floral design article neena mcconnell feb 23 feature image

How I Grew My Floral Design Career

Neena McConnell is a QC Event School graduate and Student Ambassador. The proud owner of Wallflower Events & Designs, Neena specializes in event and wedding planning, event decor, floral design, and so much more! Connect with her directly in QC’s Virtual Classroom on Facebook. 

floral design expert, Neena McConnell, headshot

My Journey Into Floral Design

My mom once told me that when I was a young girl, I always stopped to “smell the flowers”. To this day, I still make a habit of stopping to breathe in the beauty of my surroundings, especially anywhere flowers are present. When I was sixteen, I was unhappy with the part-time job I had. So, with my resume in-hand, I marched myself into a local grocery store and went straight to the flower department. At the time, I didn’t know I was speaking with the manager. But I remember asking her so many questions about flowers and what it was like working in such a beautiful department.

Her response was simple and to the point: “Would you like to find out?”

A week later, I started working part-time in the flower department. My daily tasks that included sweeping floors, scrubbing buckets, taking phone orders, and providing basic customer service. I continued working in that shop for a couple years, before going on to run a different flower department. I did this while attending University.

Flash forward ten years later. In 2018, my career really took off.  This, in large part, was because I decided to get professional training. I wanted to become properly certified in both professional floral design and wedding and event planning.

Floral design is such a great line of work to be in. Every day is different than the one before and you get to work with all sorts of clients. Seeing their vision come to life is arguably the best feeling in the world!

Growing My Career

I became a Professional Floral Designer for everyday arrangements, as well as for weddings and events. After that, I found a job in a boutique shop in my hometown. Again, I was starting from the ground up. But very quickly, I was given more responsibility. This included designing bouquets, centerpieces, and simple wedding work such as boutonnieres, corsages, and other flower wearables.

florist working on bouquet in shop

At the time, I was open and honest with the owner of the boutique shop. I had personal and professional desires to own and operate my own business. It was important to me that she knew that. She agreed to show me the ins and outs of a floral shop and supported my dreams as if they were her own. While working at the flower boutique, I refrained from speaking to customers and co-workers about my desire to own my own business. I did this out of respect for the owner and the business she had built. In fact, it didn’t come up until my launch party, back in the spring of 2019. Of course, this was after I had left the shop, and was then introducing floral design as part of the services included in my wedding and event planning business.

My first client booking was an old family friend who took a chance on my business. I never mentioned that they were my first client – only that I was new to the industry and I appreciated their business. Although they were my first client, I kept it professional. After all, I knew what I was capable of! In the end, I proved my worth to them, as well as myself. I am also happy to say that I received several referrals from them. As a result, my business took off after that!

Marketing My Floral Design Services

Although word-of-mouth can take you a long way, I knew I had to market my business and get my name out there in the floral design industry. I began by getting involved in stylized shoots. There, I was lucky enough to meet some other wonderful wedding professionals. Then I took the time to visit every wedding venue in my area so I could formally introduce myself, visit the space, and hand out business cards. I also participated in social media giveaways, and constantly updated my Facebook and Instagram portfolios to build awareness of what my business had to offer.

In my opinion, floral design and wedding/event planning go hand-in-hand. I realized early on in my career that they naturally complement one another. Where there is a special event, there will likely be flowers. I completed two courses in basic floral design. I also enrolled with QC Event School and completed their Event & Wedding Planning and Event Decor programs. With that professional training behind me, I was then able to create and bundle my services to best suit my clients’ needs.

floral designer selecting flowers with customer

What My Floral Design Services Look Like Now

Presently, my floral design services include monthly flower subscriptions, as well as floristry for weddings and special events. I also have a group of loyal clientele that I provide “everyday arrangements” for. However, due to not always having flowers on stock, it’s not a service I provide to the public at this time.

Pricing can be tricky when first starting out in the business. My pricing structure is based on:

  • The client’s budget;
  • Stem count;
  • The vase or vessel used;
  • The quality of the blooms;
  • And some trial and error.

I was taught to write out the price of each flower stem individually and build the design from there. But as you gain experience, you’ll learn how to tally everything up in your head (at least for basic arrangements). When providing floral design services for clients, my daily duties vary, since they include a little bit of everything. The most common of floral design duties include:

  • Order taking;
  • Ordering from suppliers;
  • Cleaning and preparing each flower stem;
  • Designing;
  • Fulfilling the order;
  • And securing pickup or delivery.

floral designer working on bouquet arrangement

What’s on the Horizon

I’m currently enrolled in QC Event School’s Floral Design Course and absolutely loving it! As a professional creative, I’m always looking for ways to refresh and improve my skills. QC’s course has taught me some tips and tricks that I hadn’t already learned in previous courses. In fact, if you’d like a sneak peek into what this course has to offer, you can always read my blog article wherein I review Unit A.

The point is, I’m truly looking forward to continuing my education in all things floral design! In the future, I hope to collaborate more with like-minded individuals in order to create bigger and bolder designs, as well as larger installations. I’d also like to crush my goal of doubling my subscription numbers (halfway there!) and hopefully dabble in some pop-up weddings in more intimate settings.

Thanks for taking the time to read and learn a little more about my career in floral design. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments below. And as always, I encourage all our readers to connect with me in QC’s Virtual Classroom on Facebook. I hope to see you there!

Ready to get started? Learn all about QC’s self-paced, online Floral Design Course here!

3 responses to “How I Grew My Floral Design Career”

    Carli Lewis says:

    I love this!! So wonderful to hear where you started and now you are flourishing!! I appreciate the information given in this blog so much!! It will help with my future endeavors as well!!!

    Lauren Ballinger says:

    Loved reading your story and found so inspiring!! Great work Neena!!

    Sarah-Lynn Seguin says:

    We couldn’t agree more. Neena is such a hard worker, with such an awesome story to tell. We can’t say enough how grateful we are to be able to be a part of her journey. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Lauren! 🙂

    All the best,
    The QC Team

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