Floral Temptations’ Career Choice

Name: Judith Kempston
Age: 32
Job: Florist/proprietor of Floral Temptations

What does your job involve?

Ordering fresh stock, making up and selling floral bouquets and arrangements including bridal bouquets and sympathy tributes, Valentines, Mother’s Day and general bouquets to mark special occasions.

I also deal with customer enquiries and meet their requirements as well as book-keeping duties.

How did you get into this line of work?

I started out as a part-time Saturday and after school job in 1996 (yes that long ago!!) with Blooms Florist. I didn’t know a carnation from a rose so I started trying other careers such as receptionist and the civil service but I just kept going back to floristry.

Do you have a typical working day?

No two days are the same. Most days involve fresh flower deliveries, making-up orders – some days it can be all be bouquets, others times arrangements or hand-tied flowers and other days it can be bridal work or funeral work. Even just one phonecall can change your whole day. As there is no time during the day, book-keeping is left to the evening at home.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a National Diploma in floristry, HNC in business and related studies, Advanced GNVQ in leisure and tourism, word processing qualifications and nine GCSEs.

What skills are essential for your job?

A good level of floristry, a good eye for colour and design and creative flair. Maths is useful too – my husband Alan and step-daughter Abbie laugh because I’m always counting and family joke that I practically have a calculator tied round my neck!

Customer rapport and a good memory helps as you get to know customers likes and dislikes.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The best thing has to be what I have achieved in two years by opening up my own premises and the repeat business that has been created. I am amazed that I have dealt with almost 100 brides with another 60 on my books and counting. I love the rapport that is built up with the girls. I still have a sense of pride that each and everything that goes out of the shop is made by little old me.

And the worst?

A difficult part of the job is dealing with bereaved families especially people who I’m close to. Visiting a wake house is a sensitive time but it is nice to know that my floral tributes can provide some comfort to the families.

Who has inspired you most in your career?

My previous employers Janet Howard and Michele Rafferty who along with my tutor at Greenmount (now known as CAFRE) taught me everything I know.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

When we went to St Lucia to get married I made my own silk bouquet and brought it with me as I didn’t trust the florist out there!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Always be yourself.

How do you relax in your spare time?

Spare time? What spare time?! Alan and Abbie would tell everyone that I never ever switch off!. I enjoy just chilling out with them and doing family things. To totally relax I normally have to get on a plane and head to the sun or take a night to a nice hotel in Sligo or Belfast.

If you could swap jobs with someone for the day, who would it be and why?

I’d like to be a wedding co-ordinator or else a sales assistant in a bridal dress shop as I love the excitement of the brides in their planning process.

What advice would you offer to someone applying for a similar role?

It isn’t as easy as it looks! Aine my Saturday girl couldn’t believe how hectic it got at Christmas and the amount of work that had to be completed within tight deadlines. Be prepared to work very hard and at speed. All special occasions in the shop mean little family time. Commercial floristry is completely different to flower arranging and requires total dedication.

If you were given the chance to live your life all over again, do you think you would have chosen your current career?

I don’t think anyone knows whether they would do the same thing all over again if they got the chance, but I do know that even though I have tried other things I always came back to floristry. I live and breathe it as a career.

Source: ulsterherald.com