A floral designer is a person who arranges fresh flowers, artificial flowers, leaves and decorations in creative and attractive ways. The arrangements can be as small and delicate as corsages or large, dramatic designs created for weddings or funerals. The designs are sometimes produced following a standard template, but are more often the result of original crafting by the designer. A floral designer also builds terrariums and pots house plants, utilizing unique containers and innovative techniques.
A highly-trained artistic eye and the ability to turn floral and foliage based visions into realities typically are requirements to be a successful floral designer. Equally important is the ability to closely listen to the desires of customers and successfully incorporate their wishes into their displays. The job regularly requires tact and good customer service skills.
Besides being a visionary, a floral designer is generally required to be highly educated about the plants, foliage and flowers with which he works. He may need to know the common and genus names to research their appropriateness for his purposes. In addition, he often is required to know their seasonal availability, their timeline for freshness and how each variety should be stored for maximum longevity and beauty.
In addition to maintaining an inventory of flowers and plants adequate to serving his customers, a floral designer needs to keep proper supply levels of embellishments, ribbons and items needed to properly construct orders. Wires and wooden sticks are required to arrange flowers in creative and dramatic ways, and foam bases are sometimes needed to secure the arrangements in their containers.
A designer also should have a wide assortment of pots, vases and whimsical vessels available to fill orders for special occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, retirements and births. Distinctive decorations for annual holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, should also be kept on hand to meet the heavy demand for flowers on these occasions. Unique gift cards and companion items, such as candy or Champagne are normally part of the floral designer’s offerings.
Floral designers are commonly employed by local or nationally based florists. Small shops often have only one designer, while large companies that ship boxed arrangements worldwide have large staffs of floral designers. Many floral designers start their own florist businesses after gaining experience working for others.
The minimum educational requirement to be a floral designer is a high school diploma or equivalent. Completing high school classes in business and art is helpful. Adult and continuing education schools as well as some junior colleges offer courses in floral design. Most people in this position gain the bulk of their expertise through on-the-job training. To be considered a fully qualified designer usually takes about two years of full-time experience working for a reputable florist.