any professional florists here?

Mustangrose(cold 8 - PNW)January 10, 2005

I am interested in how you became a florist, it is something i am very interested in myself. I am unsure how to start. No community college offers courses around here, but there is a school called the Floral Design Institute. They offer a basic floral design course, 6 weeks, about $2,000. Anybody have any advice? Thanks!

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lmariesteve(z5 OH)

As a designer of 32 years, I feel it is important that you realize that while the job is rewarding in many ways, it is not going to pay well. It is a hard job with a lot of stress around holiday times. You do not have any benefits. Most shops are family owned and cannot offer insurance to its employees. It is hard on your body standing in one spot for long periods of time, cleaning flowers involves carrying heavy buckets of water. When I had a husband, these things didn't matter to me because I was making the "extra" money for the kids needs while he was the main bread winner. We also had insurance through his employment. He died of cancer 4 years ago and left me with two teenage boys that needed to go to college. I cannot support a family on what I make. My in-laws help me out financially as well as the kids got SSI until they turned 18 and graduated from high school. I am making below poverty level. I hate to be a downer, but, in this day and age I highly recommend spending your money to persue another career that will offer better pay and benefits. If you are bound and determined to become a florist- save your money and try to find a job as an apprentice in a "real" flower shop. No classroom will teach you like on the job training.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2005 at 11:33PM
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Hi! I am sorry to say that she is right. It is a rewarding business to be in but none of the rewards are financial. In my area it pays about minimum wage and I had no benefits. I spent alot of my time delivering the bouquets that I made. I got into the business by going door to door till someone had an opening. They asked me to show them what I knew, which was little but I had talent. I quit after 5 months and went to a floral warehouse. I still enjoy making bouquets for friends and family with the flowers that I get to bring home from my job. I have often thought of opening my own shop. I still miss it.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 6:32PM
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by the standards of my own home town, I'm never going to be anything but poor- hasn't stopped me from buying a house, just kept me out of the fancy zip codes, eh?

there's a point where you have to make a choice between doing something bland for a living so you can afford to buy yourself enough toys to make up for your bland job... or choose to do something you love enough that you prefer it to the toys-

trust me, we paid for the downpayment on our house with the money we didn't spend on cel phones, fancier cars, or cable (yes, you heard me-went 4 years without any TV at all, the one we have isn't hooked up to anything but the VCR)

but $2K's an awful lot of money for what? a certificate that's not going to mean anything to anyone but the school who took your money- I'd start off asking them embarassing questions about job placement.

if you have the money to sink into education- put it towards something practical, like a 'how to keep your own books' class at the local community college that will give you skills you can't learn on your own...or basic 2 and 3-design classes (never had a teacher have a prolbem with me using 'found objects' in class, like statice and beargrass!)

while you're there, start borrowing books. art books. design books, horticultural books- what money there is isn't in bouquets, it's in bulk arrangements (which are honestly a pain, and something of a risk) and nursery type things like cyclamen and houseplants- but that's a bad thing to get in to unless you can keep them alive!

work in a nursery. work in a green house. work for as many florists as you can find- because they all do something different. join a garden club or three...lmarie's got that part down pat- nothing teaches like experience. and one's way with a spray is secondary to one's way with customers, inventory control, and accounting.

trust me. the only reason I've never bankrupted myself is because I've always gone the word of mouth, low overhead, freelance route. takes longer- but I'm not looking to win 'business witch of the year' either. I just wanted my hobbies to pay for themselves.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 2:29PM
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Mustang, sorry to hear you are having a hard time finding a class to take. I just had my first floral design/plant care class tonight. It was a lot of fun, we even got to take out flower arrangements home with us. The class was $20.00 and the lab fee is $12.00 for each of the four classes. I am taking mine through through the local high school adult education classes. I hope you can find a cheaper way of learning than the $2,000.00 class.
Glad to hear the discussion from the people that are already in the floral trade. I have been wanting to get into the business for a couple of years now, but it's hard to without the experience. I have worked at a greenhouse for 5 years now, and I am in charge of doing the baskets and arrangements there. I thought that might be helpful, but they are definately two different trades. I was hoping to get into the floral trade because the greenhouse work is so difficult, I might have to rethink that now.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 9:51PM
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Betz11(8 UT)

I am assuming that PNW stands for Pacific Northwest. If that is the area you are in, you should have no problem finding garden clubs in which to get involved. Try to find one that is a member of National Garden Clubs, Inc. They have a program that teaches people to become flower show judges, and in order to be a judge you have to go through training in both horticulture and design. You would be surprised how much you learn, and it is a good way to get your feet wet. If you want more information, email me.

Good luck in your endeavors.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 11:08PM
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Posie(z3 MN)

I've never gone to school and I've been winning prizes at Flower Shows for quite a number of years. I have taken classes when they have been offered locally. First, go to the Library and find some good books about arrangeing and copy pictures that are in the book. Buy "How To" books at book sales and yard sales. Clip all the info you can from magazines, join a garden club as there are usually members who do arranging and they usually are very willing to help you. Raise some of the flowers for arangements. Practice.....Practice. Take part in Flower Shows locally. When copying pictures to consult I don't consider it copying someone's design as yours will never turn out to be the same. I consider it as only copying an idea for a design. One of the most difficult things I had to learn was how to "condition" your flowers before arranging them. The hows and why's of that can be located on the net. Good Luck......have fun!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 10:01PM
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i am not a professional florist......kind of wished i had got into it when younger though.....i did work in a greenhouse....and yes...its not the same....was alot of labor involved....i love to grow flowers and enjoy arranging them to give to family and friends.....and also to enter in our state fair every sept....and have done the winter i spend time with silk flower crafting and rent a space at a craft shop to sell my items......i agree with others that said....learn all you can about all parts of the floral industry.....good luck

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 2:57AM
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