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US (MD): “There has to be a shift in understanding of what grows where and when here in the U.S.”

Kelly Shore has been in the floral industry since 2000, when she started working in a small campus flower shop in Champaign, Illinois. Later, she started designing wedding flowers for friends and family as a hobby while she worked at a flower shop in Baltimore. In 2011, after graduating from grad school and starting a family, she founded Petals by the Shore, a home-based wedding and event floral design company serving the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas. Through her company, she learned more about the local and American-grown cut flower industry and, in 2019, launched The Floral Source. Its sole purpose was to host immersive floral experiences on flower farms throughout the country so designers could have a better understanding of where their flowers come from.

Kelly Shore founded The Floral Source, a wholesaler of domestically grown flowers and foliage, in 2021.

In January 2021, The Floral Source became a farm-direct floral wholesale company for domestically grown flowers and foliage. The change came in response to requests from florists and farmer-florists who wanted American-grown flowers during the shoulder seasons when most of the country was blanketed in the cold.

“Our first wholesale shipments happened for Valentine’s Day 2021, and the requests grew as word got out, and we began to partner with more farms,” Shore says. The Floral Source now ships from 27 partnering farms from Florida to Alaska year-round.

Biggest Challenge
One of the most challenging aspects of Shore’s work is educating the design community about seasonality by region and why domestic flowers cost more. “There has to be a shift in understanding of what grows where and when here in the U.S.,” she says.

Shore educates customers through social media posts and in the company’s newsletter. The company also holds floral retreats at farms so florists and farmer-florists can walk the fields, meet the growers, and work with seasonal products.

The Floral Source hosts floral retreats to help florists get to know growers and their products.

Source of Pride
Shore is proud that her company is supporting American farms, which she says is helping them sustain business for future generations. “The more demand there is for domestically grown products, the more the farms will be able to expand and grow to fit the needs of the designers and consumers,” she says.

Advice to Florists
Shore encourages florists to connect with growers in their community and make incremental changes to sustain their businesses, employees, and the environment. “Being sustainable doesn’t happen overnight, and making small changes every day makes it less overwhelming,” she says.

Bonus tip: The use of dried product and blush and neutral tones continues to dominate across wedding, farmer, and retail florists, she says, “but we are seeing a resurgence in a lot of bright colors,” she says.

Why SAF?
Shore’s favorite thing about being a SAF member is connecting with the floral community in a deeper and more authentic way.

“The SAF Next Gen conference was a highlight of this year, soaking in that energy and excitement and feeding off it,” she says. “This industry and career can be draining, and we need to be with our peers to hear their stories, learn from each other, and remember that we have an amazing group of colleagues to lean on and grow alongside!”

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