Floristry is the creation and design of floral arrangements such as bouquets, centrepieces, corsages, wreaths and other products. Florists cut and arrange flowers (either live or dried) and other greenery and accessories, either according to set layouts or as their own original designs. The floristry industry is diverse, challenging and subject to frequent changes in fashion. Many young, dynamic designers have transformed the image of floristry from the compulsory flower bouquet reluctantly sent and indifferently delivered, to an indispensable fashion accessory service for the home or workplace.
Floristry outlets range from small independent shops and large supermarkets, to online delivery sites, which have transformed the marketing of floristry products in recent years. Internet platforms are opening up new opportunities for florists to connect directly with customers. One of the latest innovations gaining popularity is ‘letterbox flowers’; this is where flowers are carefully handpicked in bud and delivered in boxes that fit through the letterbox. Customers get styling tips on how they can arrange bouquets, which makes flower arranging more enjoyable.
Flowers and floral products are purchased to express emotions such as love, thanks, condolence, apology and congratulations. They also create a pleasant atmosphere in the home and in the workplace. The market can be divided into five sections:
- Valentine’s Day
- Mothers’ Day
As well as these five very important areas, there is also day-to-day spending on house plants and fresh and dried flowers for home décor, as well as for birthdays and anniversaries.
For many years, much of the fresh and dried flowers, house plants and cut foliage for use in the industry were imported. However, some import substitution is now taking place, with protected crop growers going back into the production of house plants and cut flowers. High-quality, outdoor-grown cut flowers are now being produced in increasing quantities for availability during summer months, which is a welcome trend. We have a thriving cut foliage industry, which is supplying the Irish floristry sector, as well as exporting produce.
Setting up a floristry business
It is the ambition of many people to own their own business. Despite competition in the retail supply of floristry products, people with training may find an opportunity to set up their own enterprise. This can be done from home, especially in rural areas, or in rented premises in a local town.
It is recommended however, to rent a premises in a busy area of a local town when starting a new floristry outlet. With all the materials needed available for delivery to your doorstep, e.g., flowers, foliage, plants and sundries, people with training will find it relatively easy to set up their own business. To succeed as a florist, the following personal skills and attributes are desirable:
- a genuine love of flowers and a desire to work with them
- a keen eye for design, colour matching and style
- some knowledge of plant care
- excellent practical skills
- good interpersonal skills and good at dealing with the public
The industry requires a workforce that is dynamic, well trained and adaptable. It is essential that people who would like to set up their own business or want to obtain a job in the floristry industry, should be given the proper training. Teagasc, in conjunction some third-level colleges, provides training for those interested in the sector. There are also a number of private training schools and online courses.
Training consists of –
- The preparation, care and handling of
- Learning the elements and principles of
- Being able to design and assemble a full range of products (bouquets, wreaths, etc.) demanded by today’s floristry
- Health and
- Understanding customer requirements and setting up your own
- Marketing, branding and promotion.
Fact sheet produced by Andy Whelton, Vegetable and Cut Foliage Specialist Advisor