What Qualifications Do You Need to Become A Florist

It's a fair question these days...what qualifications do you need to become a florist? Every time you turn around, it feels like new florists are popping up all over the place and no, doubt, if you're here, you're looking for a super simple, clear answer.

So, let's cut right to the chase. The truth is, floristry is an unregulated industry. That means there is no overarching board or flower police who are going to ask to see your credentials.

Unlike lawyer-ing, doctor-ing or accounting, you don't need any formal training or qualifications to be able to call yourself a "Florist".

So what? Well quite practically, no one is going to drop into your studio or shop and say, "Hey, show me your paperwork."

Having said that though, if you're looking for a job and want to be employed as a florist, it's super common for established flower businesses to prefer to hire formally trained, qualified florists. But that's certainly not true for all business owners so definitely ask around and do your research. (Some businesses might even offer on the job training or an apprenticeship.)

On the other hand, if you're looking to set up a flower business and want to be self-employed, you don't need to be formally trained. From my perspective though, I do think it's really important that if you are going to call yourself a professional florist and hang a sign out front (literally or online), you commit to upholding a standard – kinda like an agreed-to code of quality, professionalism and expertise.

What Qualifications Does a Florist Need?

I get asked this question all the time. But, instead of thinking about certifications, credentials and qualifications, I like to think of this slightly differently: What skills does a professional florist need?

It's a great question to dig into because yes, there are some obvious areas to cover – design, flower care, and mechanics. And, yes, quite practically those three areas are where most formal floristry training programs focus on.

For the record, I am a formally trained, certified florist. And yeah, I am so grateful I did my formal qualifications because I got to learn first-hand from florists who have been in the industry for decades. It was an awesome experience. Every one of my teachers was such a wealth of information and knowledge, really open with their experience and willing to answer all my questions.

To this day, I carry their lessons with me. (FYI, if you live in Australia, and you're exploring formal certification, I do recommend talking to the team at Pearsons Flower School. They have a calendar filled with a variety of short courses as well as offering formal certification. Plus, their staff is super helpful and willing to help guide you in the right direction.)

I do wish though that someone had told me that pursuing formal qualifications, learning about mechanics, flower care and design is just the beginning of the education journey. It's the place to begin. It's not the 'end all be all' of floristry and flowering business-ing.

Most formal floristry training programs are set up specifically to focus on the craft of traditional floristry and "increase your career prospects" (that's definitely the way the system is set up in Australia).

It's awesome if you want to get training to cover the true foundation and fundamentals but where I went wrong was thinking that getting my formal qualifications was enough.

Looking back now, I remember on the first day of my formal training, our teacher sat us down and said 'This is not a business class.' I don't think the gravity of that really sunk in until a few years later when I realised how valuable my fancy pants marketing background was to our business success.

After I finished my formal training, I quickly realised I needed to keep going and that my learning was only just beginning. To this day, I love going to workshops and learning from other designers. It's one of my favourite ways to push myself creatively and hone my craft.

Make The Commitment To Keep Learning Even After Your Formal Qualifications

One of the things no one tells you when you're starting a flower business is that the learning curve is really steep.

There's the time, energy and money we spend learning about mechanics, design and flower care but it's a whole other thing to then learn the right sales strategies, marketing priorities, mindset shifts, money management, and team building. Plus, customer service, tech stuff, and tax requirements all become part of the job when you make the decision to start a business.

It's a lot.

So, it's like formal qualifications are chapter one and as soon as you finish that chapter, 11 more chapters mysteriously appear and you didn't even know they existed until now.

That's precisely why we created Flower Boss Bootcamp so you can get my A-Z blueprint for building a succesful flower business. We've laid it all out for you step by step and offer heaps of support to make it easier than ever to turn your passion into profit! Click here to learn more.

PRO TIP: All That Time & Energy You're Investing Learning About Flower Care, Share It With Your Customers (You'll Make More Money That Way)

Early on in my flowering career, I made the mistake of thinking being a good designer was what mattered the most.

It took me years to learn how much value our customers place on the full experience – from the minute you answer the phone to the minute you deliver the flowers. Even putting careful thought into what you post on Instagram and the overall usability of your website impacts your customer's view of your work and positively impacts your bottom line.

Sharing helpful tips about flower care and giving your clients guidance on how to extend the shelf life of their flowers, in many cases, is just as important as delivering quality work. It's all part of the value of the service we offer our customers.

So, regardless of whether you're formally trained or totally self-taught, when it comes to getting customers and growing your business, one of the easiest ways to separate your floristry offering from the competition (particularly others focused on lower priced point offers) is to double down on sharing your expertise and knowledge.

All the invisible things about our work, make 'em visible. For example, talking about flower availability and seasonality is an easy way to quickly gain trust with your customers. So is talking about what's involved in making a design happen, the process of bringing in flowers, and all the steps it takes for a simple bouquet to be created.

With all the time and energy we spend learning about flower care, seasonal availability and the logistics of floral supply, it's of value to share that information with your customers too.

When it comes to answering that question "what qualifications do you need to become a florist? and learning how to grow a flower business, I've found that being helpful, and sharing that guidance and expertise is one of the fastest ways to grow your business and make more money. It's so awesome!

Let's Go Deeper: What Qualifications Do You Need to Become A Florist in 2022

If you want to dig into this topic even further (and learn more helpful tips), be sure to check out this week's podcast episode. I'm diving into way more details about the ins and outs of formal qualifications, certifications and credentials and sharing my 'I wish I had known' insights to help you build a thriving flower business.

I pass along the exact approach I followed to get good at design and give you helpful tips to help you fast track the floral design learning curve. I talk about my experience having gone to formal floral training here in Australia and I share my #1 strategy to help you learn floristry skills faster.

Inside This Week's Podcast Episode You'll Learn:

My five guiding principles when it comes to investing in personal development, learning the basics and levelling up my design skills

Innovative and modern avenues to explore to help you figure out what qualifications do you need to become a florist in 2022

Deep dive into deciding whether formal training is really right for you and your floristry ambitions

My perspective on the best bits of flower school and pursuing formal education as a florist

Listen to the full episode here


Full Episode Transcript

Enjoy the Show?

How Much Money Does a Florist Make

My life changed when I heard a seemingly successful florist tell me, "Kathleen, you don't go into floristry to make money."

I couldn't believe this famous florist was uttering these words to me.

I was speechless.

Here was another florist who, from the outside, checked all the boxes of "successful florist" while telling me she was struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, I had made millions of dollars in my flower business (and wasn't famous at all).

Up until that moment, I thought every florist experienced the financial success I had.

Turns out, I am the exception.

Turns out, when we tell ourselves money is hard, we make the process of making money...hard (real hard!).

Inside my Flower Boss Bootcamp, I share my exact approach to making money and teach you how to approach pricing with ease.

Very specifically, I teach you how to think about making money. When you ask me the question, "How much money does a florist make?" My response is quite different to other florists.

We all relate to money differently.

When you believe money is out of your control, you'll stay stuck in inaction, waiting for the stars to align. (Yes, this is how most humans learn to think about money.)

When you're a floral designer, on a mission to build a business, learning how to reframe your money stories and shift your thinking is how you learn to pay yourself a living wage.

You can decide to continue to stay stuck and tell yourself, you don't go into floristry to make money.

Or you can decide that creating the flower business of your dreams, making more money and serving your clients at your highest level is the real goal.

Shifting your mindset, getting curious about your money stories and opening yourself up to the possibilities of being creative and making money is a must for any creative entrepreneur (including floral designers).

It's also what makes pricing so easy and attracting better clients effortless. And it's actually how you attract better clients, increase your profitability and grow your business.

Reframe your money stories

At the end of the day, money has no more inherent value than a Kleenex. But we all grow up in environments and are conditioned to believe certain stories about money.

We are told money doesn't grow on trees. We believe making money is hard. We hear influencers tell us we should just be grateful for what we have.

And in most cases, we're unaware we carry these blind spots in our potential.

At the end of the day, the amount of money you're making (or not making) is up to you. 100%.

Money doesn't fall from the sky. Money doesn't just land in your lap.

You make money through your actions.

You are 100% capable of making more money in your flower business.

To do that though, you have to take full responsibility for the results you're creating right now.

The best bit is, once you take full ownership of your results, you can DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

When you tell yourself making money is hard, you feel graspy.

You find yourself flip-flopping, doing all the things, offering discounts just to get the business, and will say yes to whatever comes your way. You never end up sorting out your prices properly and you stay stuck fulfilling the starving artist life (trying to stay motivated by convincing yourself you could just be grateful for what you have, right?).

The floral design industry loves to perpetuate this belief. This industry could be a textbook example of scarcity thinking.

Rather than openly talk about pricing and making money, florists like to brag about how busy we are. As if busy is a badge of honour and busy is the same thing as being successful.

I absolutely fell into this scenario early in my business. I said yes to every job that came my way because I thought that's what I was supposed to do.

It only took a core meltdown for me to come to terms with the fact that I didn't even like the business I had created. It took me a few years but I did finally learn there is a better way, an easier approach and, no, you do not need to work your way up the experience ladder.

How much money does a florist make?

As a very rough guide, if your flower business turns over $200,000 a year, you can easily bring home $50,000 (possibly more depending on your operations and the type of work you do). If you want to bring home more than $200,000, you'll want to set a revenue target of at least $1,000,000.

For anyone who asks me "How much money does a florist make," my response is always the same: You can make a lot of money as a floral designer.

But it takes a new level of awareness in your thinking and next-level belief in the value of what you're offering your customers.

And, honestly, once you realise pricing is super straightforward (it's based on an equation, not an emotion), you can get curious about limiting beliefs you have about making money, and you'll notice things shift radically in your business (yes it can happen really quickly too!).

If you're like so many other florists and struggling with pricing, be sure to check out this blog post (Florist Pricing Worksheet).

Can You Be a Self-Taught Florist?

If I wanted to make this the single shortest blog post on the planet, I’d be super direct and just say yes. But I do believe it’s worth diving a bit deeper and considering where the question, 'can you be a self-taught florist' arises from.

The reality is, floristry is not a regulated industry. No one is monitoring who is certified, what they studied, or where they studied. Nor is there an industry body demanding a standard level of flower knowledge or expertise. No, there is no administrative board to file formal documents with.

Heck, I’ve never had a customer ask what qualifications I have as a floral designer. 

So yeah, the result is that the barriers of entry are low for a designer who wants to start a business. You don’t have to be formally qualified or have a certain number of years of experience to start a flower business. You can just decide to start a business. Easy as that.

Which is both awesome and irritating, ain’t it?

What Does It Mean To Be a 'Self-Taught' Florist?

I’ve been reflecting on this a lot recently. I am a formally qualified floral designer. I set my foundation through my certification at Pearsons. But I didn’t stop there. 

I have studied with some of the world’s most popular designers, here in Australia as well as Canada and the United States. I’ve also spent hours upon hours upon hours practicing different mechanics, playing with different flowers and studying the designs of my most favourite florists.

Even with my qualifications, all the workshops and hours of self-study, I know I want to keep learning. I will keep experimenting and continually push my own creativity. Over the years, I’ve learned that process is part of every successful designer’s story. 

In essence, every single one of us is a ‘self-taught’ florist. 

Part of our design development requires us to take what we learned from our teachers and mentors, practice it, adapt it, change it and then make it our own. We put in hours of energy and effort to turn what we’ve learned into a work of art.

Every floral designer on the planet has different preferences. Every single one of us. 

We also encounter different availability challenges. We like to work with different colour guides and are drawn to different compositions and mechanics. It’s what makes this creative endeavour so incredible – if 10 different designers all walked into the same wholesaler, we would all walk out with 10 different recipes.

That’s why I truly believe there is room for everyone in our industry. And honestly, I don’t know if it matters where you went to school or who you studied with, if you’re creating work that you love and connects with your customers, that’s absolute magic. 

Keep Investing In Yourself

I am a true learning junkie. It’s one of my most favourite things to do – and it’s what’s allowed us to build our business as quickly as we did.

I am continually looking for new ideas, new inspiration and forever feeling pulled to test out new concepts.

Many times it doesn’t work. But it leads me to be even more creative and investigate even more ideas with a renewed frenzy. 

Still, to this day, I love going to floral design workshops and masterclasses. Learning from my industry peers is a pure pleasure and something I want to continue doing for many years to come. 

Study Online + In Person

I love being able to connect with my industry peers and I am constantly learning new shortcuts and helpful design tips from some amazingly successful designers. 

Plus, I also remind myself, I can take something I’ve learned from one designer, apply it to a specific situation I have, incorporate my mechanics and even come up with something even better than I’ve created in the past. In fact, that’s precisely how I created my unusual approach to creating wedding bouquets. This makes me realise that, by definition, I am a self-taught florist.

I think one of the best trends to arise in our industry is the plethora of online courses now available to floral designers. This has made it so easy for us to learn from our favourite designers – some even located on the other side of the world – without having to leave our own studio.

Continuing to grow and evolve my own aesthetic and design preferences is one of the many joys of being a business owner. When you run your own flower business, you get to be the Creative Director and define your own vibe and aesthetic. You get to use the mechanics that work best for you. And any time you wanna change your approach, you can.

In fact, this is the underlying principle I teach my students at my design retreats and workshops. If you’re keen to work with me and learn the ins and out of how I create our signature designs, grab a spot in my 2021 Byron Retreat.

We’ll be diving into the foam-free design as well as sharing the ins and out of photography. Space is limited to just nine people and this is my only workshop for 2021. Click here to learn more.

If you’ve never experienced a design retreat and want to build a bigger flower family, feel supported and showered with love, I highly recommend you do it. In fact, I’m so passionate about this concept that I’ve dedicated this week’s podcast episode to the topic.

Listen to the episode below (or click here).

Being a Flower Business Owner Requires More Than Just Design Know-How

At the end of the day, the single most important thing to remember when you start a flower business is that you are starting a business. As in a for-profit-problem-solving-marketing-machine. 

So many florists make the mistake of thinking starting a flower business is easy. It’s just a matter of throwing a few things up on Instagram and shazam, money walks in the door. But they completely overlook the idea that they’re starting a business.

People, I’m here to save you the heartache. To make sure you know exactly what it takes to make money in your flower business.

Better yet, you don’t need to go to some expensive business school or complete a marketing degree to run a successful flower business – I’m here to help. 

Regardless of whether you’re a self-taught designer or have years of formal training under your tool belt, if you’re on a mission to make more money in your flower business, check out my Flower Boss Bootcamp.

My Flower Boss Bootcamp is the only program available to floral designers, flower lovers and flower farmers focused entirely on the business of flowers. The program is run entirely online, so we can work together no matter where in the world you’re located.

Inside this program, I’ll teach you about branding and sales. I’ll give you access to my exact how-to guides when it comes to setting up your websites. I'll teach you how to effortlessly attract those dream customers.

We’ll focus on overcoming your limiting beliefs and get crystal clear on your vision for your business. If you’re dreaming of making more money in your flower business but feel like you’re stuck in reactionary mode, I’m here to help.

This program will change the trajectory of your flower business. I promise.

At the end of the day, flowers are fun. But so is making money.

Click here to learn more about working with me.

How Long Is A Floristry Course?

One of the things that separate successful floral designers from the “I’m not there yet” crowd is that the successful designers know they need to keep investing in their own learning. As a florist your next question would be, if I have to invest in a course for my learning, how long will that floristry course be?

They know they need to keep learning and evolving and that a workshop here or an online course there isn’t enough. 

So, when it comes to answering the question, “How long is a floristry course?” the simplest answer I could give is probably “forever”.

I know, that might not be the answer you were looking for but 8 years into this, I believe it to be more true now than ever before. And this response is coming from someone who has invested a lot in my own design skills and flower know-how. And also on my business learning.

I’m a fully qualified floral designer. That took me 12 months to complete. I’ve also signed up for workshops with Little Flower School, Holly Chapple, Jardine Hansen, Mr. Cook, and Ponderosa & Thyme. And now, with the rise of so many online workshops and courses, continuous learning grows to new heights.

Forever Learning

Our industry isn’t regulated. There is no actual need to sign up for formal training or certification. That frustrates a lot of florists and makes it really easy for the Backyard Betty’s to jump into and attempt to play with the well-established designers. 

But it also creates great energy. It requires business owners to keep innovating and moving forward. And focusing on what matters most to their customers to stay relevant.

This is where the power of continual investment comes into play.

I love signing up for new programs and training that help me learn from people who have been in my shoes. From fellow business owners who can show me how to get from A to B in less time, with fewer mishaps. I don’t have to figure out all this stuff on my own.

If I could pass along one piece of advice today, this is it: you will make progress faster in your flower business if you’re continually investing in your own growth. 

Permission Granted

I wasted years in my flower business waiting for permission. Permission to create the shop I’d always wanted, to create the work I wanted to create, and to move the business in the direction I wanted to go.

Turns out waiting for permission is a total waste of time.

Check out this week’s podcast if you want to hear more about this. (Listen on Spotify, linked below)

In my Business Coaching program (Flower Boss Bootcamp), the very first exercise we do is to dig deep and dive into what your version of success looks like.

It’s so powerful because we never stop to ask ourselves what we want. And, as humans, we’re conditioned to believe that we need permission to take action.

Invest In Your Growth. Always

One of the reasons our business continues to grow and be successful is because I know I am my most valuable asset.

I know, every single time I invest in my own learning and growth, I will be able to translate that into even more growth and progress for my business. It’s like putting $10 into a slot machine and having $10,000 come out.

I talk to floral designers around the world who are struggling to make money. One of the most common discussions we have is what their plan for growth is. Like, quite literally, where are you investing your money (in your business and in yourself) to ensure your success?

Flowers are so easy to fall in love with. And the craft and skill of becoming a professional floral designer take hours and hours and hours of practice.

And then, when you make the decision to start a business, you feel like you have to learn all the skills as fast as possible. It’s like being thrown into the deep end of the pool and just told to “swim harder”.

So many florists I talk to are totally heartbroken and frustrated with their businesses. They’re questioning whether they really have what it takes to make this work. We fall into the comparison trap and find ourselves spinning our wheels, wondering if we should just call it quits.

That’s precisely what happened to me. 

But I knew there had to be a better way. I could not be the only floral designer struggling to make this business work. It wasn’t possible.

If you’re frustrated with your business you’re not alone. I promise you’re not.

Better yet, there is an easier way. 

Need Help With Your Flower Business?

My Flower Boss Bootcamp is the only program available to floral designers focused entirely on the business of flowers – I give you my exact approach to marketing, we dig into getting crystal clear on your vision of success and you’ll be surrounded by floral designers who are navigating similar challenges to you.

Click here to learn more. 

Do You Need A Degree To Be A Florist?

I remember Googling “floral design classes” and doing all the research about qualifications and education for florists here in Australia.

Of course, every country has its own education system and treats floral education a little differently.

In Australia, the government approaches it exactly like any other trade. We are lumped into the same category as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and painters. Also, when it comes to starting a flower business, there are no technical requirements.

In fact, in Australia, setting up a business is a super simple and free exercise. So, the barriers to entry are super low and many florists are fooled into thinking building a flower business is a super easy undertaking.

Do You Need A Degree To Be A Florist?

Technically, you do not need a degree to be a florist but when I reflect on my own experience, I realise if someone did offer a degree program for florists, it would need to be the perfect combination of marketing + psychology + sales + flower care + design.


We need to learn so much about how humans operate, overcome our limiting beliefs, learn as much about marketing as we can as well as hone our design skills, and understand product care and availability.

It’s a lot, ain’t it?

So many florists ask me how to make money as a florist and the answer surprises so many people – it’s not about being the best designer, it’s about understanding the principles of marketing and overcoming your limiting beliefs.

Yeah, that’s where the psychology part comes into play – we need to understand how our human brain works.

For so many creative entrepreneurs (myself included) this is where we run into the most challenges. Having to wake up every day, give ourselves a pep talk, overcome our mindset blocks and keep moving forward.

It can be a lonely experience and the comparison-it is real. But that’s precisely why I started the podcast, to remind you you’re not the only one struggling. And to remind you, you don’t have to do this alone.

Although You Don't Need A Degree To Be A Florist...

You do need to understand psychology.

At the end of the day, building a successful flower business comes down to learning two things:

(1) understand what is involved in marketing flowers and

(2) managing your mindset on a daily basis.

This includes understanding the power of human emotion – both from a marketing point of view as well as from a personal, mindset perspective.

As humans, we’re conditioned to believe we’re supposed to be happy all the time. So then, when we’re frustrated, mad, or angry, we think there is something “wrong”. Turns out, that’s not true.

As creatives and business owners we are confronted with a lot of feelings every day. But when we’re never taught the power of our emotions, we always find ourselves stopping short – the fear, uncertainty and overwhelm prevent us from taking action. When, in actual fact, there’s nothing to be scared of.

Learning the power of human emotions is one of the secrets to my success – I know it sounds totally crazy and verging on “woo woo” but it’s so true. For 40 years, I walked around believing we were supposed to be happy all the time.

Then, when you start a business, you realise you’re scared, apprehensive, uncertain, overwhelmed, and frustrated 50% of the time.

Today, I remind myself, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. Those feelings are nothing to be afraid of and that’s how I should feel when I’m confronted with so many new circumstances.

Even better, because I feel so strongly about this idea, I’ve created an entire podcast episode to help you dig even deeper into this subject. It’s so helpful! Check it out below.

Need Help Growing Your Flower Business?

I know building a business can feel super overwhelming. I’ve been there. I’m here to help.

Check out my Flower Boss Bootcamp.

I created this one-of-a-kind program specifically to help floral designers, just like you, master the business of flowers.

I’d love to see you there!



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