Q: What kind of recorder do you use to do interviews?
A: This is actually a very good question. If you’ve got interviews to do, here’s what you do:
Get a hand-held Olympus digital recorder. You can buy them online or someplace like Radio Shack would carry them. If you’re doing phone interviews, spend another $20 for a little device that lets you plug your Olympus into your phone line and record your phone interviews (always ask permission to do this, of course.)
If you’re interviewing in person or on the phone, keep a pad of paper that is numbered 1-60. As each minute passes (and there’s a counter on the recorder) make a very brief note of what the person is saying at that moment. Then you’ll have an "index" of the interview. If you’re walking and talking, use the little "index" button on the recorder–just press it whenever something interesting is said that you want to get back to.
Then you download the interview onto your computer using the software that comes with the recorder, and using your written index, you will be able to very quickly jump around in the interview and grab the quotes you need. The software lets you speed up or slow down the vocals, so that you can either listen to it more quickly, or slow it down and type what they are saying. If you used the "index" button, a little triangle appears in the software every time you pressed it, so you can skip ahead to the interesting bits.
Q: What kind of advice do you have for a florist/wholesaler/flower grower with 30 years
in the business?
A: Wow. You’re asking me?
OK, with the disclaimer that I’m really just an outsider who was curious about where flowers came from, I’ll tell you what I think.
This industry has got to go green in a big way, and in a way that is very transparent and obvious to customers. Sustainability is not just about how the flowers are grown, it’s also about how they’re shipped, refrigerated, packaged, and sold. Don’t get left behind on this one. If you’re not sure what this means, call Ray Anderson and he’ll tell you.
Florists need to get involved in "Local First" groups in their community that support locally-owned businesses. Look to the American Booksellers Association for an example of how independent bookstores have fought to stay alive. Florists are going to have to get feisty like this.
And I think that everybody in this industry has to be able to share their genuine passion for flowers with the world. If you look at flowers as merchandise, everybody else will, too. People want to fall in love with flowers. But a photo of a ho hum arrangement of daisies sitting on a coffee table is not going to make anybody drool. Every photograph Martha Stewart has ever run of flowers in her magazine looks better than most of the ads or industry photos I see of flowers. if you’re still not sure what I mean, compare the photographs here to the photographs here. Which ones do you lust after?
Q: What are those little foamy things on my plants?
A: Spittlebugs. They’re pretty harmless. Wash them off with a hose if they bother you. It’s a seasonal thing; they’ll go away soon.