Career Profile: Florist
One of the very nice parts of spring is the time when the flowers begin to bloom again. When the snow melts, the return of crocuses and daffodils is a sign that spring has finally arrived and that the cold weather is almost over. During the short summer season, many people grow gardens with daisies, roses, and many other kinds of flowers to enjoy before the winter comes again. Do you like the spring and summer flowers? What if you could work with flowers all year? As a florist, you could work at arranging and selling flowers to people for all kinds of occasions.
If you ever buy flowers, you probably know a bit about what florists do. Many florists work in shops where they sell flowers to customers and advise them about what kinds of plants look nice together. However, being a florist can involve much more than that.
Many people who want to work with flowers attend classes at a place like the International Florist Academy and School in Montreal. Students learn how to put together flower arrangements and learn about topics like European floral design and balloon art. They learn the basic techniques of wrapping flowers but also work with colour and design to produce the best possible arrangement, and also learn about basic care of flowers. Having a natural ability with flowers is good, but a program like this helps students to gain a broader knowledge of their work.
Even for people with formal training, working as a florist often means beginning with sales and learning on the job. Contacting various flower shops and grocery stores is a good way to find work. Pay for jobs in florist shops often starts at minimum wage and can go up to about $17.00 per hour.
At first, the job might involve tasks like talking to customers in person or on the phone, wrapping up flowers and sweeping up fallen leaves and branches from the floor. As employees learn more about the work, they might progress to flower arranging and later to ordering flower shipments from other countries. Many of the flowers that people in Canada buy come from warm countries in the Middle East or Africa. Learning to arrange shipments of flowers is an important part of working as a florist.
Special occasions are important times for florists. Weddings, graduations, funerals and Mother’s Day traditionally involve flowers, and florists have to be ready to fill their customers’ orders. Different occasions require different types of flower arrangements, and florists need to be prepared for whatever customers want. Knowing what people normally like for these occasions is helpful, since then florists can have the right flowers ready to arrange.
Creativity is often very helpful. Florists who can produce unusual and beautiful arrangements, using flowers that people rarely buy, might find it easier to attract customers than florists who stay with the traditional arrangements and colour combinations. If you love flowers and can combine tradition and innovation, a career as a florist might be right for you.