Q & A: Klaus Wagener
He is a man with many professions: floral designer, trend scout, stylist, teacher, author of books and magazines and the creative head of the publishing house BLOOM’s Medien. Klaus Wagener is passionate about his work, and that passion radiates on all that he touches. We asked if we could interview him about that passion and he said yes!Back to stories
laus starts his story: "I'm 62 years old, happily married, with 2 big children, 1 grandchild, I live with my wife in the countryside outside near the forest. We have a large garden and love it very much. My wife is also a master florist. So we have a lot in common and often work together. Professionally I am CEO at BLOOM's media marketing events with a special focus on being a creative director and frontman. Oh yes - our daughter lives in the Netherlands and has started a family with her husband and they both work in the green industry. So the Netherlands is our second home."
When did you first know you wanted to work with flowers?
Very early! My parents ran two flower shops and I grew up in the middle of the shops. I liked this attitude to life, the smell of the flowers, the many natural materials and the creative atmosphere. It was a very familiar atmosphere and private life was combined with business. For me this was - and still is - no problem.
Why flowers? What makes them special?
Flowers mean living nature and through evolution have developed a diversity that always inspires respect and awe in me. How lucky we are to be able to experience and see this floral world. Us gardeners and florists are actually privileged - we are allowed to work with one of the best ingredients in the world - we should be aware of that.
Summer flowers are the little moments of happiness in everyday life.
You come from a family of florist. How did that form you in your early years as a designer?
I was always allowed to try out everything and I was hardly ever told what to do, so I was completely unbiased - even in floral design - and I felt my way through the big wide world of possibilities. Relatively quickly I realised that I needed new challenges and started to enter professional competitions. This gave me a real boost and I was able to assess myself better and better, but was also able to readjust myself.
You have several professions: floral designer, trend scout, stylist, teacher, author of books and magazines, creative head of the publishing house BLOOM’s Medien, etc. Which do you like most?
An interesting question! To be honest, I think it is the mixture of everything. I love the variety and diversity. I sometimes like to work just by myself, for example when I'm writing a concept. I absolutely have to do that alone. When I know what I want, there is no stopping me and I look for the right form of communication. I especially like to create PowerPoints and mood charts. That way, you can immediately see if your idea fits. Oh - and I always have the happy moments when I can be creative with my own hands. I would like there to be more of those moments. But as a forward thinker, you often have other tasks to fulfil.
What is the best compliment anyone can give you?
Wow - what a difficult question. Some time ago I had a goose bump moment that touched me deeply emotionally. An employee, who unfortunately left the company, wrote me a few lines. She thanked me for the time spent together, fairness, devotion and team spirit, which not all bosses would master. When I read this, it warmed my heart.
Can flower growers still surprise you?
Of course. Novelties, fascinating breeds, innovative cultivation and marketing methods - all this interests me very much. I firmly believe in the power of intelligent innovation and evolutionary development. And I don't necessarily mean "Faster-Higher-Better". Rather, I see the focus on responsibility in terms of quality, conservation of human and natural resources, sustainability, fair global diversity and balanced economic efficiency.
You specialize in trends. What has been your favorite trend over the past years?
Trends fascinate me because I like change. They are constantly in motion and it is fun to explore and analyse them everywhere. My current favourite trend can be summarised under the term PURE STYLE. Less is more and the rampant affluence society is no longer a permanent model for the future. People want to live more consciously and only own the things they really need. A change in values is building up, which - if things go well - stands for better, honest quality and reason in consumption.
Less is more - and that doesn't mean doing without, but consuming consciously while preserving natural resources. I hope that virtues like understatement will characterise us humans more and more. The development towards this will not be linear, but will be eventful, because it is a process of change that does not immediately take everyone with it. But the beauty of it is that we - the floral green industry - gain a lot of future perspectives with it.
Which trend for 2021 are you most looking forward to?
For 2021 it is the "Sunny Days" trend. The trend name is already promising and enlightening. This is exactly what you want after the dark winter and the difficult pandemic time. Let the light into your life and create space for yourself again. That is the message of this sun-drenched trend.
We are going to beat Covid 19, we have all been home for a long time in the past months. "Sunny Days" is the life-affirming liberating force in the design and also in the feeling. Take a look at the BLOOM's Trends. It is all described there. An optimism you will love.
How does one become an expert in scouting trends? Any tips for florists who have the same ambition?
Trends can be found everywhere, because they show up every day in our living environment. They are particularly visible in magazines, at trade fairs, in hip cities and, very strongly, on the worldwide web. This is where they intensify and are often made clear through exaggeration. The dimension time plays an important role in this. Trends thrive on change and only those who are permanently occupied with them will be able to penetrate and understand them more deeply. They can use them for themselves much better than those who only look at them temporarily. As florists are often very creative, they naturally have a strong sense for lifestyle and therefore also for trends. This is a good basis on which to build. Add to this a positive curiosity and you have what it takes to be a trend scout. What more could you ask for? Florists in particular have a lot of potential to do this.
You are also a teacher. What characteristic are you looking for in students? When do you know if someone is talented?
It is often the quiet people who do not stand out at first. But you can recognise talents quite quickly when you see the practical work of the participants in a seminar. At the latest after 3 work pieces have been created, these talents crystallize. I always enjoy having such experiences and to observe the development of natural talents.
What is your number 1 tip for florists who want to stand out from the crowd?
Of the top of my head, the following qualities need to tie in well together:
- Creativity & talent
- Passion & diligence
- Energy & perseverance
- Readiness for continuous learning & healthy curiosity
- Positive thinking & composure
- Humility & healthy self-reflection
Getting up to become visible is not so difficult at first. You simply have to present or perform something very special. But how do you stand out in the long term and how can your environment perceive you as positively as possible? This is only possible if you remain humble and don't take yourself too seriously, and if you continually reposition yourself in the spirit of the times and lifestyle and adjust yourself in the interplay of all forces. It helps if you know yourself well and have a sense for how you are perceived by your surroundings. It is refreshing to be able to reinvent yourself again and again - while maintaining a line. At the same time, defeat should be seen as an opportunity to become better. However, the greatest successes should be seen as gifts, which can very quickly become fleeting again. In the end, you have to develop a good balance between self-confidence and self-criticism.
Do you have a favourite flower?
Yes it is the lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus). I like this kind of farm garden flowers with a rural touch. I also associate childhood memories with the lupin. My birthday is in May and I often received these flowers as a gift from a neighbour. Now many of them grow in my own garden and I always look forward to the merry month of May.
But what is my second favourite flower? That is the Clematis and it also grows in our garden as a climbing plant. It also has the character of a cottage - the connecting element to lupine.
What is your association with ‘summer flowers’?
I associate it with cheerful country life and joie de vivre. What I like best is unstyled and very natural. Such summer flowers are the little moments of happiness in everyday life and immediately convey positive energy.
You have many talents. Is there still something you dream about achieving?
Oh yes, I want to become wise. Supposedly you will if you keep a childlike sense of humour and self-irony. I admire humorous people. They are able to see complicated things in a very simple way and can therefore help themselves and, above all, others. I am still working on that and the older you get, the more experience you gain and then maybe one day I'll get there 😉 "Schauen wir mal" ("We'll see") is what they say calmly and a little bit wisely in German.