Pioneer Blog

Absorbing the Pretty: Intro to a New Series

Sarah Botchick - Sunday, August 25, 2019


My name is Sarah Botchick, and I wear many hats here at Pioneer. You could simply say that I am "the daughter." My parents started Pioneer 3 years before I was born.  Although I went to my first WF & FSA show when I was still in a stroller, for "formal" purposes we say that I started officially working here 23 years ago, right around the time I wanted to start driving and needed a way to make some money. In those 23 years I have worked in a variety of different roles. Currently my "hat" collection includes General Manager, Product Development, Purchasing, Marketing Director, and my favorite, Creative Director. But like many in family businesses, you don't always get to focus on what you really enjoy, most of the time you focus on what is the most critical at that moment.

Recently we have had some changes that have forced me to focus more on the Creative Director role. And although it is hard to find the time, I have to say, I love it. I have started doing something that I call "Absorbing the Pretty." 

Last weekend I was looking for some inspiration for our upcoming Spring 2020 photo shoot and I walked into a high end furniture store in our area. Honestly, I can't even afford to buy a throw pillow there. But I love walking thru the store. The salesperson walked up and asked me what I was shopping for. Trying to find some way to answer her, I came up with, "Oh, I am just here absorbing the pretty." 

This weekend I went to Art in the Elements, a floral art installation program set on the grounds of the fabulous Meadowbrook Hall in Detroit, MI and I there also felt that I was "absorbing the pretty." Then later on a hike full of wildflowers and beautiful trees, I again felt that I was "absorbing the pretty." So I have decided this my new quest - to find beauty and inspiration wherever I can, in minor ways or major ones. This beauty and inspiration will help me design better products, better colors, better catalogs, better showrooms. 

But I don't want to keep this to myself. I want to share it with our customers and followers. 

Hence the creation of the "Absorbing the Pretty" blog series. 

Hang on, its going to be a beautiful ride!

Sarah Botchick

Creative Director

Pioneer Imports & Wholesale

Tour Our Spring/Summer 2018 Showroom!

Amanda Thomas - Thursday, April 05, 2018

Spring is in full swing at Pioneer Imports & Wholesale! Come see our Spring & Summer 2018 Showroom for yourself or take a virtual tour below. Our showroom is located at 500 W. Bagley Rd., Berea, Ohio 44017 and our hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We'd love to see you!

Please note: Vendor’s license in a related trade is required.

2018 Signature Collection: Pink Obsession

Sarah Botchick - Friday, January 12, 2018

Growing up, I lived the typical life a little girl in the US in the 1980s. Complete with my very own pink bedroom, featuring none other than Holly Hobbie. By the time I was about 10, I hated pink. To this day, pink holds very strong connections to the life and times of a little girl in my mind. So when I started to see pink as a strong trending color for 2018, I struggled with the concept of how to "grow up" pink. I will never forget an article in Better Homes and Gardens showing how to make a completely pink room beautiful. That was a turning point for me. Because it showed that pink can truly be a gorgeous color family.


In my trend research I came across a pink ombre bridal table. And that was where our Pink Obsession collection was born. We worked like crazy, to get 4 perfect shades of pink that blended into a beautiful new burgundy color called Burgundy Wine. The five colors are: Light Pink, French Pink, Deep Pink, Pink Sangria, and Burgundy Wine. They blend together, or look great on their own.  When the five colors finally came together and clicked there was a sense of satisfaction that I cannot even put into words. I truly hope that you enjoy Pink Obsession as much as we do. 

Shop Pink Obsession today!

Video: 2018 Paris Trend Forecast

Sarah Botchick - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Video summary written for Pioneer by: Lisa B

Maison et Objet is a large international trade show in Paris that predicts and influences décor trends for the upcoming years. Ellie LaFever gives Pioneer Imports and Wholesale an inside look with this 2018 trend forecast inspired by her trip to Maison as well as her exploration around Paris and London.  

Jewel Tones

Ellie begins by describing the popular refreshed jewel tone color palette. In the past, brightly saturated jewel tones were a popular selection – at Maison, those literal hues were replaced by more refined selections like dusty rose, peacock, and muted emerald.

Peacock is more of a teal-influenced saturated color while muted emerald stands as a combination between Wizard of Oz emerald and a subdued hunter green. Dusty rose was everywhere at Maison, and as Ellie points out, this look is probably here to stay.

All three of these colors are mainstay additions to the Pioneer Imports and Wholesale catalog. Emerald and peacock are easy to incorporate using faux foliage selections, while dusty rose is a popular hue for silk flowers. Mix and match or use them on their own.

Function to Fashion

Next, Ellie describes the “function to fashion” trend. This trend transforms functional objects - such as neon signs, graffiti, and Chinese food take-out signs – into fashionable accents that can be used in décor and beyond. It’s risk-taking, bold and bright, and makes a statement.

Function to fashion turns ordinary items on their head to raise questions, to give them brand new meaning. It often incorporates a sense of irony as well, like using plants that are unusual colors compared to what you might see in nature.


This brings Ellie to another bold trend found at Maison: Bobos. Bobos is a combination of bourgeoise and bohemian, an almost paradoxical juxtaposition. The most likely audience for this trend is somebody who likes to know why they’re buying something, where they bought it, who they’re buying it from, how sustainable it is, and more.  

From a visual standpoint, the surface characteristics embody an elevated bohemian vibe, refined but retaining an edgy hippy aesthetic. It includes natural elements – very textural – with rich layering and contrasting hard and soft elements. You might see eclectic treasures, creative color combinations, handmade craft, and of course, lush over-the-top plant life.

Gilded Metallics

Next, Ellie highlights the gilded metallics trend. Metals and metallic elements have been a big player in design circles over recent years, but Ellie’s Maison et Objet observations reveal a new take on this popular aesthetic. This style is defined by high reflectivity, elevated metals, and very detailed sculptural influences. The gilded details act almost as an element of surprise to make this style an interactive experience.

Other Innovations

Ellie’s exploration didn’t just stop at Maison – she also details a few trends found throughout her journey in Paris and London.

The first is Sketch, a style that encompasses anything hand-rendered or illustrated. It invokes a human quality, a reminder that we don’t always need to have technology to create something amazing.

The second trend is Monochrome Sculptural. It strips away the color from objects so that the true forms can show through. It offers a unique play on light, revealing the shape and texture of items in a whole new way. Ellie points out that this effect is very successful with both black and white.

Embrace Today’s Trends with Pioneer

Explore the Pioneer Imports and Wholesale catalog to find all the supplies you need to integrate these trends into your everyday displays and décor. Pioneer offers a wide range of silk foliage and flowers in the refreshed jewel tones, creative metallic accessories, lush greenery for bobos style influences, and so much more. 

Watch the complete Paris Trend Report Video Here!Click Here to Request a PDF of the Paris Trend Report!

Meet Ryan Freeman - Internet Marketing Specialist

Sarah Botchick - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We are excited to have a new addition to our guest writer education team, Ryan Freeman. 

Ryan Freeman is a 5th generation florist, Google Certified Professional for AdWords and Analytics, Advanced SEO Analyst, and President of Florist 2.0 – an online marketing agency serving retail florists with SEO, Pay Per Click, and ecommerce solutions, and a Google Partner Agency.

We are excited to bring Ryan's wealth of knowledge to our customers on a monthly basis. Any florists who are interested in testing AdWords for the first time are invited to contact Florist 2.0 for an offer worth $300 in advertising funds to kick off your PPC marketing.

For more information visit:

Pioneer Showroom Redesign - Spring and Summer 2014

Sarah Botchick - Friday, April 25, 2014

The past five years have been years of change for Pioneer. 

  • We have become a tremendously strong importer of silk flowers, particularly bushes, as well as other floral items such as moss and twig decor. 
  • We have shifted our product focus into the realm of Prom, Homecoming, Wedding & Events. 
  • We stock the complete selection of prom, wedding and event supplies from Fitz Design. 
  • We are a strong distributor of the Acolytes product line. 
  • We have more styles of ribbon than any florist or gift basket designer will ever need. We needed to make some changes to reflect the "New Pioneer". 
  • In 2011 we started using a whole new style of catalog – catalogs of a complete season.
  • In 2012 we changed our name to Pioneer Imports & Wholesale
  • In 2013 we completely redesigned our website.

And finally, in the spring of 2014 – we redesigned our showroom to reflect our new, varied product offerings.

If you haven’t been to our showroom since February 22, 2014 – YOU NEED TO COME VISIT! We guarantee that you will be inspired by the great new layout, product designs, and the products themselves. Our showroom is open from 8:30-4:30 EST, M-F.  Open to florists, interior designers, gift basket companies, and those in a related trade. 

See the Pioneer Showroom - Redone for Spring 2014

Your one stop wholesale floral and gift supply shop!
Summer Brights silk flowers, ribbon and containers
Summer Brights silk flowers, ribbon and containers

Walls of silk flower bushes Walls of silk flower bushes
Walls of silk flower bushes

The Woodland Collection - moss and twig baskets, containers, accessories and coordinating silks
The Woodland Collection - moss and twig baskets, containers, accessories and coordinating silks

Everyday silk flower stems and bushes 
Everyday silk flower stems and bushes

Silk filler flower bushes and silk sunflowers
Silk filler flower bushes and silk sunflowers

Silk and plastic greenery
Silk and plastic greenery

Silk orchids of every style and color
Silk orchids of every style and color

Silk orchid designs
Silk orchid designs

Vintage Romance - silk flower bushes, ribbon, muslin, pearls, lace and containers Vintage Romance - silk flower bushes, ribbon, muslin, pearls, lace and containers
Vintage Romance - silk flower bushes, ribbon, muslin, pearls, lace and containers

Le Marche Collection of silk flowers, metal containers, burlap, and ribbon 
Le Marche Collection of silk flowers, metal containers, burlap, and ribbon

Artificial Succulent Collection
Artificial Succulent Collection

Event display table featuring candelabras and Acolytes e-risers
Event display table featuring candelabras and Acolytes e-risers

More views of the event display featuring Acolytes tea lights More views of the event display featuring Acolytes tea lights
More views of the event display featuring Acolytes tea lights

Another Acolytes table with the E-Wall wash in the corner
Another Acolytes table with the E-Wall wash in the corner

Prom tables full of Fitz Design, wall of tulle, and all of the corsage ribbon you could possibly need Prom tables full of Fitz Design, wall of tulle, and all of the corsage ribbon you could possibly need
Prom tables full of Fitz Design, wall of tulle, and all of the corsage ribbon you could possibly need
Corsage ribbon, Fitz Design prom jewelry, florist wires and rhinestone wraps
Corsage ribbon, Fitz Design prom jewelry, florist wires and rhinestone wraps

Prom table #1 showcasing the best selling Fitz Design corsage bracelets, feathers, and bling
Prom table #1 showcasing the best selling Fitz Design corsage bracelets, feathers, and bling

Silk corsage roses perfect for prom!
Silk corsage roses perfect for prom!

The Wedding Wall - premade silk bouquets, bouquet jewels, and bouquet enhancements
The Wedding Wall - premade silk bouquets, bouquet jewels, and bouquet enhancements

Bouquet jewels from Fitz Design and other bouquet enhancements
Bouquet jewels from Fitz Design and other bouquet enhancements

Spring Upselling Ideas by Sue Huelsman AIFD CFD OCF

Sarah Botchick - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The calendar says it's spring even though our weather may not be cooperating yet.

Preparations for the busiest first half of the year have already begun but it's not too late to still think about and implement at least a couple of ideas to make this a more profitable season.  

  • For all your spring holidays, upgrade your planters (bulb gardens, azalea, lily, etc) with the addition of pussy willow, fantail willow or forsythia branches around the outside of the pot (basket) and bring together above the plants to create a cage.  Bind with raffia or ribbon to add a decorative touch.  Not only will the cage provide stability for tall plants this also increases the perceived value through the addition of height and space.  Turn your $20.00 planters into fabulous $35.00 spring gardens quickly and easily. 

  • Get on the trend of burlap!  Using a burlap ribbon of your choice add a simple band around a cylinder or cube vase and bind with raffia, ribbon, twine or decorative wire for a quick and fun upgrade for any occasion.  Hint - lace ribbon looks great around burlap for "mom" arrangements.

  • Don't forget to create a quick pickup and go bouquet for spring - use tulips, hyacinths and daffodils and do simple hand-tied gatherings of one kind of flowers and have ready for quick purchase.  Having these really inexpensive flowers in bulk that you can add to any arrangement make for a cost effective addition to any design.  Tulips also look great swirled inside cubes, cylinders or Ming bowls combined with bear or lily grass and/or small pieces of branches.

  • Last but not least, its time to prep for prom.  Make sure you have samples of corsages and bouts in both fresh and silk available for girls, guys and their MOMS to see when they come in to place orders.  A quick visit to a dress salon to see the current most popular colors and styles of dresses sold by school, will help you in selecting bracelet styles and colors, accent pieces and ribbon that you will need to show.  Remember that the bracelet now is more of an additional piece of jewelry not just something to hold the corsage on the wrist.  This is also the best way to charge what you need for the corsage and add on the upgraded bracelet as an additional sale.

Spend just 2 hours per week doing something to promote or elevate your business and you will absolutely see the results in a very short time.  

Happy Spring!

Meet Sue Huelsman AIFD CFD OCF

Sarah Botchick - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pioneer is happy to add another member to our Education Team, Sue Huelsman, AIFD, CFD, OCF.

Sue has 30 years experience in the floral industry including working in retail shops, owning her own retail shop, working as a buyer for a major wholesaler, and now owning her own Event Floral company, White Leaf Designs. She also freelances doing showroom design for major importers. Sue is the design genius behind many of the product design ideas on our website and she is the brains behind our recent showroom redo. We love working with her, and we think you will love learning from her!

Welcome Sue! 

Prom LIVE! Interactive Video Webinar of Prom Floral and Marketing Techniques

Sarah Botchick - Monday, February 24, 2014

Pioneer is SO excited to be part of this exciting project with Fitz Design and TeamFloral! For years our customers have asked that we bring our Prom Workshops to the internet - and we are finally able to do so! Join us on March 11, 2014 for this interactive design and marketing webinar featuring a trendy corsage design and a stylish boutonniere design as well as the best prom marketing strategies in the industry! You can participate by purchasing your own hardgoods kit. See below for complete details, and click HERE to register! 

From the Benches: The Florist Brain: Biz vs. Design

Sarah Botchick - Tuesday, January 21, 2014
"From the Benches" - The Florist Brain: Biz vs. Design
By Joe Guggia, AIFD

We florists are unique animals.  While embracing the retail world, there is a yearning to create floral art that sets us apart from most other business and allows us to make a difference in lives on a daily basis.  That fact keeps our mojo going to produce and maintain our place in this fast paced world.

This right/left brain struggle has been the florist nemesis for years.  I’ve fought the gallant fight myself struggling to climb the ladder of success on both sides of the fence.  But it’s pure and simple: one cannot survive without the other.

So what do we do?  Just create cookie cutter flower arrangements so the biz part is satisfied?  Or do we allow our artful being to rise to the occasion and set ourselves apart from our contemporaries? Well, my friends, I can tell you that both can be done.  I’m proof that artful floral arrangements can be created with style and visual value while making money.  It takes some planning, but what doesn’t (in any business)?

During busy times, I’ve always planned our flower arrangements to have unique style.  Not totally creative, but enough that most designers can mimic them and show that our shop can give our clients something that the internet just doesn’t have to offer.  You can always design the traditional styled tulip or rose vase; just make sure you have some other items that are unique while being within the financial parameters you set out to follow.

Quality florist business practices are key to our survival.  Using proper industry markups for all of your product (fresh flowers, greens, containers, supplies, silks, plants) and adhering to their retail amounts when designing will keep your head above water.  Adding extra flowers “here and there” to satisfy your need to give that special client more value isn’t going to put more money in that register.  However, I do agree with giving more visual value to a floral arrangement going to a large company.  If fact, I advise it…..where else do you have a captive audience of over 50 potential customers?  That can be part of your advertising budget and you can’t get more advertising than showing your wares to a large group. 

Working with the professional team at Pioneer Imports & Wholesale will take care of both sides of your brain.  With diversified product lines, you bet you can separate yourself with great containers and supplies that will give the “artful” you incentive to create beautiful flower arrangements for your wonderful client base.  And with pricing that is definitely affordable, the biz side of your brain will be just as satisfied.  Now the fight can slow down, and you can feel calm and relaxed and ready to start that new florist day!