Parker helps floral businesses bloom where they’re planted

Laura Parker’s love for the floriculture industry began when she was just 5 years old. She was an active member of her church, and she would take apart large arrangements the church received to remake them into smaller arrangements with the help of a retired florist. She would then send them to church members who were home-bound.

“I’ve always loved flowers,” Parker said. “Ever since I was a little girl, I would pick them and arrange them. To me, it was just something you did because you loved flowers.”

Most people know Parker for her devout love for the floriculture industry and her passion for helping others succeed in this industry.

Parker has worked in the industry for over 30 years. She has worked as a floral designer, written for Floralife Magazine, and worked in greenhouses. Now she focuses on her consulting firm where she helps her clients succeed in the business aspect of the industry. Parker is also the national treasurer for the American Institute of Floral Designers and a charter member of the Michigan Certified Florist program.

When she consults with her clients, Parker helps them learn how to be more efficient, how to control their costs, and increase profitability.

“I have a very, very intense passion for walking alongside floral retailers and designers and helping them navigate the changes that are going on in the industry and in our world,” Parker said. “This is a tough industry to work in, it’s hard to make a profit and it’s hard physical work and it’s hard emotional work. I have a passion for being that support system. I bring in design and ownership and formal business training to them. I’ve created this resume of skill that I can bring to them and help them.”

On Nov. 3, Parker came to the University of Missouri to work with floral design students and to hold a public class.

Wendy Cobb, a student at MU and a student designer Tiger Garden, the CAFNR floral shop, had the opportunity to work with Laura while she was at the university.

“She was very down-to-earth and wanted you to succeed,” Cobb said. “She is a natural teacher and is patient with beginners in the industry. I learned a lot about the business side of the floral industry, and what it takes to earn a profit.”

Sarah Kight, a student at MU and the President of the Mizzou Student Chapter of NAIFD also had the chance to interact with Laura during her visit.

“She taught me a lot about the floral industry in more of a broader spectrum,” Kight said. “It’s designing and and playing with flowers of course, but there is a lot of business that needs to be taken care of for you to be successful.”

Parker knows the importance of keeping the business end of floral design running smoothly.

“I’m now helping florists build strong, healthy businesses so that they can put their energy into creating beautiful, artistic flowers for consumers,” Parker said.

Tessa Jennings

About the Author Tessa Jennings

Hey everyone! My name is Tessa Jennings, and I am a freshman at the University of Missouri, majoring in plant sciences with an emphasis in breeding, biology, and biotechnology and minoring in science and agricultural communications and agribusiness. My passion for agriculture began four years ago when I made the decision to join FFA in my hometown of Ashland, Missouri. Although I have always lived in a rural community, I wasn’t aware of the importance of the agriculture industry until high school. Becoming an active member in the National FFA Organization opened my eyes to agriculture and helped me determine that I want to go into this industry. Choosing to go to the University of Missouri is one of the best decisions that I have made for myself. Not only am I receiving an excellent education, but this college has also provided me with lifelong friends and experiences, and it is only the beginning of four years for me. I’m really excited that I have the opportunity to be a part of the CAFNR Corner Post. I am very passionate about the agriculture industry and I hope that this experience will help me to advance my knowledge of the industry so that I can become a better advocate.