Debra Prinzing

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Episode 422: Flower Math with Alison Ellis of Real Flower Business, plus, our state focus: Pennsylvania

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019
Alison Ellis photographed while designing in Vermont (c) Sarah Collier, Taken by Sarah

Late last month, I traveled to Vermont – my second trip to this beautiful state in 2019. Earlier this year you heard my interview with Tom Jennings of Green Mountain Florist Supply — an independent, full-service wholesale hub serving much of New England. I interviewed Tom after teaching creative writing as part of their spring workshop series.

This time, I returned to Burlington, Vermont, to be part of The Floral Fieldtrip, held at Mountain Flower Farm where owner Walt Krukowski grows exquisite cut flowers for the professional florist — from peonies to hydrangeas. Walt shared his flowers and his knowledge with the attendees during a two-day visit to his fields.

Alison’s “Flower Math” presentation at the recent Vermont workshop (c) Sarah Collier, Taken by Sarah

Several other instructors also presented, including Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary-Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet, organizers of the event (and past guests of this Podcast). I gave a Slow Flowers update and led the designers and flower farmers through a creative writing exercise. And today’s guest, Alison Ellis, a local Vermont florist and owner of Floral Artistry, presented “All Things Pricing,” a mini-version of her popular Flower Math course.

In the classroom at Knoll Farm; in the flower fields at Mountain Flower Farm – both in Vermont (c) Sarah Collier, Taken by Sarah

I’ve known Alison mostly through social media over the years and I’ve watched how her business of teaching and education has really grown. We also share a fun connection through Florists’ Review, where I’m a contributing editor and Alison is a regular business columnist.

I couldn’t skip the opportunity to record an in-person conversation with Alison to share with you. Lately, I’ve been in conversation with many of you about the term “Sustainable,” and in addition to having sustainable practices in our businesses, I strongly believe the term also applies to ensuring florist and flower farmers are SUSTAINED by their businesses; that they are paid a living wage and compensated fairly for the beauty they bring to the world.

Alison is one of the people helping make that happen, especially as she coaches others how to build profitability into their flowers.

She loves her job! Alison Ellis, photographed at Knoll Farm (c) Sarah Collier, Taken by Sarah

A New Jersey native, Alison took her first floral design class when she was in 5th grade. (Even at that young age, she was hooked.)

She moved to Vermont to attend the University of Vermont, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Plant & Soil Science and a minor in Small Business. While attending school, Alison was a buyer and designer at a busy flower shop; and then, after working for a few florists in the Burlington area, as well as on an organic flower farm, she realized it was time to branch out on her own. She founded Floral Artistry in 2002.

Alison is also founder of and creator of Flower Math. She teaches florists around the world how to increase their income and have more freedom in their business; how to maximize profits and establish a long lasting brand.

Through her online courses, private & group coaching, and free videos, she’s helped thousands of florists streamline their business processes and make more money.

Alison’s videos and articles are featured in leading industry publications including Florists’ Review Magazine,,, and Mornings With Mayesh. In addition, she’s taught at The Chapel Designer’s Conference at Hope Flower Farm and The Floral Reserve in Providence, RI.

Alison says: “I love flowers, but cannot pick a favorite! Irises, poppies, orchids, ranunculus, roses, delphinium, clematis, dahlias…whatever’s growing in my garden right now!….They’re all my favorite. I can still remember the first bridal bouquet I ever made in 2001. (All white roses.) 2019 marks my 18th wedding season. And finally, I love my job.”

Download and read Alison’s free e-book: “Everything I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Business.”

Find and follow Alison at these social places:

Real Flower Business on Facebook

Real Flower Business on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining my conversation today with Alison Ellis. We had a great time together in Vermont and I want to thank Kelly, Mary Kate and Walt for their amazing hospitality. You’ll see more photos from that tour in my December article about the Mountain Flower Farm — stay tuned.

Katie Smaglinski of The Rustic Bunch, our Pennsylvania guest in the Fifty States of Slow Flowers series

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Katie Smaglinski of The Rustic Bunch in Leesport, Berks County, Pennsylvania.

A bridal bouquet, grown and designed by The Rustic Bunch

Katie and Jason Smaglinski own The Rustic Bunch, a business that stemmed from a love of colorful blooms, a dedicated gardener and the joy that a fresh bouquet brings. Located in Berks County, Pennsylvania, Katie and Jason are commited to providing locally grown and the freshest imaginable flowers to their community.

They happily deliver within Berks County and the surrounding area and have traveled to service weddings and events in Lehigh Valley, Lancaster/York, Philadelphia and the Poconos, even Delaware and NJ. The Rustic Bunch received the 2018 Best of Berks Award from Berks County Living Magazine.

The Rustic Bunch’s market bouquets for Pennsylvania flower lovers

Find and follow The Rustic Bunch at these social places:

The Rustic Bunch on Facebook

The Rustic Bunch on Instagram

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 526,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at  

NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit to see more.

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at

Music Credits:
Sage the Hunter (rhythmic); Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field
Music from: