HOW TO Get Started as a Floral Design Freelancer
Hi fellow flower lover! It’s always fun to meet someone else that’s passionate about flowers and creating beauty. You might not be surprised that there a lot of people in your shoes: loving flowers, wanting to work with their hands and be a part of gorgeous events…
My number one piece of advice to floral design hopefuls: start freelancing. This is by far the best way to learn floral design and the best part is that you can get paid to do it! Find a few floral designers you admire and build some experience. Get your hands dirty. Learn a few tricks of the trade. Get connected to the amazing network of other flower lovers out there.
But how do you actually start doing that? Who should you talk to? What can you offer?
Maybe you’ve arranged your fair share of Trader Joe’s flowers. Maybe you’ve even made DIY bouquets as a bridesmaid. Maybe the extent of your floral design knowledge is from Pinterest scrolling binge sessions. Maybe you’ve taken an online floral design course but now it’s time to get (flower) boots on the ground and start designing.
That’s why we’re here. I’ve got 3 steps to getting started as a freelance floral designer. I’m going to let you in on the secrets to getting your foot in the door. And then in part 2 we’re going to talk about how you can become the best freelancer out there!
Alright, let’s get started.
Step one: RESEARCH & Reach Out
Spend some time internet stalking a bunch of floral designers in your area and identify a few whose style is appealing to you. And by style, I mean two things: their actual design style, yes, but also their style of business. You’re going to spend a lot of time together in the studio if you start freelancing for them, so you want it to be someone who seems open to teaching and fun to be around.
Once you’ve picked out a few favorites, it’s time to reach out. Your approach here is critical! You need to study their business and include some specific things that you admire about them. Let them know that you’re not just spewing the same email out to 15 other designers! Compliment a recent wedding, ask about their dog you spotted on Instagram, ask about a recent trip, you get the idea. And FOR THE LOVE, make sure to spell their name right. I’m much less likely to get back to you if you call me “Rosemary” or “Mary” because I can tell that means you haven’t read my about page or followed me on Instagram for more than a hot second.
Now you want to outline your experience with flowers. If it’s zero, that is 100% okay! We all started there! Just outline your interest and experience.
Last but not least, you’re asking for a chance to gain experience! Either ask to schedule a meeting or make it an easier “yes” by offering to come help clean candles or process flowers for free so you can talk while they work.
SECRET 1: All floral designers need candles and buckets cleaned. If you offer that you’re willing to do that, you’ve got a leg up on all the other people reaching out. Everyone wants to play with flowers, but if you’re willing to come in and do the gritty work, you’ll stand out. (Believe me, I have done and will continue to do my fair share of candles and buckets. Everyone has to do it.)
SECRET 2: Offer to treat the floral designer to lunch or drinks. Everyone loves being treated and they’re much more likely to say “yes” if there’s a free glass of champagne on the table! Along the same lines, work around her schedule. Especially if it’s the midst of wedding season, no floral designer is going to be free on Saturday. (Or if they are, they don’t want to think about flowers during their precious weekend off!) For me, lunch or happy hour on Monday or Tuesday are the most appealing offers for my schedule because it doesn’t cut into my work hours.
Step two: MEET
Come prepared with a few questions specific to their business. Ask what her biggest needs are in her business. (It might be good freelancers!) Ask if they mainly use freelancers or if they like to have a solid, ongoing team. Then share your story. Let her know what your availability is like - are you only free on the weekends or could you come into the studio during the week? Offer to come in and help clean the studio, whether it’s vases, candles, buckets, etc. Feel out if you think this could be a good fit.
Step three: FOLLOW UP
Reach out, thank her for her time, and reiterate what kind of availability you have coming up. Let her know you’d love to learn from her! This step shows me that you’re serious about freelancing. If we meet and then I never hear from you again, often I’ll assume that means you’ve lost interest! A lot of my best freelancers today were the ones that just kept reaching out and being present, so that when I got to the point of needing to look for a freelancer their name quickly popped into my head.
Now you’re ready for part two!