A BIT OF BACKGROUND…
Derek joined the floral industry at the age of 16, when he began learning floral design in vocational school. He continued to study the trade through institutes such as Michigan State University, the Great Lakes Floral Association, SAF, and AIFD. In 2008 he launched his own business, Floral Underground. Derek is a North American Floral Design Champion, spending many years polishing the practice of floral design competition. This love of competition has won him numerous awards, including second runner-up on a television floral design reality show called “ The Arrangement ”. He was also the winner of the 2016 Sylvia Cup Design Competition.
- When did you start developing these amazing flower designs and where do you get your inspiration?
I really began to push the boundaries of floral design in the world of competition. Winning my first competition at the age of 16, I caught the bug! I really believe that floral design competition pushes your creativity and time management skills, and makes you an overall better designer. I gain inspiration mostly from other designers. The way that others design is often so different from the way that I might do it, and I find that so inspiring!
- What is your vision for the new generations when it comes to buying habits, flower trends and flower designs?
Today’s consumer is my favorite audience when it comes to flower trends. The millennial buyer is drawn to “experiential retail” which pushes a florist to be hyper-aware of all the senses when it comes to the retail shopping experience. I love to provide that experience, but I also love to be a fly on the wall during that process.
- Anything you would like to share about your relationship with Rio Roses?
Rio has an amazing offering of floral product—some of the most stunning product I have worked with, both in my business and while traveling the country and speaking in and out of the industry. Rio’s flowers are jaw-dropping to retailers and consumers alike, and it is truly a joy to use such beautiful flowers.