Visual Arts & Trades
Florists use creativity and knowledge of plants and flowers to design and make floral arrangements. Florists sell flowers, plants and displays to the general public, businesses and event organisers
Florists sell flowers and plants to the public and make up floral arrangements to order. They work in shops, garden centres or department stores, or on market stalls. You could also be working in an industrial unit dealing with online orders, or at an event venue or hotel designing and installing displays.
Most florists are involved in both selling and making displays, though in some larger shops people do specialise.
Typical job responsibilities include:
- Ordering, unpacking and caring for flowers and plants
- Taking orders in person, on the telephone and online
- Making up bouquets and arrangements based on their own knowledge, ideas, to meet customer requirements using skills
- Helping customers to choose suitable designs, flowers and plants for different occasions
- Advising on plant care
- Setting up displays at conferences or exhibitions
- Delivering displays or arrangements to homes, offices and event venues, such as funerals and weddings
- Maintaining a sufficient supply of fresh flowers, foliage's, plants and sundry items
- Tidying displays, sweeping the shop floor and washing all containers used
Floristry businesses are often linked together by large 'relay' companies who organise flowers to be made up and delivered by a local florist in their network, no matter where the flowers are ordered.
Florists often select and buy flowers and plants directly from wholesalers at markets or online. If they manage or own the shop/stall they will have management and accounting responsibilities.
Florists work full-time or part-time and are often required to start early if traveling to wholesalers. Longer working hours can be expected around busy time such as Valentine's Day and Christmas. The work can be physically demanding as you are on your feet all day, and you may have to lift heavy pots and plants.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for florists
- A genuine love of flowers and desire to work with them
- Extensive plant knowledge, including seasonal availability of flowers and knowledge of how soon to order different flowers
- Good communication skills, and the ability to explain and sell ideas to customers
- Creativity and artistic flair
- Good organisational and practical skills
- And interest in buying and selling
- Good number skills
- The ability to work quickly and efficiently under pressure
- Business and management skills
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of florists
Florists and garden centres are generally small self-contained businesses employing fewer than five people, although some are part of large chains. A few large hotels, event organisers and undertakers might employ florists.
Opportunities for florists occur in every town and city throughout the UK.
Many florists are self-employed.
Most vacancies are advertised online
Qualifications and training required
There are no set academic qualifications are required to become a trainee florist. However, you will need good standards of English and maths. It might be an advantage to have studied subjects like biology, or art and design. It is a good idea to get retail experience before training through volunteering or holiday work.
There main routes towards a career in floristry are:
- Employment as an assistant in a shop, gaining work-based qualifications while training on the job. Previous retail experience would be an advantage.
- Level 2 course or Intermediate level apprenticeships in Floristry, for which you will usually need 4 GCSEs at Grade 3 or above, including English and maths.
- Level 3 or Advanced level apprenticeship in Floristry, for which you will need 4/5 GCSEs at Grades 9- 4, including English and maths.
- Level 3 college course, where you will need to get a training placement
Some people enter floristry with qualifications such as A levels or a foundation degree.
Foundation degrees in Floristry and Floral Design (FdA) are available at Bishop Burton College and Myerscough College, a Foundation degree (FdA) in Professional Floristry at Whittle College. Two A levels at grades A-E are usually required, but check with college website for up to date information. It is also possible for holders of a Foundation degree to take a one-year top-up degree course.
You will need a driving licence if you are making deliveries.
Once you have gained experience, you could start your own business and work in areas such as floral decoration, floral design, exhibition work, demonstrating and teaching.