floral design - course or apprenticeship?

EWAApril 18, 2001

I am considering a career change to floral design. As a long term goal, I would like to own a floral design business for special events (out of my home). Since I have no background in floral design/arranging (other than my gardening and floral hobbies), I am unsure of appropriate first steps. I am currently brainstorming ideas - apply to local continuing education courses/certificates (higher $ investment) or seeking a mentor at local florists and working part-time as an apprentice. Any suggestions, feedback is appreciated.

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I can't help you but I'm thinking about a career change into floral design also. So, when you figure it out ... can you e-mail it to me at: mjpm52@hotmail.com. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2001 at 4:56PM
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Hi there,

Me too. Thinking of a career change into floral design. Let's keep one another posted if we manage to find out more information.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2001 at 4:21AM
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I would love to learn the art of Floral Design. I am working in Boston this summer and plan to move to the area after I finish school. Unfortunately, the Ritter School of Floral Design does not offer evening classes this summer. Does anybody know of other classes in the area which might be in the evening? Alternatively, does anyone know of a floral shop owner who might want an apprentice for some weekends this summer?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2001 at 5:03PM
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Marianne57(zone 3 Alberta)

I started working in a flower shop 18 years ago as a bookkeeper, graduated to making rose bowls, then arrangements, then weddings. Eight years ago I bought the shop I work in and LOVE it. I hire inexperienced help as I want to train them my way. Not all schools teach you properly - I had one part time staff spend $10,000.00 on a 9 month course and I believe I could have taught her more than the floral course did. She came back to my shop part time with all sorts of bad habits. Maybe it was the program she was in but in my opinion it was $10,000.00 down the drain. Try to get a job in a flower store and work up from there. You may eventually buy the shop like I did. By the way, my shop is for sale, interesed? I want to go traveling with hubby on his job and would like to be able to work part time/holiday/vacations. Go for your dreams. It's a lot of work, but if you like flowers, you will love to work in a flower store. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2001 at 5:10PM
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Here Here Marianne!

I couldn't have said it better myself, but...

I've been working in the floral industry for 15 years and love it. I do however see problems with the industry. Don't get me wrong I love what I do, but over the 15 years I've been in this business. I have definately come to realize there is a definate "Class Structure" within our industry.
I don't think there is anything wrong with anyone area. I just believe everyone has to figure out where they are comfortable and where they fit in.

I myself did graduate from two design schools, not because I had to but because I wanted to. I must say I have learned more on the job and by doing, but there are things you can learn at a reputable school you won't get elsewhere. Again I think for people wanting to get into this business you have to learn how to ask educated questions, and also look and learn by what is going on around you. Believe me thats the hardest part for most people, but I think its the one thing that REALLY seperates those in the business that are really successful from those that are just floundering.

In my 15 years of working with people in this industry, teaching design classes and lecturing to other industry professionals. I've come to realize that the people that are really successful are those that don't just love what they do, but they have a passion for it.

I hope anybody reading this that is wanting to get into this industry in some shape or form, realizes this is a huge subject. You are not going to get "IT" overnight and you are never going to know everything. If you ever get it in your head that you do know everything. That invisible roadblock will suddenly appear and life will shut down on you. I don't know if I'm one of those that has a passion for this crazy business. After getting into it right out of high school, and now looking at where I have been and where I'm going. I do know I will never completely leave this industry. It has become part of me and I will always be

    Bookmark   June 19, 2001 at 12:41PM
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TanyaZone5(z5 NY)

There are great classes at the Bronx Botanical Gardens towards a certificate in Floral Design. You can look it up at www.nybg.org Many people travel hours to take classes there (I only travel 1 hr for Landscape Architecture classes). I don't know where you are in NJ though. There are also great classes at Longwood Gardens in PA.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2001 at 10:00AM
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Any opinions on a certificate through the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2001 at 7:50PM
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Lots of very good and helpful advice here.

I've been in floral design for over 22 years and it's a fantastic way to earn a living. I learned design as an apprentice during high school and continued design throughout my entire college career. Upon graduating (A LONG time later), I took a few years off to persue my career for which I had been educated. I HATED it. I earned an advanced degree in Clinical Psych and thanks to managed care, it was just too difficult. Spending one hour with the patient and 2 hours with the insurance company was NO FUN!
I returned to floral design several years ago and learned that it's like riding a bike. I now work with several importers (one in particular) as a consulting designer in offering suggestions and buys for their ever changing seasonal products. It's a BLAST! I also teach floral design and a year ago I developed a "learn at home" series that I've put on video. We currently have over 20 video classrooms and 70 classes. I've had so many people want to attend classes, but just couldn't find the time, so I developed the video classrooms. I made them very inexpensive, since I really enjoy teaching people my art. We're expanding every month or so, adding new classes and such. We've developed a newsletter to keep you informed of new tricks & tips and handy places to go to learn more. Please, don't waste your time on those expensive classes like the previous poster spoke of. I've seen too many people walk out of those classes knowing little more than they did when they walked in. The usually don't teach REAL WORLD design. Those classes can be great if you want to create party pieces all day long, but it sure will be hard to find business if that's all you know how to do.
I don't want to list my business here, but I'll be happy to tell you how to get to our webpage if you're truly interested in learning floral design. Just drop me an email.
at AIofFA@aol.com
Best of luck,

    Bookmark   August 30, 2003 at 7:51AM
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butterflys(z5 NY)

Hi AIofFA Richard
Hi from butterflys (New York)
I am just curious to know. How long did you have to apprentice at a floral shop before you became an employee. Did it take a year or several months. I am taking floral design classes and thinking about apprentice at a flower shop. Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2003 at 8:20PM
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parischantelle(Vic Australia)

I own a floral design school in Australia,which has been established for 30 years.As in any industry you need to learn the basics first.It is often difficult breaking into the floral industry if you have no experience whatsover.
You will learn all the basics by studying at a floral design school.It is then up to you to practise at home to get your speed up.To work in a florist you need to be capable of doing good work and to be able to work quickly. Its best to use different varieties of flowers and foliage each time to practice with and you will then become familiar with handling different materials. Each florist shop will have there own ways of doing things. A good florist,once they know the basic techniques can adapt to any style,traditional and modern.Floristry is such a creative field and it brings a lot of joy to the person giving the flowers and to the person receiving them.It is hard work but the rewards are there for those with the right attitude and are willing to learn.If you are creative type of person its a great industry to become involved in.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2003 at 6:59AM
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Hi, I took a floral design course several years ago. I learned quite a bit of the mechanics of design, but nothing can compare with the experience of working in a shop. The one bad possibility of working in a shop though is the same as you find in every career...sometimes you have the bad luck to work with someone who makes you feel as if your work and design ability is inferior. If that happens, run, don't walk to another shop. There are many shops and most of the jobs I have gotten have been just by walking in and asking if they need help.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2003 at 3:58PM
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butterflys(z5 NY)

I would like to start a home business for flower arranging for weddings but don't know where to start. I have taken floral design classes. Does anyone know about this or have any idea how to start. thanks

    Bookmark   March 29, 2004 at 8:53PM
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