Do you ever daydream about spending your days surrounded by beautiful varieties of spray roses, perennial flowers and rows of rustic floral vases laden with fresh blooms? Does the sight and smell of hanging dried flower bouquets bring you immense joy? Do you derive great satisfaction from applying your flower arranging knowledge and artistic flair to create stunning floral designs? Pursuing a career in floristry is one of those romantic jobs many people dream of. Who doesn’t want to work in an environment imbued with a sense of calm, serenity and cheerfulness that encourages a sense of creativity?
We are often approached by creative individuals curious to find out the best way to commence a career in floristry; hence, this blog post will be dedicated to offering some valuable advice on the topic. Having passion for flowers and a knack for design alone might not be enough to help you succeed in this field. The floral industry is always evolving and innovating; many floral retailers are using technology to enhance their customer experience and flower delivery services in order to remain competitive in an on-demand economy. Thus, it would be beneficial to keep abreast of the latest industry trends while constantly looking for new inspiration to inform and update the flower arrangement designs that you create.
Take for example, Dutch startup; Bloomon’s innovative way to market to millennials through their flower subscription service. Bouquets are specially designed by flower stylists according to seasons and trends. Each seasonal collection draws inspiration from the latest trends in fashion and design which appeal to young adults.
Read on as we give you the low-down on the realities of the job, ways to cultivate your own floral arrangement style and build up your portfolio as well as what it takes becoming a florist!
Understand the realities of the job
Working with flowers is certainly rewarding but not always glamorous. While you may be enjoying the scent of the most beautiful blooms all day, the behind-the-scenes work of floral designers requires lots of preparation and hard work. Most florists tend to be early risers in order to cut, process and condition the first batch of flowers before the opening of business.
Working in a flower shop isn’t just about flower arrangement but equally important, the handling of customers’ enquiries and orders. Furthermore, working conditions during holiday seasons such as Valentine’s Day can be quite stressful due to the overwhelming number of orders to fulfill. And because flowers are perishable and susceptible to wilting and bruising if kept too long, florist are in a perpetual race against time to make sure that each bouquet remains fresh by the time they arrive at the client’s doorstep. There is also the pressure of meeting unforeseen deadlines when additional or last-minute orders are made for special occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries.
Now that you are familiar with the upsides and downsides of the job, it is time to see if you possess the right attributes and personality for the job.
Floral designers should possess the following specific qualities to succeed in this role:
- Creativity: Floral design is a creative field. Each flower arrangement is a work of art that takes a lot of hard work and effort to create. Floral designers have to tap on their artistic ability and knowledge about flowers and foliage to create design appropriate to the occasion.
- Artistic ability: Floral designers need to understand art, style and ways to arrange flowers with good colour combination to create unique designs.
- Customer service: Most florists don’t focus solely on making flower arrangements and fulfilling orders. They spend a substantial amount of time talking to customers, taking orders over the phone and speaking to wholesale and retail flower suppliers. Some florists even hold flower arrangement and crafting workshops for individual or corporate clients.
- Organization skills: Floral designers need to be well-organized to keep on top of multiple orders and complicated projects such as weddings and events.
- Tenacity: Tasks such as scrubbing flower fridges, sweeping floors and bleaching flower buckets are common especially when you are starting out in floristry. Being a florist is a lot more labour-intensive than most would assume (think: hauling heavy buckets of water and unpacking large orders of flowers and foliage). In order to succeed, one has to be persistent and tenacious even when the going gets tough.
Build a flower portfolio
“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin
I love this quote because it reminds us that it is difficult to maintain consistent achievement in any field without regular practice. Likewise, lots of practice is required with floral designing to become an expert at it. Don’t be disappointed if you can’t produce foliage-heavy masterpieces from the get-go or master the principles of balance, proportion and repetition when creating your arrangements. Be spontaneous! Try to create inexpensive, one-of-a-kind displays by foraging for wild flowers or buying mismatched blooms.
As you begin building your portfolio, discover your flower arrangement style and how you want to improve. Some days you might choose to create a minimalist Ikebana arrangement while on other days, you might be inspired to arrange a round mound arrangement with an exuberant display of Zinnias. Be creative; take a deep breath and don’t stress too much how good the arrangement looks at the end. Be sure to document your hard work by taking pictures of your end product. Remember to capture the flower arrangement in a way that reflects the client profiles you want to get hired by and showcase your work on a website, Instagram or a printed portfolio for easy reference.
Besides practicing, you can pick up books from your local library or bookstores on flower arranging for beginners. You can read up and acquire knowledge on how to condition flowers and foliage, arrange flowers of complementary colours and even learn how to set up floral displays. If you know of a florist you admire, study their work and their style of floral arrangement to hone your skills and get inspired!
Learn the craft on the job
It is not enough to read up flower arranging books and practicing your skills at home. Consider gaining firsthand experience in floral design by taking on an apprenticeship at a local florist whose work you admire. Learning on the job would help you to gain work experience and introduce you to the real work of floral design. Many florists begin their career working as a cashier or delivery person at a floral shop. If apprenticeships are hard to come by, consider working part-time or as a temp during peak holiday seasons such as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Opportunities for on the job training may come more often when floral arrangement orders are in high demand.
Be prepared that there will be a lot of hard work involved. For those starting out in floristry, the first few months on the job may consist of early mornings or late evenings, plenty of weekends burnt, sweeping floors and hauling dirty buckets of water. But do remember that this is a good place to start as it tests your attitude and passion in order to become a successful florist in the future!
At 24HRS City Florist, we are constantly on the lookout for passionate individuals who have a genuine interest in flower arrangement to join our florist team. Our holistic on the job training seeks to provide learning opportunities not only in the area of flower arrangement but also in managing daily operations of running a floral shop such as dealing with customer inquiries, processing of orders and deliveries. Dedicated and capable individuals will be given ample opportunities to showcase their artistry and technical skills.
Seek formal training
Taking up formal training in private floral schools and vocational schools can be very helpful whether you plan on working as a floral designer at a florist or open your own floral business. Take time to decide which programs/ classes best suit your needs and interests. Programs/ classes in design and caring technique for flowers, floral design concepts and flower and plant identification are widely available.
A few courses that we would recommend are as follows:
- Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications System for Floristry (Floristry WSQ)
The WSQ Qualification Pathways consists of 4 Levels
|Level 1||WSQ Certificate in Floristry Operations|
|Level 2||WSQ Higher Certificate in Floristry Operations|
|Level 3||WSQ Advanced Certificate in Floristry Supervision|
|Level 4||WSQ Diploma in Floristry Management|
More information can be found via the link below
- Nitec in Floristry
- Condition flowers and foliage.
- Arrange flowers with good colour combination and according to design requirements.
- Pack gift baskets and hampers.
- Set up floral displays at event venue.
- Operate floristry shop.
More information can be found via the link below
- Nobleman School of Floral Design (NSFD)
NSFD offers an array of floral design courses from basic to intermediate and professional level.
More information can be found via the link below
Starting a career in floristry is not always a bed of roses (excuse the pun). There is a lot of hard work and determination involved to succeed in this field. Prospective floral designers must not only know about arranging flowers to look fabulous, they must also be multi-skilled, creative and dedicated to their craft. Preparing and building a professional portfolio would go a long way to show your best work to potential employers and clients. Pursuing a professional course in floristry will also equip you with the right skill sets for the job.
Now that you know what it takes to start out as a floral designer, go forth and make your mark in the industry! Nothing is more rewarding than the gratification of being able to produce spectacular floral arrangements that brings a smile to somebody’s face.
Read also: Making the Bold Move To Becoming A Florist
Written by: Krystal Loh , Models: Ethel, Rachel , Alicia, Jasmine