Flower arranging is a career that focuses on using flowers and plants to make beautiful and visual stand-alone arrangements, often in bowls, pots, vases or other similar containers such as hanging baskets, candelabras, as well as unusual and creative containers, so that other people can buy these arrangements to put in their homes and businesses in order to brighten up their respective environments. Oftentimes customers will buy a bunch of flowers to give to their loving partners.
A florist is therefore the individual who creates these floral arrangements. If you are creative, love flowers and plants, know different types of flowers and plants, have a talent for mixing and working with colours, like working with people but also enjoy working on your own, can handle pressure, are organised and able to multi-task and see design in three dimensions, then becoming a florist may be for you. Fortunately, this is a career that does not need a matric, although formal and short courses are available if you wish to learn more – see below. The best experience you can get is working with an experienced florist, even only during the holidays or on weekends. You might consider joining a flower-arranging club to learn more.
The advantage of flower arranging is that you generally are using a renewable source – flowers and plants combined with your own personal creative talent – to make money. The cost of growing your own flowers and plants is small and within most budgets. You may need some space, whether in your own home or some close-by space, that you can use to grow the flowers and plants you wish to work with. A simple bunch of flowers that a husband may buy his wife does not even require a pot or vase and just needs some paper and ribbon. There are some tools you will need, such as scissors, tapes, glues, paints, rulers, cutting knives and much more, but even these tools are quite cheap. So, the materials you require to start your business are limited and generally affordable.
It is a relatively common type of business and there are florists all over the city and malls, and it is also not uncommon to see flower sellers on the street and at stop streets and traffic lights, selling their wares. More professional florists may have their workshop or store from where they do their trade, but a store costs money and even those working from home inevitably have increased costs and therefore need to charge more and sell more, in order to make a living.
Beyond just making, packaging and selling bunches of flowers or vases/pots with flowers, you could become more specialises and make flowers for corporate events, for weddings, for functions, birthdays, funerals (regrettably), for formal dinner parties, exhibitions, birthdays, and more. You may wish to specialise in hanging flower arrangements or even renting out flower-arrangements. Rather than flowers you might want succulents, or dried flowers. Perhaps you can start your own succulent farm or dry out the flowers yourself and sell these to other resellers.
Where can I learn?
If you have a love for flowers and green things such as plants, then consider first looking for employment with a florist. This work will provide you with skills and knowledge and maybe you like it so much you are happy to stay employed. Tricks in getting that job. There are a number of institutions that advertise various levels and durations of training:
Durban School of Floristry – Tel: 083 679 1368
Flowers and Angels – Villa Jana
Flower Arranging Courses By Mariana Smit
A variety of techniques will be demonstrated to create distinctive floral themes at each course.
Flower Arranging & Function Decor Course – The SA School of Weddings
The SA School of Weddings
The Skills Programme Certificate in Flower Arranging and Function Décor is designed specifically for those interested in entering and advancing within the Flower and Décor Industry. The course is extremely practical whereby you will physically be doing the flower arrangements and setting up of the décor elements.
The Cape School of Floristry – (available in Ladismith and Cape Town)
The various courses and workshops offered at the school cater for the absolute beginner, the more advanced flower arranger and for those seeking refresher courses.
Courses offered include …
- Creative play sessions
- Floral design courses for a career in floristry
- Events installations course
- Business Courses
Nkele’s Florist – (Pretoria and Hammanskraal)
Training courses in flower arranging
- Learn the basics of Floristry.
- Learn the different Features of Floristry.
- Understand the Key Concepts of Floristry.
We offer short (half day up to 3 day) flower arranging workshops & classes in Centurion (Gauteng) and in Somerset West & Cape Town (Western Cape).
Wildeflower workshops were designed with the intention of creating a safe, inspiring space for those wanting to learn more about floral design. This includes budding hobbyists, those who already have some experience, and florists who wish to grow further and find an authentic voice using floral design. We offer a few different workshops for various skill levels, and are constantly growing our workshop experiences and community.
Creative Flower Arranging
Get to grips with the basic principles and elements required for creating your own floral arrangements with this creative workshop in Gauteng! These imaginative flower arranging sessions are all about letting out your inner artist! Allow your creativity to run wild in a non-competitive space with open-minded people. You’ll even get the chance to take away your fabulous creation to share with a loved one or brighten up your home!
Is there place for the small and start-up entrepreneur in the florist business? The answer is yes! But you need to consider:
- How you will differentiate yourself – what will make your product different or stand out from others? Read up about achieving uniqueness
- Where will you get your flowers from – will you buy them or grow them yourself? Do you have time, space and the desire to do this?
- What will your charge? You need to make sure that you cover all your costs and still make enough to make this worthwhile for yourself. Expenses and profits How much do I need to survive?
- How will you get to your potential customers and do so time and again – consistently? You need to make your products known to customers so that they come back again. If you move around how will they find you, or will you keep going back to them? Remember delivering products to customers means you need a vehicle, and this is an additional cost. Maybe you can get a contract with a hotel or other similar organisation to supply arranges for their entrance or foyer or for special events. The difference between going to your customer and the customer coming to you. Negotiating contracts.
- How will you ensure that your product is about quality and consistency? If your product is good one-day and bad the next, you will fail. Success in any business is about ensuring that your product is of a high quality, all of the time. Quality and consistency in your business and professional life.
- If you plan to start a small retail florist, you may want to learn how to start your own store
Consider taking business courses such as those offered by Jill Manson, both as a condensed online course or an in depth in person training. These business classes cover how to start up and run a business in flowers
Associations and Organisations
The South African Flower Union – (multiple clubs)