The Difference Between A Florist And A Floral Designer

“Is there any difference between a florist and a floral designer?” I saw this question being asked somewhere and I thought to address it today in this blog post.

This industry can be filled with a lot of pretentious wankery (is that even a word?).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m so in love with what we do and am on a mission to educate the world, open up the curtains and show the world the real value of floral design.

But I also see two very different ends of the flower spectrum: grabbing a cheap bunch of blooms from the grocery store (who knows how long they’ve been setting there, right next to the bananas – eeekkk!) and the artistry of some of my most favourite and over the top floral designers.

When you’re new to the industry, it is so intimidating. The aura of “us” versus “them” is palpable (it’s Mean Girls come to life).

It’s easy to feel totally and utterly alone in our industry. The late nights, the early mornings… add on the social media veneer and it’s a recipe for disaster.

What’s The Difference Between a Florist and a Floral Designer?

To us, language matters a lot. I’ve heard designers refer to themselves as “Floral artists” and “Flower stylists” and of course, there are the signs on the front of the old mum and pop flower shops that just say “FLORIST” in giant painted letters.

Some designers hold on to their title so tightly and do like to portray an air of elite pretentiousness.

But that’s not my style. Nor do I think it’s what the majority of customers can relate to.

Of course, if you’re focused solely on the exclusive, high-end, fancy pants events, labelling yourself a “floral artist” might be exactly the right thing to do. It aligns with your brands and adds to the overall vibe of fanciness you might want to work with $100,000 clients.

For the rest of us, using the term florist makes it easier to get found. Quite literally. It’s the term most often searched on Google and that means it matters when what you’re trying to do is cater to the masses.

If you’re confused by all things SEO, check out this super helpful article I wrote here.

I’m sure, from an academic point of view, there are dozens of differences between “florist” and “floral designer” but from our customer’s point of view, it’s one and the same.

And, when it comes to getting orders and making money, focusing on what matters to our customers is job #1.

You’re Invited

Doesn’t matter if you call yourself a florist or a floral designer.

It is lonely. There is such an aura of “them” versus “us”, isn’t there? And I’ve always felt like such an outsider.

I lived in a small town, away from the city hipsters. We ran a retail shop, the exact opposite of the trendy too-cool-for-school Instagrammers.

And with all the early mornings and late nights, combined with the perfectly curated bubble of Instagram, I see the same thing happening to designers spread around the world.

One day I was explaining to my mentor, “I just wish I could find my people.” Do you know what she said to me? Totally straight-faced, “Kathleen, if you’re not getting invited to the table, set your own dang table.”

So I did.

And now you can be a part of it. Sign up for my Flower Boss Bootcamp. Classes begin on 17 May.

Celebrating Diversity+ Inclusion For Florists and Floral Designers

My table is different from everyone else’s in the industry. No matter your background, you are invited to sit around our table. We celebrate diversity and inclusion, regardless of race, ethnicity, education, or income.

I don’t care if you call yourself a florist, a floral designer, or a floral artist. In fact, qualifications, experience, and expertise are irrelevant. No matter where you’re from, what language you speak, you’re invited. Your floral design style, personal preferences on mechanics, ingredients selection do not matter. Come, pull up a chair.

No, this isn’t one of those dang Facebook groups; this is a sacred space filled with designers on a mission to build a business. To add a tremendous amount of value to the world. My Flower fairies continue to learn and grow and experiment with new ideas. They learn how to make money.

I call them my people. I love them so much and I am so honored to be able to share my experience and know-how with them every single day.

We laugh, we cry. We share stories of frustration and triumph. There is total and utter acceptance, no judgment, and an ongoing effort to practice celebrating our progress.

As one of my clients, Janine, describes it as the “umbrella of love”.

In fact, it’s too good not to share it with the world. I want to give you a taste of what it’s really like inside this sacred space.

Check out this week’s podcast episode here. Or listen in on the player below:

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