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Florist

Kaihoko Putiputi

Alternative titles for this job

Florists design and prepare flower arrangements, and sell flowers, indoor plants and accessories such as vases and baskets.

Pay

Florists with less than three years' experience usually earn

$18-$20 per hour

Senior florists with three or more years' experience usually earn

$20-$25 per hour

Source: Florists New Zealand Incorporated (FLONZI), 2016.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a florist are average for those wanting to enter the role, but good for those with experience and/or a qualification in floristry or horticulture.

Pay

Pay for florists varies depending on experience.

  • An apprentice florist can expect to earn the minimum wage.
  • A florist who has just earned a Level 3 qualification in floristry can expect to earn slightly above minimum wage.
  • Senior florists with three or more years' experience usually earn $20 to $22 an hour.
  • Those who manage and or/own a florist business may earn $25 an hour or more.

Source: Florists New Zealand Incorporated (FLONZI), 2016.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Florists may do some or all of the following:

  • help people choose flowers or plants
  • design and put together flowers in bouquets, posies and arrangements
  • deliver or arrange delivery of flowers
  • look after flowers and indoor plants
  • buy plants, wrap, vases and baskets from sales representatives
  • keep records and accounts
  • attend markets and auctions and bid for flowers.

Skills and knowledge

Florists need to have:

  • knowledge of flowers and plants
  • ability to care for and arrange cut flowers
  • knowledge of trends in floristry
  • knowledge of Interflora and Teleflora ordering procedures
  • business management, basic maths and accounting skills
  • sales skills
  • knowledge of basic first aid and occupational health and safety procedures.

Working conditions

Florists:

  • work regular business hours but may also have early morning starts, and work weekends and on special event days such as Valentine's Day
  • mainly work in shops and retail outlets
  • work to deadlines and spend long periods on their feet
  • often have to travel to make deliveries, purchase flowers from markets, or prepare arrangements for special events.

What's the job really like?

Jessica Jackson

Jessica Jackson

Florist

A love of plants and flowers, and a flair for art and design led Jessica Jackson to her work as a florist.

"I love gardening and did heaps of art at school so I’m glad I got into floristry, it's a lot of fun. I like using my imagination to create something that looks beautiful and makes customers happy".

Training while working

Jessica decided to be a florist after doing work experience at a florist shop. She completed a year-long polytechnic floristry course and has been working in a busy inner-city florist shop while working through her New Zealand Professional Florists qualifications.

"I serve customers and make up orders, sort out the flowers from the day before and treat the new ones that come in. I also help set the shop up and keep it tidy during the day, and go out in the van and deliver flowers around town."

Jessica says there is always more to learn and working with experienced florists is the best way to do it. "I often help the senior florists with special orders like wedding flowers, and they are happy to answer my questions and help me out if something isn't working right."

What's hot

  • Designing your own bouquets.
  • Being able to work while completing floristry qualifications.

What's not

  • Standing up a lot while working.
  • Working intensively to get orders out in time.

Cassidy checks out what it's like to be a florist in Matamata - 7.54 mins. (Video courtesy of Competenz)

Cassidy: Hi my name is Cassidy, I’m 16, I go to Matamata College and I want to check out what it’s like to be a florist.

Clinton: Cassidy is at Forget Me Not Florists in Matamata to learn all she can from florist Debbie Nowell and apprentice florist Sheree Vaimoso.

Cassidy: So what do you guys love about floristry?

Sheree: I love *complicated Latin flower name*.

Debbie: I love *complicated Latin flower name*.

Sheree: *complicated Latin flower name*.

Debbie: I love…I’ve forgotten the name of it!

Sheree: *complicated Latin flower name*.

Debbie: *complicated Latin flower name*.

Debbie & Sheree: We love all that stuff!

Cassidy: So what’s it like being a florist?

Debbie: Well we do everything – we own the business, we do the cleaning, we do the ordering, make up the flowers and we deliver them!

Cassidy: Wow!

Debbie: So what we’re going to do is we’re going to condition these flowers, they’ve just arrived in, and they’re pretty Chrysanthemums.

Debbie: Cut across the whole lot, on an angle.

Cassidy: So what are the rewards of your job?

Debbie: You get to be creative all day long basically.

Debbie: So these bits here just get pulled off…

Debbie: …yep, so just up to about halfway-ish really.

Cassidy: Do you get quite busy as a florist?

Debbie: The busy days are often the best days. They’re fun, they’re exhilarating and customers are often happy around those times, like Valentine’s and especially Christmas, it’s just fantastic.

Cassidy: So would you like me to sweep these up if you want?

Debbie: That’s awesome, thank you so much!

Cassidy: That’s alright.

Debbie: An employee needs to be able to help lighten the workload, use their initiative and just make an effort where they can.

Cassidy: Hi!

Sheree: Hi Cassidy, I’m going to teach you how to make a presentation bow.

Cassidy: Oh cool.

Cassidy: So why did you get into floristry?

Sheree: I’ve always been into really creative things – I love art and I’ve always liked photography and stuff like that so it was just another way to let the creative side of me go and I can do this as a job so it’s really cool.

Cassidy: I think it’s pretty good for a first shot maybe.

Clinton: Now Cassidy needs to learn about the business end of floristry.

Cassidy: So whereabouts do you get your orders from?

Debbie: They come in from various places. Obviously we get customers into the shop and we get phone orders and they come in through the internet and also we’re an Interflora member and we all receive orders through Interflora over the internet.

Cassidy: So I guess you get a lot of different people wanting different flowers – what happens if they don’t know what they want?

Debbie: It’s probably a matter of understanding the person, finding out what kind of person you’re sending them to – maybe the age of the person that they’re going to and whether the person actually likes something brighter or softer. But obviously in only a short amount of time you’ve only got a limited time with your customer.

Clinton: And Cassidy’s time starts now.

Cassidy: Hi there!

Customer: Hi, how are you?

Cassidy: Good, so what type of flowers are you looking for today?

Customer: I’m looking for some for my wife, it’s our anniversary.

Cassidy: So what type of flowers does she like?

Customer: She likes gerberas.

Cassidy: Do you think she’ll go for the brighter or the softer look?

Customer: Probably brighter I suppose.

Cassidy: Brighter?

Customer: Yeah.

Cassidy: I was actually a little bit nervous, you’re sitting there and she’s watching you and you’re like, I hope I do this properly!

Cassidy: Have a nice day.

Customer: Thank you very much! See ya.

Debbie: See you did really well there Cassidy, thanks for that.

Cassidy: Thank you.

Debbie: And he seems happy.

Cassidy: Yep.

Clinton: Now flowers are picked based on the price, size and feel of the bouquet.

Cassidy: So what’s the training like in floristry?

Sheree: It’s really good. I’m still training right now, so I’m earning while I’m learning, which is really cool.

Clinton: Sheree is completing a National Certificate in Floristry, people doing this qualification get ongoing support from industry training advisers like Penny Trubshaw, who works for the Primary Industry Training Organisation.

Penny: Well I’m there 24 hours – they can ring me anytime, with any problems. I’m also there in an advisory capacity.

Cassidy: So why get qualified?

Penny: Well it shows employers that I’m serious about floristry and about my job. There is a shortage of qualified florists at the moment and it’s transferable all around the world so I can travel anywhere and take it with me.

Cassidy: Ok cool. Why do you personally enjoy this job?

Sheree: Lots of things actually. I love being creative all day, I love being part of the person’s special moments, like with the little messages with it, so it’s really cool. My boss is great!

Cassidy: Yep!

Sheree: Any ideas on the colour of paper, you reckon?

Cassidy: Well we have to do it like it’s matching?

Sheree: Yeah, just a colour that will bring out all the colours in the flowers and make everything stand out – the pink and orange because the orange on the other side will bring out the orange in the gerbs.

Cassidy: Oh!

Sheree: And then we’ve also got the pink so it’s always a good way to go.

Sheree: We just grab the paper like that.

Cassidy: Ok.

Sheree: Ok so if you want to do that.

Sheree: Yep.

Cassidy: Yeah?

Sheree: Lift it up like that…

Sheree: …yep…

Sheree: …and then…

Cassidy: Oh I can see what you mean by the orange and stuff coming through. It looks cool.

Sheree: Yeah.

Cassidy: Oh I’m stoked! Do you think I could be a florist?

Sheree: Yep, I think you did really, really well. I think you could be a budding florist.

Clinton: But what does the boss think?

Debbie: That looks really good! You’ve just got a bit of a hole in the middle here. I have one more challenge for you – let’s see if you’re a real florist.

Debbie & Sheree: Woohoo! Excellent!

Sheree: Oh it’s pretty average…

Clinton: Cassidy has hit the mark as a florist and now it’s time to hit the road.

Cassidy: I’m quite attached to this bouquet now! It’s my baby!

Sheree: You have to give it up Cassidy!

Cassidy: I gotta let it go!

Sheree: You gotta let that one go.

Sheree: Ok Cassidy this is the best part of the job, this is the bit that I really enjoy.

Cassidy: Awesome!

Janine: Oh hello there.

Sheree: Hi! We have some flowers for Janine.

Janine: Oh my God!

Janine: Oh wow!

Cassidy: There you go.

Janine: Oh that’s absolutely amazing! Thank you very much!

Sheree: Enjoy them! You have a lovely rest of your day.

Cassidy: Delivering the flowers to the customer, I can see why Sheree likes it so much, it’s exhilarating you know, you get that feel of their happiness kind of. It’s really good.

Clinton: There are no specific requirements to become a florist but a floristry qualification is a distinct advantage. The National Certificate in Floristry (Advanced Level 4) is a NZQA recognised qualification and can be completed through the Primary Industry Training Organisation. With a mix of on and off job training you can earn while you learn. It takes three years to complete, but time varies because it’s completed at a pace that best suits you.

Entry requirements

There are no entry requirements for becoming a florist, as many skills are gained on the job. 

However, most employers prefer you to have a floristry qualification such as a National Certificate in Floristry. You can get a floristry qualification through on-the-job training or by studying at a polytechnic.

Secondary education

Three years of secondary education is needed to enter many floristry courses. English, design and art are useful subjects.

Personal requirements

Florists need to be:

  • creative and artistic, with a good eye for colour, texture and detail
  • confident
  • adaptable
  • good with people, and excellent communicators
  • skilled at planning and organising.

You need to have really good communication skills and know how to interpret what people want.

Photo: Jessica Jackson

Jessica Jackson

Florist

Useful experience

Useful experience for florists includes:

  • work experience in florist shops
  • work that involves customer service or handling money
  • window-dressing work
  • work in plant nurseries
  • graphic design.

Physical requirements

Florists need to be fit and strong, as the job involves a lot of lifting and bending. They should also have good hand-eye co-ordination.

They must not have pollen allergies because flowers might set off allergic reactions.

Find out more about training

New Zealand Professional Florists
(07) 570 1879 - secretary@nzprofessionalflorists.co.nz - www.nzprofessionalflorists.co.nz
New Zealand Retailers Association
(04) 472 3733 - www.retail.kiwi/contact - www.retail.kiwi
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Chances better for those with some experience

Chances of getting a job as a florist are best for those with at least three years' experience and good customer service skills. More employers are expecting florists to commit to study, so having a qualification, or showing a willingness to gain a formal qualification, helps your chances too.

More apprentices being taken on

A number of florists and supermarkets are actively recruiting apprentices to train on the job.

Apprentices that come from training establishments are placed into work. These apprentices are not paid, but receive on-the-job training as part of their course. 

More flower growers opening retail flower shops

Many flower growers now own retail flower shops, as well as selling flowers wholesale to places like supermarkets. Having a qualification in horticulture can improve your chances of getting a job working for a flower grower.

Supermarkets are also investing more in their flower departments, and ensuring that their staff are provided with training in floristry.

Types of employers varied

Florists can work for:

  • florist shops
  • supermarkets
  • nursery retail centres
  • flower wholesalers
  • floricultural (ornamental flower farming) businesses.

Florists can also run their own business, work from home, or set up their own online delivery business.

Sources

  • Florists New Zealand Incorporated (FLONZI) website, accessed June 2016, (www.flonzi.org.nz).
  • Knight, J, Florists New Zealand Incorporated (FLONZI), Careers New Zealand interview, June 2016.
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Many florists go on to set up their own shops or businesses.

Whitney Spark standing in front of bunches of flowers working on a bouquet

Whitney Spark arranging flowers

Last updated 1 April 2019