We are approached almost every day by creatives who are wanting to know the best way to commence a career as a floral designer so I thought it would be valuable to offer some advice on the topic.
A good place to start is to simply approach a florist you would love to work in see if they offer work experience. While the work you do will be limited, you will get to see behind the scenes and experience the hard work that each day brings. What often surprises those new to the industry is that it is an extremely physical job that is rarely glamorous. You really must be fit and of good general health. Setting up a large event or corporate display can be a workout in itself and there is never room for error.
A great time of year to approach florists for work experience is a couple of months before peak times such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and the Wedding Season (from September-May). Do not expect to be given any design responsibilities, regardless of qualifications, especially with weddings.
I must emphasise again that working with flowers is not always glamorous. It requires a lot of preparation work prior to getting creative and cleaning constantly throughout the day. You can be enjoying the scent of the most beautiful blooms one minute, and be completely sickened when cleaning an old vase the next.
When I started floristry, for the first six months my days consisted of 4am starts, sweeping floors, bleaching flower buckets, scrubbing flower fridges, minimum 10 hour days and no creativity, all on minimum wage. But this is where we all start, and attitude is everything if you want to progress, especially for the first couple of years.
Once you have had a taste of working in a florist you will know fairly quickly whether you would like to pursue a career in floristry. If you haven’t started already, the next logical step is to partake in some formal training. While there are many courses to choose from, always choose a course which will give you a qualification in the end. In the very least it shows potential employers that you possess a level of commitment to the craft.
There are also private courses available which are not accredited. These are great for fun and play and also to meet like minded creatives, but not necessarily the best investment of your time and money if you are looking for a foothold in the industry.
While there are more course options available, here are a few to start with: