Florist

Florists sell flowers and allied products, such as flowering plants growing in pots, vases and other equipment used for flower arranging or indoor plants. Flower traders may distribute to retailers, export or import flowers, or sell directly to the public.

 

 

Scope of Work

Florists need to select plant material (cut or growing in a pot), then handle it to prevent deterioration, extend the selling life, and present it to a seller in a desirable condition. Florists may also be “decorators”, arranging flowers or containerised plants in a vase, as an interior display.

Working as a florist can be hard work. Those that are responsible for purchasing flowers may have to make a very early start at flower markets to secure suitable plant material. Much of the day may be spent cutting stems and preparing them for sale. Liaising with customers and preparing bunches.

Many florists also provide services such as providing the flowers for weddings and funerals. For weddings, this involves making different flower arrangements such as posies, bouquets and table arrangements. They may decorate pew ends at the church as well as the reception venue, and prepare buttonhole flowers. For funerals, wreaths, coffin flowers or casket sprays are commonly made.  

Florists in inner cities rely on passing trade throughout the year. They are traditionally busier at some times of the year than others, with Easter, Christmas, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day being amongst the busiest times.  

Flower traders and online retailers may make arrangements with florist to distribute flowers and equipment. Some florists also provide flower arranging classes to small groups.

 

What You Need to Learn

  • Plant Identification - Identification of different plant cultivars used in floristry
  • Floral art - Making many different types of flower arrangements, cutting flower stems, storing flowers, decorating furniture and buildings 
  • Floristry equipment - Correct use of equipment including: wires, ties, rubber bands, ribbons, bows, vases, buckets, resins, foam bricks
  • Tools - Selection of the right tool for the job, cleaning tools, correct operation & use, maintenance & repair; floristry scissors, rose stem strippers, secateurs, wire cutters, brooms
  • Flower treatment - Knowledge of many different harvest and post harvest treatments of flowers and cut foliage
  • Communication skills - Dealing with clients, arranging appointments, giving advice, presenting flowers
  • Sales skills - How to interact with customers, sell flowers & equipment, earn repeat business, network with suppliers, place orders, keep inventories, marketing, advertising
  • Health & safety - Assessment of risks & hazards, use of personal protective equipment, fire alarms & drills, location of first aid kits, basic first aid procedures
  • Management - Marketing, time, financial, stock control

 

Starting a Career

A lot of florists learn on the job, though you can also gather useful skills in other areas. Entry pathways include:

  • A starting position in a local florist and learning the trade from other skilled florists
  • Working part time during the busy floristry periods such as holidays
  • Running a cut flower cart in busy areas such as downtown
  • Taking classes at the local community centre
  • Volunteering for the Friends of Gardens society at your local botanical garden
  • Attending horticultural seminars at local trade shows
  • Taking on assistant work in cut flower production

Other ways to get a start is to offer your services in related sectors. Some garden centres or retail department stores have in-house florists so it may be possible to take a job as an assistant and then get exposure to floristry.

 

Progressing a Career

A lot of florists learn on the job. This can be as simple as applying for a starting position in a local florist and learning the trade from other skilled florists. Others may get a start by working part time during the busy floristry periods so they can get a handle on life as a florist. There are also opportunities to work for florists on weekends in city locations when passing trade may be at its greatest.  

Some may be able to get a feel for floristry by participating in flower arranging classes at night school or those provided by the larger florists. Most florists will also welcome volunteers during their busiest times if they are unable to guarantee work.

Other ways to get a start is to offer your services in related sectors. Some garden centres or retail department stores have in-house florists so it may be possible to take a job as an assistant and then get exposure to floristry.