Lessons: Self Taught v Mentored or Trained

05 March 2012

A month ago, a lovely person came up to me at the flower mart to introduce themselves. I was surprised as many of you who see me in the morning know, I'm all business when I'm ordering and selecting flowers. And can sometimes be unapproachable.

Once I'm done, the frown and intensity weens and the softer and bubblier side comes out. My compadres who look equally vexed during their morning shopping spree have to deal with daily issues of mediocre product, late deliveries, and availability issues. It's stressful but still my favorite part of the week.

 Often, you are trying to negotiate the best price while also trying to get issues fixed(aka during Valentines' one of my growers didn't have enough time to get me 45 bunches of hydrangea, I had to scramble around the market to fill most of the order).

So needless to say, I wasn't in the mood to banter but I was intrigued with this lovely newcomer to our business. This lovely floral designer is just starting out. We all know what that feels like. There's this terrific energy and optimism. Everything is a good challenge but like a scrabble game - sort of fun.  One thing I asked her during our brief encounter was if she had gone to floral design school. And the answer surprised me. She had not but had started after being encouraged by her husband. Go husband!

It it got me thinking. For a floral designer, is it necessary to be mentored/schooled to succeed? In fact, do you need training for any wedding professional?

I'll have the answer next time but I wanted you, the readers,  to add your two cents?

Once again, do you think you can become a successful floral designer in the long run without being formal training?

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OCEP said...

Having passion for your work is a part of the equation. I feel people often look at amazing tablescapes and in wedding magazines and think, "wow that's so simple I can do this". They never take into account simple things, that comes with training or through trial-n-error. Things like the best conditions for certain flowers, how to get a rose to open fully, etc. Then their is the business side-- how to develop a pricing scale, where to advertise, or how do I get wholesale flowers. Bottom-line: Initially it is your passion and drive that motivates you in this business, but in order to progress and become successful you must be educated. You may choose the formal floral design school route or an internship under a successful floral designer.

Klassy Kreations said...

It depends on what we define as success.A floral designer can be successful to a certain extent without education or mentoring but it is an expensive way of learning{alot of trial and error] However in my opinion, a mentorship or training is must for serious floral designers so you can get the basics down then move your business forward in the right direction.

Aida said...

Well, I think for those who have passion in floral design, having some level of mentorship is necessary. There are also different free sources in YouTube for getting knowledge about different style that people who loves to learn more can benefit from. for instance if you search in YouTube, there are thousand of video that can help give an idea and instruction. but at the same time I totally understand one cannot learn floral design just from watching these videos, and flower design is all about hands-on experience.
I am actually one of those people, who never been at the school for floral design, except one class later which did not add that much to my knowledge. But I am lucky to have a good mentor outside of 'school' setting.

Camille said...

When I started I worked for a successful, busy, full service flower shop. I learned a significant amount in a year; then I freelanced with several special event designers (like myself), but I wished I had spent even more time doing that as well. I don't think a class or two could have taught me as much as I did using this route, but of course, it took time and financial sacrifice. Now there are so many fun classes being offered by my colleagues, if I had the time and cash I would love to take some! I would love to grow in knowledge in terms of the business end, but I'm not sure any floral design school would help me there; much of that seems specific to the region where you work, how much you want to work, etc. I suppose to sum up, there is nothing as valuable as freelancing for an experienced designer who's work you admire.

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