They come from far and wide. Some have been dabbling in flowers since before they can remember; others found their floral calling later in life.They are designers and florists, farmers, growers and floral educators. They are creative and dynamic, innovative and interesting.They are also Florists’ Review’s “35 Under 35” for 2018.
Every year, we ask industry professionals to nominate the best and the brightest rising stars in the floral industry so that we can spotlight them and share what they’re doing with flowers. This year’s crop includes some familiar names as well as new faces bringing new energy and vividness to the industry.
It’s an exciting time to be in the floral world, and these 35 standouts are big part of the reason why.
Mayesh Wholesale Florist; Seattle, Wash.
NOMINATED By Debra Prinzing
Growing up in the flower industry, Alison had other plans for her future. But after graduating with a degree in interior architecture, she realized her love of flowers and joined the family business in a graphic design and marketing role. Alison is passionate about education and continues to help Mayesh further its efforts in educating and connecting floral designers through social media, educational blogs and workshops across the country.
Haley Nicole Floral; Ft. Worth, Texas
NOMINATED By Ken Senter, AIFD
Haley’s floral journey began in 2011 in Houston, Texas, where she worked for The Senterpiece for several years and learned the ins and outs of design. As a young designer in the industry, Haley believes that she can provide a fresh perspective on wedding and event design while also utilizing the skill set and insight that she’s acquired from expert designers. She loves making people happy with her designs and spreading the joy of flowers.
Philosophy Flowers / Team Flower / Team Flower Foundation Boone, N.C.
NOMINATED By Martha Lojewski and Debra Prinzing
Kelly is here to remind you of the deep meaning and importance of your work with flowers. Flowers are messengers of love, and so are you. Kelly enjoys lightening your load through connections, knowledge and community. One way her team does this is through the Team Flower Conference, an opportunity to speak into the future of the floral industry and model the culture of kindness that Kelly believes the floral industry will become known for across the earth.
Grower Direct; Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
NOMINATED By Deborah Anderson, Mike McKenna and Robert Bodnar
Kelsey manages Grower Direct Flowers & Gifts in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Having grown up in her mother’s flower shop, she developed a mad passion for designing and followed her floral dreams by being inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers in 2014. Teaching and holding workshops in her small northern Alberta town are among Kelsey’s favorite things to do. To her, watching people get excited about flowers is one of the best feelings ever.
A Garden Party Florist and A Milkhouse Party; Elmer, N.J.
NOMINATED By Holly Heider Chapple
As a young girl, Mary would gather weeds from the farm and flowers from her mom’s garden and design vase arrangements. She and her sisters would use their mom’s old linens and china and would create “a garden party” right in the middle of their brick patio. So to Mary, it just feels right to be still designing parties with a garden feel with her oldest sister, Dawn Clark, and the team of A Garden Party Florist. For 12 years, they have serviced the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware markets specializing in weddings and events. Dawn and Mary have studied with the Chapel Designers, which helped them learn from many talented designers. A Garden Party Florist is known for designing with homegrown blooms and locally grown flowers, giving designs a seasonal touch. Their newly renovated milking parlor houses a new business venture, A Milkhouse Party, where they host small gatherings at a former dairy farm a few miles down the road. Mary’s family roots keep her grounded and grateful to be doing what she loves with the people she loves.
Danziger – “Dan” Flower Farm; Israel
NOMINATED By Betty Finkelstein
With a B.A. degree in agriculture from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Danziger enabled Ohad to combine his favorites: innovation, plants and people. For the past five years, he has been operating as the regional sales manager for the African and South American cut-flower markets, taking an active part in their development. Ohad is a proponent of bringing together game-changing genetics with creative marketing. For him, creative collaborations and looking at customers as partners is the key for success.
Mission Viejo Florist; Mission Viejo, Calif.
NOMINATED By Kat Castagnoli and Yoshiko O’Connor, AIFD
Southern California native Nicholas St. Clair, AIFD, is not one to settle for average. This forward-thinking florist has the future of the floral industry in mind. From bringing new ideas and techniques not typically utilized in floral design into the mainstream, to ensuring the florists of tomorrow have access to opportunities that will excel their personal and professional growth in the industry.
Jet Fresh Flower Distributors; Miami, Fla.
NOMINATED By Fernando Ortega and Bill Schaffer, AIFD, AAF, PFCI
A self-proclaimed modern-day renaissance man, Ryan has worked in nearly every segment of the floral industry. The fourth generation of his family in the business, Ryan combines floral experience with his passion for art and design to push the industry to new heights using modern-day marketing tools, including graphic design, videography, photography and app development. Ryan’s artwork, trade show displays and creative efforts have helped make him and his family’s business, Jet Fresh Flower Distributors, Inc., a household name in the industry.
Madeline’s Flowers; Edmond, Okla.
NOMINATED By Lenzee Bilke
Lacee is a third-generation florist, part owner of Madeline’s Flowers in Edmond, Oklahoma. In addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Lacee has her Oklahoma Certified Florist and her Master florist certification from the Oklahoma State Florists’ Association (OSFA). Her goal for the industry is see more young adults pursue careers in floral design, something she works toward as one of the floral design instructors at Oklahoma State University Oklahoma City. Lacee also serves as conference chair and director of communications for the OSFA and is also a board member of the Ozark Florist Association and a voluntary board member of the Oklahoma Teleflora Unit. Lacee also enjoys spending time with friends and family, gardening, reading and yoga, and she is a proud pet parent to two rescue cats.
City Line Florist; Trumbull, Conn.
NOMINATED By Carly Anechiarico and Susan Palazzo
Ever since she was a little girl, Nicole adored her family’s florist business and was fascinated by florist life. Between the beautiful blooms, watching the designers create bouquets and hearing customers relate how flowers brought happiness and comfort to them, Nicole knew early on that she was destined to continue her family’s legacy at City Line Florist. This year marks the company’s 100th year in business, and Nicole is the fourth generation. Along with SAF, Nicole helped establish the “Next-Gen Florists” Facebook page, a place for younger industry members to come together and discuss issues, learn about new ideas and products, and get to know each other. Nicole is eager to build her future in this industry and is certain to keep it blooming.
Green Point Nurseries; Hilo, Hawaii
NOMINATED By Bill Schaffer, AIFD, AAF, PFCI
Being the third generation in their family business located on the Island of Hawaii, Chris and Jon grew up with Green Point Nurseries being part of their childhood. After graduating from college (Jon with a degree in tropical horticulture and Chris with a degree in nursing), it felt natural for the brothers to come back and join the family business. They both passionately promote tropical flowers and foliages grown in Hawaii, sharing its beauty and quality with the world. Their vision is to continue to grow new varieties and to keep expanding into new crops to meet the industries needs.
Flower Vibes; Houston, Texas
NOMINATED By Holly Heider Chapple
Throughout her career as a floral designer, Holly has always stayed true to her passion of characterizing each bloom as having its own personality within the color story and masterpiece of each flower design she creates. Holly is known for her acute attentiveness to detail, which she thinks makes an impact in the future of floral design. With her business, Flower Vibes, it is important for Holly to take a client’s vision and turn it into an unique vibe. By noticing and cherishing the small characteristics of the flowers themselves, Holly believes floral design is becoming more authentic and meaningful.
Sherwood Design & Events; Nicholasville, Ky.
NOMINATED By Holly Heider Chapple
With a surname like Sherwood, one might exhibit a specific aesthetic, and in Hunter Sherwood’s case, it manifests itself his love of foraging and cutting stems from gardens, woods and fields. Hunter is a proud Kentuckian, and he’s proud to use as many locally grown stems as he – which is increasing as the local flower market expands. He works with local farmers to help them select flowers and colors that are in demand in the event industry, and he’s been able to present those blooms at events featuring the vice president of the United States and international ambassadors who visit Kentucky.
Ocean View Flowers; Lompoc, Calif.
NOMINATED By Dan Vordale
Yvette has loved working in the floral industry for the past 10 years while applying her passion for flowers and the happiness they bring. She enjoys helping others and strives to be a positive, dependable person. Starting in mass market and transitioning into wholesale has allowed her to see the full spectrum of the industry. As the business ventures forward, Yvette adds an active role in social media to promote Ocean View Flowers and its adventures. As consumers take pride in the origin of flowers, she is proud to be a part of the American Grown movement and look sforward to even more opportunities to learn and be of service.
Urban Petals; Greer, S.C.
NOMINATED By Alicia Broehl and Holly Heider Chapple
Never in a million years did Anna dream that her life would be one of floral design, but it is – and it’s been an amazing journey so far. The owner of Urban Petals, a floral and event design company based in the Greenville, S.C., Anna and her team service the wedding and event industry and teach workshops in their studio. As the industry continues to evolve and change, Anna believes it is even more important to keep educating consumers on the value and processes behind what florists and floral designers do. By continually sharing with her clients, fellow industry professionals and social media followers, Anna and her team bring awareness, excitement and a better appreciation for the floral industry as a whole.
Green Valley Floral; Salinas, Calif.
NOMINATED By Janet Louie
Hector has worked at Green Valley Floral in Salinas, Calif., for seven years, doing everything from grading flowers to serving as a sales representative, so he has a good understanding of what it takes to get flowers from the greenhouse to coolers coast to coast. He enjoys not only fulfilling his customers’ orders and solving their problems but getting to know each customer as well. Hector feels a great deal of pride at the end of every day knowing he was able to help fulfill all of his customers’ needs. He thinks the flower industry is fascinating and that it will continue to grow in the coming years. Hector also sees California and the United States becoming better able to compete with offshore flowers with the American Grown trend.
Blossom Flower Shops; Yonkers, N.Y.
NOMINATED By Nicole Palazzo
Carly has been focused on curating a brand-specific catalog that maintains the integrity of the century-old legacy of her family’s floral company while keeping up with the design trends. She says that creating, photographing and editing the products has opened the door to industry contacts that she has learned to lean on. After 14 years in the industry and working her family, her passion was cultivated by personal connection. She even spoke her first word at the flower shop – “flower.”
Ocean Breeze Farms; Carpinteria, Calif.
NOMINATED By Michael Furlong
Ivor is a third-generation California flower grower specializing in Oriental lilies, Asiatic lilies, Hydrangeas and callas. He lives on the central coast of California, in Nipomo, with his wife, Brooks, and three daughters. Ivor has farming in his veins from both sides of his family. His father and grandfather emigrated from the Netherlands in 1967, with 200 years of horticultural experience; his mother’s side of the family has been farming in California’s San Joaquin Valley for nearly 100 years. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 2005 with a B.S. in business administration from the Haas School of Business and is a proud member of California Ag Leadership Foundation’s Class 39. He currently serves as a board member for Cal Flowers, as well as an alternate commissioner and promotions committee member for the California Cut Flower Commission.
Dapper Event Design and Production
Phoenix, Ariz. and Denver, Colo.
NOMINATED By Rajean Shepherd
Growing up on a flower farm surrounded by fields of fresh lavender, Dahlias and roses, Alex uses his fondness for nature as the medium for his creative expression. Alex naturally tells a story through each lovingly placed flower, creating living pieces that elegantly interlace floral and art. Believing that the beauty of floral artistry should be nurtured, Alex designs with a sincere passion, an imaginative personality and a commitment to detail.
Collin embraces his love of floral artistry by blending distinctive elements into his designs. Incorporating metals, woods, ceramics or fabrics into custom pieces, Collin chooses materials that complement each floral design and enhance the textures, colors and patterns found within the arrangements. Adding these distinctive pieces into the florals allows Collin to connect his art individually to each client, creating truly one-of-a-kind designs.
HotHouse Design Studio; Birmingham, Ala.
NOMINATED By Erin Sigler, Cody Sisson and Erik Witcraft, AIFD
Shawn is a lead designer at HotHouse Design Studio in Birmingham, Ala. His wedding designs, floral fashions and botanical body art have been featured in several global publications. He is currently creating an organic based line of bath and beauty products as well as spreading his love of floral into both mediation and holistic healing.
Diamond Events & Floral; Buckley, Wash.
NOMINATED By Amanda Punzalan and Meghan Jorgenson
Shane went into the floral industry because he believes that flowers are a source of happiness for people and because he likes making people happy. To him, weddings are the happiest event in a lot people’s lives, so it made sense for him to go that route. He uses a lot of “road-a-side-ian” florals and foraged florals and foliage to create a more natural and organic look to his arrangements. His approach makes his floral installments look as if they could occur in nature, something that his customers have come to appreciate and desire.
Flowers by Janie; Calgary, Alberta, Canada
NOMINATED By Tamara Jones, Lori DeNicola, Melissa Beer and Tara Whittaker
Janelle has had a passion for flowers for longer than she can remember, but her mother documented it well in photos of her picking dandelion bouquets when she was two years old. She also had her own garden plot in her backyard during her school days, where she’d grow flowers and then arrange them in the local fall fairs. That passion stayed with her, and today she loves flowers and is even more passionate about her chosen career than ever before. Janelle enjoys seeing her customers’ reactions to her team’s designs and counts herself lucky to be able to do what she does. She expects the home studio trend in floral design to expand, and she’s confident that flowers will continue to play an ever-larger role in weddings in the future.
Sophie Felts Floral Design; Laytonsville, Md.
NOMINATED By Erica Conner
Sophie Felts Floral Design specializes in garden-style event floral design. Last year, the firm noticed the need for trained freelancers in its area. Thus, the Flower Freelance Intensive was born. Students spend nine days learning from top area florists, everything from processing to break down. The meet-and-greet on the final day connects students with established designers seeking to fill positions. A pool of trained and available assistants has been game changing. The company was also named a “2018 Rising Star” by Washington Bride & Groom event management company.
Rustic Roots Floral Design; Woodlake, Calif.
NOMINATED By Melinda Lynch, AIFD
Jalisca has been teaching high school floral design and growing a design studio/flower farm for eight years. She finds flowers incredibly joyous and tries to use the beauty of flowers to build the story of an event through bespoke artistic design. Jalisca thinks that the industry is embracing locally grown flowers, and she’s seeing amazing collaborations between growers and designers. She is excited to be a farmer florist as well as floral design educator.
Julie James Designs; Butler, Pa.
NOMINATED By Caris Doss
A floral designer specializing in weddings and events in the greater Pittsburgh area, Julie’s passion lies in helping brides realize a better design plan that goes a step further than their inspiration pictures. Originally trained in a small floral shop as a high-schooler, Julie gained exposure, over time, as her friends began to get married on a budget. During that time, she enjoyed a theater career in scenic and costume design while cultivating a floral design business that has grown rapidly through the years. Today, Julie is known for her use of texture and for creating romantic and interesting bouquets, centerpieces, floral arches and statement pieces. As she continues to meet with her clients, Julie helps them realize that personal touches, an abundance of texture and some-thing unexpected are the jumping off points to a new era in floral design that breaks away from tradition and the status quo.
Kira’s Flowers; East Peoria, Ill.
NOMINATED By Aozora Brockman
Kira grows more than 75 varieties of flowers on her highly biodiverse farm located on a Civil-War-era farmstead in central Illinois. Believing strongly in leaving the planet a better place, Kira’s overarching goal is to provide local and organically-grown flowers as an ecological alternative to imported blooms prevalent in the Midwest. Using her art and design background, Kira seeks to break the barriers of the traditional bouquet and delve into floral sculpture and wearable floral art.
The Flori.Culture; Scottsdale, Ariz.
NOMINATED By Debra Prinzing
Morgan adores flowers and foliage and believes that her deep appreciation for nature, love for beauty and passion for education has provided her with a distinctive aesthetic and unique perspective to the field of botanical artistry. During her studies, she expanded her education and gained a diverse floral aesthetic while working with Floral Art LA, Isari Flower Studio, Fiori Boulder and Merveille Events. Morgan says she foresees amazing opportunities for the industry. Though where and why consumers are buying flowers is shifting, over the past five years, she has had the pleasure of watching the floristry industry grow and adjust to these trends. Morgan is overjoyed by the success of her fellow colleagues and artists, and she believes the American public has become more attuned to the benefits of beholding the beauty of flowers – and she sees this passion for nature only growing.
Bramble & Bee; Tomball, Texas
NOMINATED By Madeleine Elmer and Holly Heider Chapple
Bramble & Bee was inspired four years ago to design loose, organic, garden style arrangements for weddings and events, and two years ago, they expanded into a retail shop. Maggie says Bramble & Bee has thoroughly enjoyed bringing the style that their wedding clients love to local friends on a day-to-day basis. She feels like they’re contributing in fresh way to the new era of retail flower shops.
Valley Forge Flowers; Wayne, Pa.
NOMINATED By Darcie Garcia and Marisa Guerrero, AIFD
Renee’s had a passion for petals since high school, and after more than 18 years in the industry, she’s still not tired of it. She has developed several curricula to help bring designing to both customers and aspiring floral design students, including being part of creating the first AIFD education partner in Pennsylvania at Bucks County Community College. Volunteering for things like The Philadelphia Flower Show, Teleflora education events and AIFD National Symposium never gets old, as Renee has an insatiable desire for expanding her experiences in the floral world. For Renee, creating experiences for customers and students and using the power of flowers creates a thrill nothing else can match.
The Flora Culturist; Riverside, Ill.
NOMINATED By Clay Honeycutt and Bill Schaffer, AIFD, AAF, PFCI
A second-generation floral designer and educator, Stacey’s extensive educational journey is supported by her life-long training in floristry, horticulture and visual arts. She wears many hats, including business owner, account executive, event designer, product developer, consultant and traveling freelancer. She is a member of the Floriology Education team and currently serves as AIFD’s National Marketing Chair. Stacey is passionate about advancing the artistry of the floral and horticulture industries, the exchange of knowledge and connecting with others through flowers.
Sweet Root Village Event Floral Design; Alexandria, Va.
NOMINATED By By Ryan O’Neil and Holly Heider Chapple
Throughout their eight years together as Sweet Root Village, Lauren (left) and Rachel (right) have grown more in love with flowers and have also fallen head-over-heels with small business. They were encouraged by others as they navigated the rapid growth of their studio, and they now enjoy being as transparent as possible with comrades in the event industry. The pair has gained a huge network of flower friends, many of who are exploring life as working moms, just like Lauren and Rachel are, and it brings them joy to pass along that encouragement to others.
Thibodeaux’s Floral Studio; New Orleans, La.
NOMINATED By Paul Norman
Originally from Italy, Stefania showed a natural inclination for the arts at the early age of nine. She began her musical education at the Gioacchino Rossini Conservatory and later studied fashion design at the Megaroni School of Art. In 2014, Stefania discovered an innate talent and blossoming passion for floral design. Her inspiration is deeply connected to her Italian heritage, and her background in fashion design brings an architectural component to her creations. Stefania enjoys the challenge of experimenting with mechanics and learning new techniques to create beautiful floral sculptures. Her latest work of art was displayed at the 2018 Art in Bloom exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Blucid Floral; New Orleans, La.
NOMINATED By Linda Ray
Brandi’s love for flowers is electrifying, and it is that passion that inspires her floral design technique and aesthetic and allows her to think outside the vase and shop. Despite her overlying classic, simple design style, over-the-top always sneaks in to add a touch of flare. Brandi’s design elements tell the story of who she is. Born and raised in New Orleans, Brandi is deeply culturally driven, something you can see in her Southern style. Brandi is an artist with a free spirit and an eclectic soul. When it comes to the industry, Brandi foresees floral couture reaching greater heights. She envisions women walking down the aisles as floral goddesses, adorned with colorful, exquisite floral wedding gowns. A huge fan of floral couture, Brandi also considers herself a student who educates herself in new and innovative design techniques and sharing her heart with others.
Aloré Event Firm; Miami, Fla.
NOMINATED By Jeremy Cinicollo
A graduate of the University of Miami and owner of Aloré Event Firm, Anna brings to the floral/event industry a unique brand of marketing and sales experience, from her years at the Fisher Island Hotel & Resort and Jordache Enterprises. She has produced events for her high-profile clients all over the globe, and her spectacular work has appeared on numerous TV shows and earned her multiple event industry awards. She hosts hands-on workshops and is a contributing writer for multiple event publications.
Dream Flowers; San Leandro, Calif.
NOMINATED By Rupali Shete Sadalage, AIFD
Svetlana is an internationally known and award-winning floral designer, and she is the proud owner of Dream Flowers. To support the floral design industry, she teaches others, providing workshops for beginning and advanced students, and publishes step-by-step tutorials in magazines, AIFD newsletters and on her personal website. She loves doing floral demonstrations, presenting new techniques, mechanics and know-hows. Svetlana is also a co-author of More than Glamelia. Floral art, she says, has become her hobby, her job, her passion and her lifestyle.