You love flowers, you collect flower books and magazines, you buy flowers regularly and you bring them into your home. You hunt for containers in all sorts of places and you may even have done a few informal courses, and deep down you know flowers speak to you, and in your heart you know that you would like to be a professional florist. The question on your lips is: ” to train or not to train?
The role of a professional florist is vast, so follow us on the full training journey. Firstly, what type of florist would you like to be?
- Flower arranger.
- Work in a shop.
- Market Florist, (stall holder).
- Retail Florist, own a shop.
- Stylist, where you arrange flowers in any style for print and film media.
- Freelancer, you work from home.
- Flower Farmer, you grow and arrange.
- Commissioned florist, i.e. attached to a venue or funeral director,
Secondly, here is a check list of floral skills you will cover in each training level, (please see below the colour legend for each level).
- Knowledge of the seasons and plant availability
- Plant material latin names, (as you would in horticulture), this prevents errors when ordering from elsewhere,
- Horticulture know how, (if you are planning to be a Farmer Florist or augment your designs).
- When to harvest/order and how to condition plant material correctly for maximum life span.
- How to buy, locally, in the Dutch auctions and from around the world.
- How to prepare containers,
- Know your sustainable floral ethics, understand your options, and know the pitfalls,
- Understand how to use the Principals and Elements of design to ameliorate your design style,
- Be able to use the 40 known techniques,
- Not be afraid to use different mediums,
- Be able to achieve more than one style for different customer needs,
- Knowledge of the mechanics to create specific designs, i.e. arches, pedestals, fully wired shower bouquets or complex 3d funeral designs etc.
It helps to have organisational abilities to run events:
- Understand the client’s needs,
- Listen sympathetically to your client who may be feeling the effects of strong emotion which can be from either end of the emotional scale,
- The ability to accurately interpret an emotive event with flower arrangements that suit the mood and expectations of the client,
- A creative designer, planning each of the designs required.
- In planning designs, use drawings to help check proportion and aesthetics, aiding how many flowers you will need to buy.
- A clever buyer, buying the correct amount of plant material for the fixed fee, with expert knowledge of the seasons and the product, managing good relationships with local growers and wholesalers.
- Collating all the sundries required for each event. Containers, tape, foam, wires, stands and packaging and preparing anything that can be done early.
- Creating the designs and following the plans accurately, a slight deviation can be the difference between a good profit and a terrible loss.
- An excellent communicator keeping everyone involved in the picture, the client, the venue, the Funeral Director etc.
- Delivering and set up, ensuring the client is happy, tweaking and adapting where necessary.
- Photography is your greatest promotional asset it helps to be able to take good pictures.
- Break down – removing hire vases or flowers not wanted on the following day.
- Analysis, how did it go? how can you improve the experience for both you and the client?
- A sense of humour at all times, with a cool head for adapting to situations that may arise at any moment.
Strengthen your business management:
- Winning business.
- Writing effective floral event proposals and plans,
- Time line planning.
- Preparing spreadsheets for buying and product recipes for each design.
- Ensure your image is used effectively in sign writing, packaging, printed materials in a style that reflects you and your services and attracts the clientele you want,
- Understand pricing formulas, charging correctly, so that you earn a good living,
- Keeping your on-line presence up to date, i.e. website and regular posts on blogs,
- Effective use of social media, FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, Pinterest etc.
- Business planning and cash flow forecasts,
- Marketing plan to include wedding fairs, photo shoots and promotions, displays, competitions, advertising and media activities.
- Networking with relevant business partners, i.e. Funeral Directors, the Church Ladies flower rota’s, the local religious leaders, business support groups and meetings,
- Risk assessments of your own workspace and the venues you work for,
- Insurances: Public Liability, Professional Indemnity, delivery vehicle,
- Subscriptions: Professional bodies, British Floristry Association, (BFA) and The Institute of Professional Florists, (IoPF), Small Business Federation.
- Understanding small business legislation.
- Understand stock rotation.
- Display your products aesthetically.
- Earn a good living.
Continued Professional Development:
- Workshops on floral subjects that appeal to you and your style,
- Achieve qualifications, City & Guilds
- Associations with like minded professionals, National Association of Flower Arranging Societies, (NAFAS), wedding suppliers, Flowers from the Farm.
- Competitions, BFA Florist of the Year, Fluerex, RHS Chelsea Flower Show Florist of the Year, RHS Tatton Park, County Shows etc.
- World events: Europa Cup, American Institute of Floral Designers, (AIFD), exhibitions in Belgium, Alden Biesen, The Christmas Happening etc.
- Magazines: Fusion Flowers, The Flower Arranger, Fleur Creatif, etc.
- Social Media: FaceBook groups, Flowerona, all the wedding blogs and botanical groups,
- Colleges and Designer workshops.
As you can see from the above, the flora culture industry is such a full and exciting world, and the UK market is worth £2.25 billion, which is more than the music industry! Training will help you understand this market and it’s opportunities.
Level Guide At every level you develop from the previous level.
Level 1 – Short taster/ intro courses
Level 2 – Skill and knowledge is learnt, tutor lead (junior florist)
Level 3 – Skills are learnt and applied more independently (advanced florist)
Level 4 – independently applied and challenged (senior florist and team leader)
Level 5 – inventing new concepts and design, new thought processes and structures (manager or business owner).
So if your answer to training is ‘YES’, then your next question will be where? Of course, this blog is on the Academy of Floral Art’s website, and we pride ourselves on the extensive practical manner in which we deliver our courses, we offer each student the opportunity to learn at their own pace, in a friendly environment. We are enormously proud of the achievements of our students, regularly winning the top awards in their exams, running successful businesses and taking part in key competitions both home and abroad, going on to achieve great things in their floristry careers.
Finally we should mention that the enthusiastic tutors want nothing more than to help you reach your goals, striving to find students opportunities to broaden their horizons giving expert advice on direction to each individual. They are the highest qualified tutor team in the country, with experience of winning gold medals at RHS shows and are internationally recognised, taking part in key international floristry events, and they enjoy sharing their knowledge through teaching.
Click here to see all the courses we offer which cover all of the above subjects, we are here to help you.