Like most industries, the world of floristry isn’t exempt from a stereotype or two. We’re fortunate at McQueens to have an almost 50/50 balance of guys and gals, and there are a great many chaps out there who are known for their floral prowess. However, the idea that flowers should be left to the girls can still be surprisingly quite common. Today, our Ask McQueens query comes from a reader wondering how to deal with gender stereotyping, and we chose our youngest resident florist, Will, to offer his advice on the matter.
I’m a boy in my teens who’s really interested in floristry. I’m hoping to train somewhere and eventually turn it into a career but I’m struggling to convince my dad who thinks it’s a bit of a ‘girly’ activity. I know it might seem a bit small-minded but he’s got quite traditional values and is convinced that it’s not the right career path for me. I follow McQueens on Instagram and know there are loads of guys working there – did anyone have any similar experiences, and can you offer some advice on how to deal with it?
Andy, West Midlands
Andy, despite everything your dad says, you may be surprised to learn that floristry is actually more of a male-dominated industry – just visit a flower market in the early hours and do a head count if you need proof! I actually grew up in Wolverhampton working with my dad in his flower shop, so it never occurred to us that floristry was particularly ‘girly’. To top that, my guy mates were really chuffed that they had someone who could give them advice on what to get their girlfriends and mums for Valentine’s and Mother’s Day (and they still call me for advice now).
I know it might not be the case for everyone, but with a little convincing I bet you can convert your dad. My advice would be to keep at it and, if getting a job as a florist is a step too far in the beginning, maybe you could start by looking for work as a delivery driver or helping at the local flower market? You can learn a lot from just being in the industry; watching; listening and getting involved whenever you can (a spare pair of hands is always appreciated), plus it would be a great way to make contacts. Do you want to own your own business one day? If so, maybe this would be an angle that your dad would understand better. Try not to overthink this; if it’s what you want to do, you owe it to yourself to follow your own dream, and when he sees you making a success of it (as I’m sure you will), he’s bound to come around. Stick at it, and hopefully in time, your dad will realise what a fantastic career path you’ve chosen.
Will Simmons, McQueens florist
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