With over 30 years’ experience teaching and lecturing flower design, Vicki Beuth, an FTD Master Designer, brings a full spectrum of knowledge of the floral industry. As the original owner of Leechburg Floral Co. her shop has been putting good design to the forefront.
I’ve been thinking for a long time that I would love to share my knowledge and love of being a florist. Enter, Pennsylvania Floral Academy. Not a week went by in my flower shop without someone saying, “I’d love to work in a flower shop.” As an owner I knew how long it took to train a novice in between doing my own job. Often the trainer didn’t work out, they found out that it was really hard work being a florist or I felt they didn’t have the level of talent I needed for a very busy shop. Therefore a school designed by a florist for a florist position seemed like it might be good for everyone. To have an employee already knowledgeable in florist lingo, basic design elements, common houseplant identification, store window display, and selling techniques would be a person I as a flower shop owner would take a chance on. A person who has invested their own time and money into making it as a florist would be top candidates for floral shop employment.
My goal is to not only prepare someone to became a florist, “a person who sells and arranges plants and flowers” but also to shed some light on our emerging profession.
For many reasons, it takes years to become a well-rounded florist. Flowers change seasonally as do design techniques. Just when you pick up speed designing with Christmas greens you’re on to tulips and daffodil designs, a very different design challenge. You only may get to do a specific design once a year, so you are always challenged. Truthfully, this was my favorite part of life in a flower shop. Everyday was different. Plans were often changed and our wholesalers were always giving us more and more interesting, beautiful options to design with. When you have the heart of an artist you get to feel, touch, and smell your medium (flowers) everyday, it’s really great.
Rainy and gloomy days were always my favorite in the flower shop. It’s hard to remain gloomy with beautiful bright and sunny flowers always surrounding you. This is just one of the many reasons I have always felt blessed to have found this career path.
The mission of the Pennsylvania Floral Academy is to educate men and women in the field of floristry. My personal goal is to make the school the best in the country. We intend to certify candidates for employment in the floral industry. With an internship program to compliment the basic course we hope our graduates will find fulfilling employment as they desire. The idea if an 8-week internship program spins off my experience with many people I’ve trained over 30-years. As an owner I would have felt more confident to hire someone with a certification and internship experience.
The art of display has intrigued me since I was a child. My mother always wanted me to be a set designer. She had her own dancing school for most of my growing up years. Throughout my childhood I was exposed to theatre and dance performances in NYC on a regular basis. Flower shops exude display from windows to shelves to counter displays. The flower shop world is one big display challenge. Some shops are better than others, but display always exists where plants and flowers are sold. I used to moonlight at a local grocery store in my early days, setting up flower displays and making arrangements. I loved it. Display work should be taught to every beginning florist, but this takes time and patience. This will be a primary element in the Pennsylvania Floral Academy curriculum. Students will complete weekly display challenges. After 8-weeks our graduates will have some great new display ideas that will entice new and old customers into any flower shop.
Our philosophy is, “Why have a showroom if you don’t showoff?” We are going to teach our students how to showoff their design skills on a budget. We intend to prepare candidates for the floral industry, elevate the status of floral education, and help each student develop their own panache (flamboyant confidence of style).
Applications for the March 2018 semester are being accepted now through February 1st. Click HERE to learn more about our curriculum.