Head of the Class
After 25 years in the business, Jason Parent, MMFD, proves you never stop learning
Jason Parent grew up in the floral business. “Some kids liked going to
camp in the summer,” he says. “I liked going to work with my dad. The
flower shop was always a busy place, and I would get to keep any scraps
I swept up to practice with. Sweeping floors and washing buckets was my first job in a flower shop. I think I was hooked back then.”
Jason followed his passion into the family business. While his first lessons
were on the job – learning the ins and outs of the floral industry literally from the ground floor up – he’s come a long way from collecting those
discarded scraps. Jason was a top-five finalist in the recently completed
Floriology #TeachFloralContest design competition. Despite floral design
pumping through his blood, Jason has refined his skills and know-how by
taking advantage of educational opportunities.
“Continuing your education just makes sense: our industry changes with the seasons,” he says. “There are new products on the market every year. We must be able to give our customers what they want even before they know they want it. Most of all, we can learn new ways to save money and make higher profits. We can do that by taking a class, reading an industry magazine, or attending a design show.”
The lead designer at Fiddleheads Flowers & Vintage Chic Gifts in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Jason is studious and finds inspiration all around
him. His ideas come from nature, which he calls his “first go-to.” Online
resources like Pinterest and Google, design books, magazines and social
media such as Facebook and Instagram also inspire Jason’s work. He
surrounds himself with music early in the creative process and adds to his
library of images depicting architecture, fashion and pop culture to get his creative juices flowing.
“Once I have a few ideas in my head, I then gather materials
and start working with them,” Jason says. “Sometimes it
takes several versions before I have that light-bulb moment and realize where my design is going.”
While he doesn’t always know where his inspiration will take
him, Jason knows he couldn’t get very far without education.
Simply showing up at industry events can be an incredible
learning experience, he says.
“Education is everything to me,” Jason says. “When I started designing it was for my family’s business. I would recreate ideas from magazines. When I was done I would tear it apart and try again and again. Once I realized that floral design was my passion, I searched out education.”
“The first thing I found was my local floral association. The Maine Florist Association really changed everything. I joined the board of directors and that helped me find educational opportunities. First step was becoming a Maine Master Floral Designer. Then I started to travel all over New England to attend workshops, floral expos, and design events. One of my favorite ways to further my education is by volunteering at design shows. I get to see how things are created and I ask lots of questions. I recently attended a class at the Floriology Institute and will take other classes. I was also planning to be tested to become an accredited member of the American Institute of Floral Designers. You never stop learning,” sums up Jason.