Is Floristry Right For Me?
Just about anyone can go out and gather up some flowers to put in a vase. However, a professional florist could take that same gathering of flowers and greenery and scale it to a whole new level. A florist possesses an eye for design and composition that many people just do not have. They are good and what they do and have extensive knowledge of flowers and all manner of greenery.
Are you looking for a creative career where you have the choice to work for yourself or someone else? If you like working with your hands and enjoy working with greenery and flowers, a career as a florist may be a good choice for you. Before choosing a career as a florist, you’ll want to consider whether certain aspects of the industry, such as salary, working conditions, and education requirements meet your expectations for the future. How do florists make money? How much do florists make? And most importantly, is owning a flower shop profitable? Read on if you want to know more about florist working conditions, whether you need a florist degree to get started, or if this career is the right one for you.
What does a Florist Do?
Florists are creative professionals who primarily work with their customers to create beautiful flower displays for various clients. Florists may design arrangements for everyday celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries or elaborate events such as weddings or charity dinners. Many floral shops now sell houseplants, dried arrangements, and accessories such as plant holders, cards and decorations.
A florist should have a good eye for design and assist customers in bringing their ideas to life while still adhering to their client’s budgets. When ordering supplies, a florist must be up to date on the latest trends, know what types of flowers to choose according to season and which accessories best accentuate their designs.
Your daily duties may fluctuate depending on where you work and what type of clients you’re dealing with on any given day. Some of the responsibilities a florist may expect to perform are:
- Creating unique floral design and sales
- Daily care of and maintenance of flowers
- Working with clients to design floral arrangements
- Purchasing from suppliers
- Marketing, deliveries, store maintenance, taking phone calls and scheduling appointments.
- Finance management, inventory, and employee management (if applicable)
What are the Requirements to Become a Florist?
The United States does not require someone seeking employment as a florist to obtain any formal training. Still, having a certain amount of knowledge and understanding of the industry can be quite beneficial. Some florists pick up jobs straight out of high school and on the job, but there are many employers out there who would prefer to hire an employee who has some previous training under their belt.
There are a plethora of programs to choose from, and many courses are now being offered online so you can get started from the comfort of your own home and study on your own schedule. The following are just a small sample of online horticulture and floral design courses available for immediate study.
- New York Institute of Art and Design The New York Institute of Art and Design offers a certificate in Floral Design that can be completed over an 18-month span. Access your work 24/7 and connect with fellow students through an online student forum.
- Penn Foster Career School Receive your diploma in Floral Design in as little as five months at Penn Foster Career School. Programs are made up of 9 courses and typically take anywhere from 7 – 11 months to complete.
- IAP Career College The IAP Career College offers a Florist certificate that takes an average of 6 weeks to complete. Programs have a strict start date, but students study on a part-time basis and have the option to complete their work in as little as four weeks or as much as 12.
- Ashworth College Ashworth College offers a Diploma in Floral design that can be completed during a time span of 4 months up to 1 year after enrollment. The program is made up of 16 lessons.
- Floral Design Institute Learn at your own pace while completing either their basic or advanced floral design courses. The advanced course requires completion of the basic program or the completion of 500 hours of relevant work experience.
Working Environment of a Florist
An important aspect when considering whether to become a florist is the working conditions you will be facing. Floral designers primarily work in brick-and-mortar stores selling to the public. Still, there are more opportunities these days to sell online, so it’s possible that you could work from home if you have enough room and the proper environment to keep your plants. Either way, florists generally spend a good deal of their time on their feet caring for their plants.
Whether you’re working in a directly client-facing position or not, there will always be a certain amount of customer service work to be done so you should be comfortable dealing with people on a daily basis.
The holidays are an important and hectic time for florists and will make up a large percentage of your profits. You can expect to work long hours leading up to any holiday and should be comfortable working under the pressure of completing many orders in a short period of time.
Sleeping in is not really an option for a florist, so if you aren’t a morning person or loathe the idea of waking before the sun rises, this may not be the career for you, especially if you plan to run your own shop. If you are purchasing your flowers from a local source, you may need to travel to their location to pick up your flowers and still be back to your store in time for opening. Your perception of weekends may need to change, as well as most of your clients will find the weekend the most convenient time to visit.
Many floral shops are kept at cooler temperatures in order to maintain the freshness of the flowers for as long as possible, so you will need to be comfortable spending prolonged periods of time in cooler temperatures.
The American Institute of Floral Design is a national non-profit organization dedicated to the craft of floral design. Members have access to a large network of education and employment opportunities as well as a large community of fellow florists.
The AIFD awards 2 levels of accreditation among its members, the Certified Floral Designer (CFD) and coveted Accredited Member of the AIFD.
Candidates first enroll with the AIFD with the hopes of becoming certified floral designers. Initial enrollment costs $175 and includes a copy of the AIFD Guide to floral design textbook. Once a year, candidates are invited to participate in the Professional Floral Design Evaluation. Participation in the evaluation requires a non-refundable deposit of $500.00. The evaluation is made up of an online exam and an in-person evaluation. The cumulative scores earned during the process will determine whether a candidate will receive their certification.
Becoming an Accredited member of the AIFD only happens by invitation. Candidates who score high enough on their Professional Floral Design Evaluation and are deemed to be exceptionally talented will receive the coveted invite. Successful candidates may add the AIFD addendum to their name when doing business.
Salary Expectations of a Florist
According to the U.S Board of Labor Statistics (BLS), floral designers are making an average yearly salary of $29,140 or $14.01 per hour in the year 2020. From 2020-2030 the Bureau predicts a 20 percent drop in the number of florist positions in the U.S. Despite this drop, there are still expected to be about 2,600 job openings per year over the next decade as those in the field move on to other occupations or retire. This may feel like a risky move for some, but the allure of using fresh flowers and greenery as decoration is not bound to change anytime soon.
Working as a Florist
Florists can be found working all across the nation, from the most prominent cities to the smallest towns. So, whether you prefer an urban environment or a rural one, you can be sure to find a customer base for your designs. The majority of florists work in retail in floral shops or grocery stores. Still, a percentage of florists do work in the wholesale industry as well.
With the rise of online sales, some florists may opt not to open a physical location and instead turn part of their home into a workshop. If you are particularly adept at online marketing and sales, you may find this a lucrative way to conduct your business.
If you are considering entering the industry and are open to making a move to better your chances of being employed, the BLS indicates that the highest concentration of floral designer jobs are located in California, Texas, and Illinois in that order. The states where florists make the most money are Connecticut with an annual mean wage of $42,800, The District of Columbia with an annual mean wage of $42,350, and California with an annual mean wage of $37,760.