For our November Masterclass, we had the pleasure of speaking with Janelle Gerestein, the 2023 BloomTV Star Florist Contest winner! We learned so much about her journey in floristry and what it was like to film her episode for BloomTV. If you were unable to join us this month, here is what you missed!
Janelle Gerestein is the owner of Flowers by Janie in Alberta, Canada. In college at Olds College in Alberta, her love for flowers grew as she studied under a Swedish Master Florist and earned a Certificate of Commercial Floristry. From there, Janelle worked on a peony farm in New Zealand and learned the floral business from the ground up - discovering how to properly care for, harvest, and distribute blooms to preserve their beauty and shelf life.
A few years later, while pursuing a Bachelor of Management degree at the University of Lethbridge, she began working at a Flowers on 9th. At that small, local flower shop, she earned her nickname "Janie" and began specializing in wedding floral design. In 2011, she and her husband Oscar started Flowers by Janie in his hometown of La Paz, Bolivia, South America. In 2012, they moved the business to Calgary, Alberta, where they specialize in wedding and event flowers in Calgary and the Canadian Rockies.
Images: Fanny Salas, Sabrina Kuhn, Brenda Ginther, Heidi Bekker (Top row from left to right); Oscar Lima and Janelle Gerestein (Bottom row from left to right)
Janelle manages a team of four part-time employees and collaborates with freelancers to oversee expansive projects. Janelle's husband (who runs a videography company: Castaño Films), serves as her trusted videographer, contributing to the seamless execution of their endeavors. Together, they adeptly navigate an annual schedule encompassing 40-50 events, consistently crafting floral masterpieces that resonate profoundly with clients.
A longstanding member of Details and recognized as a Chapel designer, Janelle draws upon a wealth of experiences and skills acquired through immersive, hands-on classes. Her calendar serves as a testament to the dynamic nature of the floral industry, with August emerging as the pinnacle month for weddings in Calgary. While the pace quickens during this lively period, Janelle acknowledges a more tranquil phase in December and January. Remarkably, she extends her professional portfolio internationally. She has created events in South America and is currently undertaking destination weddings in the gorgeous Banff National Park.
Janelle's prominence reached new heights with her participation in the BloomTV shoot, spanning a meticulously orchestrated three-day period. Encompassing casual shots, detailed preparation, and the execution of breathtaking centerpieces, the shoot featured the exquisite blooms provided by Rosaprima, a noteworthy addition to Janelle's floral repertoire. Despite the inherent challenges of coordinating weather, products, and time, the BloomTV production team exhibited exemplary professionalism, ensuring a flawlessly executed shoot. Notably, favorable weather conditions played a pivotal role, eliminating the need to take precautionary measures with the blooms.
Images taken by Tara Whittaker Photography
For aspiring florists seeking guidance, Janelle imparts wisdom rooted in continuous learning and dedicated practice. Drawing from her transformative experience at a Holly Chapel workshop in London in 2015, she underscores the importance of cultivating courage to undertake larger events. As a testament to her growing expertise, Janelle advocates for pricing reflective of one's skills and gaining confidence in managing intricate installations. A pivotal piece of advice for newcomers includes strategically curating a website portfolio that showcases the desired projects while emphasizing the significance of establishing relationships with venues through initiatives like photoshoots to foster meaningful connections.
Images taken by Tara Whittaker Photography
Beyond her notable achievements as a previous Alexandra Farms contest winner and three-time recipient of the title "Calgary's Best Wedding Florist," Janelle is on a trajectory to attain the esteemed designation of European Master Florist. Driven by a passion for knowledge dissemination, she conducts local workshops tailored for non-florists, featuring events such as "Peonies and Pies" and "Dahlias and Donuts," with proceeds directed toward supporting local charities.
Janelle's inspiration draws from her surroundings, encompassing a park adjacent to her residence, the marvels of nature, art galleries, and vibrant cultural influences. These diverse sources coalesce into the distinctive floral creations that define her artistic identity. To gain a glimpse into Janelle's creative world, follow her on social media and anticipate the release of her upcoming BloomTV video, promising an immersive experience of floral brilliance. Want a sneak peek of the upcoming BloomTv video? Watch here!
To stay posted on her floral journey, follow Janelle on social media:
Watch the full masterclass replay below!
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