Answering today’s question is senior McQueens florist, John Minet, whose masterful creations may well have spotted more than once on the McQueens Instagram account. Not only is he a dab hand at creating some of the most fabulous (and giant) bouquets you’ve ever seen, John also heads up our work experience program — a further learning opportunity offered to graduates of the Mcqueens Flower School — guiding and training interns as they embark on the first leg of their floristry careers.
Dear McQueens, I was hoping you could help me. I’m new to floristry and starting work experience at a local florist in a few weeks time. It’s the first time I’ll have worked in a floristry shop and I’m a bit nervous, as I really want to do things right but I don’t have much experience and I’m not sure what they are expecting of me. Can you offer any advice?
First of all, try not to worry too much about being nervous — it’s totally normal to feel that way when you first start somewhere and you’ll soon feel at ease once you’ve settled in (we’ve all been there!).
As for what to expect, this can vary from florist to florist depending on the size of the shop and the amount of staff. As someone who’s very new to floristry, you may well be asked to start with tasks such as cleaning and refreshing vases, organising the shop display, conditioning flowers and preparing wrapping materials. You might be itching to start making floral designs straight away but if that’s not the case, don’t worry and have patience. You can learn an awful lot from simply being in a floristry environment, watching listening and taking note of how things are done.
Paying attention is key. Listen to your colleagues and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re not sure or don’t understand something. Observe what’s going on around you— there is always something to learn from everyone, from the wholesalers and delivery drivers to the florists and customers. A big part of working as a team is helping each other out so offer a hand if you have the opportunity, or simply ask “how can I help?”. If you’re really stuck for something to do, you can’t go wrong with giving the floor a good sweep through or changing the bins (this applies to any point of a florists’ career!).
If you’re not already, aim to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world of floristry, follow florists and floral designers that you admire or find inspiring on social media. If you have the time and have access to materials, practice designs in your spare time. A floristry environment is often quite fast-paced, so taking the time to go over more complex designs, or simply having some fun with flowers at home, can be a good way to hone down your skills without the added pressure of waiting customers or deadlines.
You get what you put in to your work experience so make the most of the learning opportunity while you can. Work hard, stay inquisitive and remember to enjoy yourself along the way!
John Minet, Senior McQueens Florist