After graduating from the floral design program at SCROC (Southern California Regional Occupational Center), I pounded the pavement looking for paid work as a floral designer. You don’t just sashay into a place like My Little Flower Shop and say “I’m here now, show me your centerpieces, teach me your aesthetic and I’ll revolutionize your tablescapes.” You have to pay your dues. And pay I did.
My first gig was at a big national chain florist, in the run-up towards Valentine’s Day. The kind with the “official” arrangements available everywhere. The shop I worked at is on a corner best known to hot-dog connossieurs as home to one of LA’s historic hot dog stands. But my workspace wasn’t street facing. It wasn’t anything facing. It was a shipping container. One end was left open, and one side lined with tables. There were five of us, who stood in the shipping container eight hours a day making “dozen reds” (a dozen red roses with baby’s breath and ferns). We made them, and then walked them to another shipping container across the alley, filled with shelves. This started 10 days before Valentine’s, and kept going right through that day. Dozen red after dozen red. Chili-dog smell upon chili-dog smell.
When one of our My Little Flower Shop arrangements arrives somewhere, the recipient can see that we are passionate about what we do. When a girl got a “dozen red” that had been wilting in a shipping containers for 8 days, what do you think she saw? I haven’t gotten a chance to drive by and check, but I bet dollars to donuts that a shipping conatiner full of underemployed, depressed designers is out there knocking out “Mom Bokays.” Is that what you want dropped off at your Mom’s house? Didn’t think so.
So skip the cookie-cutter ProFlowers, FTD, Teleflora nonsense. Go with a real business who will make a real, unique arrangement with real feeling. And who would never put a designer in a shipping container.
Live well, and love well.