At Venus ET Fleur®, we have nothing but gratitude and admiration for florists. Whether local to your community or on staff with us, hand-designing gorgeous arrangements of Eternity® Roses, florists are, quite simply, miracle workers.
The talents and craft of gifted florists bring us nearer to beauty and grace. Their labors bring smiles to our faces and tug at our heartstrings. They use these gifts not only to express their own creative ambition, but to help us express our love, our gratitude, our condolences, and so much more through the language of flowers. This is a complex art, and to become a florist is no simple task.
To succeed as a florist, one needs not only to love flowers—although this is a good start—one also needs creativity, drive, and the practical skills that the flower business requires, which, though available to anyone willing to learn, often calls for training.
The aim of this guide is to set the aspiring florist on a practical path to professional success. Our aim is to be succinct yet also realistic in our assessment of the craft and its requirements, and as such, is only a starting point for the aspirants among you. So with all this said, where do you begin your journey to becoming a florist?
Be Sure of What You Want as a Florist
As with any new undertaking, the essential first step, before jumping in head first, is to take stock of what you want and need. Does your interest in floristry burn with a passion, or is this just a subject of curiosity? Is this something you see yourself practicing for a career, possibly for the rest of your life? Or do you only wish to deal in flowers on a part-time basis? Are you willing to spend time and personal expense on deepening your education in the craft?
The answers to these questions will offer you a gauge on just how committed you are to the floral trade. Many of our desires are changeable or subject to passing fancy—and this is only human! But when it comes to the weighty decision of choosing a profession, such questions are important.
It is also worth asking whether or not you’re comfortable with the prospect of self-employment or entrepreneurship, given that floristry is a relatively small business. In fact, data from 2019 indicates that around one in four florists in the United States are self-employed!
Given these statistics, it may be more difficult to find a traditional wage-paying job as a florist than with other industries. On the flip side, this means that those given to entrepreneurial ventures will be well-suited to the flower business.
The Merits of Formal Education
It will come as no shock to you that, like just about every other profession, formal training programs have been set up to accommodate our society’s need for gifted florists. Trade schools and college-based training are the go-to for anyone looking for this sort of education.
A number of colleges and universities offer courses in the floral arts and sciences. These may vary from purpose-built training facilities to a more traditional classroom environment that can involve the odd use of perishable materials or visitation of off-site floral facilities. If this interests you, we encourage you to do your research on relevant schools, whether in your area or abroad, as well as to seek the advice of experienced professionals.
Consider branching out, opportunity permitting, into the areas of botany, horticulture, permaculture, or any of the associated branches of study concerning cultivation and the study of plants. A vertically integrated approach to study such as this can allow you to recognize business opportunities before they become matters of public knowledge. Similarly, courses on business and marketing can prove invaluable, particularly given how entrepreneur-focused the flower business can be.
Get Some Hands-On Experience
It’s no secret that the quickest way to learn is by doing. And while there is no clear “best way” to launch your prospective career as a floral designer, it can’t hurt to start by working with a seasoned florist.
By taking on an apprenticeship, or even a part-time job at a flower shop, you’ll get to see exactly what the day-to-day business calls for, the expected behaviors (and expected blooms) that customers are sure to call on you for.
There is nothing wrong whatsoever in starting your floral career as a cashier, stock-person, or delivery person. We all have to start somewhere, and there are a lot of lessons to be learned from the ground up.
What others might consider a passing or temporary position might provide you with important insights, tips, and tricks. Pay close attention to the habits and techniques of your employer or mentor, and never be afraid to ask relevant questions when unclear or confused. If you play your cards right, you can gain a wealth of hard-knock experience not covered in any textbook or classroom.
It’s More Than Just Flowers—Market Yourself
After completing your basic education and spending a good chunk of time honing the fundamentals of your craft, the time will eventually come to prove your ability to work in the world as not just the artist that you are, but a professional.
One basic yet fundamental piece of advice is to keep a clean and up-to-date resume and CV. Not only will this help you keep track of your accomplishments, but it can also be an effective advertisement for your services and experience to have at the ready on any and all online platforms. How else will your prospective clients know just how amazing you are?
It’s also key to maintain an active and dynamic social media presence. Never miss an opportunity to amply record your magnificent creations, captioning them with lively and unforgettable descriptions. There’s no shortage of stories of contemporary florists who got their foothold in the industry by becoming Instagram sensations.
Lastly, build a reputation by cultivating your own community. It can pay to give free flowers to your friends so that they’ll hype you up by posting the arrangement on social media—including information about you for their followers. Some florists like to send complimentary arrangements to influencers in the hopes that they, too, will post about their work. Neither of these ideas is fool-proof, but the savvy business owner knows when and when not to charge for a product.
Know Your Audience
There is no one single path to success in the floral industry. Some florists sell their arrangements to individual customers through their own shops, and some wholesale large quantities to businesses, such as those very same retailers. Others run more specialty businesses that operate exclusively over the internet.
As sellers, each of these entrepreneurs must be experts in their specific area, pointing their clients to the proper options for each specific occasion, helping them to choose from among the many different varieties and aesthetics of flowers.
For much of history, it was the case that most of a florist’s clientele would come in off the street to purchase the odd bouquet or a single arrangement. These days, with so much business being done on the internet, consumers are often searching for something more specialized, such as customized arrangements for weddings, holidays, parties, and funerals.
It’s important that you know exactly the volume of business you’re able and willing to handle and to then tailor your marketing and client outreach for this type of business. This process is complicated and will likely involve trial and error, but you need to keep an eye on your audience at all times.
Well, we never said becoming a florist would be easy. But nothing in life worth having ever is! We hope this guide has been of some help to you, whether you’re setting off on the first steps of your journey towards being a florist or are a semi-seasoned professional looking for a second opinion.
The challenges that any business owner faces in the day-to-day would surely send many of us screaming for the hills. But if flowers are your passion, these challenges are well worth it. Above all, always remember that floral design is chiefly about creativity, passion, a little bit of luck, and a great deal of patience. Maintaining all of these qualities is the best path towards bringing clientele in and creating a unique community of your own.