As I florist, I’m not pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m not going out of my way to post pretty pastel pallets on instagram with annoyingly upbeat captions everyday. Gross. That is not my style. To me, that is not real life. Maybe it is real life to the overtly bright eyed and bushy tailed florists that do this, but it’s certainly not my reality. I’ve been around the block. I’ve seen some shit and been through some shit. I know that there are more downs than ups in this industry. It’s a battle. It’s similar to a “regular” office job only the elements are perishable. Think about that for a second. What if you had to throw away everything in your desk drawer because it wilted before you had a chance to use it? That would be annoyingly stressful, right? This is what florists have to deal with every day. Time is the enemy. There is nothing more heartbreaking than a compost bucket full of blooms that didn’t sell. When people say to me that I’m so “lucky” to be “playing with flowers all day” this is the face I’m making inside.
I’ve been in this industry since 2007. I started at the bottom and worked my way up to the position that I am in now. My business did not happen overnight. I am actually not a newbie in this field contrary to popular belief. Where did the Hardcore Florist come from, you say? Well I’m going to tell you.
I received a BA in General Art. Since I didn’t pick a focus I am kinda ok at a lot of mediums. I never really considered the consequence of my lack of focus until a was bashed over the head with it out in the real world. Oh that soul crushing real world. What a dick.
After a few years of galavanting around like an idiot early twenty-something, I decided to pick a focus: Flowers! “Eureka” I exclaimed I will become a florist! This was the bridge that melded my art background with a career. With stars in my eyes and a spring in my step I enrolled in some floral design classes. All was fine and dandy. I learned the basics. Upon graduating this course, I was slapped in the face by the heavy handed real world once more. I became acutely aware that what I had just learned was so outdated and out of touch with what florists were doing at the time that it was laughable. Literally, I was laughed at by prospective employers.
I had no flower shop experience and I was naive enough to think that I could just waltz right into any shop and be a designer. Nope. For years I was a bucket washer/flower prepper/design the “easy” orders only, peon. It was about 3 months into my first real job that I was allowed and trusted to bang out 1-800 style paint by numbers bouquets. In the next couple of years I was an assistant designer for a couple of prominent flower shops downtown. I began to sharpen my skills and find my style. This took years. I had many good experiences but also a quite a few numbing experiences. The most memorable one was when I arrived to work in the morning only to find the design that I had worked hard on the previous day was ripped apart by my boss because it wasn’t “bright” enough for a funeral. I apparently missed the part in the obituary that the deceased “liked butterflies” and that the arrangement should be more vibrant. My bad. At that same job, I was asked to make a unique bouquet for a birthday only to have the recipient of said bouquet call in and flip out because it was too unique. It didn’t fit in with her decor in here swanky abode, so naturally that was my fault. Yeah. True story. That happened quite a few times at that particular workplace. I am quite thankful for this job because it taught me how NOT to treat somebody.
After a couple of more years working for other people, I decided that I needed to take a break… Enter the tent. You know, the place that fired me over EMAIL after I mentioned something gross on social media after being a stellar employee that built up a flower department while working produce for almost five years. Yeah, that tent. I am also thankful for this job because it also taught me how NOT to treat somebody.
My point here, is I didn’t just arrive on the scene. I’ve been here. I’ve battled it out in the industry for years. Nine years to be exact. I will continue to battle it out; and to be clear, it’s a battle worth fighting. I love working with flowers. I do. Sometimes I wish I didn’t, because it’s stressful as hell but totally worth it.
Next week, I start over in this fresh new chapter in my new space. I hope that you will stick with me during this exciting time. As always, I’m going to continue to be real and raw and post my journey through the lens of experience. You still with me?
Six sleeps to go.