How to Become a Floral Designer: Advice from the Pros (Part 1)

How to Become a Floral Designer: Advice from the Pros (Part 1)

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Want to become a floral designer? You’ve probably got a lot of questions. We’ve been there, too! We surveyed our kind and knowledgeable Team Flower Members, and they responded with amazing, actionable wisdom earned through their hard work as floral pros. We’ve compiled that advice into a two-part article to help you on your journey with flowers.

If you’re ready to find out if a floral design career is for you and how to get started, here are six steps you can take to begin!

We’ll be covering Steps 1 through 3 in this article. Check out Part 2 for Steps 4 through 6.

How to become a floral designer and Start a Floral Design Career:

  • Step 1: Do Your Research

  • Step 2: Volunteer or Freelance With a Local Floral Designer

  • Step 3: Educate Yourself

  • Step 4: Try It Out!

  • Step 5: Move Forward—One Step at a Time

  • Step 6: Commit to Lifelong Learning

Step 1: Do Your Research

Before diving into a career in floral design, do your research to determine if flowers are a good fit for you and what the floral design market is like in your community. Call local floral businesses, talk to real-life floral designers, join the Team Flower Community to get connected with floral pros of all experience levels, or find Team Flower on Instagram to get connected with other friendly floral pros there!  

Below, we’ve gathered some of the best advice from our members to help you determine if floral design is a good fit for you.

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“[Floral design is] beautiful but SO much work. Everyone sees the final product and doesn't realize how much is done on the back end—from proposal writing and recipe making to ordering and setting up everything on-site.” — Mandy Hess of MJM Designs, @mjmdesignsllc (Former Careers: Retail, Veterinary Hospital Receptionist)

“Ask yourself these questions: Are you willing to put your entire heart and soul into something? Are you willing to fail? Are you free on Saturdays? ;)” — Kalin Sheick of Sweetwater Floral, @sweetwaterfloral (Former Career: Television Reporter)

“The biggest thing I would say [when looking into a floral career] is to consider your own personality. So many people want to take the jump immediately into being the owner of a floral shop or studio, and I'd encourage everyone to consider their strengths and weaknesses. You might be better suited to manage someone else's floral business or to work as a designer at a shop rather than being the owner.” — Lauren Wiebe of Stone House Creative, @stonehouseweddings (Former Career: Editorial Director for a Bridal Magazine)

“[You should] be willing to learn and evolve, be creative, be respectful of nature, and, if possible, be willing to work a lot on your feet and with your hands.” — Iris Eriksdottir of @Iriseriks (Former Career: Fashion, Store Management and Tailoring)

“Make sure you know the ins and outs of the behind-the-scenes. It’s not always what you see on Instagram! There is about 90% computer work before you actually book a client.” — Kelly Mendenhall of 3 Leaf Floral, @3leaffloral (Former Career: School Counselor)

“I think the level of stress felt around any given project can be a good gage [to know if working with flowers is for you]. If you give flowers a shot but the amount of stress it causes isn't worth the profit you're making, it probably isn't a good fit. But then again, that's probably a good gage for practically any job!” — Katie W. of Heart & Sola Creations, @heartandsolacreations (Floral Designer and Graphic and Web Designer)

“[Working with flowers is] a ton of hard physical, rewarding work. No matter how rough the designing and installation was, seeing the look of pure happiness and wonder on your client's face at the event is priceless.” — Courtney Kroymann of Designs by Courtney, @courtneykroymannflowers (Degree in underwater geology/oceanography)

“You need a strong back, artistic nature, calm communication, and supportive family. When we work hard, sometimes we need to relax hard, so be sure that your family will be willing to help balance your career choice.” — Beth Sovereign of Grateful Floral & Event Design (Former Career: Commercial Finance)

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Step 2: Volunteer or Freelance With a Local Floral Designer

One of the absolute best ways to determine if floral design is for you—not to mention, gain some hands-on design and business knowledge before you start out on your own—is to volunteer or freelance with a local floral designer. Take a look at what our Team Flower Members had to say about this important step.

“Test it out. Pick a shop or a designer that you admire and find out if they train or hire new freelancers. Ask if you can shadow someone. Take a designer out to coffee and interview them about their career. Show your interest, do some research, and then watch and learn.” — Hannah Lowery of Edges Wild Studio, @edgeswildstudio (Former Careers: Administrative, Sales/Management and Print Media)

“I wish someone suggested I get at least a year of freelance work under my belt before starting my floral business. That way, you get paid to learn and see firsthand what works and doesn't work. . . .  Freelancing for other designers has been more beneficial to me than any workshop I've taken in my first year.” — Megan Wise of Finding Flora, @findingflora (Former Career: Marketing Director for Fashion Companies)

“Talk to local business owners; ask to shadow them or help out around the shop or at a wedding. See what the day-to-day really entails and make sure you have a good sense of the hard stuff first! [Floral design] is wonderful, and you are surrounded by beauty all the time, but it is helpful to know about the parts that aren't so beautiful too!” — Amy Plant-Perdue of Plume Events, @plumeevents (Former Career: High School English Teacher)

“I would encourage [you] to freelance or try to get a part-time job at a flower shop. This way, [you] can get a taste of what it would be like and get a foundation of knowledge all at the same time.” — Janine Harris of Bundles & Blooms and Team Flower Staff Member, @bundlesandblooms (Former Career: Retail)

“Take part in an internship, offer to help a local designer, take classes, do anything you can to dive in to get a real taste of what it's like.” — Rachel Bridgwood and Lauren Anderson of Sweet Root Village, @sweetrootvillage (Started their careers in floristry)

“Take the time to shadow or intern with someone you admire. On the surface, the floral industry is truly beautiful work, but behind the beauty is a lot of nitty-gritty hard physical and sometimes emotional work. Put your time in to be sure you love it, because it is indeed a labor of love!” — Jennifer Haf of BLOOM Floral Design, @bloomfloraldesign (Former Career: Elementary School Teacher and Administrator)

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Step 3: Educate yourself

Now that you’ve decided floristry is for you and you’ve volunteered, freelanced, or shadowed other professional floral designers to see behind the scenes, it’s time to build up your own toolbox of design skills and specialties through floral education and flower workshops! Not to mention, depending on where and how you’ll be doing business, you’ll have to find out what licenses you need to obtain, how to handle taxes, and come up with a plan for proposals and client processes.

Thankfully, in the age of the internet, you’re not limited to diving into full-on university classes or a complete certification; you can take in your education little by little by watching free online tutorials, enrolling in high-quality online comprehensive classes, diving into helpful articles, and attending in-person workshops hosted by experienced floral pros.

“When you start with no knowledge it gets hard. Very hard. It’s much easier to work through proven methods of someone who has experienced a lot and learned from it. . . . The more knowledge you have, the more confident you get, and the better your designs look and feel.” — Michal Kowalsk of Blooming Haus, @bloominghaus (Former Career: Personal Trainer)

“The diversity behind Team Flower really makes it a good place to learn about floral work. You'll learn from not only a talented floral designer and educator (Kelly) but also from farmers, retail florists, wholesalers, and more through all the educational resources available. Having a diverse perspective is so helpful in this industry.” — Meagan Cooley of Meadow House Floral Design, @meadowhousefloral and Team Flower Staff Member (Former Career: Accounting and Administration)

“Take some classes and get honest feedback from others in the industry. Does [floral design] make your creative juices flow? Can you manage the business part of the job along with the creativity?” — Ranee Nash of Flowers by Ranee, @flowersbyranee (Former Career: Financial Advising)

“Before being a business owner, I had no idea what it meant to run a business. I have had a lot to learn when it comes to finances and financial planning, especially running a seasonal business. My husband and I still think about going back to school for business.” — Emily Herzig of Emily Herzig Floral Studio, @ehfloral (Former Career: Social Work)

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Okay, so now that you’ve done your research, volunteered or freelanced with a local floral designer, and educated yourself—and now that you’ve decided working with flowers is definitely for you—it’s time for the really, really fun stuff. Check out Part 2 of this article as we dive in and cover Steps 4 through 6 to starting a floral design career.

Are you a floral designer who has words of wisdom to add to the conversation? Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below. We’d be happy to hear from you!

Here at Team Flower, we love supporting you through free resources like our articles, videos, and podcasts as well as our comprehensive online classes, in-person workshops, and annual conference.

Floral work is important, and you—our flower friends across the globe—are our joy! If you have a question about floral work or how we can help you on your journey, contact us with the red button at the bottom right of your screen.

How to Start a Floral Design Career: Expert Advice (Part 2)

How to Start a Floral Design Career: Expert Advice (Part 2)

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