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.