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Shop Talk: Success in Design

We are always proud of our members when they accomplish personal goals and one talented florist did just that!

Doug Bates during his AIFD testing.

Doug Bates during his AIFD testing.

Doug Bates of Designs by VOGT’s of Sturgis, Michigan, will be initiated into the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) this July 2015.

“It’s always been a personal goal of mine,” Bates said. “It’s like the PhD of the floral world and it’s a level of skill and ability that is recognized worldwide.”

Bates hasn’t always had this goal on his bucket list–in fact, he never thought he would be a florist to begin with!

It All Began

In March 2006, Bates’ son was born and he was looking for a part-time job so his wife could stay home with their newborn. In his teen years, Bates used to do pizza delivery, so he ventured out to all the pizza businesses for work. No one would hire him. Thinking of other businesses that required drivers, he headed to a local flower shop who was in need of a new driver. They hired him on the spot.

The second Saturday he was working deliveries, the flower shop was bombarded with orders and the only people working that day was Bates and the owner of the shop.

“I was handed a stack of orders and told to get them done,” Bates said. “That started something.”

Of course, the orders he did were fairly simple: fruit baskets, etc. But since that day, design clicked for bates and the owner saw the talent.

Setting Goals

In 2010, Bates became certified through his state association and began designing professionally. Once he heard about the AIFD certification, he attended Symposium and made it his goal to be part of the institute.

“This certification has give me confidence as a designer,” Bates said. “As creative people, we all second guess ourselves. To me, something could look good, but there is a theory to design. There is a reason something looks right.”

This designer took the three-year journey through the certification process. Throughout the course, he learned about different materials and techniques. He also learned that becoming a part of this certification also made him a part of the AIFD community. His final exam took place at the Chicago Symposium in July 2014, and he will be inducted into the institute this year.

“I never finished college, so this is my great accomplishment,” Bates said. “To think that before this, I made windows for RVs. You never know how things are going to work out!”

If you’re a florist who is interested in getting the AIFD certification, contact your state association chapters who have scholarship opportunities and information available for you.


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