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A wholesale florist provides flowers to floral designers, retail stores, and facilities like hotels. Wholesalers do not work directly with members of the public, instead focusing on high volume orders for retail and private clients. This work can include a variety of skills, including cultivating and managing flowers, locating rare blooms, and meeting tight and sensitive deadlines. Employers may provide training on the job and people can also pursue formal education to prepare for work as a wholesale florist.
In some cases, wholesale florists may use a variety of greenhouses and nurseries as a source for their flowers, in which case personnel need to place orders in a timely fashion. They review customer needs, anticipate potential requests, and communicate with vendors to find out what is available. A wholesale florist can also grow its own flowers for more control, in which case staff may work in greenhouses and other facilities to grow, monitor, and harvest flowers as needed.
Once flowers are in stock, the staff organize them so they can fill orders. The florist trade is time sensitive because flowers can rapidly start to brown and wilt, so orders must be filled with this in mind. Flowers need to be carefully packed to reduce the risk of bruising and other damage on the way to their destinations. Large wholesalers may have their own fleet of trucks for deliveries, while others can contract this out to another service that uses refrigerated trucks for delivery.
In addition to filling orders for cut and potted flowers, bulbs, and related products, a wholesale florist may provide flower arrangements. These can include vases and baskets of flowers, wreaths, and seasonal specials. Floral designers work on the floor to fill customer orders, which can include orders from retailers that want generic bouquets for customers as well as clients like hotels and hospitals. Wedding planners and other event organizers may also work with a wholesale florist to fill floral orders for a large event at a reasonable price.
The working conditions at a wholesale florist can include large refrigerated rooms and other chilled environments as well as long hours standing to process flowers. For rush orders, personnel may need to work overtime in cramped, hurried conditions. Other personnel may work in offices to field orders, interact with customers, and place orders with vendors, which can be more comfortable. For people who drive floral delivery trucks, overnight and long routes may be necessary to pick up flowers from vendors and deliver products to customers.