How to Start a Floral Design Career: Expert Advice (Part 2)
In Part 2 of this article, we’re covering Steps 4 through 6 on how to start a floral design career (for Part 1, click here). If you’ve been wondering how to become a floral designer, you’ve probably got a lot of questions. And we asked our knowledgeable and kind Team Flower Members to share their expert wisdom—and that advice is compiled here in a two-part article to help you on your flower journey.
If you’re ready to find out if floral design is for you and how to get started, here’s a reminder of the six steps you can take to begin!
Steps 4 through 6 are covered here, but don’t forget to catch up on Steps 1 through 3 in Part 1!
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
And now that you’ve done your research, volunteered or freelanced with a local floral designer, and educated yourself, it’s time to move on to Step 4 and try out floral design!
Step 4: Try It Out!
Now you’ve reached the fun part: actually trying out floral design on your own. This could look like working in a retail flower shop part-time, regularly freelancing on the side, or starting to take on your own clients—whatever works best for you! Take that research, the bit of experience working with other designers, and the education you’ve compiled, and start creating your own design style, building your portfolio, and determining what your niche is!
“Working with flowers has taught me to be confident in what I have to offer. I have a style unique to me and I enjoy learning, tweaking, and improving that style over the jobs I work on as a florist, and it is humbling to see that style appreciated and sought after by my clients.” — Lisel Vonhoff of Belle Bouquets, @bellebouquets (Former Career: Administration)
“Get proper training, then develop your own style. . . . Making beautiful flower arrangements requires technical skills that [can] take years [of training]. But it's like creating magic once you have acquired the skill. It's easy to please someone with flowers because it is not a skill everyone has. People are more appreciative of your creative talent and you feel empowered!” — Carolyn Khiu of Flowers Always, @flowers_always_sg (Former Career: Brand Management and Communications)
“You can never stop learning when it comes to floral design. Learn what flowers are in season when and play with a lot of different varieties. . . . Explore what your style is by just playing with them—even if the only thing you can afford to play with is what you find in your surroundings and/or at the local market.” — Amanda Rose of Amanda Day Rose, @amandadayrose (Former Careers: Wedding Stationary and Graphic Designer, Marketing and Business Development)
“I work with wood flowers, so it's probably a tad different for me, but the different styles of my clients never ceases to amaze me. I dye my flowers to whatever color the client requests, so I can have any flower in any color—the sky's the limit—and I have definitely been pleasantly surprised by a color palette chosen by a client.” — Katie W. of Heart & Sola Creations, @heartandsolacreations (Floral Designer and Graphic and Web Designer)
Step 5: Move Forward—One Step at a Time
At this point in your journey, you’ve started to build your own portfolio, discover your own unique design style, and understand what clients you’d like to have. You’ve seen the work it takes behind the scenes to build a beautiful arrangement, and you’re not afraid of the business-side of things like pricing, ordering, client communication, and lugging around heavy buckets of water.
So it sounds like a career in floral design is for you! If you’re ready to move forward, don’t rush. It’s okay to take building your floral career slowly, one step at a time. It’s okay to say no to things that are outside what you can offer in the early stages of your business, it’s okay to seek help, and it’s okay if building a floral career and a client base takes some time. In fact, that’s how many professional floral designers transition out of their former careers into full-time floral design work. Below is solid advice from our Team Flower Members who have gone before you.
“I loved teaching and was very involved at the school where I worked. . . . It was scary to consider losing the benefits and regular salary that came with teaching. But I have been doing planning and floral design for weddings full-time now for almost two years, and I feel leaving teaching to pursue this other passion was the right decision for me. I get to help couples bring intention and meaning to the most important day of their lives. And while I actually work way more now than I did when I was teaching, there is definitely a different sense of satisfaction that comes with the successes you achieve with your own business. I enjoy the flexibility of (to an extent) making my own hours and choosing when I will work and when I won't. I have a three-year-old son, and now he gets to be at home with me some during the week, and our time together is so special to me.” — Amy Plant-Perdue of Plume Events, @plumeevents (Former Career: High School English Teacher
“Have a long ramp to build the business. . . . this is essentially a word-of-mouth kind of business and that takes time (I have to remind myself of that pretty often).” — Elise Bernhardt of Fleur Elise Bkln, (Former Career: Nonprofit Management)
“I am not a business person by any means! My hardest struggle has been the business and financial side of a home-based floral studio. There are times that I really want my own studio space, but I’m just not at the point yet with my family and workflow that it’s possible. Saying no to projects and really working on a work-life balance is constant.” — Kelly Mendenhall of 3 Leaf Floral, @3leaffloral (Former Career: School Counselor)
“Don't leave the day job just yet, but start your side hustle and see where it takes you.” — Maria Gomez of Juno CR, @juno.cr (Former Career: Copywriter, Math Teacher)
“Take classes, work for someone first, and have a nest-egg built up for once you start on your own. It usually takes a few years to get established. I only intended to work part-time, but I would encourage you to work full-time until you are established. Then if you want to work part-time, you can pick and choose what you want.” — Ranee Nash of Flowers by Ranee, @flowersbyranee (Former Career: Financial Advising)
Step 6: Commit to Lifelong Learning
So now you’ve built up your portfolio and started working with flowers. Maybe you even have a semi-regular flow of your own clients and you’re committed to building your floral career one step at a time. Don’t forget this most important step: Stay committed to lifelong learning!
The floral industry is ever-evolving, and a floral career truly suits those who love to learn and explore. Continue to build relationships in the floral industry with other like-minded professionals that can help you grow, take professional development classes for design, growing, and business skills, and share your wisdom with others! Keep investing in your most important business asset: you!
“Design trends are constantly changing, mechanics are forever evolving, and new varieties and colors of flowers continue to surface. As a lifetime learner, this is a most pleasant surprise as [floral designers] always have something to stretch our minds and skill set. [There’s] never a dull moment in the floral industry if you are eager to learn!” — Jennifer Haf of BLOOM Floral Design, @bloomfloraldesign (Former Career: Elementary School Teacher and Administrator)
“I am always learning how I can do things better. I am always pushing myself creatively and professionally to grow and improve.” — Emily Herzig of Emily Herzig Floral Studio, @ehfloral (Former Career: Social Work)
“I appreciate the Team Flower Community because it provides an area for communication, education, and validation within our industry. I am always learning and evolving, and I love being able to share stories and information with others as well as learn from web-based lessons at my own pace and time.” — Jalisca Thomason of Rustic Roots Floral Design, @rusticrootsfloraldesign (Career: Floral Designer, Micro-Farmer, and High School Agriculture Teacher)
“Working with flowers as a business can be quite complicated. Knowing the ins and outs of taxes, licenses, certificates can be a lot. . . . there is a lot behind the actual designing that goes into being a florist. It takes patience, time, and hard work!” — Jacelyn Bolton of The Flora Club and Team Flower Staff, @thefloraclub (Former Career: University Administration)
“I've honestly been most surprised by how supportive the entire industry network has been! I know the social climate varies geographically and we all have slightly different experiences of the way people approach both collaboration and competition, but from growers to shippers and suppliers, from well-established local designers to teaching communities and other associated professionals who took me under their wings when I first started out, [people in the floral industry haven’t] stopped caring for me since [I began]. I've been amazed at how good people in the floral world tend to be. Just some really golden folks.” — Hannah Lowery of Edges Wild Studio, @edgeswildstudio (Former Careers: Administrative, Sales/Management and Print Media)
Here at Team Flower, it’s our mission to connect and empower flower lovers with lifelong, global community support and education to help flower pros and fans love the world through flowers. Are you a floral designer who has something to add to the conversation? Make sure to leave your words of wisdom in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
Whether you’ve been in the floral business for forty years, forty minutes, or you’re interested in just starting your floral career, there’s a place for you here at Team Flower!
Let us know how we can help you on your journey. You can contact us with the red button at the bottom right of your screen, find us on Instagram, or connect with us (and other floral pros!) over on the Team Flower Community!