Career Focus – Flowers & Floristry
Tallulah Rose Flower School - Rachel Wardley
Floristry is a popular profession. There are as many as 8,000 high street florists in the UK with many more people working behind the scenes without a shop front. So is a career in floristry right for you? Rachel Wardley of the Tallulah Rose Flower School gives some pointers. For more information on the school go to www.tallulahroseflowers.com.
What makes someone interested in floristry?
A passion for flowers is where most people start when thinking of floristry as a career option. What many people don’t realise is that it can be a physically tough job. Early mornings to catch the flower markets, heavy boxes of flowers and buckets of water and lots of time on your feet are just some of the challenges that you will face. But the rewards are plentiful.
At the Tallulah Rose Flower School we’ve helped over 150 people pursue their passion for flowers. It’s a profession that suitable for any gender, any age and at any stage of life (bearing in mind the above points about the physicality of the role). It is also a profession that can either be all consuming of your time, or equally one that you can build around your family or home life.
Who is your typical florist?
Many of our students are mothers who have taken some time off with young children and don’t want to return to a corporate career, but rather build their own business. Equally, we’ve had a lot of students who have reached the top of their profession and are looking for a career change or opted for early retirement. It can be a solo career or you can work with others. We’ve had mothers and daughters, partners, siblings and friends who’ve gone into business together. We are seeing younger people coming into the world of floristry who have decided right from the get go that this is the career for them.
There are different ways of running a floristry business and this is one of the real attractions of the profession.
- Part-time role: These tend to be florists who build their business around events. For example, we have students who are really successful wedding florists and work individually with a select number of brides to make their day as perfect as possible. Another option is around Sympathy Flowers, which involves building up relationships with funeral directors in the local area.
- At home business: Other students want to be a full-time florist but don’t necessarily want to have a shop front. They publicise themselves on social media and work through referrals. A potentially good source of business is supplying beautiful bouquets at farm shops where customers look for something different. Working this model, you can operate from a shed in the garden or converted garage. As long as there is enough space for the flowers and your materials, you can be good to go with a relatively small outlay.
- A floristry shop: This is initially the most expensive option, as you will need to kit-out your high street store. The look and feel of the shop has to reflect your approach to floristry. Bright and colourful, white and refined, it’s up to you. However, at Tallulah Rose we caution that you cannot just rely on passing trade and nor should you over-stretch yourself. Lessons I’ve learnt from being a florist I pass on to all my students.
What training is available?
When you start out as a florist - the business is you and you are the business. You need to be everything from administrator to buyer, from marketing to sales. It can be daunting. We run a 4-week career course, which involves building up practical skills but importantly a week is dedicated to business guidance. This includes business planning and financial advice, branding and marketing including social media and building your own website. If you’re interested in the Career Course, we run a free taster day at our school in Bath.
What has been your experience as a florist?
I came from a corporate career as a retail buyer and thought I knew about running a business. I had some hard lessons. After running a very successful floristry shop in Bath, I overstretched myself moving into new and bigger premises too soon. It didn’t work. So I took some time out and realised that I really wanted to help people avoid the mistakes I made. This led me to starting up the Tallulah Rose Flower School and building a career course that really helps give solid and sound guidance to people starting out.
The school is great and I love helping and supporting others to become very successful florists in their own right. What’s been superb is that we have a really active and supportive network of students, so if people are struggling or not sure of a direction, they can ask for help and advice from the school and also from other florists.
What would be the one piece of advice you’d give a mother who is considering floristry as a career?
I always say to my students you need to go into floristry with your eyes open. As a mother you’re used to multi-tasking, and you’ll have to apply this to your business. It can be demanding and challenging. It can be tiring. Working with flowers though is so calming and creative that this helps to offset stress. And if you love working with people and seeing the joy on their faces when you present your bouquets or arrangements, you’ll know you’ve made the right decision.
For more information go to:
T: 01225 425998
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