Monday, May 23, 2005

'Florist' a career?

A friend asked if he could interview me for a class project about careers. You know me...why wouldn't I say yes?
The questions were general at first, but when he got to the advantages/disadvantages of being a florist, I had to think about it.
The advantages:
Spending my days with fresh flowers and plants; enjoying their shape and color and fragrance before wowing myself with how beautifully they combine in a vase; making people smile every day.

Out of 38 years in the business, I've only worked in a high-speed shop for 6. I much prefer the fast paced, constant hub-bub of the GS floral, because now I'm very good at what I do....and because of the practical considerations: better pay, health insurance, acrueing vacation time, a retirement plan.

I DO think of myself as a professional artist. Sculptors and painters create beauty and so do I, but mine is affordable, available and ephemeral. I get the feedback I need for my soul when a customer tells me how perfect the flowers were. (Many artists wait til after they're dead to be recognized that way. Open Mouth )
My art is temporary, but eternal. Flowers have always added grace to a life; they're pleasing and comforting, and they don't last. I think that's the JOY of flowers--on a small scale, that impermanence is a mirror, an example of life.

It takes some effort to create an arrangement, and then, there on your mantle, the flowers are fresh and young, (you can watch them develope), then middle aged but still fine, then old and wilting. If you change the water and re-cut the stems, you can extend their life a bit, like modern medicine can do for us, but eventually, they die like we do.

(Hey, I've had thirty-eight years to think about this!)

The disadvantages:

Being a florist is rarely lucrative, and the "crunch" times are hard on a body. You're on your feet most of the day, every day. The possibilities for advancement are few, too: buy your own shop or go into management, or like his dad wants me to do, set up a design business in Florida...argh.

"OK...last question: Would you recommend being a florist as a career?"

Hmm. A qualified yes. It takes more than liking flowers...this profession had grown on me as I've lived it. I think I was born to have a career that wasn't life-or-death important in the world; a career that would make me think about grace and beauty and their value to people; a career that emphasised the cycles of life, variations-on-a-theme that ALL of life is.
But would I recommend it for YOU?
I dunno.
WHO are you?


  1. Anonymous5:35 PM

    Is there a specific type of glitter that works best? Does this work for other flowers? Are there any flowers you would suggest not to do this with?

  2. I'd suggest using super-fine glitter, rather than the old style big chunks, to avoid clumping. I guess I'd try any flower except for something like peonies because the petals are curved inwards and it would look funny.
    Otherwise, just

  3. I enjoyed reading your post about a florist career. You have kept it "real" and people need to understand the reality of becoming a florist. It may seem like a perfect job on the surface, and it can be, however it is a lot more work than it appears and typically doesn't yield big money dividends. You point out the many other positive outcomes of this career. Thanks again for sharing your perspective - it's honest and from the heart.

  4. Anonymous5:30 PM

    well i am wanting to be a florist since like.....forever! But i dont know if i should recomend it to anyone yet though