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Outlook 2014: Shabby chic to continue in hues of orchid and gray

Trends — in order to know where you are going, look where you are now and where you have been.

Reviewing creative floral forecasts from various industry segments of several years past and today, we can project where the creative future may be. Geography is very important. One size does not fit all.

In 2013, still a down market in all floral product categories, we saw “buy local” as a strong marketing and merchandising philosophy. “Buy USA” is also picking up momentum, mainly in durable goods. After all, studies confirm most consumers do not know, or care, where flowers come from.

Design topics will be little changed from those of 2013. Shabby chic, country casual and all things heirloom will still be all over the market. Every other wedding seems to have this theme, and Mason jars are everywhere.

The rounded design look will still be dominant, especially in the e-commerce and wire-service channels. Rounded designs need rounded flowers. So think mass and filler flowers. Focal flowers as a category are becoming stronger, including tropicals from various parts of the world. Everything is cyclical.

The Pantone color for 2014, radiant orchid, is a good fit for floral since the industry actually has flowers in this hue. (Last year’s official Pantone color, green, did not help the floral category much.)

Radiant orchid is mostly seen in fashion and lifestyle products, even though it is not a décor color for most of the United States.

We will see radiant orchid as accents. It will certainly make an appearance in the wedding fashion and prom dress industry and is already very visible in Mexican folklore décor and other ethnic markets.

Gray has been accepted in the marketplace due to its prominence in retail and point-of-purchase magazines. Because of its neutrality, the color will stay strong in 2014. Succulents are seen everywhere and gray is a dominant color for them.

The gray palette also features dusty miller, eucalyptus and silver leaf. Gray is also seen in the wedding industry and bridges over to metallics like pewter, silver and tin.

Yellow is also a main player in the flower industry and is seen as the complement to gray for 2014. Remember that yellow can be used as a tint, a shade or a tone, and not only as the bright, brilliant, true yellow. Pastels are back too, mostly due to shabby chic influences.

To sum up, know the trends, but find out which will work in your marketplace and which ones won’t. In perishables this is not as important as in the decorative accessory market.

Rene van Rems is a floral designer who operates a consultant, marketing and publishing firm in Vista, CA, and a floral training center in Carlsbad, CA. He can be contacted at 760/804-5800 or at