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Jobs 101: Florist

Find out why a career as a florist is no bed of roses.

Lim Yu Jia


Published: 25 July 2016, 10:36 AM

We thought that being a florist purely meant working with pretty flowers everyday, in a relatively undemanding environment.

All that was debunked after we met Jo from Floral Magic, who filled us in on what being a florist entails.

Youth.sg had the opportunity to meet Jo at her workplace.
Who: Josephine Lau, 28
What: Florist at Floral Magic
Studied: Bachelor of business administration at National University of Singapore (NUS)

Tell us more about yourself.

I have been a florist for five years now, and I do all forms of floral arrangements from hand ties (my favourite!), foam or vase based, to structure making.

Jo picked the scabiosa flower (dark purple in picture) to describe herself – soft, elegant, reserved, yet strong. Photo credit: Floral Magic

How and why did you become a florist?

I decided I want to work more with my hands after a two-year stint in the marketing sector. I then joined my mother, who has been a florist for 16 years now, at Floral Magic.

How has the industry changed over the years?

In the past, opening a floral business required high start-up costs and strong retail presence. However, with the internet now, the costs are much lower. In fact, anyone can be a florist today.

Jo describes her style as natural, textured and varied.

Describe a typical day at work.

I typically start at 9am, and I spend at least half the day replying emails or holding meetings. We try to leave by 7pm, but if we have to meet clients, working hours can stretch up to 9pm.

Is there anything you do not like about your job?

It is very hard not to like flowers (laughs), but if anything, I wish I can stick to more regular hours.

What are some memorable experiences you had as a florist? 

Some have been memorable due to the pure scale of it – we have done an 800-seater event before, which challenged us in many ways as we struggled with manpower and logistics issues.

Bougainvillea is usually not available as a cut flower, but that doesn’t stop floral magic from using it. Photo credit : Floral Magic

We once met a bride who provided us with bougainvillea flowers to work with for her solemnization bouquet. It was refreshing as she went beyond just telling us what she wanted.

What motivates you in your work?

Seeing the finished products definitely, and adding them to my portfolio. It encourages me to explore more, especially when I am given the creative freedom to do so.

The Matthiola is Jo’s favourite perennial flower. Photo credit: Floral Magic

What advice would you give to youths considering a career as a florist?

When I first started, I was under the illusion that I will be surrounded by beautiful flowers every day and that those are the only things I will be handling during my time at work.

However, the reality is that I spend more than half the time behind the computer and meeting clients, and I don’t get to spend as much time as I would like with flowers. This is especially so if you start your own floral business.

Educational requirements: An academic certificate does not matter, but it is important to take up floristry workshops or courses to build up your portfolio.

Qualities needed: Meticulous, quick thinking, even quicker with your hands, hardworking, have a strong sense of urgency, have an eye for design and a knack for solving problems.

Salary range: Expect up to 10 hours on weekdays, and 12 hours on weekends depending on the event.

Working hours: It varies according to your job scope; approximately $1,200 per month for part-timers. For full timers with some experience, the pay can start from $2,000.

Career prospects: A lead designer in a corporate team or overall wedding styling.

 


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