A comprehensive list of organizations offering webinars or classes dealing specifically with flower design or flower business education, as well as accreditation opportunities.
By Andrew Joseph
There’s always room for improvement. It may have been a while since a parent, teacher, mentor or Jedi master has uttered those words around you, but regardless of the length of time, that adage’s messaging holds true.
Reasons to further one’s education will vary from person to person. To succeed in the flower industry, one must know more than the names of flowers and plants and how to care for them. It’s important to also possess business management knowledge and an understanding of good floral design—at the minimum. Whether you are a fresh-from-school grad, a new-to-the-flower-industry hire, an experienced worker/manager or a curmudgeonly or always-in-a-good-mood owner, there are many reasons to consider continuing one’s educational journey.
• Increasing Income: For the less experienced, gaining more knowledge can qualify for industry jobs that pay more. For those who own and run flower businesses, continuing your education can inspire new ideas and concepts that may bring in new customers or increased sales. You can teach an old dog new tricks, no matter what anyone says.
• Increasing Qualifications: Acquiring greater knowledge can obviously result in increasing one’s income, but for those in management, it can also result in increasing company income. How so? Many a floral designer has acquired national and international industry-related professional education certifications—such as CFD, AIFD, PFCI and EMC, to name a few—in addition to state and other accreditations. These certifications are certainly a sign of accomplishment and garner respect within the flower industry, but do standard flower-purchasing customers know or care about your accreditations?
But when you are looking to hire employees, they can be a sign that you are “the real deal,” possibly making your business a more attractive career opportunity than your competitors’ and giving you an edge in procuring the best talent. In addition, having employees who respect your dedication to the industry can help propagate their desire to also become “the real deal,” which can make your business even more professional.
While there are always going to be consumers who purchase flowers from other—perhaps, less professional—vendors, repeat customers looking for quality products will always look for a professional florist to provide for their needs. Having accredited or floral-educated staff sure doesn’t hurt.
• Social Networking: Taking part in continuing education classes—in person or online—affords you opportunities to widen your connections within and outside of the flower industry. It could be with your fellow classmates or even the teacher. You never know when someone you meet in these ways will recommend you to someone he or she knows who wants what you provide.
Other advantages of investing in and challenging oneself by learning new things and new skills include the ability to better one’s lifestyle, gain confidence, and secure your future or make your mark in the industry.
We are aware that many businesses, associations and institutions offer in-person education at their facilities or will travel to yours to provide the same. However, this article looks only at those that provide online education classes and/or webinars focusing on floral design and/or business management. Following is an alphabetical list of places you can go online to gain further knowledge and accreditation—on state, national and international levels. With many of these, it behooves you to visit the sites regularly to ensure you remain up to date on new offerings.
American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD)
AIFD offers multiple online floral design and business management education opportunities. First, the Institute offers five online floral design courses based on its book, The AIFD Guide to Floral Design: Terms, Techniques, and Traditions. Each course is offered five times throughout the year and is designed to assist those preparing to take AIFD’s “Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE)” as well as those just looking for general design skill improvement.
In addition, through a variety of webpage links to online articles and videos, AIFD’s new “The Resource Center” provides access to information to educate and strengthen the floral industry. “The Resource Center” enables both AIFD members and nonmembers to broaden their knowledge and strengthen the skills necessary to improve their craft and achieve their professional goals. Topics include “Personal Flowers,” “Design Techniques,” “New Products,” “Armatures,” “Principles and Elements of Design” and “AIFD History.” “The Resource Center” is updated monthly, so check the webpage regularly for the newest articles and videos.
Through AIFD’s approved “Education Partners” and state floral association education providers, the organization promotes and endorses a vast array of floral design and business courses, many of which are available online.
Finally, visit AIFD’s “Calendar of Events” page for an extensive list of classes and courses offered by floral design schools, colleges and universities, wholesale florists and more.
Details Flowers Software
info.detailsflowers.com (Click on “Education”)
Details Flowers Software’s “Details University” offers modules to teach floral professionals how to get the most from Details Flowers Software, but the company also offers webinars and video tutorials on a wide range of floral design and business management topics, featuring many of the industry’s leading floral designers, educators and luminaries.
European Master Certification (EMC)
The European Master Certification (EMC) Core Program comprises three courses—“Foundation,” “Practicum” and “Advanced.” The first two are both eight-week online courses, and the third is a nine-day in-person experience in Belgium. This accreditation program is for experienced floral designers who have a strong desire to invest in themselves, their professionalism and their futures.
FLOOS is an online library of “recipes” for more than 600 technically advanced floral compositions created by master florists from around the world. And, the library continuously grows, with FLOOS adding eight new design recipes each month. Each floral design has step-by-step instructions via video, photos and sketches, as well as a list of botanicals and hard goods used, conceptual references, color analysis and more. Recipe categories are Bridal Bouquet, Composition, Floral Jewelry, Floral Objects, Funeral and Hand-Tied Bouquet. FLOOS floral design recipes may be purchased individually, or you may subscribe by the month or for a year.
Floral Design Institute (FDI)
In addition to its in-person classes, Floral Design Institute offers online floral design classes and certification programs. Online courses include “Basic Floral Design,” which is an AIFD-approved pathway for achieving AIFD’s Certified Floral Designer (CFD) accreditation; “Advanced Floral Design”; and “Basic Floral Design Certification Challenge,” which is for experienced designers looking to attain Floral Design Institute Certified Floral Designer (FDI) status.
FDI also offers a series of online floral design and wedding workshops, at both basic and advanced levels; an online “Design Demo of the Week”; and an online “Flower School Library,” which comprises thousands of video demonstrations and how-to slideshows on subjects ranging from cut flower care and handling, identification, floral design basics, color theory and weddings to advanced design techniques, mechanics and styles.
FloralStrategies was founded to provide sales and customer care education specific to retail florists, but the company now also offers floral design education, wedding and event business management, and even sales training for wholesale florists. Online options include webinars and workshops, but FloralStrategies also offers personalized in-store/in-facility training and programs at various state and national florist association conventions.
A provider of point-of-sale software and websites for retail florists, FloraNext also provides an extensive series of articles on marketing, flower shop operations, trends and much more on its “Florist Blog.” This company also provides an exhaustive list of national and international education institutions for those who want to continue their floral education as well as those who are considering a career in the floral industry.
Floriology Institute is a floral design and business education academy for all florists, from novices to experienced professionals. It offers a range of topics via in-person, hands-on courses; live, interactive webinars via Zoom; and on-demand courses. One of Floriology’s courses teaches students how to pass state or national certification programs.
FTD University’s “Webinar & Design Series” features free live online presentations on topics that can help florists increase their sales, profits and design creativity. Visit the webpage for a current list of topics and presenters.
Florists can also view FTD University’s extensive library of previously recorded webinars and design shows on YouTube.
In addition to its online “Webinar & Design Series,” FTD University also offers a four-part “Virtual Mini Boot Camp,” during which a variety of design and business management topics are presented including trends, weddings, sales, marketing, and customer service, to name just a few.
International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)
Formerly the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), the International Fresh Produce Association focuses primarily on supermarket and mass-market floral issues. While the organization does not currently offer courses or webinars specifically for the floral sector, it does provide valuable articles, reports, white papers, press releases and other written resources for the furtherance of one’s floral industry education. Topics include “Supermarket Floral Consumer Sentiment,” “Supermarket Flower Buying Statistics,” “Supermarket Floral Sales Data” and “Floral Holiday Point-of-Sale Data,” among many others.
IFPA also provides weekly “Virtual Town Hall” discussions on business challenges in fresh produce and floral, with expert and interactive attendee participation to work toward solutions. One particularly intriguing topic is “Top Ten Global Consumer Trends for 2022.” In addition, florists can access IFPA’s video library, comprising past “Virtual Town Hall” sessions.
Judith Blacklock Flower School
Located in London, England, the Judith Blacklock Flower School is regarded for its wide range of in-person flower arranging courses, but the school also offers online courses, including an “Accredited Online Floral Design Diploma.” Other online accreditation courses are “Professional & Events Styling Floristry” and “Wedding Flowers.” The school also offers a series of educational videos and blog articles on a variety of floral design and cut flower topics.
Mayesh Wholesale Florist
This national wholesale flower distributor, with 19 locations in 11 states, offers free design tutorial videos taught by Mayesh’s Design Stars and live monthly “Mornings with Mayesh” YouTube videos, each featuring a prominent guest discussing all things flowers, from design and flower care to business advice and marketing ideas.
Penn Foster Career School
Through its Career School, Penn Foster offers an online, self-paced “Floral Design Career Diploma” program, which students can start at any time and typically takes from seven to 11 months to complete. Courses cover topics including the business of floral design, design tools and basics, design techniques and styles, working with live and artificial plants, holidays, weddings, solemn occasions, and more.
Society of American Florists (SAF)
Via its “Career Connection” portal, SAF offers a wide range of business courses, available on demand, on topics such as interviewing and hiring, workforce planning and attracting talent, creating proposals, working with client expectations and budgets; social media marketing; cut flower care and handling, design training, and much more.
SAF also hosts live webinars twice a month, which feature an expert presenter or a panel of experts delivering insights and advice on a wide variety of topics. Some 2022 topics include the economic outlook, supply-chain disruptions, delivery methods, weddings and contracts, web platforms, point-of-sale technology, marketing, and SEO (search engine optimization). Each webinar allows time for the presentation and Q&A with attendees. Videos of all past webinars are available on demand, at your convenience.
Team Flower offers a range of self-paced online floral design and business classes on a variety of topics including flower arranging, weddings, photographing flowers, growing cut flowers and much more. Classes are offered in four levels, for beginners to experienced professionals: Entry Level, Intermediate, Advanced Intermediate and Advanced.
Teleflora offers a range of courses throughout the year in both virtual and in-person settings. Teleflora told Florists’ Review that the best way to learn about its latest offerings is via two of its Facebook pages. The “Teleflora Design Academy” page is specific to experienced floral designers looking for more in-depth training to increase their skill levels and are each two or three days in length. The “Teleflora Industry & Relations & Education” page features both floral design and business courses that are available. Some have a fee; others do not. Courses are applicable for all skill levels, unless otherwise stated.
Teleflora also offers previously recorded programs via its YouTube channel.
We Love Florists
This floristry resource website provides tons of information for those in, or interested in, the floral industry, including scores of articles on wide range of topics about the retail flower business; FAQs about opening a flower shop; and an extensive list of flower design schools in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association (WF&FSA)
The wholesaler association offers on-demand webinars, through WF&FSA OnDemand, and online business courses, via WF&FSA’s Learning Experience (LearnX), formerly WF&FSA Institute. With LearnX, WF&FSA-member organizations can access an e-learning program offering online professional development and industry-based courses on hundreds of topics. This learning option offers anytime, anywhere access to affordable and relevant interactive courses, to enhance one’s professional development and/or to augment a company’s onboarding process and employee development program.
FLORAL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION ACCREDITATIONS
AIFD – Accredited in Floral Design, by the American Institute of Floral Designers. This national accreditation denotes a commitment to advancing the art of professional floral design through education, service and leadership. Candidates must first obtain the CFD accreditation (see “CFD” listing).
AMF – Arkansas Master Florist, state certification administered by the Arkansas Florists Association
AzMF – Arizona Master Florist, state certification administered by the Arizona State Florists Association
CCF – California Certified Florist, state certification administered by the California State Floral Association
CCF – Colorado Certified Florist, state certification administered by the Floral Association of the Rockies
CF – Certified Florist, nationally recognized regional certification administered by the Great Lakes Floral Association
CFD – Certified Floral Designer, national accreditation administered by the American Institute of Floral Designers. A prerequisite to earning the AIFD (Accredited in Floral Design) accreditation (see “AIFD” listing).
EMC – European Master Certification, international accreditation administered by EMC International BV
FSMD – Florida State Master Designer and FPCF – Florida Professional Certified Florist, state certifications administered by the Florida State Florists’ Association
GMF – Georgia Master Florist, state certification administered by the Georgia State Florists Association
ICF – Iowa Certified Florist, state certification administered by the Iowa Florists’ Association
ICPF – Illinois Certified Professional Florist, state certification administered by the Illinois State Florists’ Association
MMFD – Maine Master Floral Designer and PCF – Professional Certified Florist, state certifications administered by the Maine State Florists’ and Growers’ Association. Candidates must first successfully complete MSFGA’s PCF program (or equivalent) to qualify for the association’s MMFD program.
NCCPF – North Carolina Certified Professional Florist, state certification administered by the North Carolina Florists Association
PFCI – Professional Floral Communicators–International, national certification administered by the Society of American Florists (SAF)
SDCF – South Dakota Certified Florist, state certification administered by the South Dakota Florists Association
TMF – Texas Master Certified Florist and TMFA – Texas Master Certified Florist Advanced, state certifications administered by the Texas State Florists’ Association
• None of the organizations mentioned in this article have paid for their inclusion.
• There are many other schools and organizations that offer online education, including state florist associations like the Texas State Florists’ Association’s “TSFA On Demand” virtual learning classes (tsfa.org/TSFAOnDemand) and the Tennessee State Florists Association’s “MasterClasses (tnsfa.com/masterclasses), to name two. Check with your state florist association as well as nearby wholesale florists and floral design schools to learn about any online education opportunities they may offer.
Two recommended online listings of wholesale florists are wffsa.org/aws/WFFSA/pt/sp/directory and weloveflorists.com/floral-wholesalers. Two recommended online listings for floral design schools and/or their classes are aifd.org/upcoming-events/events and weloveflorists.com/floral-design-schools.
• Florists’ Review included as many online education opportunities as we could find and fit within these pages, and we apologize to any schools or organizations that were inadvertently left out.