MoneyMagpie

Nov 10

Make money by starting your own floristry business

So you love flowers and dream of starting your own floristry business, but just don’t know where you’ll get the capital to buy a premises?

We’ve got some good news! Floral design is experiencing a global resurgence, opening up an array of innovative options for entrepreneurs to tap into the market without necessarily owning a ‘flower shop’.

We took a look at the changing face of the industry and put together a quick guide to starting your own floristry business.

 

Why start a floristry business?

Florist shop owner

If you’re in search of a profession that will truly make you happy, look no further than flowers. According to a study conducted by economist and behavioural scientist Professor Paul Dolan – and documented in his book Happiness by Design – nearly nine out of 10 florists and gardeners say they are happy.

However, if you aren’t really the creative type and can’t imaging spending hours making other people’s big events look beautiful, it’s probably not for you.

 

Different types of floristry businesses

Florist hand tying a bouquet

While the practice of floristry may once have been limited to a certain demographic (mostly ‘middle-aged’ women or ‘flamboyant’ men) and a specific type of premises (a little shop space filled with blooms, oases, ribbons and baskets), in recent years it has grown to encompass a much wider range of business types.

Here’s a quick look at some of the most prominent:

  • Flower shop

With the rise of big corporations and franchise, small scale florists that were once a standard fixture in every suburb, CBD and small town have battled to survive. However, they are not completely extinct – some still exist in the original form mentioned above, while others have evolved into more chic and modern versions of their former selves.

  • Commercial florist

This would include florists who create arrangements for large-scale retailers and bouquet delivery services. As a commercial florist, you have very little creative scope, as generic bouquets don’t allow for too much experimentation or creative flair.

  • Mobile florist

Taking a hint from the massive popularity of food trucks, mobile florists are becoming a growing trend. You may find a flower truck parked on the side a busy pedestrian thoroughfare or a kitted-out van at your local farmer’s market.

  • Independent florist

In contrast to commercial florists, independent florists rely on their unique style to gain clients. They typically operate from rented or home studio spaces and work closely with their clients to design floral creations that are artworks in themselves. This would mostly be for events such as weddings or big birthday celebrations, as well as styled fashion shoots.

 

What skills or qualifications do you need?

Florists - two generations

Technically, you don’t need any diplomas or certificates to practice as a florist. If you can arrange a beautiful bouquet, clients would hardly care about your academic background.

If you have no experience at all with floral design, but find yourself drawn to the profession, the very best way to learn would be to apprentice with a practicing florist. In most cases you’d be able to do this part-time, perhaps assisting with big events by doing small tasks the florist her/himself doesn’t have time for.

Should you need a more structured approach, however, there are a number of floristry courses across the UK. Here are a few popular options.

Courses

  • UK School of Floristry offers a full range of courses – from beginners to advanced – covering topics such as ‘starting out in business’, ‘wedding floristry’ and ‘social media for florists’. Course fees range between £145 (for a 1-day introduction) to £999 (for a 5-day wedding masterclass).
  • Academy of Flowers has two campuses – one in Convent Gardens and the other in Cotswolds. Most of their one-day/evening courses focus on a specific event or topic and are open to absolute beginners. Their flagship course, however, is the four-week Floral Design Diploma that will cover all the bases of starting your own floristry business. You can expect to pay between £120 and £3,500.
  • Tallulah Rose Flower School in Bath was established by Rachel Wardley in 2009 after she decided to leave the bustle of London and the demands of her career in fashion for a more deliberate life in the country. She has a hands-on approach and likes to challenge her students, making it a great environment to learn in. Courses range from Free Open Days to 4-Week Career Change courses, which will set you back £4,850.

Before signing up for an expensive course or approaching a florist for an apprenticeship, you may want to consider whether you possess the following traits:

  • Stamina – you’ll spend long hours on your feet and many weekends working.
  • Creativity – if you’re planning on building your brand as an independent designer, clients will turn to you for ideas that will set their events apart.
  • Good people skills – while you may think it’s all about working with flowers, it’s really about working with people and making them happy.
  • Thick skin – not everyone is going to like everything you do all the time. Being able to handle criticism is important.
  • Admin skills – having to tell a client “Oops, it seems like I may have double booked” a week before their wedding is pretty much a disaster, so best to have sharp admin skills.

 

How to get started?

Female florist taking order over the phone

Once you’ve gained a bit of experience and you feel confident enough to call yourself a floral designer, it might be time to set up your own floristry business.

Here are a few basic tips for going about this:

Do your research

Since you’ve gained a bit of insight into the industry through your floral design course or apprenticeship, you probably know which type of floristry business you’d like to set up. Spend some time doing targeted research about your chosen field to find out as much as possible.

Design an identity

Having a recognisable identity for your business is extremely important. Even if you aren’t ready to pursue it full-time yet, having a logo, some business cards and a website is an important step in establishing yourself.

Register your business

The easiest way to do this is to become a ‘sole trader’. This means that only you own the business and you can work alone or employ other people. It’s pretty light on paper work and also free, so there’s really nothing to lose. Read Gov.uk’s guide to setting up as a sole trader.

Start small

If this is all part of a career change, you may want to start out on a part-time basis. Offer to do flowers for friends and family and then expand slowly by taking on larger events. Once you’ve found your feet and built a client base, you make the big leap.

Market yourself

Because floral design is such a visual art, maximise on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Get clients to post photos and share their appreciation by leaving reviews on Facebook or Google.

Find a suitable premises

Floral design is one of those jobs you can easily start doing from home, which keeps overhead low. However, once demand for your work increases, so will your need for space.

If you can’t afford a shop/studio from the start, you could share a space with other artists/designers at first.

 

How much can you make?

Card reader in florists shop

If you’re pursuing floral design on the side, it could offer a pretty solid bit of pocket money.

If you’re doing it full-time, however, it may take a while to show a noticeable profit. This would probably not matter too much if it’s your passion.

There are many clever ways to keep your cash flow going, even outside of wedding/party season. Some ideas include:

Hosting a flower appreciation Airbnb experience

Anna and Ellie from the Flower Appreciation Society host 2-hour workshops at their headquarters in London. During this time guests gain a bit of insight into life as a busy florists and then make flower crowns of their own. Check them out on Airbnb.

Making weekly posies-to-order from seasonal blooms

You can keep your overheads low by closing orders for posy deliveries a week in advance. This way, you’ll know exactly how many flowers to buy.

 

A few creative floral designers to follow

It’s always great to draw some inspiration from those who have already established themselves in the field. Here are three UK-based florists to follow on social media:

  • bloomon

A post shared by bloomon (@bloomonuk) on

bloomon started out in the Netherlands, but now has branches all over Europe.

According to their website “bloomon was founded by three rebels on a quest to turn the flower industry on its head. And spread happiness throughout the world. So far, they’re doing pretty well.”

Find out more about them on the bloomon website.

  • Floom

A post shared by FLOOM (@floomofficial) on

Disappointed by the lack of inspiring bouquets available for order online, Lana Elie decided to fix that by founding Floom.

Working on the same premise as large-scale online flower sellers, Floom creates bouquets to order, however with one important difference: they work exclusively with talented local florists who each have their own style and flair.

Find out more on the Floom website.

  • Petals Floral Design


Covering Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and surrounding areas, Petals Floral Design specialises in creating bespoke wedding pieces that catch the eye and complement the look and theme of any given wedding venue.

Find out more on the Petals Floral Design website.

Professional perspective: Floom

To get a bit more insight into the nitty-gritty of starting your own floristry business, we popped a few questions off to Lana Elie from Floom and this is what she had to say:

1. What inspired you to start a floristry business?

I’d always been involved in creating digital campaigns for big luxury and fashion brands. I joined Burberry just as they became the first luxury brand to take the online world and its opportunities seriously. I then worked for an agency creating content, mainly app-focused, for the likes of Gucci and other brands. Until October 2016, when I left to concentrate on Floom full time, I was Head Of Brand Solutions at i-D.
Floom was a culmination of all these experiences, tech-first, but considerate of design, brand and experience. Also, the many wasted hours looking for florists in the past, and most of the great ones still remain unknown. I wanted to build something that simplified this discovery and purchasing process, but without just building an online floristry website – I knew it needed to be built around these independents and their skills.
 

2. What challenges did you face in the initial set-up of your business?

Managing the growth of both supply and demand with a small team and never enough time in the day. Sometimes having a marketplace model feels like we’re trying to grow two businesses in unison.
 

3. What have your greatest achievements been so far?

It’s hard to choose between getting the first customer sale on Floom (which was obviously a huge moment), and building my team. It’s been the most difficult thing to perfect, especially with the speed we’re required to grow. But when you realise how incredibly intelligent and hard-working your team is, there’s not much else that feels as rewarding.

 

4. Do you think floristry is experiencing something a global renaissance? Can you explain your view?

The short answer is definitely yes.
Emerging companies such as ourselves are promoting and giving voice to creative florists whose bouquets stand out from the crowd. When it comes to partnering with florists, we look for strong personality – mostly through social media – and if they can offer something unique.

We want the florists and their stories to take centre stage – Floom is about using my tech background and giving them an easy platform to shine on. The world would be worse off without some of these craftsmen and women, so it’s our responsibility to share our talents and build something that helps both our businesses.

At Floom we try to make it about your individuality, about the uniqueness of different flowers, their stories and their smells. I don’t often like to say you should use “this flower here for this occasion”, because I believe it’s that kind of advice that has led so many people to only really know about a select few flowers.

Our customers have a high repeat purchase rate due to the quality of our service and the flowers they receive. Our florists regularly change their offerings, so when searching on our site it’s unlikely you’ll see the exact same bouquets or plants available more than once – keeping the experience fresh each time. I think consumers just need to be made aware of the variety and beauty of seasonal flowers, and be exposed to more than only the stiff symmetry of traditional arrangements.
 

5. What would your tips be for anyone who dreams of starting a floristry/floral design business of their own?

To both believe wholeheartedly in your idea and vision for the business no matter what anyone says, but also be objective enough to take the right feedback on board. Definitely get used to rejection, just don’t let it mean anything and don’t take it personally as such – it’s a fact that not everyone is going to agree with you. Then finally, I’d say, be curious. It’s pretty easy to find the right tools to teach yourself about things you don’t know… and if you really don’t have those skills, find people who do that can help you! You can always send them flowers to say thank you…

 

six_magpie
Sign Up – Newsletter
Experian Free Credit Score
Get your free Experian credit score with Credit Matcher

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Add your comments here

Related Articles

 

Make Money and Save Money

ideas for everyone
 

Send this to a friend