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5 in 5! with Flower Duet

October 7, 2010

5 Questions. 5 Minutes. 1 Employer. This week: Kit from Flower Duet.

1. What do you look for when you hire an intern?

As a floral design studio and school located in Los Angeles, we look for interns who don’t mind working weekends (most jobs are on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). They must have a willingness to listen, learn, try new things and bring his or her own experience to the job. We are not afraid to train people who have never tried to arrange a flower in their lives. We teach novices everyday in our flower design classes for everyone!

2. How did you get started in the industry? How can I get started?

Casey Schwartz worked on luxury cruise ships for well over a decade and one of her jobs on board was to take care of and create large scale flower arrangements for all the public areas. She has purchased flowers from wholesale vendors all over the world including places like Singapore, Russia, Italy and the Caribbean. When Casey got off the ship in 1997, she helped her sister Kit Wertz create all the wedding flowers for her special day. Kit thought this was really fun and proceeded to learn as much as she could about floral design through classes and workshops. The sisters’ shared love for flowers evolved into offering flower arranging parties at many people’s homes, creating custom floral designs for weddings and special events and teaching every month at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California.

Casey and Kit continue to expand their training in floral design and continue to expand their business by having large groups come to their new South Bay Floral Design Studio in Torrance.

To get started in the floral industry, you could work part time at a florist,attend classes at your local community college or adult education center,or look into workshops offered by local florists – just like Flower Duet offers.

3. What is the future of your industry?

The floral business is a global one. We rely heavily on flowers that are grown in all parts of the world. We see this as a trend that will continue which means it’s important to build a relationship with your local suppliers of wholesale flowers. You need to make sure you have options in case of volcano ash that prevents flights of fresh flowers to and from Europe or unseasonably cold weather in Columbia or Ecuador where many flowers are grown for consumption in the United States.

While online florist websites seem to sprout up overnight, it’s still the local florist who will often be the one to fulfill the order on the ground.  Also, while we see a large DIY movement for brides and other folks who want to try to make their own arrangements for a big event, we still see a large need for the professional florist to have plenty of work going forward. We feel there is always room for someone with talent and a good customer service attitude to make a good living as a florist.

4. What is one main thing an intern can do to make a favorable impression? To make a negative impression?

An intern should be willing to do any job that the owner of the business would do from ordering supplies, to cleaning up after a big job.  An intern who never asks questions would make a negative impression. Interns are in the job to learn about the company or industry to see if it will be a good fit for them. It’s important that they take all opportunities they can to learn.

5. Give us a positive intern story? An intern horror story?

Positive – Taught an intern how to perform a difficult technical task and this turned out to be his crowning achievement over his entire summer he was with us. He was very proud of what he did and so were we.

Negative – When a business does not have a plan in place for what an intern will do at the job. In order for the intern and the business to get the most out of the relationship, there should be clearly defined objectives for what the intern will accomplish during their stay with the business. The intern should also come with some ideas of what he or she would like to learn while on the job.

Thanks Kit! For more information on workshops, ordering arrangements, and possible internships, visit their site.

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