Episode 56: Getting Your Paper Flowers Featured in Magazines and Blogs with Tonneli Gruetter

Season #2

Learn from a marketing expert, Tonneli Gruetter, how to reach across industry lines to grow your paper floral business and gain exposure in print and digital publications.

Let’s face it: our paper floral industry is strong, but still has lots of room to grow. To get our work out there and to help our community flourish, we need to collaborate with other industries. Getting featured in the magazines or blogs of other groups is a fabulous way to grow your business. An obvious one is the fresh florist market. We can create pansies with long stems or an iris for a dried bouquet. The possibilities for collaborating with florists are endless!

You may wonder if a fresh floral magazine or blog will feature your paper flowers, and the answer is yes! On our latest episode of Paper Talk, Tonneli Gruetter— a marketing expert and writer at the Florists’ Review magazine—spoke eloquently about the amazing collaboration that can happen when we choose to look outside of our immediate industry and connect with others.

She would love to see our community’s work, either by submitting it on the Florists’ Review website or tagging/direct messaging them on Instagram @florists_review. “For us, it’s really about appreciating the floral form above all else. That’s what we’re all about, is celebrating flowers,” Tonneli told us.


So what is she looking for? What can you do to make sure your work gets featured? Tonneli gave this advice:

  • Follow trends. Know what’s happening in our paper floral world and the industries you’re trying to collaborate with. She gave our listeners the tip that big circles are always on trend with her followers. We all agreed that following industry leaders, like Hitomi Gilliam on YouTube, is a great way to learn and stay on top of trends.

  • Stay within the season. Wintertime calls for darker and moodier blooms. Summer is brighter and airier. This is fairly common sense, but a holly wreath is going to get a better reception in December than in July. 

  • Keep trying. Tonneli might not have a place for your work right away. She might wait for that theme to be featured or on-trend. Or she might tell you that she likes what you’re doing and wants to see more in the future. That isn’t a no! That means that what you sent might not be a good fit, but that she sees potential in future collaboration.


Our conversation also dipped into many other fascinating topics. A big one was sustainability. Besides her work as a marketer and writer, Tonneli owns her own farm, Salty Acres, which produces flowers, preserves the agricultural heritage of her community, and offers classes to educate visitors on a wide variety of topics.

One of her passions is finding ways to reduce waste, like saving parts of flowers that would be headed to the compost heap, drying them, and using them as edible confetti for baking. Tonneli sees this focus on sustainability as something that will only continue to grow in popularity across industries. That’s great news for paper florists, as our craft can fill in gaps for florists dedicated to buying locally and sustainably. We can create peonies in the perfect color in January, which makes for happy clients and florists.


Listen now to hear even more as we chatted about upcoming trends, running workshops during Covid-19, and more. 


Here are some questions we asked Tonneli about herself:

1. Introduce yourself to us! 

My name is Tonneli Gruetter (tawn-ah-Lee), I am a 3rd generation farmer, military spouse, & marketing expert living on Whidbey Island Washington where I work from my flower farm, Salty Acres. I specialize in corporate social responsibility helping clients of all sizes to better embody their values through the authenticity of philanthropic action. Through my work at Florists Review Magazine, I have found an avenue to fuse my passion for flowers with business.


2. You have a long list of experiences, from being a brand specialist to a digital marketer to a farmer. Can you tell us a bit about these identities?

Like so many young people finding a fiscally sound path to becoming your dream full-time is not something easily realized all in one step. For me pursuing a serious career in brand marketing helped me gain the work-life balance to afford to start a farm, and on-the-job skills needed to thrive as a modern farmer. From the outside, it seems crazy to compare launching successful video game titles at mega conventions like e3 to running a flower farm but really all the same concepts are there: be authentic, find your base, make it fun.


 3. Tell us about Wildflower Media, Florists Review, Canadian Florist, and SuperFloral. 

Our publications are for floral enthusiasts of every stripe. Each of our magazines has a slightly different voice, today I am here to speak most about Florists Review which is our sort of all-encompassing world of beauty and an excellent resource for anyone looking to learn about techniques regarding composition, design, how to use supplies, etc.

We also chat quite a bit about the business of flowers and entrepreneurship. Canadian Florist is similar but celebrates the unique voice of Canadian florists, to some, it may come as a surprise but many of the world's top talent in the field of floristry is Canadian. Last but not least is SuperFloral, our publication for mass-market flowers & large-scale growers.


4. You're the Director of Marketing at Wildflower Media. Can you tell us what that role involves?

I am responsible for helping our advertisers launch new campaigns, keeping our social media streams representative of current trends, covering top floral events in real life. Personally, it has been my mission to see our community become a home for all flower lovers not just the traditional florist and I'm proud to say that's very much visible in our work today.


5. How are Florists Review, Canadian Florists, and SuperFloral which all began as print publications, adapting to the digital world?

Our magazine is celebrating its 123rd birthday this year, we have a proud heritage but are quite delightfully modern. Recently we made the switch to being a primarily free-to-subscribe online magazine, supported by special edition book-azines, video library on youtube, and Instagram community devoted to sharing the work of floral artists.


6. Since you are in print media, we have to ask: Are print publications still relevant given the trend to move to digital media?

There is something inherently magical about print. We've all been there when a friend sends a link of something you MUST read... yet you don't even open it, or perhaps it only gets a quick scan. When someone shares information via print it becomes something to take your time with a view more than once, it becomes a resource. That's exactly the direction we are going with our books & special edition book-azines.


7. It's a well-known fact that many florists/contributors want to be featured in one of your prestigious magazines.

There are many reasons to be featured, but I think even more than clout or prizes (tho who doesn't want to visit a flower farm in another country or receive luxurious roses for free?) is that we represent an extraordinarily supportive community. Our readers are an active part of that community but when you are featured it brings you to another level where you are able to tell your story and we're all here to cheer you on. When we feature a floral artist they get a lot of visibility, not just in our world of flowers but also in the realms adjacent to us such as weddings, events, and brand collaborations.


 8. It would be such an honour to be featured in your magazine! So how do florists get featured in one of your magazines? What do you look for when determining who/what to feature?

We have a few different ways to become featured, and also a few different people on the job to ensure we stay fresh & inclusive. To be considered for our magazine we have an online portal on our website under the "contact us" page, as well as frequent design contests. As for our Instagram, that's really my world. I suggest creators reach out however feels right to them to either use DM, tagging @florists_review, or using #floristsreview... I also spend significant time visiting florists when I travel IRL & tracking emerging online floral trends.


9. Our listeners are mainly paper floral artists and entrepreneurs. Do you have any specific tips on how they could be featured in a prominent magazine/blog, like yours?

Absolutely! Above all else: collaborate. You can magnify your reach so much by collaborating with other creatives & tagging the brands or products included. There are many flowers I hold beloved as a grower myself such as poppies, but I nearly always dissuade customers from purchasing them for weddings due to their delicate nature... this is exactly the time I know I'd love to have a paper floral artist I could direct my customers to bring into our conversation.

I always tell creators to treat social media like real life but with fewer rules. If you interact with an account with a large following or strategic reach you wish you could be involved with, let them know. Don't be afraid to "slide into the DMs" with something you have an idea about if it's sincere. Worst case scenario is they ignore you... and most of the time {trust me} they won't.


10. Lastly - What are your favourite flowers to design with? What is your favourite flower?

I design mostly using Dahlias as they make up the lionshare of my farm but I love impractical flowers, silly, flowers, and flowers with TERRIBLE vase life. In the last year, I've had an obsession with an impossible to grow Australian native called the flannel flower. I also love Wisteria, bearded iris, & poppies. I'm trying my hand at a few new things like hothouse tuberose and heirloom chrysanthemums this year, we'll see how those adventures go.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.