From journalist to florist: My (pandemic) Pearsons experience

Author:  Georgie Haigh, PSF Certificate III 2020


As I write this, it's been exactly six months to the day that I got made redundant from my dream job. 

As the online editor for luxury magazines ELLE and Harper's BAZAAR, I got to trial and write about expensive beauty products, attend events at some of Australia's most beautiful locations (pre-COVID), and receive courier deliveries to my desk that usually contained a free product alongside a bouquet of perfectly blossomed flowers bigger than my head.

In just under one month – if all goes to plan – I will be a qualified florist, equipped to run my own business and feeling more fulfilled in my career than ever before. While my apartment is thankfully still teeming with flowers, they are creations I have proudly made using a rewarding new set of skills.

I've been enrolled in Pearsons' certificate III course since July, choosing to complete the program in six months rather than the usual nine in case I found another full-time job in journalism. After all, I thought to myself, what else aside from writing would allow me such creative freedom and the ability to produce work I was really proud of?

But without sounding trite, I'm at a loss to describe the course as anything other than enlightening.

One of the initial reasons I felt this was the immediate knowledge gained around colour theory. Understanding it is like being given the keys to all creative industries. Colour harmony is just as important in floristry as it is in graphic design, makeup artistry, marketing and advertising, or merely for someone who wants a cushion to match their sofa. We also learnt how to take a proper photograph in the first week. Even if you think you've already got the knack of it, trust me, there's always room for improvement!

I've seen profound developments in such a wide range of other areas too. My hand-eye coordination is better, I’ve been cooking more and I've embraced so many other crafty projects with renewed confidence, like pottery. This is also down to my Pearsons tutors and fellow students whose individual creative endeavours are so inspiring; soldering their own jewellery, sewing us all pouches to hold our floral wire and making hessian market bouquet bags to name a few.

Above all however, is the wonderful occupation of working with flowers. The uplifting smell of walking into Pearsons is something I will miss the most when I leave, not to mention the array of beautiful blooms provided by and carefully selected by the school every week based on our curriculum. There are so many new-found favourites! I adore the humble camellia for providing such a versatile foliage base. I can now see the endless potential of spray roses, and who knew how much a couple of Stock stems could elevate a design? But it's been learning how to prepare and intricately construct these flowers in the correct way that's left me feeling, quite simply, that I have a valuable new profession to be proud of.

I know Pearsons has had to adapt and overcome the many hurdles that come with running a school during a global pandemic, but they've done it with aplomb, and so continued to provide a stimulating but safe environment for students. Like so many others I've met in the last five months who’ve felt the immense blow of losing their jobs, finding a new passion in flowers at Pearsons has been a remedy in more ways than one.

By the time I finish the course in December, I will have been taught by all four of Pearsons' brilliant, experienced and enthusiastic tutors who have shown no concern for continuing to teach throughout the pandemic. In fact, their incredible energy has helped me understand why florists are considered among some of the luckiest and happiest professionals in the world. And why myself and the lovely friends I have made a Pearsons couldn't imagine doing anything else from now on in.

 Follow Georgie at @_florafina

 Georgie Haigh backstage at Sydney Fashion Week to armfuls of flowers.