A florist and a farmer are very similar
This time of year is known for its not-so-welcome colder temperatures, stronger winds, and wintery precipitation. Many farmers are preparing for the birth of new animals and anticipating spring sowing. For me, however, it’s special for a different reason – it marks the start of Valentine’s Day season.
While graduating from college at the University of Missouri, I worked for 2½ years at a student-run retail flower shop on campus known as Tiger Garden. This has provided countless students, like me, with valuable hands-on experience.
Now, during the months of January and February, it was basically “everyone on deck”, as the shop was completely transformed and filled with fresh flowers, stuffed animals, candies and lots of red, pink and white. I have since learned to enjoy the hustle and bustle, but it took me a while to get used to it and overcome a steep learning curve.
Try a new job
My first day on the job was in early February, just weeks before the big day. I was encouraged to jump in with both feet and lend a hand where needed. I quickly realized, however, that I knew very little about the flower industry.
Nothing could have prepared me for the multitude of knowledge and skills that I needed to acquire quickly. Nevertheless, I eventually became more comfortable learning alongside quite talented and well-versed people.
Needless to say, I will never see Valentine’s Day the same way I did before working in a flower shop. Although the floral and agricultural industries may seem quite separate, I was surprised to discover a few key connections between the two.
Realize similarities in careers
First, everyone in the workshop was part of the same team, but our roles and responsibilities varied. Some specialized in managing logistics, while others designed arrangements, processed orders, or interacted directly with customers. In agriculture, some work with crops or livestock, but there are also additional opportunities to serve in other capacities.
Second, each flower shop executes Valentine’s Day differently, just as each grower’s operation is unique based on their specialty areas. Yet, overall, both industries strive to create quality products and services to delight their end consumers.
Third, just as the agricultural industry faces misperceptions, I have discovered that there is also a lot that the average individual may not know about floriculture. For example, I was surprised to learn that the retail price of fresh flowers is affected by a multitude of factors, including the time, labor and production steps required to transport them to to their final destination, all of which increase around Valentine’s Day.
By acknowledging and addressing preconceived notions, I ultimately deepened my appreciation and understanding – something that we as farmers also strive for when advocating and engaging with consumers.
Finally, there are incredible impacts and benefits to buying local. Perhaps my all-time favorite aspect of Valentine’s Day is the incredible support our shop has received from people and businesses in the Columbia, Mo community. other products, find ones that are close to your hometown or declare and show them some love all year round!
Trying your luck
While being raised on my family’s farm, it was easy to just focus on our farming world. However, it is good to go out once in a while to see other occupations. You will probably find more similarities than you thought.
I never imagined becoming a florist in training, but I’m so glad I did. Looking back, applying for and accepting this job was one of the best decisions I’ve made. In addition to building soft skills that will translate directly into other areas of life, including my future career, I will always have fond memories of “surviving” the Valentine’s Day craziness in a store. flowers.
Quinlan graduated from the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources with a degree in Agriculture Education, Communication and Leadership. She is pursuing her master’s degree at Oklahoma State University. Contact her at [email protected]