Walking into Artifex, the flower shop of Renate, feels like walking into heaven on earth. In a bright, modern and romantic space, she sells dozens of all sorts of flowers and decoration objects for the home. After working as a needlework teacher for many years and raising her children, Renate decided to take her life into a different direction and to spend it surrounded by the things she loves. Talking to Renate, we got to see how enthusiastic she is about her job and how blessed she feels by being able to express herself through her job every single day. Read the whole inspiring story in the interview below!
Renate, tell us a little bit about yourself and what brought you to work as a florist!
I’ve been working as a teacher for needlework in a school and successfully raised my children. Somehow, I wanted to do something different with my life and wanted to spend my time with doing what I really love – so I started to work in a flower shop. After working there for a while, I realized that I wanted to take my career and life to the next level and made the step into self-employment. I can only recommend doing the same to every young woman out there, now really is the right time to start your own business if you have an idea and the guts to do it!
How long do you have your own flower shop “Artifex” now – what are the requirements to open a flower business?
We opened 6 years ago and have worked on 6 days a week ever since. If you’ve already worked in an executive position in another shop for a while, you can just open your own – there are no other requirements. But of course, being a florist is also an apprenticeship. To be able to hire young trainees, I took additional courses to be allowed to take in and teach apprentices. Now, I have two young trainees learning from and working with me and one additional employee, Theresa. She is a real talent and a star in the floristic scene and has already won several national awards for her skills and now she’s working for me – I was very lucky by grabbing her!
What basic skills are required to work as a florist and what can be taught to trainees?
The only thing you really need is the enthusiasm and the love and willingness to work with flowers everyday. Everything else can and will be taught by your teacher – from chromatics, to different styles and proportions, and to taste shaping itself. In the end though, it is a real craftsmanship that can be learned by almost everyone that has the right personality and brings the passion along. Also, you have to be determined to work with people and to be outgoing and understanding of your customers needs.
Is the job “florist” a typical female profession?
No, I don’t think so. A lot of “star florists” are men. There is a real international floristic scene with contests and awards, and there are plenty of men working in the scene. To me, this shows how expressional this job is and how many possibilities of individual fulfillment it contains. I think it’s the most beautiful profession when it comes to self-expression and creativity.
How does a typical day of work look for you?
First of all, there are no “typical” days, every day depends on the customers, the seasons and the holidays they bring along. This being said, a lot of working time lies in the preparation of bouquets and orders for the next day. In the mornings I open the shop, check the orders for each day, clean and cut the flowers and accept the deliveries. At the beginnings of the week, I think about the flowers and color schemes I’d like to work with and order the flowers accordingly to that. That’s the real creative part of the job! But it’s not all pretty and easy, sometimes it can be a back-breaking job as well – working 6 days a week, cleaning up the shop, teaching your employees. But most of the time it’s a very rewarding business!
What do you mean by rewarding?
Getting to work with the seasons, being creative, thinking about what color schemes might fit with Spring, Summer and the colder months. Working with people and their desires! And the most rewarding feeling of all is to see the joy on people’s faces when you did a good job. We always have the happiest and most emotional customers around christmas time and I just love to be one of the reasons for their joy!
Talking of seasons – which ones are the most important seasons for a florist?
I’d say, it’s the typical ones: around Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, All Saint’s Day and the longest season of all is Advent. Like I mentioned before, Advent is also the season with the most emotional moments, that’s why I like it so much. It’s really important to address your customers on the emotional level in general, that’s part of the success in our business.
Working with flowers everyday, there is one question that comes to our mind – which sort of flowers do you love most personally?
Oh, I love them all – but in general, I love compact bouquets with roses head to head. In Spring, I simply love ranunculus, in Summer my favorites are definitely roses. A typical flower for winter is the amaryllis, I really like that one as well.
And last but not least – are there any Do’s and Dont’s when it comes to making your own bouquet?
Generally spoken, I’d recommend to always pair “round” flower heads with each other and flowers that have long stems with each other, like larkspur. Other than that, there are no real limits. Oh, but never combine red and yellow with each other – that’s the only no-go I can think of. I like to say that like a painter plays with and combines the colors, a florist plays with and combines the flowers all the same.
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