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Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Posted by froeschli Toronto 6b (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 10, 14 at 15:01

i have a new project: creating a web catalog for a local vendor =D

so, let me just pick your brains (yum yum)

when you go to a vendors site, do you look for:

- specific varieties
- sizes & growing habit (minis, trailers etc)
- hybridizers
- attributes (bloom color, foliage type, etc)

or do you just like browsing pretty pictures like me?

And, speaking of images, what do like to see?
blossoms seem to be standard practice, usually a leaf or two as well, but i don't see much in ways of size reference and growing pattern (full plant shot)...

Thanks for the input, it's greatly appreciated

Karin

P.S. This is more of a portfolio project - i am doing it for the freebies of course :-)
organizing the structure, photographing the plants, and then letting the vendor fill in the information. win/win.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

For me, the more information the better. I think photo size reference could be deceiving because a lot depends on how the plant was grown. We all have different environments. I do like to see pics of the plant in bloom.


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

It depends, I guess. If I'm shopping, I am likely to be looking for specific varieties or maybe types. Of course, I do just look around a lot.

Ideally, I like a photo of the whole plant. Bloomlovers has quite a few of these. Violet Barn is hit and miss. Lyons has the worst photographs - I would be hard pressed to pick out my varieties from most of their photos. Some do not even match the descriptions. (I was trying to id Snuggles which I'd grown for years and now I have two candidates.) They have a few that link to a plant photo.

As to size, I think usually the class and description suffices unless it's something like Teeny Bopper. I wasn't really prepared for that one! Yes, photos of the plant in bloom are excellent but I do understand that they aren't always possible. Still, I think it's the best.

If they have something I really want, I will order a leaf without a photo, of course, but then I have other places to find the variety.

Congratulations and good luck! You'll do a good job.

Diana


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Wow, Karin,
What an exciting project! Congratulations!!!
You might want to check out the work of Anne Marie Keene, her website if Fuzzy Foliage.
I would like to see the whole plant. Optimara shows the whole plant. But has very generic descriptions. Lyon's only shows one blossom and one leaf but has good descriptions.
They also have their newest varities that can be
viewed separately.
Joanne

This post was edited by fortyseven on Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 2:07


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

I like my trailers and chimeras separate. Some of them have them mixed in and that can be confusing. It would work if it were Minis and then a trailer section under that but that doesn't seem necessary in most cases since it's leaf size that dictates whether they are mini, semi or standard.

Violet Barn has some chimeras mixed in with regular ones, maybe thinking you wouldn't find them otherwise. I don't know why.

One thing that might be nice is if they have an extensive selection of something, that can be listed separately. It could be Mac's or Rob's or whatever. People will seek that out. There are people looking for species, for instance.

Diana


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Thanks for the input!
It's just going to be a very simple site, practically a photo catalog with descriptions, and the option to sort by categories, or search for key words.
The main thing is to decide how to structure the whole thing, and that is where it's important to understand what is important to the audience...
I think I have it pretty much nailed down, just some fine tuning left to do.

I'll post a link when I've got it organized :-)

Karin


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Back in the early days of collecting, I would have preferred to sort by color. So an alphabetical listing was the least useful for me, unless it had all the hybridizers together as the first letter of the alphabet. Joanne

This post was edited by fortyseven on Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 2:09


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Joanne,

The problem with sorting by color (something that never occurred to me on a vendor's site) would seem to come up with Optimara. Have you ever tried to look for their "purples" say? It fast becomes obvious that purple is in the eye of the beholder, and that there are a lot of bicolored violets. It was an interesting idea, but I think you'd run into problems.

I never could decide quite what color Taffeta Petticoats was and I've seen it described in a couple of ways so I'm not alone - it's some kind of odd pink, but a good grower. Lyon's description really doesn't quite cut it, BTW.

A couple of vendors do let you go to the R's or whatever which can help. Then you know they don't have Raging Bull or whatever you were looking for. That's probably real although I made it up.
Karin,

Keep us informed because I'm nosy ;). There are some pitfalls to photos too. You don't want lousy ones. I've seen some comments re one place's. Bloomlovers are not all their own although I expect quite a few are. I recognize some as past show plants and know mine would never look like that. I guess Lyons just doesn't feel the need to do any better. Others didn't want to order from Travis because of no photos. Some of Violet Gallery's linked to Bluebird's photos so it wasn't like you were seeing their own plants all the time either.

Diana


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Well, I sent her a sample page, but haven't heard back. She hasn't given me any info yet, so i just made up a name and filled in some blanks...
Photos are partially hers and mine, i intend to do some proper shots when i actually meet her this weekend.

I did not create the template, just picked one i think would work and adjusted it to my liking. created some menus and categories - though i will have to sit down and turn the hybridizers one into a dropdown (too many of them), and also add 'chimeras' and 'russian varieties' to the categories.
As i said, i have not heard back, so it's totally possible she hates it and has changed her mind :-p

Here is a link that might be useful: what do you think


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Hi, Diana,
i was thinking more about Lyon's website offering the option to sort by color rather than Optimara. Actually, Optimara does offer an option to sort by color.
I collected systematically by color. In my first year, only the dark purples. They could have a geneva edge, that was ok.

Many garden catalogues sort by color,so it seemed logical to expect the same with AVs, specially for the novice.

With Optimaras, their colors do not vary that much within the range of purple. Same with their reds.

Thanks,
Joanne


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Karin,
WOW! It is gorgeous. The photography is fabulous!
Suggest she might want to put the names only under the violets and put the descriptions on the back page with the order form. Or keep the descriptions to the basics, such as name, hybridizer, and type
I love the name, too, Toronto Violets.

Joanne

This post was edited by fortyseven on Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 2:11


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

It really depends on what I'm shopping for. If I'm shopping for a particular size, I like to be able to look by category (mini. semis, standards, large, trailers, chimeras, vintage). Other times I'm just interested in what they look like or I'm looking for just variegated ones.

I agree that Lyon's has the worst for pictures because I want to see the plant and it's shape leafing pattern and you just can't get that from a leaf and a flower.

I also like to see the full description so, if I get it, I can catalog it correctly and completely in my records.


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

I'd love to take credit for the layout, but it's just a simple portfolio theme I found. Only issue with that, I can't adjust the layout other than the colours and menus.
But it does everything it needs to do :-)


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Optimara does the best job, you can see the close up and the whole plant.
Joanne

This post was edited by fortyseven on Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 2:12


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

I thought I posted, but must not have finished.

Karin,

It looks really nice. I want those descriptions with the photos. Are the photos with the plant stand the owner's? I find that a bit distracting, but I'm easily distracted. The plants look nice. The photos may be a bit large, not for me, but they always seem smaller and I assume that's for a good reason.

I just never wanted to sort by color, but maybe that's me. The only reason I've tried it with Optimara was for id purposes and it seems awkward. Several of them do let you go to the R's so you can see that they don't have whatever you're looking for ;). It can be especially helpful if you want to skip a bunch of something or find a bunch of something (Aca's, Allegro's, Jolly's, Rob's, etc.)

Ebay would seem to prove that a beautiful photo sells plants though. If that's the goal... Some vendors really don't seem that interested in sales. I hope I'm not repeating, but some people have not ordered because of what they think they see in photos too and some don't order from Travis because of no photos. Just be sure the plant photos show healthy plants. (someone felt there were signs of thrips on one vendor's photos, probably unfair, but I saw it mentioned).

The biggest flaw I'm seeing is that this is in Canada :(

Diana


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Lol, that's the biggest plus! ;-p
Yeah, I was hoping to try for a more standardized look for the photographs, but lacking actual shots, I took some of hers, and some of mine to give her an idea of what it might end up looking like. (I once showed a photographer a layout, without sample content, and he just couldn't imagine the finished product. Sad really.)
I'll do some more work on it tonight, I had a 'revelation' so to speak on how to simplify the menus :-)


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

I figured you just used what was available. Sometimes that's what you have to do.

You're right to give her an idea of what it would look like. Using her own photos was a good move too really even with the plant stand :).

Diana


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Grats on the Photos!

I just checked out the site for an update on things and I think the pictures are coming along quite well!


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Karin, your pictures are beautiful and stunning! One small comment: a couple have a strange perspective to me-makes me a little dizzy! Frozen in time-the first, and the full blown one of Optimara Little Coral. No big deal though-it's probably just me.

I've never seen such gorgeous pictures and yes-it makes me want to buy them!

Can we buy violets from Canada to ship to the US? I'm already bookmarking a few.... :-)

Best,
Judy


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Actually, she's been taking most of her own photos lately - the deal was to set her up and get her started :-) but I will let her know you guys like the photos!

Thanks,

Karin


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Hi, Judy,
Several on this Forum buy violets from a vendor in Canada called BloomLovers, so it seems that it is possible. The postage might be a little higher. Anyway, Bloomlovers ships to the U.S. It probably depends on the vendor if they want to ship to the U.S. or not.
In the state where I live, a certificate is supposed to accompany the plants, either taped to the outside of the box, or included inside, stating where the plants came from and that they were inspected to be free of insects and disease.
The outside of the box is supposed to state that the contents are live plants, in case a postal inspector wants to open and inspect the contents.

Colorado might not require that extra step.

Anyway, for that reason, I have not attempted to order from Canada myself.

I came across a list of Canadian hybridizers a while ago.
There are many! And they produced many varieties!
So, we are missing out on a lot!

I say, go for it, and let us know how it works out!

Joanne


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Bloomlovers is in Canada, but very near the US boarder, so for US shipment she drives into the US to ship from a US post office..


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

I am not sure if Liliya, whom I set the site up for, has got quite as far as organizing international shipping yet. I am sure she will do it down the road though. If there is enough interest.
Being located in toronto, I could see her driving to Niagara to do shipments to the US, like bloomlovers does.

Karin


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

Thanks folks-good to know! I may email Lilya and ask her! There was a comment further up that said they order by looks and I must admit I'm still partially in that state of the game! :-)

Though I've learned a few things about some hybrids, I'm certainly willing to learn some more, especially when the pictures look so, well, scrumptious! :-)

Best,
Judy


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

That is really good information that she ships in the U.S.. Now I feel I can order from Bloomlovers. Before that information, I did not think she would be able to ship to my state, which has restrictions.
Joanne


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 27, 14 at 9:07

Yes, the photographs are good...and I am doing something similar, though less blatantly graphical. I firmly believe for plants, photos and impulse buys are married.

My client is very concerned with speed, so I had to make the photos click only (vs mainline content)...and given that a lot of people that are her clientele live rurally, I think she has a valid point. Frankly, there are still some folks that can't get anything better than a dialup connection (less than 56k probably too)...so too many graphics are a bad idea there.


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RE: Question for you African Violet shoppers...

dbarron,

That's really great! It must be so much fun!

And really-about modems-we had only that (19.x k!) until 2005 when I desperately needed something faster for work! So there must still be many folks out there-who may or may not be very internet-addicted-who have the same issues. It's very wise of you and her to consider that! There is no doubt impulse buying is very much connected with pictures! I'm a prime example! :-)

This post was edited by judyj on Wed, Aug 27, 14 at 19:32


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