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Florist


Description

From roses on St. Valentine's FDay to tulips on Mother's Day, to an intricate funeral wreath, flowers are a symbol in our society used to celebrate life, death, special days and all types of strong emotions. Sometimes people just give flowers for no other reason than to say, "thanks," "I love you," or "I'm thinking about you!" Whatever the occasion, a bouquet of flowers makes a perfect gift.

Florists design floral arrangements and purchase, sell and care for flowers and potted plants. They carefully and artistically create decorative centerpieces, corsages, wedding bouquets and other arrangements for everyday use, using fresh, dried and artificial flowers. They design arrangements that people buy from retail stores, along with creating custom bouquets and arrangements for special events, such as a wedding. When a customer orders something specific, they will indicate their preference for style, color, flower type, cost and either guide the customer to an idea, or just make what is ordered.

Florists often suggest different flowers in season, try new combinations together and advise against certain arrangements based on the flower's life and whether or not two different species sit well together. They have good knowledge of all of the plants and flowers they use, so when customers ask specific questions, they are confident in answering. For example, if one flower only lasts three days, while another lasts up to 15, it would be advisable not to mix the two. They also offer advice on the best way to care for certain flowers, including how much water and sunlight they need.

When starting out in the business, entry-level florists often begin as assistants, unpacking, cutting and preparing flowers for storage, delivering orders and doing clean-up work. They work alongside experienced florists and slowly learn the tricks of the trade, from basic arrangements to more advanced, elaborate designs.

Finally, there is a great deal of creativity involved in the job, which many florists find very satisfying and rewarding. There is more involved in the job than just throwing together a bouquet or just sticking a few flowers together in a vase. They need an inkling for design, color combination and a good eye, the sign of a true floral artist!
 
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$13,440
 
Median Salary:
$19,480
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$29,830

  Interests and Skills  
First and foremost, florists love flowers. The smell, texture, look, history, gardening, bouquets . . . when it comes to flowers, they are a wealth of knowledge. Florists must be creative, with a good sense of color and creativity. They have excellent hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. Florists are great with customers, friendly and make suggestions about floral arrangements for those who are more indecisive.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Design and arrange flowers
  • Cut and condition flowers and foliage for storage to ensure they remain fresh as long as possible
  • Create in-store and window displays
  • Make corsages and boutonnieres
  • Serve customers and provide expert advice on care and maintenance of flowering plants and foliage
  • Sell giftware items
  • Order flowers and supplies from wholesalers and growers
  • Create designs for sale at the wholesale level
  • Create trend designs and looks to enhance the shop's image
  • Perform general cleaning duties in the store (e.g. dust and clean merchandise, wash flower buckets, sweep floors)
  • Florists work in flower shops that usually smell very pleasant. They work standard retail hours, which includes evenings and weekends. Longer hours may be necessary to complete arrangements for holidays and special occasions, such as a wedding. There may also be a considerable amount of lifting involved, so florists need to be in decent shape.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Florists are either self-employed, meaning they own their own flower shop or floral design business. Otherwise, they may work in a small florist shop, botanical garden, flower retail outlet or a retail chain store. A growing number of florists are working as designers in floral departments of large grocery or "big box" stores. Some florists also work out of banquet halls, churches, synagogues and other places where weddings are held and supply a wedding party with floral arrangements.

  Long Term Career Potential  
What does the future hold for florists? Advancement usually depends on the florist's ability, creativity and ambition. With experience, they can become exclusively designers and stop working in the retail aspect. Experienced floral designers who have business and supervisory skills may advance to shop manager positions or branch out and open up their own retail flower shops.
 

  Educational Paths  
There is no standard or minimum education required to become a florist. However, a formal education and knowledge of floral design is a definite advantage when seeking employment. Community colleges offer technical programs in floral design, which teaches students how to create high quality floral arrangements quickly and efficiently.

Another idea is to get a part-time job in a floral shop, volunteer or job shadow with an experienced florist.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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