A floral designer leverages their knowledge of flowers and their creativity to arrange flowers attractively according to size, color, type, and appeal for various occasions, such as weddings, holidays and birthdays.
A floral designer can also be referred to as a florist. They can usually be found working in florist shops, retail stores, grocery stores or in their own workshop.
Some floral designers work for online florist businesses.
What Does a Florist Do?
The primary role of floral designers is to create displays from real silk or dried flowers, but there are other responsibilities that a floral designer carries out. These include:
- Receiving shipments and then organizing the flowers for display.
- Advising clients on possible floral arrangements.
- Carefully arranging beautiful flower displays to attract clients.
- Packaging client’s flowers to prevent damage.
- Instructing clients on suitable storage methods.
- Maintaining a clean floral shop.
- Preparing price quotations for customers.
- Billing of customers and keeping the records.
Training and Education
While a high school diploma is sufficient for floral design, many floral designers start their careers working as delivery people or assistants in floral shops. However, some florists pursue post-secondary education to learn more about management and flowers.
Floral design courses teach students how to identify each flower by its characteristics, arrange the flowers and decorate the display of flowers.
Some floral schools and community colleges offer floral design programs. These programs last anywhere from a few months to four years.
What Courses to Take?
Some of the courses that are essential in developing the skills of a florist include:
- Horticulture: This is a course in natural science about the botany of various flowers. This course helps florists give appropriate care to the various plants and flowers they use to create centerpieces and other floral arrangements. This information also helps a florist when ordering flowers and dealing with clients’ allergies.
- Design concepts: This course teaches a florist to discern shapes, colors and quantities. It teaches florists how to create and design beautiful floral displays. A florist needs to sharpen their design skills to create beautiful floral arrangements and build a strong client base.
- Marketing: A marketing course teaches florists about the various methods they can use to market their services. Since many florists tend to have their own florist shops, this course helps them market their services and increase revenue.
- Business Administration: Business administration courses teach florists with their own shops how to run a business. Since floral designers usually run their own shops, learning the necessary tools and techniques to run a business efficiently is essential.
After taking a course, floral designers usually receive on-the-job training from an experienced florist to round out their education.
A novice florist may be responsible for creating smaller arrangements and taking care of the plants. They learn how to cut the various types of plants so that they can create a beautiful floral arrangement.
Floral designers can work without certification, but they can choose to become certified through the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). This certification examines knowledge of floral design, including the terminology, caring for flowers and creating the displays.
After passing the online exam, the florist creates five flower arrangements for the AIFD. These five arrangements are for different categories, such as corsages, bouquets, sympathy arrangements and weddings.
Once certified, the florist continues their education by enrolling in botany courses every three years to renew their certification.
Essential Skills To Become a Florist
The skills required to become a florist are listed below:
- Design: The ability to design and create beautiful flower arrangements is essential to performing the duties of a floral designer. Strong design skills can also be a key selling point when a florist advertises their skills.
- Floriculture: Floriculture is a branch of botany that focuses on growing and caring for flowers. This knowledge helps a floral designer when purchasing flowers and designing centerpieces with flowers that complement each other in terms of characteristics and needs.
- Communication: Communication skills are essential to a florist’s job, especially when dealing with clients. Communication skills will come in handy when a florist is discussing floral preferences with a client to choose the floral pieces they would like. Communication skills are also useful when performing tasks, such as marketing the business and managing employees.
- Organization: Organizational skills are essential when managing the business, tracking shipments of flowers, meeting client deadlines, and keeping a clean floral shop. The ability to prioritize tasks and keep time helps keep customers happy and run a tight ship.
- Dexterity: Hand-eye coordination is important because florists often use their hands to cut flowers and arrange flower bouquets.
- Time management: A florist should have time-management skills to ensure they deliver orders on time.
Traits of a Floral Designer
- Confidence: Floral design is a field that very few people understand. When choosing who to hire, a client will look for verbal and non-verbal cues. If the client registers a lack of confidence, they may decide to hire another, more confident floral designer.
- Creativity: Creativity is important when creating unique floral arrangements to capture the customer’s attention.
- Appreciation for Flowers and Plants: It is essential to love flowers and plants before starting a flower business. Most florists open a floral shop because they enjoy working with flowers.
- Approachability: Florists should be friendly because they normally deal with many people. If a prospective client does not feel comfortable with a florist, they will not be inclined to hire them.
Floral Program Cost and Career Salary
The mean yearly wage for floral designers in 2021 was $29,880, with employment in the floral design niche expected to decline by over 20% by 2030.
Despite this decline, statistics have shown that openings for floral designers are expected to increase each year. These openings arise from the need to replace workers that retire or switch careers.
Floral design programs are not costly compared to the salary one can earn. Costs range from $1,700 to $15,000, depending on the school, the course and the program’s length.
Steps To Becoming a Floral Designer
- Completing high school education: The minimum qualification required to become a florist is to complete a high school education (GED). While still in high school, you should consider taking biology and art to learn more about making floral centerpieces. Business classes are also essential to anyone who wants to have their own floral shop.
- Gain Experience: Before joining a school program, it may be prudent to get on-the-job training. It would be best to learn the intricacies of being a floral designer during this period.
- Create a unique style: While working in a floral shop, it may be best to try and create your own unique style. Consider experimenting with various colors and textures to develop your own style. You can also keep a journal with any ideas you may get when working. A unique style can help attract new clients and separate you from other florists.
- Apply to a program: Once you have decided to pursue a career in floral design, you can choose an institution with a course in floral design and floral management.
- Complete the Program: Some florists may choose to pursue a short course in floral design which usually takes a few weeks. Some may choose to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, which takes about four years. Classes may cover different types of flowers, study their features, and how to care for them properly. The topics covered in these courses may include managing a floral shop, horticulture, hand-held bouquets, and wedding and sympathy design.
- Get certified: One way to differentiate yourself from other florists would be to earn a professional certification. The AIFD offers a Certified Floral Designer (CFD) credential for any florists to pursue. To get the certification, aspiring florists must pass a practical and written exam. Those who earn a CFD can join the AIFD after meeting their requirements.
- Building a portfolio: Creating a work portfolio of past floral arrangements is a good way to show your skills to prospective employers and clients. The portfolio should have various flower arrangements to show off your skills.
- Join a Professional Organization: Consider joining a florist group in your state to help you network with other florists and prospective clients. Joining such a group will help you find potential job opportunities, as they often advertise open job positions on their websites.
Examples of such organizations include:
- International Florist Distributors
- Master Florists Association
- National Alliance of Floral Associations
- Society of American Florists
- World Flower Council
- Wholesale Florist and Florist Supplier Association
Finally, it is important to set short-term and long-term goals when pursuing a career in floral design.
If your ultimate goal is opening a flower shop, conduct some research on running a business and creating your brand. However, if you want to run an online business, consider marketing your services to those around you so that they can spread the word about your services to their friends and family.