You know, as florists, whenever you meet someone new and they ask what you do for a living and you reply, “I’m a florist”, you usually get a flurry of replies ranging from “that must be so lovely” to our favourite “OH I would love to be a florist when I retire”.
And that’s lovely to hear. And it is a wonderful job. But I’m not sure 3:30am alarms at 70 years old would be quite the bees knees that people expect.
So, we thought we would outline a typical day in the life of a florist. Not to deter anyone, because the job satisfaction from our line of work is through the roof, but more to dispel any myths or illusions that this isn’t darn hard work.
Florists are tough eggs, we have to be. From those aforementioned 3:30am alarms, 3 times a week, to the stresses of working with a perishable product, often on the biggest days in people’s lives (hello 35 degree weddings). We have nerves of steel. And thick skin. And also, a healthy coffee addiction.
The creativity that comes from working with flowers is honestly the best. The different styles and ingenuity that comes out of the florists across our industry is something to be celebrated. But it’s only a small part of our day. Let’s break this down.
A typical Friday during wedding season:
3:30am – that alarm. Get up, get ready, get out the door.
4:30am – arrive at the flower markets. Grab a coffee, say hi to your flower friends and wait for the doors to roll up.
5am-6:30am – this is the time when our brains need to work super-fast, and we may be a little tired still. Sourcing, buying and packing the van is a big job. At times, we’ve looked at our step counter and have already hit 5000 steps, all before 6am! Now budgeting and buying correct quantities of beautiful product is an art, and it’s a carefully honed skill that is years in the making. Mistakes can be made, we personally like the blame that pesky alarm clock, or that super enticing bunch of lilac, which is in no way part of our all-white wedding. That’s why coffee is so important, kudos if you can get through without it!
6:30-10am – driving to the shop or studio and unpacking. This. Takes. Time. And physical grunt work. Emptying the van and processing the flowers (think rose stripping, stem snipping, rehydrating, removing packaging and rebunching). It’s a crucial part of the day and sets the tone for how well organised the afternoon will be.
10am-1pm – now a little creativity spent prepping for your afternoon event or filling shop orders. But don’t forget about the bleaching buckets, cleaning your work area, conditioning the older flowers and emails! So many emails.
1pm 2pm – let’s pack the van for the wedding this afternoon with all the beautiful flowers you have been prepping since Wednesday market. It’s like a tricky game of tetris, but it’s set on the hardest setting. With fragile glass. And fragile flowers. And corners and speed bumps to navigate.
2pm-6pm – we love this part! Delivering bridal bouquets, creating ceremony installations, bumping in reception flowers. The stuff dreams are made of! Creative, rewarding, exhilarating.
6pm 8pm– back to the studio, unpack the equipment and for the love of God sit down and eat something. More emails.
11:30pm – back to the wedding venue to remove the flowers and vases. This is when we get to have banter with all the merry people, have a giggle at Uncle Tony and place (fling) the left-over flowers back into the van.
1am – get in to bed after a 22 hour day. Set your alarm for 6am for tomorrows big Saturday.
Being a florist is no joke, it’s physically challenging, mentally rewarding and creatively fulfilling. We’re sure there are some gun 70 year olds still flinging flowers, and seriously, we tip our proverbial hats to you! But it’s not for the faint hearted.
Having said all of that. If you even have a tiny niggle that you might want to work with flowers. Do it. Call up your local florist and volunteer some of your free time. It’s the best way to figure out if this career is for you.
You’re going to love it, just make sure you’re caffeinated.