Life-long Learning: Why I Value Professional Development

As an elementary school music teacher by day, I am often asked by my students “do you still practice?” And my young musicians are shocked to hear my answer… “YES!” Of course I have to practice. When we stop practicing, not only do we fall out of technical habit, but we lose part of the emotional connection to our art.

I am a relative newcomer to floral design, so of course I am drinking in every single tip, word of advice, and brilliant idea I come across. I’m constantly developing my “chops” (as we call it in music!) and so naturally, professional development is a major focus right now. 

Yellow & Pink Spring Arrangement | Yellow Clooney Ranunculus, Yellow Iris, Pink Tulips & Carnations, Hot Pink Spray Roses

So, it never fails to puzzle me when I hear long-time florists comment as though they have nothing left to learn. Granted, I’m blessed to be a part of some top-notch, learning-ready groups, but there is always that one person who knows everything and can’t possibly need to learning anything new. It reminds me of the instances in my classroom, which usually go like this: “But Miss! You already KNOW how to play the violin!” Yes, I do. But there is always, ALWAYS something to improve. Practice makes progress. 

I have had the pleasure of taking in some wonderful professional development recently. The Fleur Society webinar series this winter was absolutely fantastic, because it focused on an area that really scares me: the business side of things! Now, I have my eyes set on the upcoming Team Flower intensive workshops this summer. 

I first heard of Team Flower a few years ago, back when flowers were just a hobby. Through design Kelly Perry’s (FREE!) online resources, I picked up tips and tricks that I’ve been incorporating into my arrangements since. I love her garden style of arranging, and I am particularly drawn to how she creates lines and movement in her designs. Team Flower is the educational extension of Kelly’s floral design business (Philosophy Flowers), and I love the way she shares her knowledge and skills with other designers!

At the intensive workshops, I hope to hone not only my artistic skills, but also to make new connections within the floral design world, and to draw on the collective expertise of the participants. One thing that I am loving about this community is how open and helpful most other designers are! (Maybe because I find a similar vibe within my teaching colleagues?) Running a successful floral design business isn’t just about creating beautiful arrangements: a business will flop without a solid strategy, long and short-term plan, and pricing structure.These are some of the areas that I KNOW I need to work on.

Spring arrangement with hellebores, "Hermione" ranunculus, astrantia, and scabiosa stellat

Another huge draw of the Team Flower workshops is Kelly’s commitment to sourcing locally-grown flowers. This is something that I feel is critical to the floral industry: we have reached an environmental breaking point, and our industry, which can be so hard on the Earth, needs to step up. I am getting more and more requests from my clients to use ethically-sourced and locally-grown flowers, and I love being able to support our local economy AND do my part for the environment. As I grow and develop Flourish & Knot, I want to keep eco-consciousness at the heart of my business practices. 

Life-long learning is something I value immensely. As winter finally turns to spring here in Quebec, I find myself itching for new learning opportunities, and inspired to try new design ideas. Onward!

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