“Less is more" says Klaus Wagener of Minden, Germany. Explaining the emerging post-pandemic trend. That doesn't mean doing without. It suggests developing a lifestyle of "consuming consciously while preserving natural resources."
Klaus is the CEO and creative director of BLOOM's Medien publishing house. This well-respected trends forecaster, floral stylist, teacher, and author is fascinated by trends. He encourages florists to develop trend stories that connect new products with environmentally responsible consumers. "It must be an honest story," he cautions. He believes that sustainability and honesty will now play a major role in the development of new products. Klaus sees a growing appreciation for seasonal materials, local products, and the gifts of nature as a guiding spirit of the times. He asks the question - "Is 'less' sometimes not even 'more?'
Klaus Wagener (00:07):
Oh, communication is very, very important, more than only the products must be good, but you have to build a good story around it and it has to be an honest story.
Sharon McGukin (00:24):
Welcome to How We Bloom our new podcast offering an oasis of flower ideas. I'm your host, Sharon McGukin, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, and I believe that every great success story starts with one simple idea, a challenge that requires change. We all know that change is inevitable and that's a good thing. Change moves us forward. Today's guest is an expert trend tracker who believes that trends love change. He sees the current changes in the floral industry as an opportunity to reach consumers with a new trend story. "Flowers are little moments of happiness in everyday life," says world renowned, Master Florist Klaus Wagener of Minden, Germany. Klaus is the CEO and creative director of Bloom's Medien publishing house. His wife, Bernie is also a master florist. They share a passion for flowers, the large family garden, and time spent with their two adult children and first grandchild.
Klaus grew up in the busy life of his parents two flower shops. Over the years, he expanded his own talents to include trend forecaster, stylist, teacher, and author. But for many of his followers, it's Klaus' love of nature that defines him. My husband, Tim and I first met Klaus and Bernie in Germany about 20 years ago. I was impressed by his knowledge. Years later, while visiting German trend fairs with Klaus and his Marketing Team, I noticed how well-respected he was by his peers. I was impressed by his humility. In the US, I and a few other designers assisted Klaus with his AFD stage presentation in St. Louis. Backstage, there was very little space for the massive designs and numerous stage hands. Moments before Klaus took the stage a helper accidentally bumped into the largest design. Several large glass vases fell over and shattered.
We all held our breath. Klaus looked heavenward, took a deep breath and sighed "people matter, things don't," he said. "Let's clean this up quickly." I was impressed by his kindness. Without a word we cleaned. He moved the remaining vases around a create a new configuration and the audience never knew the difference. As Klaus often says "is 'less' sometimes not even 'more?' On How We Bloom, we share the stories of those who dare to do things differently. As we move into a new future, we ask Klaus Wagner to share his opinion on how the green industry (as he refers to it) will begin to do things differently. How we can each do less, but it become more. Welcome to How We Bloom, Klaus!
I once read a quote from you that said "less is more, and that doesn't mean doing without, but consciously consuming while preserving natural resources." Could you please speak to your concept of 'less is more' for our audience?
Yeah, 'less is more' is a sentence what I really like. Um, it was already used before Corona,, but it is much more important for us now. We know that we have to take care about our environment, about our planet. We know that we cannot do the same, as what we have done a lot of years ago. And if we put all this together it means less, is more. Less in being very, too much fast, but also less in okay, you're on too much, too much, many things. Um, it is nice to have, do many things, what you have to do and have to do daily or that week. And it is more to be more free. You don't need so much things, but the things you earn would be really perfect should be a good quality for something. What is kind of evergreen, what you can use a lot of years longer, and then you will love these products and love your style and love this way of life you have. That is what I understand as less, is more
I agree. And that makes me wonder if consumers are going to choose a lesser number of products and services in the future. Do you think the importance of honesty and sustainability for the products they choose will become more important?
Of course, 100%. I agree. Um, a lot of what we were using the future has to fit to the nature has to come from the nature and has to be produced, um, in a way, if we really can say these are honest products. Um, We know there are a lot of products are done that shouldn't have been done, these. That is something, what is not really honest. So we have to know what happens in other countries and we have, Uh, we have to take care about that. You have to seize it. You have to know that. And then finally have to decide, no, that's the wrong way if we do it in that way. So we have to think about, um, using products or to buy products what is produced in our surroundings, um, perhaps even mean, um, our country or local products.
We eat products for example - in our small village, we try to buy, um, meat or cheese or vegetables from the farmer's market. What is close by. Because it is something where I know. I know what is done, how it is produced and yeah, we take more and more care about it. And that is important also for the flower industry. Luckily we have a wonderful product that fits to the nature and comes from the nature and people like that. And we have to transport this information in our business that these, um, local produce flowers or plants, whatever is done, the design is done in that shop. So speak about the good things you do, and then you get that it's a wonderful story. And the customers would like to have these stories about honesty and about sustainability.
Klaus, you speak of trends, thriving on change. And we have certainly had worldwide change to experience. So what consumer trends do you see on the horizon as a result?
Yeah, if you look to, for example, our Bloom's trends we forecast for the next seasons - doesn't matter if it is Christmas, all year round or spring trends. You see that in all these trends is a good portion of nature inside. That is something like a basis for everything and yeah most our products or color combinations, whatever, materials were too artificial at this moment really not trend. And, the people are very sensitive. They don't like it at the moment. And of course you need development. We need also the change across to something like, yeah, the power we have in our lives that you want to have something what is new. What is different from before, otherwise life is boring. So, it is important to find a good balance between everything. That you have development influence. That you have new things.
And on the other side, we have always asked us by ourself, is this something, what is, suitable to sustainability? Is it in a product was really honest? Is it a story, a trend story real? What fits in the spirit of the time? And, is this you bring together in a good balance. And it is, I think a good future. And, you can make trends on one side and you can make good products. They are really honest and you can transport ideas. I'm able in my English, my broken English, to transport these feelings and this information very well I hope?
Oh, absolutely. You're doing a great job of communicating your ideas to us. And we thank you for sharing them. Now, one question I wanted to ask Klaus about the post-pandemic marketplace. We've seen so many changes already in business and in the needs of the consumer, do you consider this will continue to evolve in the near future?
If it is changed in the future? Um, that's similar to what I say before. Um, I think that we have some products or we’ll need some products not anymore in the future. Because we find out it would make not really sense. Um, other products will be more and more important and it will be very important that we produce these products. Um, it will be not any more these worldwide production, yeah. Try to get products, for example, we live here in Germany and the European union. I think it makes sense also here. There are some products, again, back to Europe, but we are able to produce here, because it makes not really sense to make these transportation with a lot of energy and a problem putting on ships and to put it on the other side of the earth to us. So there will be products what we have to do here, yet, again, I think.
Of course, not everything. But always we have to find out and we have to ask the question, "What is it? What you should have here again?". And what it is, for example, to transport an apple from the other side of the earth to us here to Germany, I don't think, it makes really sense. Perhaps we have for two or three months - not an apple. And then we are hungry to get it again. If we have back again, back to what is produced in Italy or Germany, whatever. So we had to know the fruits to be seasonal. And, to understand the, and yeah, the difference of seasons and if something is available or not. And that is nice to learn something. What we learned again, that's the same as flowers. If you have, for example, sunflowers, you can get some twelve months in a year, but is it really nice? I like to smell sunflowers in late summer autumn. And, that's okay for me, I don't need it in March. And then there are some other products and there is something you really have to learn. And I'm sure that a lot of consumer are very open towards that because they also don't like it.
Are you wondering, who's partnering with me in bringing practical solutions to you. This podcast is brought to you by Smithers-Oasis North America. Why are they investing in your business, helping you to meet challenge with change? Smithers Oasis understands that you need fresh ideas to inspire new growth. Big ideas of innovation and inspiration. Oasis carefully plants the seeds of your success by offering a balance of traditional and online products that enhance your designs. Simply visit your wholesale supplier for your favorite Oasis products. Or view the online selection of direct delivered to you products and seasonal inspiration now available from oasisfloralproducts.com. While you're on the website, you'll also want to check out our blog. Scroll down to find the featured posts section and enjoy reading blogs filled with design tips and flower ideas for weddings, holidays, in store or online business, and lots more. Smithers Oasis North America shares techniques for personal and business skill growth on its website, videos, blogs, and podcasts. So you can learn at your convenience. And, that's How We Bloom.
You've said that it can be refreshing to reinvent yourself or your business in the post pandemic marketplace. Things have changed so much. What advice would you give to flower shop owners for re-charging their passion for the business?
Important that you have to understand that sometimes it is better you have specialized on special segment products, and that you learn that to offer everything is not really best. Each of us has a special talent or a you has a special surrounding. And, that is very important to check that what you can do best, what your customer would like for customers and if, you know already these basics. Then, you have to find out which products and which handcrafts I would like to find. How can I transport? The message around these products, - it needs a message. Um, I told you already, it's important to do transport. What is good about that product? Where it came from? So, communication is very, very important, more than only the products. The products must be good, but you have to build a good story around it. And, it has to be an honest story.
Now here's the question that our audience loves to hear the guests answer. What is your super power? What is your personal strength that allows you to do your job naturally, in a way that no one else can,
My super superpower? You mean? Yeah. Okay. What is it difficult to answer as well? First of all, you know, you say it already. I live in the countryside. I have, yeah I think a nice garden just in a forest. So, the nature in my garden around and the forest tightly on the one on the left and on the right side. So that is really something in the morning when I take my first coffee, it's something in the seven. Uh, I try to sit outside on my balcony where we have our kitchen and looking over already, perhaps in a jacket if it is cold, into the greens and to start the day that way. Because it to something to have to slow me down. To understand that yeah, I live in the nature and I'm part of the nature. And then I start my day and, yeah, I like to hike.
I like, to be in the garden to do some things there. Uh, it is not only work for me. To some saying something was sometimes like, spiritual. Things for example, at the moment, we have some tomatoes and they grow perfectly and I have to fix them. I have to bind them. I have to cut some leaves that's to make room for get some sun in. It's something that I like doing. If I come home in the evening, it's about 10 minutes. So those minutes slows me down.. And, then I like also contact to other people because these,, brings me all to back into the balance. What I do, how I think as well, I get also very much inspirational people and their feedback. For example, today I have here, somebody who will be, a guest this week., And, he is even here. I show him something here in my surrounding, and did some nice hiking tours yesterday evening.
I like that. Having contact with other people in face-to-face even in digital form, it helps me to, to be in a good balance between everything. It's something, what you can say. And, of course my family is very important, but that is something - we really love each other very much. And, yeah, often the family is the last help. If you don't have some, sometimes somebody can help you. Then it is my wife, mostly of course. The last weekend, my children were at home. They live in the Netherlands, so it is four hours by car. They have been here. And, I was really lucky to see us again, then that's very fine to see my grandson who is one and a half years.
Is there a favorite time that you have, that you feel like really helps you to connect with the flowers or inspires new ideas?
Well, of course, if at the moment, if I design, if I have time to design, I like to be really alone. And, it's really nice perhaps to scribble it a little bit. I have the product on the table, the first product, and then I, I do something, what I can say to something like - the still life already, that I put things together. It can be the product can be the branch, it can be the mosses, whatever. And then it is a collection and it gives me a first mood of something, what I'm going to do. Then, I mostly like to scribble so that I get, and in the process about proportions, about forms and lines, and more and more, I develop my design. Then of course I start it and I think - which is the best technique? That's something, what I really like to do alone. And then comes mostly the moment where I want to ask somebody, because I want to have a feedback, which is nice or not nice. And that is mostly my wife. She goes for one hour here because we have a project at the moment and yeah, photographic in three weeks. We guide ourselves to fix the ideas now. I have to find a good solution that we know what we are going to do in three weeks
In an article about you Klaus, they mentioned a couple of comments that you made that are totally agreed with. The first was "defeat should be seen as an opportunity to become better." And, "the greatest successes should be seen as a gift". You also suggested that "we should develop a good balance between self-confidence and self-criticism." When I read these quotes, I wondered, is that a valuable piece of advice that you would share with our, How We Bloomaudience?
Yes, absolutely. It's always important that you know where you come from and that you be really critical of yourself. What you do, what it is, yeah. And protect your end by yourself and not. And also your work, not too important. If you do that, it's most at the end not good. And I like, I like to work, but as an understatement. People who are a bit more on the head, more understatement and, the ways how they live and how they speak, there's something more I like, and more if somebody is really 100 perfect, good. It's nice. You will find out that, and it's nice that it is not over done.
So let's recap what Klaus shared with us today. He suggests that 'trends love change'. And that's a really good thing because we're in the midst of a lot of change. To attract today's consumer Klaus suggests that you have to build a story around your products. And, it has to be an honest story. From food to flowers, when it comes to sustainability, he stresses the value of using local and seasonal products. And, then telling that story to your customer. He foresees a decrease in some aspects of worldwide production and asks the question - "What is it that we should have made here again?" instead. His best advice is to specialize based on your special talent or your customer specific needs, then develop your targeted message about your products. He sees nature as the basis of most incoming trends and cautions us that new products must fit the spirit of these times. In today's emerging world Klaus points out that 'Less is More.' Klaus. Thank you for being here with us today. Our audience appreciates you for sharing your ideas, such as the new trend story - Less is More. We always look forward to seeing the designs in Blooms, and we appreciate the inspiration that you provide for the floral industry through your publications.
Yeah. I wish all the people in the world, and of course the florist and all, uh, people who love flowers and work with flowers and greens. Yeah, yeah. Have a creative time. Designing with all these natural products is something was really fantastic and we have a wonderful planet we live on and we have to take care about this planet. And you have to reflect all things what we do. Yeah. And I'm a very positive thinking, man. And I, I think, we will manage it in the future. Yeah. Thanks. Bye-bye
Yes. Creative people do learn very quickly. And fortunately that includes very often from each other. That's why, in addition to hosting trend-setting guests during each podcast, Sharon's Shout Out, goes to someone, offering innovative ideas that can also help others to bloom. This week, I want to shout out to Sam Roberts from the UK on July 28th, Sam posted how-to design mechanic photos on a Florist of Facebook page. He noted that there was a tight timeline for the setup of a rose garland across the front of a chuppah at the altar. His step-by-step photos showed filling Oasis Jumbo Cages with roses in advance in the flower shop. These individual designs were easier to deliver and install. They came together as one beautiful Garland onsite in the church. Thanks Sam. We need all the great wedding tips we can get for getting the job done efficiently and professionally.
Do you have a Shout Out to suggest or a podcast guests that you would like to hear? Please let us know. We would love to include your suggestions. Smithers Oasis North America and I thank you for joining us for advice from Klaus Wagener for building a trend story. We know that everyone has a story and we can all learn from each other. We can't wait to hear your story. Be sure to leave comments and share your ideas with our community of flower friends, listening to this podcast. After you enjoy each episode, please share it with your friends and be sure to hit subscribe. You don't want to miss the inspired solutions our upcoming guests have to share until next time I'm Sharon McGukin reminding you that - like the unfurling petals of a flower, we grow by changing form. Soaking in inspiration like raindrops. Absorbing energy from others, like warmth from the sun. This growth opens us up to new ideas. And, that's How We Bloom!
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