I remember it like it was yesterday… I was new in the industry, new to flowers, new to it ALL. I was sitting across from one of my very first clients ever and the mother of the bride turned to me and said, “what if we used silks to bring the price down.” I froze. I was barely learning the names of the flowers and now I was supposed to learn how to work with a new medium? Furthermore, I had no idea where to purchase or how much they cost, how to find good quality silks and beyond that, I was sort of just… against it. Silks equaled gross to me. An image of the terrible 80s silk floral arrangement at my grandmothers house flashed before my eyes and after a long pause I just let out a slow, “Noooooo.”
Well, a lot has changed since those early days, one of which is my feeling about silk flowers! I would put up the argument that as much as they can look tacky and terrible, they can also really benefit both you and your client when used correctly. With that said, I’ve got a few rules for using silks and I’m going to share them right here!
MY 4 RULES FOR USING SILKS
- Use them when they are out of reach. The guests can’t touch them, can’t ever know that they are faux and if they are high quality, you truly cannot tell. Don’t be that person that uses a silk rose in a short table centerpiece where guests can touch and feel them… just don’t do it.
- purchase high quality silks, they are worth the investment. The colors need to be dead on, they need to go from rich, vibrant buds to aged, variegated older blown blooms. They need to contain all of the life cycle of the flower that would be present if you were using a real bloom. They should have a beautiful, natural bend to them if they are a dripping variety. Just so we are on the same page, these are FAR more expensive than using real flowers.
- Pair silks with live product. If you pair a silk wisteria with live roses and greens, you will truly never know it wasn’t real!
- THIS ONE IS A BIGGY SO PAY ATTENTION: TELL YOUR CLIENT YOU ARE USING THEM. Will it potentially scare them? Absolutely! Are you the expert that is going to guide them through this process and teach them that it will all be ok? Heck yes! This is not the kind of thing you want to surprise them with on site.
I feel the need to say that you don’t have to agree with my rules, I completely understand that people run their businesses differently and I respect that. I am simply giving my opinion here.
Now, let’s explore how to approach this conversation with your clients, shall we? There has not been a single client I have mentioned using faux florals to that has not initially turned to me and looked at me like I was out of my mind. Like I told you in the beginning of this post, I had the same reaction before I educated myself. I would explain the benefits below (other than being able to re-use them since that isn’t applicable to them) and I would show them visuals of times you or someone you know has used them correctly. I’ll include a few at the end of this post.
THE MAJOR BENEFITS TO USING SILKS
- No matter what the weather is like, the flowers will hold their positioning and never wilt. This is huge. If we use real flowers and it is 100 degrees out (higher at the top of a tent), we are extremely limited as to what we can use that wont wilt.
- No need for a water source means more design flexibility. Water sources can often be ugly and must be covered up. Showing oasis is not a good look… therefore, if we want a delicate garden look, it is sometimes difficult to achieve with needing to use a water source. Of course, there are ways around this and I can do a whole post about oasis-free designing (and am happy to!).
- We can re-use these beauties and keep them in our inventory. What a gift to future clients, right?
- It gives us the ability to use varieties we otherwise wouldn’t be able to use. Whether it is because something is out of season (like a cherry blossom) or simply wouldn’t hold up as a cut flower (like wisteria) this gives us the ability to make our clients dream come to life without worrying about time of year.
- We produce less waste. No brainer… less waste is awesome.
THE DRAWBACKS TO USING SILKS
- If they are incorrectly used (in my opinion) this could lead to guests noticing, which would effect your reputation. No bueno.
- They can be quite expensive.
- You’ll need more storage to be able to house these beauties.
- The pressure is on a bit more for your clean up crew to bring them back to you.
- It takes extra time to ensure they all came home ok and that there isn’t damage as well as keeping an up to date inventory of them.
Here are some images of silks worked into my floral arrangements.
We worked faux wisteria in with all live product for this chuppah below.
We utilized wisteria for this huge structure paired with southern smilax.
We utilized faux wisteria as the base for this beauty below (Hey – that’s me!).
Now that I’ve said it all, I’m feeling like I should give you a little something for reading this entire post (I am not a fan of reading, gimme a podcast or video any day of the week). click HERE for my most favorite source for silks (open to wholesale only).