Approximately 55,500 floral designers are employed in the United States. Small, independently owned flower shops are common employers of florists. Large, national chains, such as Teleflora and FTD, supply additional jobs. Flower departments, now a staple in larger grocery stores, employ about 11 percent of floral designers. Approximately 49 percent of florists work in florist shops, and 24 percent of floral designers are self-employed.
Some floral designers get their start by working as assistant designers. Others, especially if they have a degree or certificate, may be hired as floral designers. Experienced designers may concentrate in a certain area, such as weddings, and become wedding specialists.
Entrepreneurs need to apply for a tax identification number before they officially open for business. This number is necessary to establish accounts with wholesalers and greenhouses, as well as for tax purposes. It would be wise to consult with business or legal experts regarding income tax issues, promotion and advertising, and other matters dealing with operating your own business.
Professionals in floral design maintain a portfolio of their best designs. A portfolio is useful when applying for membership in floral associations, applying for enrollment in postsecondary training programs, and when wooing potential clients.
Advancement in this field depends on the interest of the individual. Some floral designers are content to work at small local shops, especially if they have created a name for themselves in the area they serve. At a larger florist, some may become chief floral designers or supervisors. Others decide to try employment with larger national chains such as Teleflora or 1-800-FLOWERS. Superstore grocery chains now boast full-service floral departments, creating many job opportunities for designers.
Do you possess an entrepreneurial nature? Maybe owning a floral business—either based in your home or established in the middle of your town's business district—is in your future. Still other options include entering the field of landscape design; interior landscaping for offices, shopping centers, and hotels; or a large floral design specialty. Imagine working on a float for Pasadena's Tournament of Roses Parade.
Tips for Entry
Visit the American Institute of Floral Designers' Web site, http://aifd.org/about-us/job-bank, for job listings.
Join the Society of American Florists and the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) to take advantage of networking events, continuing education classes, and other resources.
Talk to florists about their careers. Use the Online Directory feature at the AIFD Web site (http://aifdsite.membershipsoftware.org/AF_MemberDirectory.asp) to find instructors who might be willing to participate in an information interview.
Read Floral Management (https://safnow.org) and Focal Points newsletter (http://aifd.org/about-us/focal-points-newsletter), the official newsletter of the AIFD, to keep up with industry developments.