Client Feature: Pennsylvania Floral Academy

By Jenn Clark

Vicki Beuth didn’t always know that she’d have a career in floral design. (In fact, she majored in sociology in college.) Although passionate about people, Vicki knew her true calling was to have a career where she could tap into her creative side. Through her journey, she became an FTD Master Designer, a credential she earned studying floral design, and has never looked back.

After owning her own successful flower shop for 25 years, it was time for her next big venture: starting Pennsylvania Floral Academy (PAFA) to show others how they can create a fulfilling career through flowers. So, when she reached out to us after finding us online, we were immediately intrigued. And, we knew right away that Vicki was no ordinary woman.

Pennsylvania floral academy new space

About 35 years ago, Vicki started the Leechburg Floral Company, a flower shop in Leechburg, PA, which she owned and ran for 25 years. During that time, she also taught a floral design course for 17 years.

“It’s fun to be the teacher,” she said.

It wasn’t an easy path, though; Vicki was met with some pushback from other florists because they did not agree with her teaching the art of flower arrangements to others. It seemed they may have seen it as a threat to their own businesses, but what they did not understand is that Vicki was just trying to educate others on floral design, a concept that, in reality, benefitted them, too.

“They didn’t always see the bigger picture,” she said.

Not to mention, obtaining the space for Leechburg Floral Company was a bit of a challenge due to the fact that she had to fight for a loan and the building that, at the time, no one else had interest in but her. But Vicki took this building and turned it into something spectacular; she transformed it from an eyesore to not just a successful business but also a place where people would be mentored and loved.

“As a floral designer, you become engrained in the community. Flowers are the way in. You get to bring joy to people on an ordinary day or comfort those in times of sadness.”

So, for Vicki, she always saw a floral design academy as a companion piece to owning a flower shop. When she owned her own store, it was sometimes difficult to find individuals with the knowledge to help customers appropriately, especially during busy hours. From window displays to common houseplant identification, there is much to know about employment in a flower shop beyond the aesthetics. Starting her own academy, then, was the answer.

Vicki found us through a Google search in the spring of 2017 before she even had her bank account set up. She knew that the first thing she needed to do was invest in marketing. We recall her telling us during that first meeting she believes hiring professionals to do the parts of the puzzle that she cannot, and we could not agree more with that tactic.

While she felt, due to our age, that we understood how to reach people in our own age group, an audience she was trying to tap into, there were other reasons Vicki chose to work with us to grow Pennsylvania Floral Academy.

floral design

“You’re very knowledgeable yet not intimidating,” she said. “I was concerned about that…that I’d be lost with all the jargon, but you never [made me feel that way.] And, you never dropped a beat.”

She mentioned that our level of confidence was also apparent; we exuded confidence so therefore she had confidence in us as well as the project itself.

Through our conversations, it was also important for us to learn that Vicki felt we were personable and that she could always talk to us. This is something we take pride in, and we never want clients to feel like we aren’t there for them.

Another aspect of our work that she enjoys is our attention to the numbers.

“You can interpret stats, and that’s important in the marketing field. The fact that you do that for your clients is great. You transfer the information into workable plans.”

As new and exciting things continue to happen for Vicki at Pennsylvania Floral Academy, such as renovating a new space and the ability to provide not only housing options but childcare for students with children, she continues to work with Planful through each milestone. Why?

“I see you as a partner in this project,” she said. “I feel tethered to you, and you’re an important aspect of my business. You genuinely care, and that’s important.”

And we feel the same. We enjoy working with business owners as passionate as Vicki, and her dedication to helping others succeed in life continues to impress us.

At her core, she believes in connecting people to what they are passionate about and helping them find their way. Beyond that, she wants people to love flowers like she does. And those who are looking for a great opportunity to learn and obtain a job in the flower business — whether wanting to start your own shop or simply learning about floral design — will want to consider PAFA.

“If you love flowers and being around people, this is for you,” Vicki said.

She added that this is a “nice part of life.” Over the years, she has witnessed the magic of flowers and notes that this is a unique profession due to being surrounded by color and life.

“It’s more like work therapy. It’s important for ecology, but it also just makes the soul happy.”

This art form does not involve as many tools for the business, but it is very hands-on much like a restaurant.

“If you ever have the pleasure, hand deliver flowers. Nothing is better than that,” she concluded.

When starting out anything new, particularly something as big as this, it can certainly be overwhelming, scary, and, naturally, challenging. But, we never had any doubts Vicki was going to make it, and we still don’t.

Vicki and her team offer individual workshops in addition to an eight-week certification course. There is no application fee and scholarships are available. To learn more about the program and classes, visit the website at