So you want to become a florist. Welcome to the crazy (all consuming) world of flowers and everything that goes along with it! I honestly love my career. Believe me when I say it’s not a career you can do if you DON’T love it! I am so grateful I’ve had the opportunity to work in floristry since the age of 16 (oh my, SO many years ago) and I’m not trying to put you off this amazing career, but, there are some things I wish I’d known before becoming a florist, and I’m going to share these with you today.
So … let’s get started!
My number one thing I wish I knew before I became a florist – it’s not just about pretty flowers.
Maybe this already seems obvious to you, but when I applied for that traineeship all those years ago I honestly thought my whole day would be spend doing pretty creative things. Now don’t get me wrong there is A LOT of pretty, but there are also some jobs that are at the other end of the scale. To name but a few; getting up at 5 in the morning, removing thorns off 5000+ roses in a couple of hours (ouch right?!) bleaching buckets, been on your feet all day, the cold winter weather (flowers don’t much care for lovely warm 20degree offices) and don’t even get me started on the smell of week old flowers that have been returned from a business customer. Floristry is not just about arranging the pretty, its also about all the hard work behind the scenes.
Number two – you are not just selling flowers
The second thing I wish I’d known about becoming a florist is that you’re not just selling flowers you need to be able to wear multiple hats. What on earth do I mean about wearing multiple hats? It’s the way my family have always described been able to switch from one thing to another, quickly and efficiently. Let me explain with a real-life example…
A customer comes into your store and is looking around. Hat number 1 – Sales Person You want to greet that customer and try to guide them to what they are looking for. If they want a bouquet you need to switch to Hat number 2 – Product Designer You are now designing a bouquet by sight for them with only a few momtns planning. Switch to Hat number 3 – Manufacturing you’re off to manufacture and make your bouquet for the right price. Hat number 4 – Packaging wrapping that bouquet and making it look all kinds of gorgeous! Then we return to Hat 1 – Sales Person for finalising the sale and making sure your customer leaves with a huge smile on their face.
So in about 10 minutes, you’ve done 4 different roles, whilst engaging with the customer at the same time. That’s a lot of hats, right?
In bigger organisations you’d have whole teams of people working under each of these hats but often floristry is either a solo all small business and you need to be able to put on these different hats at a moment’s notice.
If you are a florist business owner there are even more things you need to be thinking about in fact There will be a whole other blog post about the things I wish I knew before I became a flower business owner.
Number three – its hard work, really hard work!
And finally the third thing I wish I knew before I became a florist is (drum roll please) … That’s its jolly hard work! The hours can be incredibly long in fact in peak seasons, I’ve been known to regularly knock 18 hour days out of the park, week in week out. So if you like your sleep, floristry may not be the best career option for you. And not only do you need to be able to do these long hours, you absolutely still need to be in a position to show up for each and every single client, giving them the best experience, even though you are exhausted!
We always say in our family that floristry is all consuming. There are a lot of sacrifices that you may have to make at the beginning of your floristry career and sleep is definitely one of them!
Gosh I feel like I’m leaving this post on a total downer! I definitely don’t want you to leave disheartened about what I’ve said, but it’s so important when you’re considering starting a new career that you understand some of the pro’s and cons. To balance out those negative vibes, in a few weeks time I’m going to put together the 3 best things about been a florist.
To read more honest advise about the flower industry, head over to our other Flower Business posts here