Scarcity of Quality Florists

Ever thought about being a florist?

If the conversations I used to have in the shop daily are anything to go by, almost every second person has thought about becoming a florist at some point in their lives….that, or they know someone who ‘used to be’ a florist.

Source: Kochie’s Business Builders

For a profession that seems so pleasant, at least from the outside, believe it or not it is becoming increasingly hard to find suitably qualified and experienced staff.

This isn’t an entirely new problem, floristry has always attracted a younger crowd, some, new school leavers who work whilst studying for their ‘real career’. But the trend has been and continues to be that the industry burns and churns through staff, working them hard and failing to offer something worth staying for. Finding qualified, experienced, seasoned professionals is hard.

There are so many things about working within the industry that are attractive. For a creative soul, you get to create new designs and arrangements everyday and keep yourself constantly challenged artistically. That in itself is a pretty incredible opportunity for anyone who wants to make a living out of making and creating.

Working with nature is also said to have countless health benefits in terms of lowering stress levels and anxiety.

There are jobs within the industry that can be relatively stress free too, which can be appealing, and there are of course opportunities to specialise in weddings, funerals and events, which do include some level of stress and pressure.

Hands of florist making a beautiful bouquet
source: Bloom College

Physically, the job is not easy on your body, with long hours spent standing on your feet. And I dare you to ask a florist to show your their hands up close….coz they are not pretty, and we can be pretty self conscious about them.

But the biggest problem I believe with the industry attracting and retaining quality candidates is the fact that even after you have undertaken your training and received your qualification, you can only expect to be paid as a retail shop assistant. That’s the same wage you can expect as a sales assistant in a clothing shop or a corner store….yet you had to train for a minimum of 2 years.

The problem with that is that with no experience, a newly qualified florist can expect the same wage as a highly experienced florist. And by no means am I suggesting that the newly qualified florist isn’t entitled to this minimal wage, but instead, what is required is a clear grading system based on responsibilities and experience.

If that isn’t the case, what is there in place to retain staff?

That is why I believe we also see such a huge age divide in the industry. The older florists who continue to work in the industry have been working as a florist for such a long time, they perhaps lack the transferable skills or confidence to try something new. The newly qualified florists make up for their lack of experience with their confidence, however sometimes seem unwilling to ‘start from the bottom’. We are then left with a massive gap right in the middle; where the staff with enough experience and innovation would slot in. They would have adequate knowledge, but be flexible and open to new ideas.


I don’t think the grass is always greener, as I have tried other careers and don’t feel half the satisfaction I do when working with flowers…BUT I feel like we have lots of room for improvement in the industry.

What was the best thing about your job or industry?

Fwf x






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Comparison in the Thief of Joy

In business, hell, in life in general, it is all to easy to start comparing yourself to someone you think is doing it better. In appreciating that someone is doing something well, it is all to easy to start thinking you are somehow failing.

Recently I have read some pieces about what is dubbed “the scarcity mindset or mentality”. In a nutshell it is the belief that there will never be enough for everyone, whether we are talking about money, food, business…. This way of thinking keeps you operating competitively, and being reactive rather than proactive, and sometimes resentful of others success as you believe that it takes opportunity from you.

The opposite of this is the abundance mindset: the ability to look at things optimisticly, be genuinely happy for others successes as the central belief is there is enough for everyone. How can we keep ourselves thinking abundantly in business?

What sparked the idea of this blog was a conversation I heard recently about a business doing some market research on some local competitors. The business that had been unknowingly “researched” was angry, outraged and questioning the other business’ integrity.


The assumption was that the business who was doing the research was being lazy; trying to see how the other business quoted rather than do the hard yards themselves….Perhaps because they didn’t have the skill level to do it themselves….

Many years ago, I had something similar happen to me. A ‘customer’ came in for a wedding quote. We spent time going through her theme, making suggestions as to what would be in season, what would be beautiful and how we could create the aesthetic that she was after.

Needless to say, this quote never became a booking…although we never really knew why. Some time later I then went on to run the company that had ‘researched’ us. I went through a series of files from the research they had conducted. It was not an attempt to ‘steal’ our quoting formula, or our consultation technique,  it instead looked at all the things we did well, and the things they felt were lacking in our meetings. It did the same for each of the businesses that had been observed. It felt thorough, and impartial.


Truthfully, I think this is smart business. While many businesses would be up in arms that they had their time wasted on a job that would never come to fruition, perhaps it is those businesses that would most benefit from conducting some research of their own.

You need to know what your competition does well….not so you can emulate it,  but so you can better understand your target customer. You can also take a moment to appreciate the things that you are doing well, and congratulate your team on what they are excelling at. Let’s face it, each business has its own strengths and weaknesses, and someone will choose to book with you based on what you offer to them that appeals. By the same token, they will choose not to book with you should someone’s style, business approach and pricing etc appeal to them more. This is where it is hard not to feel criticised, but really, you cannot please everyone. Find your niche, and do you, well.

They say that ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. Businesses are as different as a Rose is to a tulip. Comparing the two, and expecting the same from both, is pointless.

I know that we appreciate our customers, and the loyalty they show to our family business. We don’t do everything, we can’t….but we try to do what we do, well.

Thanks for your support as always 😉

Fwf x

Featured Image: Colorado ManREACH

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When you are creative, your mind works differently. I’m not sure exactly how, because let’s face it, I’m a florist not a neurologist, but it is plain for everyone to see that creative people seem to operate on another level.

Albert Einstein is quoted as having said “ Creativity is intelligence having fun” and I agree with this statement 100%. For me, being a creative does not mean that every time you try your hand at something new, you just get it right first go and it looks amazing. BUT what creativity is, is having a vision, using problem solving skills to execute that vision and having the motivation to give it a go despite what may result. It is not letting the self doubt stop you. Let’s be clear, it certainly is NOT the absence of self doubt, in fact I know MANY creatives who battle with self doubt and suffer from anxiety surrounding their creativity.

When you get hung up on every single thing you make being pretty and perfect, you will never experiment. And if you want to know something is 100% going to work before you even begin, the likelihood is you won’t be creating anything original, you’ll be replicating known formulas to ensure success.

One of the hardest things to do as a creative, is to find your voice as an artist. Allowing yourself to be so raw that you lay it all out on the table, and see if anyone likes it…. That is a pretty daunting thing to do. But finding your own style and being authentic to that style is key to feeling happy in your creativity. Every time someone buys something that you have created, they buy a little piece of you, and your heart. For that reason alone, when your designs are replicated, it really, really hurts. Aside from that it is unethical.

Over the years, I have lost count of the amount of times I have had someone else’s work brought in, to be replicated.  More often than not it’s for a wedding, and the simple fact is that people are shopping around. And when I say shopping around, I don’t mean that they are sitting down with different florists to brainstorm and see who’s style aligns with their own and can help create their dream wedding. They are simply price shopping. They have an image that they want replicated, but at the best price. The problem with this is that it really undervalues the original artists voice. It shows little regard for their artistry, and for all the experimentation they have done to get to that point, to create that beautiful piece.

On the flip side, it doesn’t show much regard for the artist you choose to execute it either. Have you considered their work and style? Now there is nothing wrong with taking in a series of images to give your designer an idea of the look and feel that you like. Inspiration boards are a terrific source of information for your designer. We welcome that

At the end of the day, running a florist is like running any small business. It is a balancing act, ensuring that you buy quality stock that your customers like, creating beautiful arrangements that bring people back time and time again. As far as creativity goes, it is realising that while some people buy from you because they love your quality work and your unique style, others shop based on price alone. This is something that every business needs to manage. Some people will love your brand and what you uniquely offer, others won’t even notice the details that set you apart.

Anyone who is a creative person knows things just don’t always work. Sometimes you mix your colours incorrectly or it just doesn’t translate into the design you thought it would be. For florists, seasonal changes make differences in the colour of blooms. Weather events can mean whole crops are destroyed and you need to make a decision on your best alternatives. But you know what? The creatives will think outside of the box. They are the problem solvers, innovators, inventors. Give them a challenge and they will accept. Give them a problem and they will solve it.

But the paint by numbers kind of artist who just finished the last bit of blue paint is going to go into a panic….because, well, they just follow the rules, and haven’t really had to think about how to create something beautiful before. I know who I’d rather buy from 😉

Fwf x

Featured Image : WGSN Insider




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Tools, timber and flowers....fresh flowers? Do these things go together?

Tools, Timber, Hardware…and Flowers

Before I was a florist, before I even knew I could become a florist, my family and I used to buy flowers from this tiny little corner store with buckets and buckets of market fresh flowers. There wasn’t any arrangements or mixed bouquets there, but if you wanted them mixed, you simply chose the bunches you wanted and they would put it together. That was the quintessential old school corner store wasn’t it?  A true mixed business, where each member of the family had an essential role in the function, success and future.

Then, specialty florist shops began popping up: where you would expect to find an assortment of pre made bouquets and arrangements. You would of course be able to design your own mix from their selection of fresh cut flowers. The giftware, balloons, chocolates and other extras was limited in those days.

Balloon bouquets are a great alternative for births, birthdays and other celebrations
Balloon bouquets are a great alternative for births, birthdays and other celebrations

As the industry has changed, new opportunities have continued to appear. Studios have positioned themselves in a way that they attract Wedding and events work as well as workshops. Boutique florists create bespoke florals for product launches and media, as well as handling many celebrity clients. They may source a range of unique homewares, hamper items, giftware, vases, ceramics to offer their clients some beautiful gift items that are unique and gorgeous quality. And your trusty local florist is the one you can rely on for your everyday needs for your home or gifts and special orders.

Where do supermarket flowers fit into the picture?

For many, people will grab a bunch from the supermarket if they need something for a vase at home. And you can understand it in some ways- it’s convenient…and you know what, it also becomes part of the grocery bill in your head, instead of the luxury item you have gone to a specialty store for, right?

Over the last few years supermarket flower pricing has become more and more competitive.  Big supermarkets have even been attracting new customers with focussed, and specially designed menus of fresh cut flower arrangements and bouquets for BIG DAYS such as Valentines Day and Mother’s Day.

How about service station cut flower bouquets?

Maybe all the shops are closed, and you have been unorganised. Perhaps it’s a public holiday. Perhaps your local florist was sold out… Surely, these are the only reasons a person would find themselves browsing the flower stand at a place that your fill your car up with fuel.

Well, let me ask you this….what about hardware store flowers?

When you think about choosing a floral gift, in what universe do you find that in a hardware store?

For a little while now, Bunnings has been stocking flower arrangements and bouquets. I was flabbergasted when I walked in the entrance to be confronted with a stand of arrangements. They were located at the very front of the store so that they were easily accessible  should you need to run in and run out. There was no comparison between what they do, and what we do, so whilst I was certainly surprised by this new addition, there is obviously some market for this style and quality arrangement.

In business they say the most important factor is knowing who your target market is. For many it is tempting to say ‘ everyone’ but unfortunately one of the biggest mistakes you can make is trying to appeal to everyone. Your product won’t appeal to everyone, it just won’t. So the sooner you define who your customers are, and how to give them what they want, the stronger your business will be. So rather than worry about all the things everyone else is doing, Florist with Flowers is focussed on what we do best.

Living Portrait planter pots.
Living Portrait planter pots.

Have you seen one of latest additions in store? These ‘Living Portraits’ are a gorgeous gift idea.

Fwf x


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Post Wedding Woes and Worries

I remember when I made the decision to focus my floristry career on wedding work alone. It was a big decision, but I felt it was the challenge that I craved, and something I could really throw myself into. I also felt that I had enough experience behind me to put me in a good position to guide clients in their choices for one of the most important days of their lives.



Some of the time, getting on the same page, would come quickly, and at other times, both parties probably left the consultation unsure if we really ‘understood’ each other. In order to mitigate some of the potential issues, as well as including the flower types and names of varieties (which probably means little to someone outside the industry anyway) we would also include an overview of the colour palette, as well as approximate quantities of each colour, and a description of the overall look and feel in colloquial language. But I’m not going to lie….across a career of thousands of weddings, I’ve had my fair share of ‘failures’. And whilst the bouquets may have been aesthetically beautiful, they did not meet the brides expectation.

This week, I have heard a few discussions on similar experiences; the disappointment in that despite their best efforts to be completely transparent, some bits of the creative process still seem to be lost in translation. Then there are other cases, where the colours just were not right, or a major change was made and never discussed with the client…or worse, items were never delivered to the venue.

As a supplier, we must be able to decide whether we are responsible for failing our client. We must be able to look through the brief and honestly answer whether we met it. And when we are in the wrong, we must own it.


Sometimes however, people experience a post wedding low. It has the same intensity as a wedding high, but sits at the other end of the spectrum. The wedding high brings all those exuberant feelings; elation, euphoria, happiness, giddiness, optimism and gives you the ability to overlook details that seem insignificant.

The post wedding low, can be where things go wrong, and it is understandable. After months, or even years of working toward a goal, a momentous,  beautiful day where every whim and every wish is realised, daily life hits you with an almighty thud.

The realisation that that big project is over can leave people wondering what to do next. Does that sound ludicrous? Believe me, this is a REAL thing.

For suppliers, post wedding day lulls, can surface complaints that did not exist on the day. And for creatives, like florists, it really hits us where it hurts….the HEART.


Unlike many other wedding suppliers, florists get no second chances. The flowers are one of the last pieces to the puzzle, and responsible for kind of tying everything together….and no one wants to get it more right than your wedding florist. When we get it wrong, it keeps us up at night…literally.

So, if I can give one piece of advice, I would say that when you choose your wedding florist, choose a company who creates things that you drool over all the time. Choose someone who has a natural style that aligns with your own….then, I believe you will get something that you think it just perfect for your big day.

Fwf x

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Flower ordering for the future?

Uber Easy Flowers?

I read an article the other day on 9homes that suggested that the future of buying flowers was an Uber-esque website called Bag a Bouquet. Like many platforms these days, what this does is offer you an array of products that are available in your delivery area from different businesses and suppliers. From there you can choose your bouquet based on style, or price, rather than having to sift through several websites yourself. Bag a Bouquet is the brain child of former property industry worker, 26 year old Xanthe Reynolds, who saw a problem in her own buying experience and made it an opportunity.

For some generations, this new world look at buying flowers will fit perfectly, but for others who value loyalty and a personalised experience, this will yet again miss the mark by removing the human component of gift giving. As a florist, when you want to create something unique, it is imperative that you understand both your client and the intended recipient, and how do you do that if you never interact with anyone? Simply choosing from a website picture just isn’t going to cut it on many occasions. And whilst websites are easily updated and changed daily allowing for seasonal variations, we are still working in a creative industry, Working directly with nature, and where many factors are beyond our control.


An arrangement of all white and greens is a great choice as the overall look and feel will remain the same, even if substitutions are made.
An arrangement of all white and greens is a great choice as the overall look and feel will remain the same, even if substitutions are made.

For Florist with Flowers, Tasteful white blooms is one of our most popular arrangements. When you choose an arrangement of all whites and greens you know that even when substitutions are made, the overall look and feel of the arrangement will remain the same.

Crisp white box arrangement
Crisp White Box is a crowd favourite on our website. The simple colour palette is easy to substitute within is required.

Unlike the process of comparing hotels online, where the product is stagnant and fixed, with any fresh product there is always the need to make substitutions and design decisions based on what is available at the time. The reality is a bouquet in a picture is near impossible to replicate; there are colour variations, size variations, stage of bloom variations… There will also be differences in the way the stem has grown, and therefore the direction it naturally moves in an arrangement. These may sound so insignificant individually, but it can vastly change an arrangement. And it is also these little intricacies that can take a bouquet from average to awesome.

Pink Stylish Bouquet
Try choosing a bouquet in one colour tone, like this Pink Stylish Bouquet.

This I believe is the strength of knowing and patronising a small local business. Instagram, Facebook and other social media outlets are invaluable in growing your audience and bringing them into your creative world. There, you can show them how much talent you have in your business and develop a level of trust that means they will allow you to create what you think best suits a brief without specifying exactly what that will be in advance. It is then, that you are able to do your best work also.

But in a florist business there is also the need to manage expectations. When you are face to face with a client or on the phone, you are able to talk to them about any changes you may need to make to an arrangement and also mitigate any concerns they have.

Bright Sunny Bouquet
Bright Sunny Bouquet is a popular item on the Florist with Flowers website.

Like any other buying decision you make online, I believe that it is always best to deal directly with the business that you are buying from. That means it is important to avoid any third party interactions. This is where communication generally breaks down, plus you will often find that some of the money you have spent is paid to the third party as an (often hefty) commission…..so despite spending a lot, you may not end up seeing the value in the final product. It is also much quicker and easier to deal with address changes, or any issues that need to be resolved if you are dealing directly with the business who executes the order for you….

My vote is still 100% for supporting an individual local business!

Just something to keep in mind!

Fwf x



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The tough business of flowers

Mentor Shines Spotlight on the Struggles of a small florist business

From the moment you can talk, basically everyone asks you what you want to do when you grow up. What do you want to be? Find something you are passionate about, they say. If you have passion, you will always go above and beyond what is expected and success will come.


What they don’t tell you is that sometimes it can be a looooong, bumpy road to success, and if you checked out The Mentor on Channel 7 on Monday night you will know exactly what I mean.

Florist, Kim Key owns and runs a small business based in Cronulla in the South of Sydney. She is an extremely experienced florist, hard working, and you know what, even when her business was floundering, her passion was palpable. She still absolutely loved the flowers, and what she did.

Small business owners, just like Kim, and us, wear so many different hats
Photo Credit: Cronulla Florist

Like many passionate florists, she is not a trained business person. She simply wanted to turn her passion into a flourishing business. It is a situation that is pretty common in this industry actually. Whether you have learnt on the job whilst employed, or decided to jump in head first, many florists have no business or marketing background, but instead rely on their love of flowers to propel their business upwards.

It takes a special kind of person to be a florist: the kind of person that can listen to your ramblings and create something that ticks all the boxes that you didn’t know you had. It is someone who understands the ‘look’ you want to create, and how to achieve it sometimes without being able to show you exactly what that is beforehand.

Mark Bouris gives. Aluable advice to a small florist shop owner that we can all learn from
Photo Credit: The Mentor, Mark Bouris Twitter

Mark Bouris served up a fairly hefty dose of tough love, and although emotional, Kim was steadfast in her mission. This is a mother, wife, daughter and friend giving her everything, and sacrificing so much of her own life and happiness in an attempt to build her dream. It was hard to watch at times as Bouris used large online businesses to illustrate what she could do better.  In many ways, what a small business has on offer is the fact that it is so unlike a large faceless online business; the old fashioned experience of knowing the shop owner and talking to someone in person, and seeing what they have in store. BUT Bouris also illustrated just how hard the flower business is and how the margins on flowers alone, just aren’t large enough to have a successful business.



The episode served as a great reminder for me on a couple of points:

  1. You don’t know if you don’t ask. Getting into the habit of asking each and every customer if they would like a vase, chocolates, balloons, toys etc, is not only good for business, but enhances the whole customer experience. Happy customers = A better business.
  2. If you don’t exist on Social Media, then you don’t exist. Social Media presence is ESSENTIAL in today’s marketplace. Invite your customers into your world and give them an insight into your everyday. Building loyalty these days looks different, but it is still based on the concept of connecting.

A big thank you to Kim for being so transparent and honest about her business and the struggles of all small business owners. Whilst I think many of our hearts broke with hers there were a lot of lessons in there for everyone. And as a side note Kim, I think having a friendly personality creates a relaxed and inviting shop environment, without that feeling people are less likely to come in 😉

With Mother’s Day coming up next weekend, remember to patronise your local small businesses, otherwise they will cease to exist 💔 You can check out what we have on offer this year here.

And if you missed the episode of The Mentor, and are interested, you can check it out here.

Fwf x

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Small Business = Big Love

This week a story has emerged that details alleged abuse of former employees by a heavyweight in the floristry industry. The former employees allege that they were subjected to constant bullying and intimidation, and were not able to stand up for themselves for fear of losing their jobs. The story suggests that workplace safety was depriortised to increase productivity, pressuring staff (largely foreign nationals) to work in an unsafe environment simply to get the quantity of work done that was required.

What this story highlighted most for me was the strengths in a small business like Florist With Flowers. Whether we like it or not, small florist businesses like ours, need to compete with bigger businesses, and what the supermarkets have on offer.  There is certainly no comparison in terms of quality and artistry, however we will forever be subjected to comparisons in price, and that’s just business.

Small business BIG dreams
Florist with Flowers is a small business with BIG dreams

What you need to know when comparing supermarket flowers to you local florist’s bouquets:

  • The reason the prices are so low is because they are made to a ‘recipe’. There is no freedom in being inspired to create, and no freedom to add to an arrangement even when necessary.
  • Shortcuts. Flowers are not conditioned adequately to save time. Foliage may not be stripped carefully, thorns are mechanically smashed, however not completely removed from the stem.
  • Gift wrapping is basic, and incomplete. It is easy to spot a supermarket bunch a mile off right? The stems of the bouquets are always left unwrapped, although you are given the option on a bag to attach. It lacks the finish and finesse of a florist bought bouquet.
  • Flowers are delivered infrequently (usually weekly) with little or no care between deliveries. Older bouquets are usually discounted or disposed of at the end of the week.

What will your local florist offer you?

  • Your local florist will take time to listen to what you want, who the gift is for and will lovingly create the fresh flower arrangement for you.
  • The materials for your fresh flower bouquet will be carefully prepared (stripped, dethroned, worked if required) and then constructed. You will have the option to add a little more if you like, or to add another colour.
  • Your florist can package your bouquet ready for travel if it will be out of water for a length of time, or may suggest creating a self contained arrangement if more appropriate.
  • Your flowers will be fresher. The local florist will be replenished with fresh flowers regularly and the vases and buckets will be washed and filled with fresh water.
Florist with Flowers has amazing staff
Facebook post by Richard Branson March 27, 2014.

In a local florist, staff matter- your staff look after your customers when you can not be there. Looking after them, ensures they look after you and your business. Richard Branson advocates for looking after staff, acknowledging that although businesses differ it is vitally important to look after the staff you have and show them how valuable their efforts are to you.

If reading stories like this one in the news bothers you, the decision is yours. Rather than being just another number to a big business, support a small business. Every bouquet you buy, every bunch of flowers you take home, means that this little family business gets to keep our dream alive, and for that, we will be forever thankful.

Fwf x

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ftlof cover

For the Love of Flowers

For many years now I have been a florist. And if I am truthful, I have struggled with only being a florist, as if it really isn’t enough, as if I should be giving more to the world. Why? To outsiders florists may appear to have no drive or ambition, no smarts, and perhaps no skill. I am always bewildered by the fact people are surprised florists ‘train’ for at least two years. And even more so, when they think that they could learn to create something as good as a florist with a 5 minute tutorial by someone.  But the reality is far from that.

Florists are creatives who work in a time sensitive environment, taking fresh ingredients, caring for them and displaying them in a way that makes each a piece of art. They listen to your ideas and bring them to life, transforming parties to memorable, spectacular events. They construct pieces from trial and error, and detailed consultation. They are savvy business people, seeing opportunities to create niche businesses where they are absent, or working from home whilst juggling parenting. They are forever adapting to the changing landscape of business- offering the punters what they want whether it be fresh cut market bunches, lavish arrangements, small simple gift bunches with local delivery, house plants or gift ware.

When I think about what attracted me to floristry initially, and what has kept me coming back over the years, the reasons are many.

Image; Florist With Flowers Instagram. Clusters of Seasonal flowers including divine Cymbidiums

Seasonality– Despite every flower having a ‘season’, with modern day techniques many flowers are available all year round, but for me, when a flower comes into it’s true season, things don’t get much better.

When the Winter Cymbidium season begins, I gobble them up as quickly as they come in, utilising them in everything that I can. Somehow everything just seems to look better….clusters of the blooms in posies, or lovely long stems in arrangements and leggy bouquets. I begin to wonder how on earth I will ever make something beautiful again once their season passes.

Of course, as one season ends another begins and my senses are delighted once again- Spring offerings such as Daphne, Lilly of the Valley, and Heleborus invigorate my creative juices once more. Summers Buddleja  (Buddleia) and Garden rose varieties are some of the most delicious of the season’s offerings. Autumn gifts me with Cattleya orchids and Calla lilies.

Image; Florist With Flowers Instagram. Where there is little difference in colour tone, the differences in texture can elevate a design.

Texture– Texture is totally under- rated. It has the ability to take a bouquet from drab to fab, to create interest where there was none.  I liken it to the ‘crunch’ in a meal, where you all of a sudden find yourself chewing on something that was almost unexpected, but it is this difference that ties all the other components together.

Image; Florist with Flower Instagram “When you’re a leaf, but so badly want to be the flower”

Colours– The single thing that keeps it most interesting for me in floristry is the fact that there are so many intricacies in nature. There are the tiniest differences within flowers of the same variety- a blush, a variegation, or a pronounced vein, making each and every flower unique. We sometimes find one part of the bloom is overgrown (mutated) or it has a double head (like twins)- it is a beautiful reminder that there is much variation in the world and that the beauty of the world lies within and because of those differences.

ftl 4
Image; M J Blythe via Pinterest

For many of our talented peers, they utilise training from a previous life when they begin their career in floristry. I know a handful of Fine Arts graduates, Marketing Execs, and set designers. It’s the kind of industry that requires so much broad knowledge, that we have a a broad cross section of skills within it. And despite trying my hand at many other things over the years, I keep coming back. Why? I have found a career that gives me a level of fulfillment that I know I am blessed to have found and feel. It may not seem serious enough or high pressured  enough to command a mammoth salary, but that’s not really why we do it, is it?! Fundamentally, we all do it for the love of flowers, because that seems to be a love that never dies…




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Life of a Florist; A life of Danger

Many people think floristry is the dream job. The idea of being in a small shop and playing with flowers appeals to many people. I have always joked that people don’t understand just how ‘dangerous’ life as a florist can be, and how it can quite literally be risky business!

You think about it, many florist businesses are small owner operator set ups, where you usually find someone is working alone the vast majority of the time. What does that mean? Well, you are opening and closing up a shop, each and every day where the work is laborious; heavy, hard, repetitive and back breaking. Add to that the fact that florists are usually at work long before anyone else is awake, starting the market run around 4 am and they are still around once the other businesses have closed their doors. This leaves them in the most vulnerable position; at risk to armed robbery, fatigue, OH&S incidents/accidents and more.

florist 1
Image; Jonny Weeks for the Guardian

Just last week a small florist business at busy Sydney Central Station was the scene of a very sad, and disturbing series of events that unfortunately saw a 30 year old man shot dead. NSW Police were called to the Eddy Avenue Florist at approximately 6:45pm on Wednesday 26th July following reports of an armed robbery.

The florist, who was working alone at the time has said that he was attacked by a man wielding a broken bottle however that the man did NOT attempt to rob the store at any time. Instead, Emmanuel Theoharas explained that he was attacked from behind, and threatened with the bottle before the man demanded that he call the police.

From many reports it seems that the man, since identified at 30 Year old Danukul Mokmool, may have been a drug user with some mental health issues and it is a sad end to his story. But my heart goes out to poor Emmanuel Theoharas who has been running the florist for some 46 years. I’m sure that this was not what he thought his day was going to look like, but he turned up to open the store again Thursday morning and will do each and every day that follows. That would have been some scary stuff and I’m not so sure that everyone could bounce back so quickly.

florist 2

For operations that are bigger, yes there will be others there to share the workload and have your back, but maybe you will work off site in an unfamiliar situation. You may be up a ladder hanging things from a ceiling, or lifting large pieces up into the centre of a a table, repetitively straingin your lower back. Long hours, particularly in event work will see you existing as if you are constantly jet lagged, making your response time slower. And remember we work with scissors and knives all day every day (with the occasional hammer, saw, pliers and power tools thrown in too)- sounds like a recipe for success doesn’t it?

The retail world has changed dramatically over the past decade. As a whole, we are a society that relies less on cash, and more on credit.  In years gone by, a florist basically survived on cash transactions, but like any legitimate business, as time has passed, technological advances and society’s demand for conveniences has seen us adapt. In some ways it probably lured us into a false sense of security. I mean, anyone who works within our industry knows, it wouldn’t be worth the risk to rob what cash you would find in the till these days! In some ways we probably don’t feel as though we need to be as wary or hyper vigilant as we once did, and I guess in some ways, because there is less cash, the risk has lessened.


But back in those days, the cash florist was selling posies and box arrangements…..These days we are in the business of construction with no formal certification; creating huge wall hanging arrangements, working through the night on little or no sleep, a concoction of caffeine, chocolate, lollies or cigarettes (depending on your preference).

Let’s think about that for a second….a Jet lagged Construction worker, operating machinery at heights while wielding scissors or a knife…..

Told you floristry was a dangerous job!

Fwf x



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