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How to Become a Floral Designer

Updated on April 30, 2012

Making Your Way to a Career in Floral Design

Floral Designer is the perfect career for a crafty, creative type who really likes to be kept on their toes. Althought the pay is at the lower end, it can be a stress free and enjoyable way to use artistic talents an make a living.

It is possible to find some books that give you the inormation you need to get started, and classes are available at local adult education programs in some areas.

However, you do not have to attend any schooling to become a good florist. You can start at the bottom and work your way up in a flower shop.

Pay varies, depending on your location, but you can expect to make anywhere from $12/hour in a more rural area, to $18/hr in a bigger city. Medical benefits are not the norm, and vacation time pay and sick pay are a rarity.

I am going to attempt to give you a bit of a path to becoming a Floral Designer, along with the realities of the business.

Is a Career as a Florist Right for You?

I know flowers are beautiful, girly, smell heavenly and all those nice things, but in case you didn't know, I may have to break some bad news to you.

Flowers and the flower business have a bit of a dark side.

All flowers need to be "processed" when they first arrive at the flower shop. This means tons of wet, slimy buckets need to be scrubbed and filled with water to await your flowers. Then, the flowers are opened, cleaned of dead/excess leaves etc.

Processing flowers, cleaning counters, cleaning coolers, cleaning through older flowers, throwing out trash cans full of leaves and dead flowers, and scrubbing slimy vases are just some of many "dirty work" tasks an entry level florist may do, depending on the size of the flower shop.

You may take orders and sales with customers who are careful enough to call or come out and select flowers by hand rather than look on a website and order. Either way, you will probably be doing tasks related to these orders.

On the upside, there is something very soothing and satisfying about designing and arranging flowers on a daily basis. You are creating works of art, every day, and making people happy with your work. It can be very enjoyable!

Also, flower shop co-workers are notoriously fun, creative and flambouyant, which makes for a fun work environment.

Work is fast paced and challenging. There can be much freelance work. Work is seasonal, where you are very busy around Valentines and Mother's Day and not very much in the summer. If you are a wedding shop, then wedding season is your time and a half, overtime pay time.

Also, a flower shop boss can be a handful but that heavily depends on how people handle hard worka nd stressful moments working with a perishable product.


Rights of Passage - On your way to Designer

If I haven't scared you off, yet, good. Processing and cleaning is a constant if a floral career, but it gets easier.

Once you master the art of a fresh, picture perfect flower display, and spend time assisting designers in the flower shop or studio in any of their projects, they will give you some of your own.

Be sure to attempt creations that go with the style of the shop you are working for. You want to prove that you were paying attention to the flower arrangements and customers that you have been handling, NOT attempting something totally new.

Soon you can prove that you can design when an job as a Designer becomes available.


WIN that Design Job

When you go in for a Floral Designer Job Interview, you may be asked to do a flower arrangement. The florist is going to decide what type of arrangement you are going to do. Hopefully, you have paid close attention to their style for this challenge in the interview process, because you are going to want to emulate it to a "t" with a possible sprinkle AND I MEAN SPRINKLE, of your style.

Please don't do something ridiculous and waste their flowers. Make it known that you understand their business.

  • Bring your own tools
  • Use the amount of flowers you see in their arrangements
  • Use a similar style to what they offer
  • make sure your flowers are EXTREMELY clean
  • DO NOT talk too much - Concentrate on your arrangement
  • Prep your container correctly
  • Work cleanly in your area
  • Clean up after yourself while working

You will need to present your resume, a porfolio if available and be able to answer standard job interview questions safely.

Make sure you are extremely POSITIVE in your job interview and you aren't "tricked" into saying anything you don't want to say or making claims you can't back up.


Getting Your Feet Wet and Studying Up

To begin showing off your design sensibilities, you will most likely be tasked with making wrapped and hand tied bouquets for customers. Here is where you can really start to see if you have what it takes to become a flower designer.

You will begin matching colors and styles of fresh flowers that will look good together in a customer's vase. Things like the freshness of the flowers, the lengths of the stems and the look the customer is going for should all be taken into consideration so read up!

There are PLENTY of books on the subject, so read up to get your skills in order.

Some Designer Idea Books


Mastery of the Trade

To truly master the trade, a florist should become well versed in wedding and event designs and every type of bouquet and arrangement.

A top floral designer knows exactly what his or her arrangement should look like in 3 days and designed accordingly. They also take steps to ensure the longest life of the flowers in the arrangement.


Safety and Risk

Flowers are grown with a lot of chemicals. They are grown in countries where there are no regulations on how much chemicals you can use and they are not treated with the same regulations that food gets.

Handling flowers can be very dangerous to your health and I recommend wearing gloves that are comfortable for you. I like different gloves for different tasks. Some are rubber, some suede, some latex.

You will be using a VERY sharp knife to cut your flowers. Excercise good floral technique by cutting away from you and keeping your other fingers out of the way while cutting.

NEVER wear flip flops, open toed shoes or shoes you could slip and fall in. You WILL get hurt when you drop your knife or slip on wet leaves.



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    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      I love flowers and our local shop are so good at displays for any occasion. But I had no idea just how much was involved or the safety aspect either! I do treat the girls in the shop with a lot of respect but this will be even greater in future.

      Very interesting hub + voted up!

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 

      6 years ago

      I didn't realize this was a dangerous business. So interesting!


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