Floral designers, also called florists, arrange live, dried, and silk flowers and greenery to make decorative displays. They also help customers select flowers and containers, ribbons, and other accessories.

Duties

Floral designers typically do the following:

  • Buy flowers and other products from wholesalers and suppliers to ensure that an adequate supply meets customers’ needs
  • Determine the type of arrangement desired, the occasion, and the date, time, and location for delivery
  • Recommend plants or flowers and greenery for each arrangement in accordance with the customer’s budget
  • Design floral displays that evoke a particular sentiment or style
  • Answer telephones, take orders, and wrap arrangements

Floral designers may create a single arrangement for a specific purpose or multiple displays for special occasions, such as weddings or funerals. They use artistry and their knowledge of different types of blooms to choose appropriate flowers or plants for each occasion. Floral designers need to know when flowers and plants are in season and available.

Floral designers also need to know the properties of flowers and other plants. Some flowers, such as carnations, can last for many hours outside of water. Other flowers are delicate and wilt more quickly. Some plants are poisonous to certain types of animals. For example, lilies are toxic to cats.

Floral designers must know the color varieties and average size of each flower and plant they sell. They may need to calculate the number of flowers that will fit into a particular vase or how many rose petals cover a space, such as the length of a walkway for a wedding procession.

Floral designers use their knowledge to recommend plants or flowers, greenery, and designs to customers. If the customer selects flowers, the designer uses that type of flower to arrange a visually appealing display. The designer may include items, such as stuffed animals or balloons, or use a decorative basket or vase when creating an arrangement.

Plants typically are showcased in attractive containers and are available for immediate sale. Although more complex floral displays must be ordered in advance, floral designers often create small bouquets or arrangements while customers wait. When they are responsible for multiple arrangements for a special occasion, such as a wedding or funeral, floral designers usually create and set up these decorations just before the event, then remove them afterward. Some floral designers work with event planners on a contract basis when creating arrangements for these types of occasions.

Floral designers also give customers instructions on how to care for flowers and plants, including what the ideal temperature is and how often the water should be changed. For plants or cut flowers, floral designers often provide plant or flower food as part of the sale.

Floral designers also order new flowers, greenery, and plants from suppliers. They process newly arrived shipments by stripping leaves that would be below the water line. Floral designers cut new flowers, transplant plants, mix plant or flower food solutions, fill containers with the food solutions, and sanitize workspaces. They keep most flowers and plants in cool display cases so that the products stay fresh and live longer.

Some floral designers have formal agreements with the managers of hotels and restaurants or the owners of office buildings and private homes to replace old flowers or plants with new ones on a recurring schedule—usually daily, weekly, or monthly—to keep areas looking fresh and appealing. They may work with interior designers in creating displays.

Floral designers who are self-employed or have their own shop also must do business tasks, such as advertising, pricing, inventory, and taxes. Some designers hire and supervise staff to help with these tasks.

Work Environment

Floral designers held about 55,500 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of floral designers were as follows:

Florists   49%
Self-employed workers 24
Food and beverage stores               11
Wholesale trade 4

Floral designers in retail businesses serve walk-in customers as well as customers placing orders over the telephone, on the Internet, or through other florists. Some floral designers who work on a contract basis when creating arrangements for events, such as weddings, have to travel to event locations.

Work Schedules

Many floral designers work full time, although their hours may vary with the work setting.

Independent shops are typically open during regular business hours. Floral departments inside grocery stores or other stores may stay open longer.

Floral designers are busier at certain times of the year, such as holidays, than at other times. Because freshly cut flowers are perishable, most orders cannot be completed too far in advance. Therefore, designers often work additional hours just before and during holidays. In addition, many part-time and seasonal opportunities are available around certain holidays, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day.

Education and Training

Most floral designers have a high school diploma or the equivalent and learn their skills on the job in a few months.

Education

Most floral designers have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Postsecondary programs may be useful for florists who want to start their own business. Programs in floral design and caring techniques for flowers and plants are available through private floral schools, vocational schools, and community colleges. Most of these programs offer a certificate or diploma. Classes in flower and plant identification, floral design concepts, and advertising and other business courses, as well as experience working in a greenhouse, are part of many certificate and diploma programs. Some community colleges and universities offer certificates or associate’s degrees in floriculture/floristry operations and management.

Training

New floral designers typically get hands-on experience working with an experienced floral designer. They may start by preparing simple flower arrangements and practicing the basics of tying bows and ribbons, cutting stems to appropriate lengths, and learning about the proper handling and care of flowers and plants. Floral designers also learn about the different types and growth properties of flowers and plants, how to use flowers in complex floral designs, and which flowers and plants complement each other.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The American Institute of Floral Designers offers the Certified Floral Designer credential. Although certification is voluntary, it indicates a measure of floral design knowledge and expertise gained through work experience or education.

Advancement

Formal training in floral design may be helpful for people who are interested in opening their own business or in becoming a chief floral designer or supervisor.

Personality and Interests

Floral designers typically have an interest in the Building, Creating and Persuading interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Creating interest area indicates a focus on being original and imaginative, and working with artistic media. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Creating or Persuading interest which might fit with a career as a floral designer, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Floral designers should also possess the following specific qualities:

Artistic ability. Designers use their sense of style to develop aesthetically pleasing designs.

Creativity. Floral designers use their artistic abilities and knowledge of design to develop appropriate designs for different occasions. They also must be open to new ideas, as trends in floral design change quickly.

Customer-service skills. Floral designers spend a substantial part of their day interacting with customers and suppliers. They must be able to understand what a customer is looking for, to explain options, and to ensure high-quality flowers and service.

Organizational skills. Floral designers need to be well organized, to keep the business operating smoothly and to ensure that orders are completed on time.

Pay

The median annual wage for floral designers was $28,040 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,710, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $41,400.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for floral designers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Food and beverage stores               $29,670
Florists 27,770
Wholesale trade 26,940

Many floral designers work full time, although their hours may vary with the work setting.

Independent floral shops are typically open during regular business hours. Floral departments inside grocery stores or other stores may stay open longer.

Floral designers are busier at certain times of the year, such as holidays, than at other times. Because freshly cut flowers are perishable, most orders cannot be completed too far in advance. Therefore, designers often work additional hours just before and during holidays. In addition, many part-time and seasonal opportunities are available around holidays for which flowers or plants are popular gifts, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day.

Job Outlook

Employment of floral designers is projected to decline 14 percent from 2018 to 2028. Many floral designers are employed in the florist industry, in which overall industry employment is projected to decline over the decade.

Although demand will continue for floral arrangements at events such as weddings and funerals, the need for floral designers is projected to decline along with the number of florist shops in the industry. Local florist shops often fulfill online orders from flower delivery services. This practice may increase the number of orders florist shops receive, but it may also dampen the demand for additional shops as each existing shop widens its customer service area.

In addition, grocery stores offer floral decorations, cut flowers, and plants. Customers may find it more convenient to buy flowers or plants at these stores than to travel to florist shops. As a result, employment of floral designers is projected to grow in grocery stores and decline in florist shops.

Job Prospects

Those with formal education in floral design will have better prospects.

For More Information

For more information about becoming a Certified Floral Designer, visit

American Institute of Floral Designers

For more information about careers in floral design, visit

Society of American Florists

 

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FAQ

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The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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