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A Day in the Life of a Florist

Roses are red, violets are blue—if that’s the extent of your knowledge of nature’s greenery, a job in the floral industry may not be for you. But if you know the difference between a petal and a pistil, if you have an eye for arrangement, and if you don’t sneeze at the mere mention of magnolias, then FTD wants you. The role of the florist is one of creating a more pleasant, beautiful place to live. Think about it. Almost every occasion provides an excuse to fill the room with flowers; these include births, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, holidays, bon voyages, even Thursdays. Parade floats, pageant winners, and Derby horses are draped in flowers. Flowers can also brighten sad times and help a person cope with an illness or loss. So who has the potential to bring so much pleasure to the world? The florist. Most florists own their own shops or work in the floral department of grocery stores. Florists don’t just arrange flowers. Presentation is only half of a florist’s job. That said, to cultivate a regular client base, florists must be able to arrange skillfully and beautifully dried, artificial, and live flowers into bouquets or arrangements that suit the tastes and needs of their clients and occasions. They also have to know how to grow, cut, and clean a flower. Florists in smaller operations may also need to grow or purchase flowers, do the bookkeeping for the shop, and make deliveries. Being a florist is not always a bed of roses, though. The week of Valentine’s Day is probably the most stressful time in the life of a florist (and potentially the most profitable). It’s like the post office during Christmas. Large weddings (the month of June, in particular) can also be stressful for some florists. Florists don’t rake in the cash as a rule. Most are in the business because they love their work; they love flowers and plants; and they love knowing that they’ve added a little color to someone’s life.

Paying Your Dues

Some community schools offer classes in floral design, but if you really want to be a florist, you need the heart and hands-on experience. Most florists start off as apprentices in a flower shop. After years of learning the trade, some move on to open their own shops. The American Institute of Floral Designers offers aspiring florists the chance to be “Accredited in Floral Design.” Prospective members must send in pictures of their arrangements and then do a live showing in front of AIFD judges. The AIFD also offers grants for student research in the area of floral design. AIFD accreditation gives you a higher standing in the world of floriculture.

Present and Future

Although humans have cultivated flowers throughout history, the modern florist has been around for only a few hundred years. In 1910, a handful of American retail florists founded the Florists’ Telegraph Delivery. Today FTD is the largest floral company in the world. It connects more than 20,000 florists in North America and 50,000 florists in 154 other countries. The floral industry is a multibillion-dollar industry that is expected to continue to grow. As long as there are happy occasions or a need to make amends, there will be an industry for florists.

Quality of Life

PRESENT AND FUTURE

A beginning florist can hold any position, from a floral delivery person to a grower who sells roses by the side of the road. The first few years of a floral arranger’s career are filled with learning which flowers go with which other flowers and assorted greenery. Beginning-level florists usually work under the tutelage of a more experienced florist during this time.

FIVE YEARS OUT

At this point, most florists have their own shops or manage the floral departments of grocery stores. Along with delivering flowers around town for birthdays and holidays, these florists have built a reputation as excellent sources of flower arrangements for local weddings and parties.

TEN YEARS OUT

An established florist may want to expand his or her business by adding stores. Some florists with 10 years experience can be called on to arrange the flowers of large-scale, high-profile weddings, parties, and other special occasions.