Florist cultivates young talent from Shanghai and nearby cities
Updated: 2016-06-09 07:48
By Shi Jing in Shanghai(China Daily)
The rise of both the online and offline flower business has catalyzed the rise of one less known job - the florist.
Ven Zhuang, from Taiwan, 40, is one of these talented people that are quite hard to spot in the market. Different from other florists who still work in stores, he has gone one step further by sharing his experiences with young people in his classes.
Running for more than one year in Shanghai, Zhuang's classes have attracted local residents and those from neighboring cities, aged from 21 to 35.Most of the students traveling from other cities to Shanghai are already flower shop owners who have come to learn more advanced techniques. The local students are all professionals aspiring to set up their own flower business soon.
Each course lasts around four days, during which time Zhuang teaches students techniques to arrange flowers in a bouquet, in a vase or for bigger occasions. He has a small quiz for each student to gain a basic understanding of the students' level of knowledge. Only in this way can he help to solve each student's problem.
Without a basic understanding, people would misunderstand the flower business, and consider it to be something quite straightforward, dismissing the need for relatively expensive training.
But at Zhuang's training workshop which is named Instinct House, a four day course may cost 8,000 yuan ($1,216) for each student, which include expenses for flowers and lunches. On each course, Zhuang has only 10 students.
"The same as any other industry, floriculture requires a solid basic education and creative arrangement. In developed overseas markets, a florist will undergo three years of basic training. I have always adopted the method of private classes, which is similar to one-on-one training. With 20 years' experience of running my own flower shop, I will be able to give more to my students. After they finish their courses, I will help them to solve all kinds of problems when they start their stores, such as interviews, staff training, product planning and even decoration. Therefore, my classes usually charge more and student number is quite limited. But they are guaranteed to leave with a good result," he said.
Zhuang started his career working in a flower shop more than two decades ago. With the significant rise of online flower shops, Zhuang decided to give floriculture classes in Shanghai at the beginning of 2015.
Even though the rise of online flower shops continues, experienced florists who are able to give training classes are a rarity even in first-tier cities such as Shanghai. What's more, the growing number of flower shops does not indicate that Chinese consumers' habits have changed, according to Zhuang.
"It is yet too early to come to that conclusion. Most people still define flowers as a luxury instead of a daily necessity or an indispensable gift. It might be a result of traditional education. Even rich people are reluctant to buy flowers for their home. They consider it a waste of money as flowers will die. Therefore, I think that a difference in values between Chinese consumers and those in Western countries has resulted in the less developed flower industry," he said.
Ven Zhuang at class. His classes have attracted local residents and those from neighboring cities, aged from 21 to 35. Most of the students traveling from other cities to Shanghai are already flower shop owners who have come to learn more advanced techniques. Provided To China Daily
(China Daily 06/09/2016 page9)
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