Among the 19 floral designers participating in the 50th Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition at SAF Palm Springs 2018 are 12 members of the American Institute of Floral Designers, eight past Sylvia Cup contestants — including two grand prize winners and a second runner-up winner — and three designers sponsored by state floral associations.
The winner of this year’s two-hour live floral design competition, sponsored by Certified American Grown and Smithers-Oasis and coordinated by Professional Floral Communicators – International, will take home $3,000 and complimentary registration to the next SAF convention.
Derek Woodruff, AIFD, CF, CFD, PFCI of Floral Underground in Traverse City, Michigan, and the winner of the 2016 Sylvia Cup, is making a run for another Cup.
“The competition is a great experience, and truly no different than an emergency situation in the flower shop,” Woodruff said. “It pushes you to be creative and really makes you practice the principles and elements of floral design, which just makes you a better designer overall.”
As for new competitors in the field, some veteran contestants have advice.
“Try to gather information and experiences from past competitions that you have participated in,” said Greg Lum, AIFD, EMC, of Lee’s Florist & Nursery in San Francisco and a competitor this summer at FTD’s America’s Cup. ” Often times there are specific details (theme, color, feel, purpose) that the judges will look for, so make sure you include them in it. Just remember to clear your mind and draw from your past experiences and designs. Design what comes naturally and take a deep breath.”
Lisa Greene, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, of Beach Plum Flower Shop in Newburyport, Massachusetts, agreed about the importance of that deep breath. She also suggested getting the hard stuff out of the way in the beginning.
“Do what challenges you the most first,” Greene said. “Once that one is in the bag, you can relax and concentrate on details. Do not worry about what the others are doing, don’t look at the other competitors it will only freak you out.”
The 50th Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition takes place on Sept. 15 at SAF Palm Springs 2018, at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California. Can’t make the event? Look for coverage and lots of photos on SAF’s Facebook and Instagram page next week and in future issues of EBrief and Floral Management magazine.
Anne Holub is a contributing writer for the Society of American Florists and Jenny Scala is SAF’s director of marketing and communications.