The Iowa Florists’ Association works hard to make Education a key component of the Floral Industry. Below you will read a few of our past Graduates’ view on our ICF and IMF courses as well as our past Education Director, Fran Newsom’s comments in agreement.
Fran Newsom: I remember being in the Charter classes of the IFA certified education program and how much it meant to me as a budding florist. The instructors had so much to offer and I was eager to learn. When I received my Iowa Master Florist certificate, I cried because I knew it was a goal worth pursuing and I did it! Here are some reflections from other former students and a tribute to the personal goals and importance of continuing education in the floral industry. IFA is here for ALL our members and we strive to better serve our members by continually listening to you and improving our education programs to fit your needs.
Amy Butz: Because I changed careers and became a floral designer at age 52, time was not on my side when it came to design experience. The classes I took through the Iowa Floral Association gave me the opportunity to gain design experience in a wide variety of floral creations – from wedding bouquets to casket sprays- and allowed me to be a contributing member of my shop’s design team in a significantly shorter period of time.
Fran Newsom: I can relate to Amy as well because I had to take classes when I could and it took more time than I would have liked, but I was able to pick up where I had left off and complete the courses. We have since provided an online program for the classes and have hands-on workshops and testing.
Allison Rohlena: My time in the Iowa master florist class was more than I expected. The classes were hands-on and classroom work as well. They gave us plenty of time between classes to study for our tests. During our hands-on classes they gave us plenty of time to look at our product and get our designs done. The grading was fair on how our designs should look. The teachers also taught us a lot. One thing I wish we would’ve had was a day to practice the designs or what they should look like. Then the next day we could make them for the class. I didn’t have any knowledge of wedding arrangements, so for me, I went in blind to that class not knowing what I should be doing. Overall everyone was friendly and I learned a lot. I was able to take my knowledge with me back to my shop to be able to design my best designs for the customers that came into the shop or ordered over the phone.
Laura Liddle: For a person coming into the “Floral World” with little to no experience, IFA was GREAT! The classes were very valuable and quite fun. I remember going to the first class being really nervous, but once I got there you made me feel comfortable. When I first looked at arrangements I didn’t think it was going to be that difficult, but you find out quickly how flowers have a mind of their own! I would say my favorite part of the classes was learning how to do hand-tied bouquets (which I still love doing), how symmetry is a huge part of designing, and how to make it fun! It was also fun to see how something so simple can be so beautiful. I personally find myself loving flowers more and more every day, which is something that I never thought I’d say. I thought you were an excellent and very patient teacher! It was great to travel to CR and learn from Joanna and Nancy too. There were only two things I didn’t care for. One, I wish the classes would’ve been a little bit longer because there’s still so much to learn and you’re an amazing teacher! The second would be plants, but that’s just me. I still don’t know too much about plants. HAHA. Overall I would say that IFA was a great learning experience, and I’d do it again if I could!!”
Fran Newsom: We listened to our students and have since added extra design workshops to provide more of the hands-on design experience and keep up with current design trends and tips.
Mary Brown: I am happy to write about my experience with the IFA classes!! I took the classes about 4 years ago, and enjoyed and learned so much from each of them. My experience in the floristry field was limited when I started, so the classes were both an excellent introduction into the field and real assistance in developing skills that I have used as I became employed. I think the classes are great for beginners but would be a great asset to people already employed as well. The classes give great background knowledge for shop procedure, design principles and excellent examples and experience with technique, (at work you’d have good access to materials for practice and experimentation), they help develop your creative sense, and offer an opportunity for you to network and learn from others. I learned a lot from the text/coursework, but the “lab” work was a really exciting and inspiring experience! First off, all of the instructors are incredibly kind, supportive, and knowledgeable. It is inspiring to see creative people demonstrate their work and process and really helpful to get to learn through their example, and instruction. It was great to learn techniques from these gifted professionals and to have the opportunity to try new techniques with their support and instruction. Each teacher’s style and experience were unique and their sharing really helped bring home the idea that floral work is a wonderful diverse creative path. Because the classes were held in various locations, we got a sense of the variety of business models in the floral industry. We had wonderful materials to work with, which added to the experience. Having the certification is helpful for connecting with other professionals and in job opportunities. I feel that the classes were well worth the cost and time involved and would recommend them to others.
Fran Newsom: Our instructors are IFA Board members who have achieved their own credentials and creative styles and truly enjoy sharing their skills and knowledge to all our members and non-member participants alike. As our Certification classes continue even in this extraordinary time, IFA plans to grow and learn along with you all.
I wish to thank everyone who took the time to submit their reflections with us. For information on the class schedule and requirements, please refer to our website.