There are more than 8,000 florist shops in the UK, and nearly 7,000 florist businesses in an industry that is now worth £1.5 billion. It’s not surprising that increasing numbers of people are wanting to join the fun. Described by those involved as a lifestyle, not a job, floristry isn’t just a bed of roses. Early mornings, long shifts and busy periods are matched by quiet times; but if they don’t scare you, you might make it work! Every birmingham florist needs a decent early start!
Training is not crucial but as we all know, knowledge is power, and there are various ways to gain floristry qualifications. Gaining an apprenticeship and learning on the job is one of the most effective ways to learn the trade; witnessing the ins and outs of the everyday and seeing if you’ve got what it takes. The main path most UK florists take is doing a course. Part-time and full-time courses are available in order to gain practical qualifications; NPTC, BTEC and City & Guilds all offer some sort of award. You can also go back to university and get yourself a degree in Garden Design or Floral Industry. NVQ’s in floristry are also a possibility. The highest award in floristry in the UK is the National Diploma of the Society of Floristry. Most professional florists in the UK are members of the society, which offers certificates for florists to test, prove and improve their skills. Competition is an issue in every industry, especially when it comes to conducting your business online. All great businesses must have an impressive online presence and floristry is no different. It’s important to build up a recognisable brand for your loyal customer base.
A large part of your success will depend on your local area and how many successful florists there already are. You want people to think of you on every occasion, and your shop front should tempt people to buy flowers ‘just because’ on the way home. A Unique Selling Point is just as important in floristry as it is in any other industry, so it’s good to work yours out early. What sets you apart from others? What makes you the best in the area?
Early AM starts are common as you’ve got to go to market three times a week, load your van and take the flowers back to your shop. Often these trips are done solo, meaning that being strong and fit is a must in order to carry out all the heavy lifting. Once back from the market it’s time to put together the custom bouquets and ready-made bunches, as well as handling deliveries. Then of course there is making sure your shop is looking its best, helping customers and managing stock. Most florist businesses are relatively small, with one in four having no employees and 66% employing between one and nine. This may be appealing to many, as handling a small workforce helps retain consistency across the board. Not only will the few employees get to know the business, but your customers will get to know you, and everyone prefers to buy something from people they know and trust. You also want to have a good relationship with market traders in order to get the best deals and advanced knowledge.