Please & Thank You
Things that florists can do…
Florists have the privilege of participating in life’s most memorable moments on a daily basis. Our work is used to communicate love, celebrate life, and honor loved ones lost.
And the choices we make? They matter.
Below is the text from a set of Instagram Stories that I posted under the heading “Things that florists can do to make their tiny corners of the world a teeny tiny bit gentler/safer/kinder…” in which I shared a sliver of what I’ve learned, seen, and experienced in my time working as a florist.
In response, several florists asked if I would also share this here.
To be clear: I’m not an expert on any of this either. I’m still learning, still failing to be thoughtful about my own choices, still trying to do better.
P.S. …please scroll down to the additional resources section below to hear what the experts have to say.
Things that florists can do to make their tiny corners of the world a teeny tiny bit gentler/safer/kinder:
— Do your homework:
Research different cultural/religious wedding (and funeral!) traditions.
If you don’t know:
what a chuppah is
what a mandap is
the significance of white flowers
or red flowers
or or or XYZ in different cultures...
…Google is your friend.
Ditto holiday traditions.
Don’t assume that your clients will embrace these traditions. But it’s your job to understand them.
— Rewrite the script:
Change "bride’s name” and “groom’s name” to “your name” and “your partner’s name” on your website’s wedding client intake form.
Change "bride & groom" to “clients” or “couple” on your paperwork/contracts/etc.
— Don't make assumptions:
about someone’s gender, sexuality, or preferred pronouns…
…or someone’s race/ethnicity/religion/family…
…or health or abilities…
…based on the way they look.
— Hire people of color.
— Don’t expect a pat on the back for hiring people of color.
— Don't tokenize your employees.
— Don’t tokenize your clients.
— ...or anyone for that matter.
— People are not props.
— Share your knowledge:
Teach your interns.
Share information with your team.
— Spread the wealth:
Pay your interns. If you feel that you can’t afford to pay your interns, you are not charging enough money for your work. Raise your prices.
— Be a good neighbor:
If you are a white florist who lives in a big, diverse city:
think carefully before you open a business in a gentrifying neighborhood…
...and maybe don’t…
…but if you do:
Participate. Be an active member of your community.
Support neighborhood businesses that were there before yours.
Don’t call the police on your black neighbors for living their lives.
— Work on your communication and leadership skills:
You are responsible for holding your employees accountable when they say inappropriate/racist/classist/etc. things.
It is your job to have the hard conversations, protect the people you work with, and create a safe working environment. Do the work.
— Ask questions:
Consider the social and environmental impact of your sourcing practices, your preferred design technique, your marketing choices. Are you hurting other people? Can you do better? You might not be able to, but it’s a question worth asking.
— Be polite:
Not everyone can afford to buy locally grown, organic, etc. Not everyone can afford high-end wedding flowers. And it’s okay if most people can’t afford your work—but there’s no need to be a jerk about it.
Even private Facebook groups aren’t that private. Eviscerating another florist’s work in a public forum is not ok.
— Watch your language:
Act like the expert you are. Learn how to pronounce “chuppah.” Don’t giggle when you say it.
...is your work actually, really, truly “Ikebana"? Or would “Ikebana-inspired" or “inspired by Ikebana” or “Ikebana-style” be more accurate? Something to consider.
“G*psy" is an ethnic slur. The "I'm a floral g____” thing has got to die, pronto. (We get it, you’re a florist who likes to travel. Same. Find another way to express that idea.)
Don’t even get me started on fatphobia and ableism in the flower/wedding industries, because we will be here until the end of time. Just…be kind, ok? Try to be kind.
— Consider the following:
How do classism and racism impact design?
Who determines what “good taste” is?
Where do trends come from?
Please don’t say that florists who work with FTD (or do more traditional work than you, etc.) aren’t “good” florists. We all get to have our own style and opinions, but don’t dismiss the hard work and talents of people who were likely spreading beauty, comfort, and joy in their communities long before you showed up on the scene.
Your job is to see, create, and share beauty. You might not see the beauty of carnations, or dyed roses, or bright colors, but many people do. Look again. Keep looking. Maybe you’ll find something beautiful where you couldn’t before.
— Learn from our mistakes:
If you see yourself in any of this, know that you’re not alone.
I’ve screwed up many of these too.
Let’s do better.
I’ve had multiple florists ask if they can use this for their own business/website/training purposes. (Yes, in whatever way you’d like.)
To make that easier for those who want to print it, below is an editable version, so you can also change the text/font/logo/colors/etc.
What I’ve shared here is incomplete—it’s the tip of the iceberg—so please feel free to add and/or edit as needed. — R
Have a suggestion? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.