Need some career inspiration? Three insiders explain what it takes to blossom as a florist…

YOUR ROUTE IN Rebecca Louise Law, 32, is a floral artist from London
‘ I did a degree in fine art, but when I worked with flowers during my final year. I realised I wanted to be a florist. Lot’s of colleges offer City & Guilds floristry courses, and McQueens ( and Judith Blacklock ( run courses that are well-respected in the industry. But I’d had enough of studying after completing my degree, so I decided to get some work experience instead. I worked for free for three years ( I was living at home at the time), helping out at a local florist during their busiest times, such as Mother’s Day, Valentines Day and Christmas. It was a brilliant experience and I got to learn the types of flowers and which colours go together. I also discovered how cold and damp it is working as florists! When I was 24, I finally got a job as a junior florist. I started out on the minimum wage doing day – to – day arrangements for weddings, funerals and bouquets. Over eight years I built up my contacts with other companies and worked for different florists. Now I’ve got my own business and I combine arranging flowers for corporate events with exhibiting my floral art installations. Last year, I did the arrangements for a press launch with perfumier Jo Malone. It took two months of planning, but the end results were stunning. Florists are meant to be the happiest workers in the UK*, and I’d have to agree.’

A DAY IN THE LIFE Amy Bowley, 29, is a florist, and divides her time between London and Dorset
‘A few days before a big event I need to collect fresh flowers, so I’m up at 3am to go to Covent Garden flower market in London. I pick up my pre-ordered blooms and fill my small transit van to the brim. Then it’s back to the studio to condition the flowers. This is a two-hour job, which involves stripping the leaves, cutting the stems and putting them in water. I spend the rest of the day sketching my designs, which are planned months in advance. If I’m working on a Saturday wedding, I’ll pick up the flowers on Wednesday and work 19 – hour days until the big day. Luckily, that doesn’t happen every week – most of my time is spent meeting clients and working on my designs. I like to feel confident they’re going to be happy with the end result.’

WHAT THE JOB AD WON’T TELL YOU Louise, 30, is a florist from Manchester
‘There are lots of great things about being a florist – you aren’t tied to an office and it can be a very creative job. But the worst part is dealing with the chauvinistic flower wholesalers. They all seem to be men and the
y’re unbelievably rude. They’ll shout at you if you want something unusual, or if you question the quality of their product – not what you need at 4am. Even though I’ve been in the business for years , they still call me, “love”, and it really annoys me. Also, if you like being toasty warm, this isn’t the job for you, because your work space has to be cold so that flowers don’t wilt. The studio where I work only has one small heater in it, so in winter it’s actually freezing. Many florists i know have actually become allergic to the flowers they work with, and they have to take antihistamines daily, Plus, your hands can get chapped and sore from being in water so much. You also need to be super-organised in this job. Messing up an order could damage your company’s reputation – and ruin somebody’s wedding. 

WHAT’S THE MOST I COULD EARN?: Managers earn about £27,000. Freelance florists working in London can earn around 
KEY QUALITIES:An eye for colour, diplomatic skills, and a willingness to work anti-social hours.
QUALIFICATIONS: Not essential, but you could do a City & Guilds, or a BTEC in Floristry

(Please Note: The information is from the More Magazine article ‘So you want to be a Florist’ in Issue 25th March 2013, I did not write this!)

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