Weddings are featured in this issue of The Professional Florist magazine. I wonder how many of us loved playing with flowers so much that we started designing wedding flowers for friends and relatives because we thought it would be fun. That’s how I got started in floral design many years ago. Once I designed a few silk flower bouquets for a few close friends and relatives, I was well on my way to a path that would lead me into a lifelong career in the floral industry. I am sure there are at least a few of you out there that may have had a similar experience getting started in the floral world.
The road to becoming a professional florist can entail many things from taking design classes, learning tips from other florists, and studying trade magazines to actually being an apprentice in a shop and/or learning design from a mentor. If you have an opportunity to learn from a mentor it can be a very fun and fulfilling experience.
As I looked for avenues to learn all I could about floral design, I eventually found some design classes available through WUMFA back in the early 1990s. As I attended those classes I admired the knowledge and dedication of the instructors. They were so helpful and patient with students no matter what level of experience each student was at. I always looked up to these instructors and considered them to be “my real mentors” in the floral world, even though they didn’t know it. Living in the northwestern part of Wisconsin doesn’t necessarily offer many opportunities to study with a mentor compared to what the more metropolitan cities may have available. So I jumped at every opportunity to learn all I could and the WUMFA classes offered those  opportunities. Just to name a few, floral design instructors such as;
Kevin Ylvisaker, AIFD, CAFA CFD, PFCI
Sally Rossmiller, AIFD, CFD
Brad and Kelly Harnisch, AIFD, CFD
and John Hosek AIFD, CAFA, CFD, MCF
Who made our classes not only educational but fun learning experiences thanks to sharing their outstanding design tips and tricks. Building strong relationships with florists from other cities is a good place to start your networking and mentoring journey in the world of floral design. There are so many fantastic florists who love to share their knowledge with students eager to learn the trade. You can read about some of them right here in this issue. Look to your local wholesalers for design shows they may offer with nationally recognized floral designers and learn all you can. If you find a designer you connect with through a particular design style that person can be your virtual mentor from afar. In this digital age just about anything is possible to learn on line. You can catch some nationally known designers on YouTube which is a great way to experience instructions from celebrity designers when you can’t see them in person.
We are very fortunate to have many national and international professional designers right here in our own states of Wisconsin and Michigan. You can keep up with trends and read about upcoming events in this magazine to see when designers will be featured at various design shows especially if you want to catch an event nearby when possible. Learn as much as you can as often as you get the chance. I attended the National Alliance of Floral Associations in San Antonio, Texas this year. It was fabulous networking with other designers sharing thoughts and picking up new ideas. Whenever I attend an event, I can always
learn something new along with adding some new floral friends to my little black book of contacts. We all have similar concerns across the country not to mention a love for all things beautiful in the world of floral design. Continue your journey in floral design with the support of educational design workshops and events sponsored by WUMFA. We are also here to help you become the best you can be. Let us know what we can do for you.