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Behind the bench: a very real view into the other side of life as a working Florist

Let me start with the simple fact that Floristry is a deeply misunderstood job.

Perhaps you're thinking, oh yeah I bet it's really tough playing with flowers all day, and of course you've seen thousands of social media posts showing you just how wonderful it all is, right?

And it is a truly beautiful job, for those with thick skins and spines of steel. For those who feel fulfilled by hard work. For those who understand giving effort in order to receive rewards.

A friend commented in conversation recently on the dichotomy of needing to be tough and resilient to work with beautiful, fragile things. We had a good laugh about it (thank you J) but it really is true - floristry as a job is not for the faint of heart. Yes, flowers are very pretty. Yes also, arranging them is such a good feeling. Again yes, they often smell fantastic. And yes, there are two sides to every coin.

This post is written particularly with those of you who want to be florists in mind. Not to put you off but to honestly inform you, especially if you feel it's an easy way to make money and way better than your current job. And most especially if you're having a fantasy that it will be relaxing and artistic. Let me reiterate at this point, it is a beautiful job and personally I wouldn't want to do anything else for a living (most of the time), however it is most definitely not all about stopping and smelling the roses.

Are you ready to hear the pain points of life as a florist? Here we go:

Florists rarely, if ever, sit down. That's right, it's a standing, lifting and carrying job, great for people who enjoy a physical aspect to their work.

Our days are pressurised. Yep. We are always working within time constraints, perfect for people who enjoy performing under pressure (hospitality and kitchen workers might relate)

We're expected to keep calm and carry on. Even on our worst day. We are creating a handmade product that conveys emotion on behalf of others and it's our job to do it as smoothly, compassionately and pleasantly as we can. Excellent for those who enjoy human interaction and doing for others.

It's rarely an exercise in artistry. This may be shocking to some but most of the time we are working to patterns and recipes and the times we get to play are, more often than not, in our own time. People who enjoy following patterns with an eye for accuracy have a huge potential to excel.

It's probably harder than you think. Firstly to learn, understand and get good at it takes education, practice and perseverance. Trends and techniques constantly evolve and new flower species emerge frequently, which means we have to keep up. If you enjoy a life of learning, you might just love being a florist.

To summarise, florists work under pressure, at speed, on our feet, lifting weights and keep on smiling to please people throughout the day. We nod and smile while grimacing inside while people tell us how lucky we are to have such a pretty job, knowing that luck had nothing to do with it, only years of training and hard work have got us where we are. And no matter how far up the chain we go, dirty work will always be part of our job.

To be a successful Florist is to earn your stripes. There are no cheat codes. There are tough times along with triumphs, laughter, sweat and at times there will be tears. We work with a perishable product, our sales are impacted by weather and we put our own needs aside to make others happy. As a balance we get to work with beautiful flowers, spending our time with likeminded people; strong, resilient types who we can learn a lot from and share our successes and failures with. It is incredibly rewarding and such a beautiful job because of the amount of ourselves we put into it, not in spite of it.

These might seem like controversial points to put out there from a person whose business it is to educate florists but it is deeply important to me that we are training people who are coming in with their eyes wide open, ready to embrace the hardworking aspect of their new career as much as the beauty of it. We would rather be a part of your success than lead you up the garden path - ahem - so to speak.

As always, feel free to get in touch with me if you'd like to ask any questions.

And if you'd like to do flowers for fun and relaxation, do come to one of our casual workshops where we work without pressure and simply enjoy the process of being with and arranging flowers. It's blissful.

Take care for now,


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