Most of us are familiar with the iconic international event that features an impressive display of athletic competition between the best athletes in the world. However, not as many may be aware that every four years there is also a similar worldwide competition that shines the spotlight on competition between the best floral designers in the world, known as Interflora World Cup. Since 1972, Interflora World Cup has been hosted by different countries around the world, showcasing the most talented floral designers from around the globe. It is the world’s most prestigious design competition in the industry, where competitors from over 20 countries battle it out against the clock to create stunning pieces of floral art with the hopes of claiming the title of World Champion.
The 2023 Interflora World Cup. will take place in Manchester, England from September 7-9, where competitors will participate in six different heats over three days of competition. This year’s theme is “Our Natural World.” Competitors will create designs that concentrate on sustainability and natural materials, so judges will be looking for designs that showcase respect for nature and the environment. Competitors will face tough tasks under strict time conditions. The best of the best will be pushed to their creative limits with some tasks given in advance for designers to prepare, while others will be surprise tasks that require quick thinking.
This year, FTD and Smithers-Oasis North America are proud to sponsor competitor Lea Romanowski AIFD, who will be representing Canada in the Interflora World Cup. Lea was the winner of the 2022 Maple Leaf Cup, which earned her the honor of representing her country in this year’s Interflora World Cup. Now that she’s outshone some of the best floral designers in Canada, Lea is ready to show off her skills on the worldwide stage, and hopefully come out on top as the 2023 Interflora World Cup Champion!
We recently spoke to Lea Romanowski to learn more about her floral background, how she’s developed her love of the industry, and how she’s feeling leading up to the 2023 Interflora World Cup.
How did you get started in the floral industry?
Truly by accident! I had a summer job that ended due to an accident, so I had to find another job. My boyfriend Steve’s mother happened to own a flower shop and needed help. What began as a short summer job meant to fill the time before starting my post-secondary education, ultimately became my passion and my future! Ever since then, I have never once looked back or longed to be a paramedic or architect. I feel like the floral industry chose me!
"I feel like the floral industry chose me!”
Click the images below to view gallery.
Photos courtesy of Lea Romanowski AIFD
Briefly tell us about your floral design background.
From the very beginning of my floral experience, I was taught 4 designs and had to sink or swim. I’m so glad I went right from the frying pan and into the fire because it forever prepared me for the true pace of floral holidays. I wouldn’t change it for the world!
I take every opportunity to learn everything about floral design by attending industry conventions, symposiums, hands-on workshops, or self-educating with books. I took Ikebana lessons for two years and studied really hard to achieve several accreditations – Canadian Accredited Floral Designer (CAFD), Canadian Academy of Floral Art (CAFA) and American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). I’ve continued to share my knowledge and passion throughout my 20 years of teaching floral design at Mount Royal University.
Some of the highlights of my floral career include working as an assistant floral coordinator for the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, winning the Maple Leaf Cup design competition twice, working at the Juno Canadian Music Awards four times as a designer, taking 3rd place in the Gateway to the Americas Cup design competition, participating in the Rose Parade®, working as part of the Canadian team at the 2019 Fleuramour in Belgium and working with Danziger’s Florsani Farm in Ecuador.
Why do you want to compete in the World Cup?
First, I can’t wait to learn from all the competitors. As an educator myself, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Second, I love to be challenged. Setting goals and achieving them excites me, and the World Cup is the ultimate challenge. I’m excited to represent Canada and show the world my style of floral art.
"Setting goals and achieving them excites me, and the World Cup is the ultimate challenge.”
What are you most looking forward to at the World Cup?
I am most looking forward to meeting all the competitors and their assistants; everyone there loves flowers! It’s going to be amazing being part of the positive energy in Manchester, especially with this being the 100-year celebration of Interflora!
What has your road to the World Cup looked like so far?
BUSY!!! There are so many deadlines to meet, decisions to make, and designs to plan, all while juggling my business and taking care of my family. On top of that, I also try to remember to take care of myself, mind, body, and spirit. Preparing for this competition is an enormous task and a responsibility that I don’t take lightly.
What are you hoping to learn and/or take away from the competition?
Obviously, I’d love a trophy! I’m sure we all hope to take home the title, or we wouldn’t be competing. No matter what, I’d be happy knowing I did my absolute best in the competition.
FTD, Smither-Oasis North America and all of Lea’s supporters wish her lots of luck at the 2023 Interflora World Cup and we can’t wait to see her art and passion for the industry come to life with her floral designs!0