Floral Festivals – Morgan Hill Times

Before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Diana Rasta hoped to expand her Morgan Hill floral and interior design store by opening another location in the South Bay. And even though the public health emergency halted those plans, Rasta’s business boomed.

Rasta owns Stems Floral & Interior Statements, which she opened in 2006 at her Vineyard Town Center location. More than just a flower shop, Stems caters to high-end customers wanting to decorate everything for their weddings or events, as well as artists and interior designers looking for intricate floral arrangements to accent their homes. or their wallets.

“We are beating our 2019 sales,” Rasta said. “I think my customers are not only supportive, but unhurt. Flowers are something they must have.

Although Rasta and her staff are booked for weddings for the rest of the year, she still has time to take orders for Valentine’s Day, perhaps the biggest day of the year nationally. for florists and flower shops.

“We wish everyone a happy Valentine’s Day,” Rasta said. “Share the love and spoil someone.”

Last Friday, more than a week before Valentine’s Day, Rasta and Stems employee Brenda Syslo was sorting through buckets of freshly cut multicolored long-stemmed roses, ginger, pin cushions, Monstera leaves and other exotic Hawaiian flowers. Rasta had picked many flowers herself that morning from her supplier in San Francisco.

The Morgan Hill boutique is expertly decorated with handmade arrangements showcasing original sculptures, paintings and other works of art for sale. Rasta enjoys featuring American artists, including several works by Clayton Thiel.

Rasta said his son helped with the artistic selection of Stems, focusing on pieces that have “a meaning and a story behind them”.

Before the pandemic, Rasta planned to open another art and design boutique in Palo Alto, at the request of some of its customers. However, these plans have been put on hold.

Rasta’s approach to floral design is informed by his decades of education, study, practice and experience in the field. She studied design at Mission College and San Francisco City College, and has consistently pursued her studies in various styles of floral design over the years.

She also enjoys teaching others about her craft which, like any artistic endeavor, begins with basic fundamental knowledge.

“Before you can find your own floral style, you have to be grounded in a lot of fundamentals like structure, mechanics, and method in order to be creative,” Rasta said.

She added, “In my opinion, a good floral design should be immediately appealing and appear effortless and natural.”

Rasta said her favorite floral style is European, which she describes as “wilder” with branches, leaves and other types of foliage in addition to colorful flowers.

While Rasta and Stems seem to have built up a strong reputation and loyal customer base to keep the store thriving, other brick-and-mortar flower shops are facing some uncertainty over when Valentine’s Day will be February 14.

Stems’ floral and interior statements, pictured February 4, are located in Downtown Vineyard in Morgan Hill. Photo: Michael Moore

Valentine’s Day customers have historically been procrastinating men, usually waiting to buy flower arrangements for their partner the same day. But with the holiday falling on a Monday after the Super Bowl, planning this year will be a breeze for florists.

The pandemic has also taken a toll on supply across the floristry industry. According to CBS News, flower prices have risen because some growers have closed. The report said he forced New York florist Banchet Jaigla to raise prices by around 20%.

Still, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to hit $23.9 billion this year, up from $21.8 billion in 2021 and the second-highest year on record, according to the annual survey released Jan. 31 by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics.

According to the survey, shoppers expect to spend an average of $175.41 per person on Valentine’s Day gifts, up from $164.76 in 2021.

The industry is expected to gain more momentum this year as events continue to return from pandemic restrictions. The Wedding Report, a group that analyzes the wedding industry, predicts that there will be 2.5 million weddings in the United States this year, the highest number since 1984.

Erik Chalhoub and Juan Reyes contributed to this report.

Brenda Syslo, left, and Diana Rasta, owner of Stems Floral & Interior Statements, ponder designing arrangements with a variety of fresh-cut flowers on February 4. Photo: Michael Moore

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