How to Quit Your Day Job and Become a Floral Designer

This was the first piece in the "How to Quit Your Day Job" Series on Brit + Co.

If you’ve ever tossed some stems in a vase in an attempt to create a statement-making centerpiece, you probably know that it’s not as easy as it looks. We too have dabbled in the art of floral design, and it’s a totally fun, DIY way to bring some vibrant blooms into your life and get to know big ol’ Mother Earth while you’re at it.

In today’s installment of the How to Quit Your Day Job series, we’re digging up some dirt (pun totally intended) on how to not only arrange some lovely blooms for your home, but maybe even make some money doing it. We’re thinking big picture over here, because in the business of buds and blooms, floral designers don’t just make money on wedding bouquets and prom corsages. They don’t even just focus on flowers. From wreaths budding with greenery to olive branch table runners, the artistic potential of plants knows no bounds. And who better to learn from about floral artistry than the pros at Studio Choo?

Jill said their style is kind of like “wandering through your mother’s garden, gathering up blooms while listening to The Doors. Romantic, nostalgic and a little wild.” 

In 2009, BFFs and business partners Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo started Studio Choo in San Francisco. From Jill’s kitchen to a dedicated studio space, the two botanical beauties have perfected their craft and come up with a signature flower style all their own. Here’s some of their inspiration/divine guidance on going from floral obsession to floral profession.

Start Small

Jill and Alethea definitely did not go straight from bud vases to floral installations overnight. They set out to find their style by exploring their options and trusting all of their previous experience that had taken them from flower shops to landscapes. Jill said that they’d go to flower markets and local farms, then they’d buy what they liked and practice. She said, “We would then bring our creations all over the Bay Area and do little photo shoots to put online — anywhere from a green cow pasture to a tiny breakfast cafe.”

They’d even drop off arrangements in local shops with business cards, saying yes to any and every opportunity. If there’s one thing that will get your business card noticed, it’s delivering it with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.

Show Your Mission in Everything You Do

These ladies seriously do so much more than design wedding bouquets (which, of course, they’re great at), and no matter what they’re doing, all of their exploration goes back to their main goal: “We love flowers and want to show you why.”

When Jill says they love flowers, she doesn’t just mean she loves them until they start to wilt: “We love how they open and change, grow and eventually die. The moment just before they fall apart is often when they are the most beautiful. We want to share why we are drawn to each bloom — the arc of a tulip, the craggy bend of a crabapple branch, the smell of a tiny sprig of daphne, the dark speckles inside a foxglove bloom.” At the moment, Jill and Alethea have their sights set on seasonal blooms like Quince Forsythia and Tulip Magnolia.