Have a green thumb? Maybe you can turn that love of plants into more than just a hobby. The market for florists and flower shops in Canada is big, and there’s plenty of space for freelancers. Starting your own florist business just takes space, equipment, and a bit of creativity.
What Type of Space Does a Florist Need?
Working from home as a florist is doable if you have the square footage to support it. You can convert a well-lit garage or basement into a floral studio with a little effort. If you live in a cool climate, a less-insulated space, such as a garage, helps keep flowers fresh during some months of the year.
Flowers are fragile, so your space needs to be safe and secure. If you live by yourself or with other adults, a home business is a great option — but if you have pets or small children, you might want to rent some studio space. You can also talk to a local floral shop about working in-house on a freelance basis.
What Equipment Does a Florist Need?
When starting out, don’t worry too much about specialized equipment. Just invest in a good pair of pruning shears, a watering can, a selection of glass vases, and a sturdy table or work bench you can use to cut flowers and wrap bouquets.
Flowers last longer when they’re kept slightly chilled. A regular fridge can do the job, but, as your business grows, you may want to invest in a flower cooler. Before getting a flower cooler, make sure you have the right electrical hookups and a large enough space for it.
For deliveries and on-site arrangements, you need a vehicle. The car you already own might work fine, as long as you have a good way to stabilize delicate cargo. If you’re planning longer trips, you might also need a portable cooler or larger trunk space.
Florist Education and Training
All you really need to become a florist is a delicate touch and an eye for aesthetics. That said, the growing demand for complex, exacting arrangements means a bit of formal training might help you stand out from other floral businesses.
Many institutions throughout Canada offer floral design training. For example, the Canadian Institute of Floral Design in Ontario offers a full curriculum on how to design attractive floral arrangements. Some florists might also be willing to train you or hire you as an intern. If you know someone in the business, talk to them about the skills you need, and see if they’re willing to teach you.
Sourcing Bulk Flowers
Now that you have all your equipment, it’s time to get those flowers. Growing them in your backyard probably isn’t an option. A quick internet search can show you local flower wholesalers where you can purchase flowers in bulk.
The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, which has been around since 1988 and has over 1,000 members worldwide, helps connect florists with flower growers. If you’re looking for a grower near you, use the ASCFG website to find local growers and wholesalers.
Once your space is set up, it’s time to start arranging flowers. Friends and family members make for good clients, but a little networking with local businesses is how you’re going to grow. You can always find clients through word-of-mouth, but you can also get the ball rolling by helping floral businesses during a holiday rush.