Certificate III in Floristry
A blossoming career
Elizabeth Lilburn, proprietor of Forget me Not Floret in Victoria’s Yarra Valley specialises in making happy memories. Her floral arrangements are the adornments that add that special touch to occasions big and small—Valentine’s Day, weddings, baby showers, engagements, anniversaries and birthdays.
“I think I have the best job in the world,” said Elizabeth. “It makes my day to see the happy faces of people I’ve just delivered flowers to. It’s a fantastic reward for all the hours I put into the design and presentation of my floral arrangements to help make an occasion memorable.”
Elizabeth’s road to floristry was via a Bachelor of Design at University. Not convinced about pursuing a career in design, she ‘fell in love with’ the idea of floristry after talking to a friend in the industry. “I wanted to give it a try so I went to a local florist and asked for some work experience,” she said. “After a couple of days, and despite being given all the ‘boring stuff’—stripping flowers, wiring and cleaning up, I was sold. I decided I wanted to be qualified so I had a solid foundation and knew all the ins-and-outs of the trade, so I began an apprenticeship.”
Between her training provider, Marjorie Milner College, and working in the shop, Elizabeth discovered that practice helped make her creations perfect. “It was great to progress from doing small behind the scenes things to working with customers to make something special for them. The instant feedback and gratification when a customer said they loved what I’d done was a great incentive to learn more, grow and move up to progress my career.”
That it certainly has done. At the age of just 24, Elizabeth decided to strike out on her own and her business is blossoming. Twelve months down the track, she has an overflowing order book, rave five-star customer reviews, countless thank you cards from happy clients and bookings for events more than a year in advance.
She also has multiple awards to her credit: Highly Commended in the Oasis Cup floral competition; third in the Australian Association of Floral Designers Competition; second prize in the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show; Apprentice of the Year for the Casey region in Victoria; a Gold Medal in the 2015 Regional WorldSkills Competition; and a Gold Medal at the 2016 WorldSkills National Competition.
“My training provider played a big part in my success,” said Elizabeth. “They were very big on giving the students opportunities to enter lots of competitions and were fantastically supportive in helping us create our vision.
“It was thrilling to be part of the biggest competition of them all, WorldSkills—it’s like a mini tradie Olympics. As a Gold Medal winner it opened doors for me and led to a lot of exposure which gave a wonderful head-start to my fledgling business.”
Elizabeth now has her sights firmly set on growing her business and possibly taking on her own apprentice to help deal with the orders that keep coming in. “I really enjoy teaching and it would be lovely to be able to share my own love and passion for what I do with someone who’s just starting out. I would never have dreamt this possible a year ago, but maybe one day I’ll have my own little floral enterprise. Now that would really be something!”