Floristry can be hard work, especially during busy times like Valentine’s Day, but it’s the pure freedom and creative nature of floristry that Ali adores and that’s ultimately the reason she’s been in the profession since she was 18.

In actual fact, Ali had never thought much about becoming a florist – it happened by chance really. She used to work at a Petone pharmacy and would pass a florist every day and think “that would be quite nice to work there”. Luckily for Ali, a spot opened up at the florist so she pounced on it.

“There was a position advertised for a junior florist. That was here at Flowers Et Cetera and I’ve been here ever since.”

Being in floristry for more than 20 years, Ali has had plenty of experience and has found that people don’t realise just how much goes on in the job.

“It’s hard work, it’s probably harder than people think. It’s not all about playing with flowers. There’s lots of lifting and things like that, lots of smelly, stinky, horrible water and vases to clean and all the grotty stuff, so it’s not all pretty and nice.”

It’s the freedom to create that drives her passion for floristry – the limitless ways to present flowers allow Ali to learn all the time and create something new every day.

Ali believes that the most important trait in floristry is being creative, but being socially competent is up there too.

“Being creative and being good with your hands helps a lot. Also being good with people; being able to communicate with people and get across what they’re thinking and also what you’re thinking. A bit of a mix.”

Ali believes taking art at school helped her a lot: learning about the colour wheel and “having that eye for what colours go with what”, but she also believes that natural creative ability and a passion for the job is all that is essential.

While Ali never actually studied floristry, she believes that almost anything creative-based at school would be a big help for gathering floristry ideas. She recommends attending a floristry course following school to get that expert training and gain an eye for all that’s necessary in the job.

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