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FREE WEBINAR: 7 steps to Modern Floristry

It's never too late to make your childhood dream come true

Nicole's story from Nashville, US
Today we are going to talk about our student from Nashville, US.

Meet Nicole Tan, who followed her career as a nurse for years, and then changed it to become a florist and started her own flower business! Pandemic year was tough for everyone but she used this time to give her childhood dream a chance. Let's hear Nicole's story.
— Tell me about your life before floristry?

— I came from the Philippines. My parents told me to go to a nursing school because nurses are in high demand here in the US and it's easy to get a job in this field. I graduated in 2008, so I've been a nurse for a while.

I work as a nurse supervisor 3 days a week with 12 hours shifts at the surgery unit – we take care of all the patients after surgeries. So I am supervising this floor and guiding new nurses.

— And then… what happened? Why did you decide to change your career path so rapidly?

— Last year was a depressing year for everyone not just for healthcare workers.

For us, nurses, even if we are not exposed to COVID as much on our floor we still felt the sadness around us. In the news there were a lot of bad things: COVID, elections … just sad news everywhere. Lots of nurses quit because they were scared of the disease. I felt burned out, it was just too much happening at once.

At that moment I remembered that since childhood I have wanted to work with flowers. Back in the Philippines my mom used to have a wedding business: she made and sold bridal dresses. Also she planned everything for weddings and worked with flowers as well. That's how I got involved with floristry for the first time.

I always wanted to work with flowers but I just didn't have time and courage to go to the floristry. But with the pandemic last year it made me clear that it's never too late to learn something new and to do what I'd really like to do.
At that moment I realized that since childhood I have wanted to work with flowers
Ok, you have understood that flowers are something you are deeply into. What steps did you take next?

— I started following instagram accounts, discovered modern floristry designs, trying to repeat what professional florists did. Last year I still didn't have my business licence, so I couldn't buy wholesale flowers. Therefore, I would just go to the supermarket to buy bouquets and then separate flowers and make my own designs. That's what I did.

Here in Nashville there is a wedding and flower company. They started a flower school last year and I attended a course there. They showed us the basics but anyway I've learned a lot from them.

That's the moment when I enrolled at Lacy Bird Academy floristry workshop. Not just one class but all of them. I wanted to know more about those techniques that I hadn't learned from Nashville class.

I learned a lot about the bouquets and different styles from Lacy. Especially the seasonal bouquets like winter, spring and summer.
I would just go to the supermarket to buy bouquets and then separate flowers and make my own designs
Do you feel happier now? Did flowers make your life better?

— Yes. I just waited for so long... As I have already said, I always thought that it was too late to change something in your life, especially when you're getting older. But last year I realized that it's never too late!

I started working with flowers, and floristry actually helped me not to burn out in the hospital. My new passion helped me to change my feelings, it made me happier. For me flowers are like a stress reliever after working in the hospital. When I work with flowers I am getting lost with beautiful scenes in front of me.
So flowers helped me to manage my stress.
It's never too late! Flowers helped me to change my feelings, they made me happier
Speaking about the courses that you visited in Nashville Flower Market, did you like the first result you got during that course?

— The first time I made those arrangements I was like "Oh they are so beautiful" but now looking back it doesn't look so good. They taught me the basics, the mechanics that I can use and that was really helpful but designwise I've learned a lot from Lacy Bird.

Compared to now, I've definitely become better.

Is it difficult for you to learn floristry online?

— Half and half. It's easy and the Lacy Bird Modern Floristry class is good because you've got the feedback.

The only concern is that since it's not live, sometimes we get feedback days after.
If we get positive feedback then it's great, but if we've got feedback that we need to change something – it's been days already and the flowers that we used were already either dead or dying.

That's the only concern about doing it online – it can be expensive in terms of buying flowers.
Was it hard for you to combine your job and floristry?

— I started with dry arrangements because of my work. I was afraid that if I bought fresh flowers they might die as I didn't have a cooler yet. I didn't want to lose a lot of money buying fresh flowers, so I started working with dry flowers and selling dry arrangements.
I didn't want to lose a lot of money buying fresh flowers, so I started working with dry flowers and selling dry arrangements
How often and how much do you practice?

— I work with flowers on my days-off. Usually I practice with flowers two to four times a week.

I am very lucky that I can still work my full time job as a nurse just three days a week, so I can have 4 days to spend with flowers.

I know most of the people work 5 days a week so they only have the weekends to do extra. I feel like 4 days a week extra to work with flowers is really good for me. I feel very lucky to have that.
Is the feedback from LBA sufficient for you?

— Yes, it is really great! Teachers took pictures of my work and drew where something was missing and drew where we got something wrong. The explanation was very clear.

So the spreading bouquet .. it wasn't as good the first time but with the feedback I was able to change it and actually learned how to do it.

If I didn't understand something on the video, then the feedback from the teachers clarified how to make it better.
Feedback from the tutors of the online course Modern Floristry
What was the most surprising for you during the classes?

— The most surprising thing is how efficient the feedback is! I didn't expect it to be so thorough. I just thought that they would just say "Oh that's good, that's bad". In fact I would get feedback and it's like a long read, not just one or two sentences. That was very surprising and that was the best part of the class.

There is so much content about floristry on the Internet, on YouTube. What makes these classes different from YouTube videos is that the feedback is really detailed and careful. You can tell that the teachers want students to make great arrangements not just pass or fail. They want you to be good at it!
I didn't expect the feedback to be so thorough. Teachers want you to be good at it!
Have you noticed any changes in yourself while you are entering the floristry career?

— I think I have become more creative, I have become better with understanding what is beautiful and what is not.

Earlier I told you that flowers have become my stress relief. If I feel that it was a stressful week, I would just go to the flower market, get some flowers and practice arrangements. So that's a good thing. In that sense flowers made me happier.

Since I've just started the business, it made me realized that it's not just the design aspect of it, you have to learn business part of it as well, so I am learning that too.
What advice would you give to other people who are just starting their way to floristry?

— My advice is just to practice. It might look not great today but with practice it will be better.

Like with my arrangements I thought I was doing great already but with practice I have made it better and better. So I recomend just to practice, and practice, and practice. You should know that it is a good investment not just financially but also emotionally.

Flowers came from nature, and nature gives you happiness. So overall you feel better.
My advice is just to practice. It might look not great today but with practice it will be better
How would you describe Lacy Bird Academy with one word?


There are too many words but I would say 'amazing' because you have amazing teachers, you have amazing design concepts, you have amazing classes! Even if it's online, it's really good. So everything about Lacy Bird is amazing.

Thank you for that, amazing is a great word.
It was a great pleasure to see you so motivated, I wish you good luck with your business!

Nicole's instagram @hiraya.flowers

P.S. While we were writing and editing this article, Nicole opened her flower studio Hiraya Flowers. Moreover, she plans to start her flower farm as well.
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