It is our pleasure to shine the spotlight on students from time to time to see where they are on their floral journey and how they got there, so we are thrilled to introduce to you, Sue Scott – who recently qualified with the Level 3 exam at the Academy of Floral Art.
What was your previous career?
When I began training with the Academy I was the Headteacher of a Nursery and Infant School in Hampshire and had already begun to think that perhaps my teaching career needed to take a different direction! I went ahead and resigned from my job after teaching for nearly thirty years which was a big step but the right one for me.
Part of my looking for a change of direction was to do with creating a work – life design that felt more creative, more flexible and would give me the ability to work from home. I have always been a keen gardener and flower lover and enrolling with the Academy to begin on some Level Two training was a way of finding out if the world of floristry might offer some opportunities. I had some ideas around floral design and floristry as my mum used to work as a florist alongside her much stronger passion for all things horticultural (she trained in the days when the two weren’t so far apart!) and so I had spent a few evenings of my youth wiring carnation and asparagus fern buttonholes. I knew it wouldn’t be like that and it certainly hasn’t been…
What was your thought process for choosing the Academy?
When I was thinking about finding some training I was working full time and needed to find training which was flexible in terms of time as well as commitment. The Academy offers part time courses as well as week long but each course can be a stand alone or added to at a later date which suited me. I also didn’t want to waste my time! I wanted to find a provider which was going to offer a great service and a great level of development and expertise. It’s quite difficult to judge that when you know very little about a new venture but my initial hope that I’d found the right place has been confirmed.
What courses have you completed with the Academy?
I completed three of the four Level Two courses and the Level Two exam and then went on to complete the Level Three course of three units. I passed the Level Three exam with distinction this summer – only eighteen months after starting my journey at Level Two.
What value do you place on floral education?
As an educator I know that as learners we don’t know what we don’t know until we begin to find out and the finding out is the excitement of the journey. It’s an interesting point for aspiring floral designers and florists as there have been plenty of people that I’ve met who assume that there is not much to learn and they are wrong! So taking my floral education seriously has been really important to me because I want to offer my clients an excellent product and service but it has also been part of my personal development journey and has been about enjoying learning. In teaching we talk a lot about ‘new learning’ and there has certainly been a lot of that!
Did you write a business plan?
No! But I wish I had! I did write a lot of notes and kept a sporadic diary but now I have been in business for nearly a year I find myself becoming more structured and focussed with my planning and target setting – some of these behaviours were ones I had tired of in my last job and maybe I needed a rest from them.
What is your company name and how did you chose it?
My company name was really important to me and became an obsession in the early days of thinking about it. It was hard early – and still is – to quite know my own style and who I might want to be as a floral designer and florist but I knew that I wanted the name to reflect whatever it was going to be. So to cut a very long story short… I have always loved the work of the Arts and Crafts movement terms of garden design, art as well as that period of time in literature. I have a mild William Morris obsession who was not only a gardener and artist but also a writer so I turned to his wallpaper and textiles to look for names. Pink and Rose is one of his early wallpaper designs and features dianthus and rose silhouettes on a pink background. The play on words makes me laugh but I try not to let it show or go on about it!
What are your future goals?
I think it’s really important to return to the reasons why we find ourselves making decisions in life and so my future goals include finding a way of running my business in a way that gives me that flexibility and ‘blend’ that I was hoping for when I left my teaching career. It’s still very early days but I have learned that I need to focus on those areas which are generate some income and some fun! I have already found that I love running workshops and courses both for adults and children and I think this will be one of the areas that I continue to grow.
What top tips can you share with us all?
Have a plan that includes how you want to live as well as how you want to work. Remember doing anything new is fun but also hard work on all levels and takes a long time, so be nice to yourself!