Each month, LivRio features an interview with one of the industry’s hottest floral designers, to find out what inspires their creativity and learn about new trends. This month, we interviewed Jacob McCall, AIFD AAF FSMD CFD.
You have an incredible background, Jacob. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, I’ve worked in some way, shape, or form within the floral industry for over 20 years, and I’m an international design competitor and instructor. In 2015, I had the honor of representing the USA in the Interflora World Cup held in Berlin, Germany. I’m also a past winner of the prestigious Sylvia Cup competition and two-time Iron Designer of America winner. I currently sit on the national board of directors for American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) as a Director-at-large. I am also a member of the FTD education team.
Throughout the years, I’ve had the pleasure of designing for celebrity clients such as Diana Ross, Jessica Simpson, and Tiger Woods. I’ve been a retailer, event designer, reality show personality, manager, educator and product development expert. Today, I’m super excited about my current dual roles as Creative Director for an amazing floral grower, P&F Flower Farms, and the legendary Knud Nielsen company!
When did you start developing these amazing flower designs, and where do you get your inspiration?
Over the years, I’ve crafted a unique look of grandeur within the designs I create. When designs were minimalistic, my motto was “Go big or go home”. When I’m in competition mode, I believe in perfection and detail: Even though my designs are sometimes large and oversized, it’s the detail that’s the winning ticket. Color always inspires me—I love mixing complementary colors and textures.
What led you to start educating others in floral design?
My background is in entertainment; I worked for several years at Walt Disney World as a performer and even went to college to pursue a degree in Theater and Performing Arts. When I saw Deborah De La Flor educate at a local wholesale house many years ago, she inspired me beyond measure, and I’ve been educating ever since. I believe giving back our knowledge and carrying on a legacy of floral education is extremely important. I’ve been so fortunate to educate all around the globe, and I learn new things in each class or show. After all, if we stop learning, how can we educate!
What is your vision for the new generations when it comes to buying habits, flower trends and flower designs?
These kids are smart! The public—especially the younger generations—are visual learners, and education and information are readily available via applications, social media, internet and marketing. I believe a huge shift is happening within the world of flowers. Florists, don’t be shocked when a young person walks in and asks for a Gloriosa Lily or a dozen James Story Orchids. That’s right—they know them by their names. As retailers, event designers and even educators, it’s our responsibility to take education and our customer service skills to the next level.
As far as trends, “Tropical Nuevo” has swept the USA! Check out major retailers for textiles and prints. I’m seeing beautiful tropical foliage married with large focal and form flowers, in colors ranging from hot and soft pinks to apricot, saffron and forest greens. Also, a long-awaited resurgence of dried flowers is popping up everywhere; beautiful dried herbs and flowers are gracing home decor stores all over the globe.
Are there any specific trends you see coming in the near future?
I mentioned dried florals, right? I’m seeing a range of “What’s old is new again”: Items we used 20 to 30 years ago are resurfacing, even design techniques we did way-back-when are making a comeback! As far as color, rich jewel tones and pastels seem to be profound on the market these days. Also an eco-friendly trend is sweeping through not only the USA but the world: As people become more aware of environmental issues, I’m seeing the use of plastics basically being eliminated. Earth-friendly packaging will replace the use of plastics. Paper and recyclable packaging will be the way of the future!
Anything you would like to share about your relationship with Rio Roses?
I am super excited to be an ambassador for Rio Roses, as Rio/Equiflor is a sister company to P&F Flower Farms. As the creative director for P&F, I get to use the gorgeous product Rio produces. For many years, I have sought the best in quality, and I wholeheartedly feel Rio is the best!