Florist Job Description
Florists sell and arrange flowers that they grow themselves or obtain from wholesalers. They are artists who create arrangements for weddings and other occasions, as well as for holidays. With their knowledge of what flowers are in season and how well different types last in various environments, Florists aim to provide customers with quality products that fit their budgets and desires.
Florists typically work at floral shops and may even own the business (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about a quarter of Florists are self-employed). However, the number of floral shops in the United States is decreasing, and employment is expected to decline 3 percent between 2014 and 2024. While some grocery and general merchandise stores employ Florists, others simply offer cut flowers that people bring to the register like any other item. This set-up is convenient for customers, but it cuts down on trips to actual floral shops.
Florist Duties and Responsibilities
Accomplishing their ultimate goal of creating floral arrangements that satisfy customers requires Florists to be well-versed in a variety of areas. From our analysis of job postings, common tasks performed by Florists include:
Whether a husband asks for a single rose for his wife or the organizer of a retirement dinner needs 50 centerpieces, Florists listen to what customers want to buy. They offer advice on matters such as cost, color, care, vases and bloom longevity. Transactions range from simple in-store “cash and carry” purchases to writing out detailed instructions regarding where and when specified floral arrangements need to be delivered for an upcoming event.
Florists handle phone and online requests for both predesigned arrangements and custom orders. They examine what the order calls for and ensure it gets delivered to the proper location at the correct time. If the final product needs to be wrapped or have a note attached, Florists make sure these things are done. Facilities such as banquet halls and hotels may have standing orders that need to be attended to on a consistent basis.
The creative aspect of being a Florist is picking and cutting flowers to craft into a display, such as a wedding bouquet or a cross for a funeral casket. Florists aim to produce eye-pleasing arrangements through design, color, blossom choice, varying lengths, filler greenery and embellishments such as lace. They also pay attention to support structures so that arrangements make it to their destination safely and remain beautiful.
Florists keep tabs on what flowers they have on hand and how long they should remain usable. They also monitor other supplies needed within the shop and order more as necessary.
Promoting the Business
Florists may attend bridal expos and other events to showcase their skills and drum up customers.
Part designer, part customer service expert, Florists combine their knowledge of flowers with the desires of clients to create beautiful arrangements. Because of the emotion behind many of the purchases, Florists need good interpersonal skills. By communicating clearly and diplomatically, Florists achieve customer satisfaction while dealing with limitations such as budget and flower availability. Other good skills to possess include:
- Paying attention to detail so that flower arrangements look their best and meet customer expectations
- Exhibiting dexterity because much of the job involves using one’s hands
- Thinking outside of the box to create unique floral arrangements in line with the occasion and setting
Tools of the trade
Florists couldn’t perform their craft without a variety of tools. Here’s a look at some of the most commonly used:
- Fresh flowers – Perishable blooms
- Artificial flowers – Nonperishable blooms constructed out of silk or other materials designed to last
- Filler – Greenery, baby’s breath and other real or artificial foliage used to “fill in” spaces between blossoms
- Floral arrangements – Combination of flowers, greenery and additions such as ribbons, lace or banners to form a cohesive design
- Containers – Vases and other objects that can hold water and flowers
- Floral and pruning shears – Cutting instruments that get through stems and wire
- Floral foam – Lightweight material that holds water and keeps stems in place
- Floral tape – Coated paper designed to cover stems and wires without being noticeable
- Water tubes – Plastic tubes with rubber tops through which stems can be placed to stay in water
- Hot glue – Adhesive warmed up in a glue gun that is used when attaching ribbons and things to arrangements
Florist Education and Training
Most Florists possess a high school diploma (or the equivalent). Some also have taken college courses or earned a postsecondary degree, especially those who want to run their own shop. Extensive on-the-job training is common for people starting out in the floral industry.
The median annual salary for Florists, categorized by the BLS under Floral Designers, is $25,850. Florists in the 10th percentile earn about $18,700 a year, and the highest paid make more than $39,100 a year. Florists in the District of Columbia Alaska and Massachusetts make the highest median salaries in the U.S. – $34,240, $33,350 and $32,540, respectively.
Ready to learn more about becoming a Florist? We’ve picked out several organizations and books that can start you on your way:
Society of American Florists – This national trade organization offers a plethora of information, ranging from industry trends to marketing ideas for various occasions. For those interested in education, sections exist on the website covering floral design schools, webinars and expos.
Floral Design Professionals — A retired floral designer/teacher created this LinkedIn group as a place for professionals to network. With more than 8,500 members, chances are someone has answers to your career and industry questions.
The Flower Recipe Book by Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo – Wondering what creating beautiful flower arrangements involves? This book by the founders of the trendy San Francisco-based Studio Choo breaks down floral designs like recipes in step-by-step fashion accompanied by stunning photos and useful tips.
FabJob Guide to Become a Florist by Alisa Gordaneer – Whether you want to get hired as a Florist or start your own floral shop, this handy guide has you covered. Readers especially praise the book for its coverage of the business end of the industry, though it also contains info on design, storage and color availability for various flowers.
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