Flowers make the world a happier place. Forget about exercise to de-stress or eating healthy. It’s pretty obvious - when spring arrives and the first buds of yellow and purple crocus make its appearance, the whole place bursts into life and people walk with a spring in their step! If you find yourself drawn to the bright, enchanting colours, wishing you could surround yourself with blossoming flowers every day (even when it’s cold and wintry), then studying floristry might be just your cup of tea. For hobbyists, beginners floristry classes are great to kick-start your newfound love.
I wondered lonely as a cloud... when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils
They’re so mesmerising that they’re even mentioned by William Wordsworth in his famous poem, Daffodils. Whilst watching dancing daffodils may be invigorating, picking flowers and arranging them to make beautiful bouquets is way more rewarding. Why not learn to design traditional floral arrangements for centre pieces and hand-tie bouquets in a fun, creative environment? Not only will they make great gifts for friends, family and brighten up your own home, they could also lead to a career change.
For the professional florists
With good experience either as a manager or a senior florist already, you’ll be introduced into the world of commercial floristry. You’ll be trained to construct a vast range of designs such as tied bouquets, wedding accessories, bridesmaid designs and funeral work. On some courses, you’ll learn about floral arrangement, from Japanese Ikebana to Mille Fleur, Biedermeier and parallel design. You’ll develop important business and management skills to help you progress further in your career.
The blooming business
If you’re in the flower business or hope to dip your toes in the water, you’ll be happy to know that the floral industry is thriving! Festive seasons and special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Mother’s Day see a massive soar of profits in the floristry industry. So, enrolling on courses to learn new floristry skills such as the Christmas flower courses, will help you serve the high demands.
Are qualifications important?
Qualifications are not essential to work in floristry, but they do help. Unlike being a dentist or an accountant, customers don’t expect you to have undergone extensive training. However, knowing your products will help you to do your job better and build a pool of returning customers. You can train in floristry on a full time or part time basis or even attend weekend workshops and apprenticeships. Classes are very practical and your develop your commercial skills along the way. Some of the things you’ll learn about will include the cost of materials and value for money, speed, introduction to flowers and their uses, and customer service. The City and Guilds floristry qualifications are on par with industry standards and range from awards, certificates and diplomas, catering for anyone who’s never had any previous experience of working in the floristry industry to experienced florists who wish to progress onto management level and run their own business.
Look up our Pinterest for beautiful floristry ideas.
Have you got what it takes to work with flowers? Why not check to see if you’ve got the qualities to be around them? It’s all in the name…
· ‘F’ is for FRIENDLINESS. Being approachable and smiley is important as a florist. Customer service skills are essential as you’ll be spending a lot of the time interacting with customers, suppliers and colleagues.
· ‘L’ is for LOVE! You need to be crazy-passionate about flowers because you’ll not only be surrounded by beautiful flowers, but the duties involved can be dirty. You’ll have to cut stems, get rid of dead leaves, work with sharp thorns and sap.
· ‘O’ is for OOMPH! You must have bags of creativity to create beautiful yet interesting flower decorations. You’ll be playing with different types of flowers, colours, ribbons, baskets, chocolates and even teddy bears, and sometimes, adapting ideas from books and putting a twist to them.
· ‘W’ is for WORKING hard. There’ll be long hours and working through the night when you receive large orders for parties and weddings. The hours are antisocial with lots of early mornings and weekend work.
· ‘E’ is EXPERIENCE. If you’re only starting out, get some work experience with other senior florists. But be warned, you’ll probably have to start from the bottom first and that’ll involve sweeping floors and watering flowers.
· ‘R’ is for building a REALLY good website. A strong web presence is important to gain new customers as it provides a platform to display your portfolio.
· ‘S’ is your desire to SATISFY people. Your flowers will touch people’s emotions, and are normally there to celebrate the important moments in their lives. You’ll get a sense of fulfilment, knowing that you’ve used your skills to make others happy.
Did you know?
Prince Charles is paid one daffodil a year as rent for his lands on the Island of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall.
Moon flowers only bloom at night, closing during the day.
Gas plants produce a clear gas on humid warm nights. It’s believed that gas can be ignited with a matchstick.
The largest flower in the world is the Rafflesia Arnoldii, and it can grow up to 3 feet across and weigh up to 15 pounds! It emits a repulsive odour, similar to that of rotting meat which attracts insects.
Like every little girl, I spent my childhood planning my happily ever after; dressing Barbie in her wedding dress ready to marry Ken and picking daisies in the garden to make a bouquet. As you get older, you start to realise that holding a parasol of real roses or wearing a dress made from flowers is just a childhood dream, until now. Cue the sharp intake of breath as Zita Elze showcased her Living Embroidery Bridal Collection at the Designer Wedding Show; gowns adorned with fresh flowers and berries, live hair pieces, parasols and bags all carefully handmade. Going on to win the Best Wedding Florist at the 2012 Perfect Wedding Awards, Elze’s floral fantasies have brought the wedding scene to life in a way it hasn’t been before.
The little girl in me only had one person in mind when it came to finding a floristry expert for the site and I was thrilled when Elze agreed to chat to us. An award winning floral artist, designer and teacher, Elze is far more than just centrepieces and bouquets. Brazilian by birth, Zita has lived in Italy, France and Germany before moving to London. I caught up with her from the picturesque street corner flower shop in Richmond, minutes away from the Botanical Gardens. Asking her all about her route into floristry and the ideas behind the living embroidery collection she is famous for, it quickly becomes clear that this is more than a job, but a calling.
First things first, how did you get into floristry?
Initially I studied artistic bookbinding in Paris, followed by Interior Design at London’s KLC School of Design and then Garden Design at the Inchbald School of Design. I also did a one month career floristry course in Paris to learn the basics of the trade one I had the shop, but this is the only formal floristry training I had.
How did you come to work in the competitive floristry industry?
It was not planned at all! I had just graduated from the Inchbald School of Design when I happened to come across an empty flower shop in Kew and decided to take it. I planned to have this shop for a garden design practisce with a little floral window, but the little flower window took over.
Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?
My inspiration comes from a number of different avenues. Mostly I find inspiration in emotions –it’s amazing what our subconscious can do for us, if we just let it happen. This is what I try to teach at the Design Academy and often get amazing results from my students, especially in those with no formal training. I also take inspiration from nature, travels, visiting museums and looking at beauty.
I’ve got to ask about your famous Living Embroidery Collection (Zita embroiders live flowers onto dresses for clients), how did you come up with this?
I had an aunt who did very beautiful embroidery and I always remember her making these beautiful children’s dresses with constructed ribbon flowers. One day in one of my Concept and Design classes the idea crossed my mind and the concept was born!
I first started applying the technique on vases and then moved to fabric. My first dress for the Chelsea flower show was a huge success and since then I have designed and made many dresses, for brides and also their bridesmaids!
They really are amazing! How long on average does it take you to create a ‘living gown’ for a client?
It takes me a week to complete all the floral work on the dress.
What would you say is the best part of your job?
I love teaching my art and creating beautiful designs, but I’m also very hands on. In every project, I am involved in the whole process, from the concept through to the production and completion.
And what is the hardest part?
For me the hardest part of my job is doing so much paperwork and having to work long hours.
How do you ensure you work stands out in such a competitive industry?
Always giving my best, whatever budget I have to work with.
You were awarded Wedding Florist of the Year in 2012, wedding flowers can be quite personal to a lot of people – how do you ensure your clients love what you create?
I try to work out when taking the brief what the couple in front of me are all about. I make sure I ask lots of questions until I have a deeper understanding of their dreams, their needs and budget. When I grasp a feeling, then I’m ready to design something unique just for them. I never repeat a design and I never will!
What advice would you give someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps and get into the floristry industry?
Be prepared as it’s going to be a lot of hard work! You need to be really passionate about what you are doing. Also, if you’re planning to open a shop make sure you find a good location!
Finally, if you had to pick, what would your favourite flower be?
I love any seasonal flowers when beautifully styled, but I particularly love working with garden roses, dahlias and grasses.
Creating wedding blooms that make every little girls’ dreams come true, there is no doubt Zita’s designs will go on to inspire students all over the world. If you fancy joining in and having a go for yourself, take a look at the floristry courses listed on our site and get creative!
Photo credit: Zita Elze flowers
Yes. There are lots of specialist courses that will teach you to arrange for certain occasions such as weddings or Christmas.
Not a lot, unless you’re taking an advanced hobby course. The courses that are designed to train you for a career will assume no knowledge so you won’t need to know anything beforehand and the fun evening courses will usually start at basic level too.
On most courses, yes. Though on some of the cheaper options you won’t (this is because flowers are costly so this will be reflected in the price).
Yes and no. There’s no doubt that your hay fever will be a problem because the nature of floristry is that you’re working with flowers which will probably set off your allergy. Unless it’s really severe though, this shouldn’t stop you – take anti-histamines before you go to class and bring a good supply of tissues.
Not necessarily; some people learn on the job. However, to progress you will need to show employers you’re well trained and know the area, so a qualification is definitely a good idea if you hope to pursue this as a career.
Floristry courses are more aimed at getting you ready to work as a florist and will cover the business side of things including where to source flowers and their value. Whereas flower arranging courses are generally aimed at people wanting to learn as a hobby or do their own floral displays. These will simply focus on which flowers go well together in arrangements and look at colours and other visual considerations when working with flowers.
In case you need a little more inspiration, here are some of our favourite photo galleries from course providers offering floristry courses...
We offer a range of 1 day classes for those wanting an introduction to floristry, as a refresher or for those simply wanting to learn something new. Our 1 day courses are suitable for all levels and include refreshments and lunch.
Our career course offers those wanting to enter into the world of floristry a great foundation on which to build their new career. We offer you the skills to help you start your new business, marketing, branding, social media, business planing and funding options to name just a few. We teach you the
The tallulah rose flower school understand that as working florists it's often hard, if not impossible to spare the time to leave your business and learn new skills or re-visit and refresh old ones. Learning new skills or refreshing old ones could in the long or short term improve your business.
We offer a fabulous range of day classes. We uncover the mystery of the hand-tied bouquet, show you how to impress you friends with eye catching table centers. And for those brides-to-be who would like to have a go at designing their own flowers we offer a bridal flower course too.
Get more ideas and be inspired; we've scoured the web to bring you some of our favourite floristry videos...
Here, on a sugar fuelled afternoon on the editorial desk, we sat down to write an article about flowers and stumbled across something big. We thought we had seen it all with the Sewing Cats craze, but it seems anything cats can do, dogs really can do better, as 3D sculptures of man’s best friend take the floristry world by storm. Any keen florist will know, paws and petals are not a good combo, but before you get started on a course, why not take a look at these ten blossoming pups for some inspiration?
Get well soon
Why take a bunch of grapes when you could take a dog in a basket? (Not a real one).
Americans are a patriotic bunch, what says I love my country more than a dog made out of flowers, sat in a basket with a flag?
Larger than life
Some might say this is a waste of time, others will say it’s the best thing ever. Why have a TV in the corner when you could have a giant sculptural dog?
I now pronounce you man and wife
Because bouquets were so last year; the perfect addition to every wedding flower arrangement is a puppy dog made from carnations in a top hat.
Happy holidays! Not the most traditional arrangement but hey, we were all bored of reindeers right?
Spot the dog
Why create one when you could make the whole pack? It took us a while, but one of these pups is actually real (we think).
When in Spain
Remember when we mentioned giant sculptural dogs? The artist Jeff Koons took it one step further with this pooch.
Just when you thought pugs couldn’t be cuter...
Things got real
Take dog topiary to next level and make them look lifelike.
Top of the morning
Celebrate St Patrick’s Day with a green floral dog. We can’t decide whether we love it or hate it, but will be sure to get one for our Data Manager, Brian, next year.
So whether this has made you want to fashion your own pooch, or stick to a more conventional arrangement, a floristry course could be the step you need to make your ideas bloom.
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