>What I’ve Learned as a Florist


When people ask the age-old question, “What do you do?” and I tell them I run a flower shop, they usually respond with one of the following reactions: “Oh! I’ve always wanted to work in a flower shop,” or “Your life must be just like a romantic comedy working around those beautiful flowers all day long…” 

In the short time I’ve been running this crazy business, things often feel much more comedic than romantic.
Keep reading for a few of the {light-hearted} lessons I’ve learned as a blossoming florist…

  1. In large quantities, baby’s breath (or gypsophila, as the pros call it) smells like cat pee.
  2. Dignity is overrated. You realize this after the fourth time you slip on a rose petal or spilled water and fall right on your behind in front of your staff and/or customers.
  3. While we’re on the subject of things that are overrated, add: three square meals a day to the list. But have no fear; the gourmet cupcakes from the bakery next door will sustain you through the 14-hour days with sporadic lunch breaks.
  4. As much as you want to wear your cute new platforms to work, just don’t. (See #2)
  5. “Running on Dunkin” is not just a catchy ad campaign slogan… it’s a way of life.
  6. Every rose does, indeed, have its thorn. Some are more like daggers, and their only mission in life is to lodge themselves deeply into your dainty little fingertips.
  7. Manicures are no longer a luxury; they’re a necessity. You’ll need a good coat of polish at all times to cover your now chronically dirty nails and ravaged cuticles. (Thank heaven for this hand lotion).
  8. Splinters are an inconvenient and unavoidable workplace hazard. When your husband offers to remove them with needles, just politely decline. They’ll work their way out on their own – but not before driving you batty for a few days first.
  9. There is no greater temptation than the fresh flower truck that pulls up to your back door every day filled to the brim with the most gorgeous blooming beauties. You must develop tunnel vision and chant the following mantra, “I will only buy what I need. I will only buy what I need…
  10. Bridezillas do exist.
  11. It’s amazing what you can get away with when you’re married to the boss. [Insert puppy eyes and sweet kisses here]
  12. Being a successful florist requires: one part ruthless power-girl CEO, one part creative ingénue, and one part therapist to your staff and customers.
And just when you’re beyond exhausted and feel like you can’t poke even one more posie, someone comes into your shop and says, “I’m on my lunch break, and I just had to stop in and see some fresh flowers to brighten my crummy day.” 

And you remember that your day job is pretty romantic, after all. 

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  1. 5.25.15

    I always have to smirk and giggle a bit when people tell me how relaxing my job sounds! Juggling the phone, while making designs, and helping out in-store customers is quite a handful!
    Don’t even get me started on how it is when Valentines Day rolls around!
    (Sorry if I just gave you PTSD with the V-word)…

    However, there are moments while making something truly magnificent, you realize why you put up with all of the craziness! For the love of flowers and to make someone smile!
    Taking some stems home at the end of the day is also a nice perk. ;)

    Love and luck from one florist to another,

  2. 11.23.14

    Hello Kiera Lennox. First off, I love your name. I don’t say that lightly because I hear it all the time myself. Second, Since I was a little girl and went with my Mom to Miller’s Florist Shop I have wanted to have such a happy place to call my own. It’s too bad that businesses are required to make money. That alone has ruined so many hopes and dreams ;) But still I am nourishingly haunted by the memory of delicious smelling gardenia and the spidery tendrils of chrysanthemum and the feel of clingy moisture when I touched the refrigerator glass.
    Flowers mark the occasions of life and I think that would be my favorite part of being a florist in a small town or a city neighborhood. The small part I could play in weddings, and births, in love and loss, in festivities and celebrations. And then the creativity. That would feed my soul. I think.
    Your site is beautiful and I’m going to make a cup of tea and peruse your archives. Thanks for making my lazy Sunday afternoon so enjoyable ;)

  3. 10.25.14

    I worked in the floristry industry for 20 years,12 years running my own florists shop. Your post made me howl with laughter, it is sooooo true.I had to retire to a different type of work after I got cancer and could not work the 12 to 14 hour days. The thing is I still miss it like mad. Great blog by the way x

    • 10.29.14

      Mags, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I love looking back at it now that I’m a few years into the business. I hope you’re in better health now. My mother-in-law was ready to retire after she battled breast cancer, which is how I ended up with the shop.

  4. 11.10.13
    Jocelyn said:

    I know how you feel. When I ran a big box garden centre people would say ” How lovely, you get to fuss with flowers all day”. We sold over 30,000 cel packs of annuals and 10,000 bags of soil in May. Not much time to fuss. LOL

    • 11.10.13

      Wowza! We flower people definitely work hard, more than most people realize!

  5. 8.3.13
    Johanna said:

    Just found your blog by a googlesearch, I´m writing a book (chic-lit) about a girl working in a flower shop and wanted to do some research. I hope you don´t mind that I grab some ideas from this, I knew it wasn´t all a dance-on-roses^^but you are just hilarious! :)

  6. 7.28.13
    sam said:

    Great and honest information with atouch of humor and sensitivity.
    I am a teacher of 20 years grades 2-8 believe me i have been through and seen it all.
    With that said i have a passion for flowers and floral design. I make arragements from my yard and from store or local growers .
    If there was a career change i would ever do i want to work with those beautiful gifts of fragrance . If u need a person to open a store in south fl venice i am your person.

  7. 7.22.11
    Dernell said:

    The purchases I make are entirely based on these airtcles.

  8. 5.17.11

    >LOL, I love this post. Because there's really nothing that brightens my day like smelling some lovely flowers. Which is part of the reason I live in the DEEEEEP South.Funny how florist is one of those professions everyone says they'd like to work as. I'm a writer, and when I tell people they always say, "Oh, really? I've been thinking of writing a book myself…" ;)

  9. 5.17.11
    Berni said:

    >What a very nice post! :) Your job, even with its drawbacks, sounds like an awesome one. It reminds me of Bee Movie, such a cute little film! What sounds very neat about being a florist is that you're always surrounded by a lot of beautiful colors and fresh scents (sans the cat pee from large quantities of baby's breat, hehe). Have a nice weekend!

  10. 5.17.11
    Jessica said:

    >What great insight! Whenever I pass a little flower shop I sigh a little and wonder what it must be like to be surrounded by such prettiness all day, everyday. Good to know it has its ups and downs like any job!

  11. 5.17.11
    Laura said:

    >I totally hear you on the ravaged cuticles :) I'm a soils engineer, so after a day of handling dirt, they are ROUGH! The Body Shop makes the best hand creams though….their Almond Oil one is what got me through the lab work phase of my thesis (I wasn't crazy about the smell of the hemp one).

  12. 5.17.11

    >i LOVE that i can identify with every.single. thing you have JUST WRITTEN!!!!so many people say that to us on a day -to- day basis and have no idea of the amount of work and labor intensive processes that go into owning and operating, even managing a floral boutique…. i can't believe this is my 10th year doing this!!!! but after all of the insanity and crazy funny stuff that happens to us, i think you must agree that (the bridezillas are in fact kind of a bit crazy) and more importantly that our career is the most rewarding career ever!! even after all of the work we do…. the last thing i ever want to do is recommend doing it to someone who "wants to retire and relax"!!!! they'll get a big wake up after a mothers day or wedding season, no?!!!!!

  13. 5.17.11

    >I worked in a flower shop the summer I was sixteen. It is darn hard work, but really a lovely place to be! One thing I would add: you get used to always layering and wearing a little sweater no matter what the outside weather, because you'll be in and out of a cooler all day!!

  14. 5.17.11

    >I admire you so much! I can only imagine how much work that is, but it must be so rewarding! Flowers really are the loveliest way to make people happy. LOVED this post!!!

  15. 5.17.11
    Ms. Manda said:

    >Love this. I love flower shops but I feel awkward going in and not buying any flowers. But man do they brighten my day. One of my summer goals is to maintain fresh flowers in my apartment. And this is coming from the girl who killed bamboo.

  16. 5.17.11
    Rie said:

    >:) If it helps, I think florists are awesome!

  17. 5.17.11
    Corinna said:

    >What a great post. Keep up the awsome work!

  18. 5.17.11
    L.Voss said:

    >bridezillas!!!! i am a freelance makeup artist and I learned about them realllly fast! love the post doll

  19. 5.17.11

    >Aw. Beautiful post. I think a lot of jobs are more romantic from the outside. You've got to do what your passionate about though and it looks like you're on the right track. :DXOXO

  20. 5.17.11

    >I love this post. My day job is totally unrelated to being a florist, but there's definitely some disconnect between what people think you do, what you thought you'd do, and what you actually do on a day to day. It's refreshing to find out that other jobs are like that too!

  21. 4.24.11

    >I've had my fantasies about working at a flower shop, but they never involved romance or comedy. It's always about designing, creating, and actually accomplishing something tangible and immediate. Being a graduate student, I rarely if ever get to do any of those things, so your job sounds wonderfully down to earth.

  22. 4.19.11

    >I loved this post. I'm definitely that girl wandering through the flower shop looking for something to fill my home with beauty :) Thanks for sharing!