freshwater every day mm-hmm. , your plants will be very, very happy.
[00:10:38] Dee: Awesome. And so I sent you some photos of my, orchid. because you mentioned that orchids are great to have. Yep. But I couldn’t figure out what this white stuff is on my orchid. Can you tell me what I’ve done?
[00:10:52] Aasad: Oh, yes. So it looks like there’s mold. My best bet would be to clean this guy out completely. So [00:11:00] you wanna separate him from all the soil that’s in there. It shouldn’t be soil though. It’s a sagna moss, which is like a fiber. I would replace that sagna moss with a mix of sagna moss and orchid bark.
[00:11:11] It’s just gonna give the roots a little something to, to hold onto. Yeah, so you just wanna clean this guy out. You wanna get rid of all the root. Maybe even plant him into a bigger, a bigger pot. So he has a little bit more space. Mm-hmm. . And everything should be good by then.
[00:11:26] Awesome. Thank you so much.
[00:11:28] Dee: Okay. So last question.
[00:11:30] Aasad: Yep.
[00:11:30] Dee: How did you become a florist?
[00:11:31] Aasad: So I worked in pastry actually. I went to school to be a pastry chef and for, for five years I worked in pastry right after college. And I was always placing the flowers on the cake and I realized that I. the way that I was able to blend the colors of the flowers because it was a natural substance as opposed to, you know, food dye and then creating a flower.
[00:11:54] Mm-hmm. . So I, you know, I set up. A little connection between the bakery and the [00:12:00] florist and, you know, we created these beautiful boxes with fresh macaroons and the florist would, you know, create an arrangement. After a couple years, I realized that I wanted to do something a little bit slower, so I just applied at the florist shop that I, you know, worked with through.
[00:12:14] Bakery and I started, you know, started doing deliveries. One busy day it was, Hey, Aasad, do you think you can do an arrangement? And after that I kind of just climbed the ladder, oh my. And now I’m the manager and I do all the party events. You know, I plan all the events and weddings and outsource, outsource all the, the freelancers and equipment that we need.
[00:12:38] It was a wonderful transition, actually. A beautiful growth, I would say, in myself as. I think I like the environment, the peacefulness of that environment. The smells, the, the earthiness, you know, bringing the life into a room is what really captivated me.
[00:12:53] That’s wonderful. Well,
[00:12:54] Dee: Aasad, if people were to meet you, they would see how much light you have filled [00:13:00] inside of you,
[00:13:01] Aasad: Oh, thank you. Thank you, Dee. I appreciate that. I would say the same to you as.
[00:13:06] Oh, you’re so, kind .
[00:13:08] Well, thank you so much for speaking with me today. Unfortunately, Alicia couldn’t make it because things happen, but I really appreciate it. Thank you so much, basad for joining me in answering my questions about flowers and how can my audience reach you?
[00:13:28] Oh yeah. So you can always reach me at the shop which is Flora’s Avenue in Huntington Village. Our email is f l o r a s A v E N e gmail.com. And you can also reach out to me on my personal Florist page on Instagram. It’s at layers of sod, so l a y e r s o f s o D.
[00:13:49] Awesome. Thank you so much, Asad.
[00:13:51] Have a wonderful
[00:13:52] day. You too. Dot, see you.
[00:13:55] Okay. . Yes. Yeah. It’s kinda like sod, it’s like grass for me, but it’s [00:14:00] also like s a d .
[00:14:02] Aasad: Yeah. Yes. Yeah, exactly. Last part, . Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I tried to do like a little bit of a double entendre. It didn’t really work. I wanted to do sad, but I was like, eh.
[00:14:10] But I figured for floral sod would be perfect because it’s, it’s graphs.
[00:14:14] Dee: Exactly. Yeah. People would be like layers said, oh no, . .
[00:14:19] Aasad: Exactly. Out. And then they’d see all these flowers and they’d think they’d be confused. . They’d be like, what is he playing his funeral? What going on? ? That’s hilarious. Oh my goodness.
[00:14:33] I didn’t think about that. Oh my goodness.
[00:14:35] Dee: Yeah. Well, thank you so much.