Columbia College - Arts Management
Anjelica Jelie Hennessey calls herself “a bit old school.” As lead floral designer at Flowers for Dreams, a Chicago-based florist that delivers locally designed flowers via bike, we almost believed her – until she told us she landed her job via Instagram. It’s just one example of the old versus new that Anjelica and Flowers for Dreams create daily with their tech savvy, quality-driven company that changes the rules of floral delivery.
Dedicated to honest pricing (everything is just $35), locally sourced materials and giving back to local charities, Flowers for Dreams offers Anjelica more than her share of “I made it!” moments. Having a job that ticks all her personal and professional boxes leaves her feeling like she’s got the perfect gig—a big perk!
“I truly feel like I’ve made it,” Anjelica says. “To me ‘making it’ means working somewhere that satisfies all of your cravings.”
When you genuinely want to get to know people and you care about their needs, then everything else will come.
How did you find your job at Flowers For Dreams?
I found my job through Instagram! A friend of mine tagged me on a photo of one of Flowers For Dreams unique bouquets. She commented, “How do you not work for this place?!” I was so impressed with the photography and bouquet aesthetic of the company that it made me think, “Why don’t I work there?!”
How do you organize your days?
I organize my day the night before. I start by checking out the store’s calendar and make a mental note of what we have going on for the day, in shop, with co-workers, what meetings are scheduled and sometimes even the personal agendas of co-workers. This gives me an idea of who might be stopping in our studio for a meeting, and I also can check the availability of my colleagues for other meetings I’m trying to set up. After that I’ll open my emails, respond to them and add meetings to my calendar.
Full admission, I’m a bit old school. I still make a written list of what I need to accomplish for the day, as well as the goals I’m aiming to accomplish that day. In this business you have to stay on your toes. There’s always something new I’m trying to pursue.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I’m a very hands-on person. I love being able to touch and feel what I’m creating. I had worked in the event planning industry for a while, but when I was introduced to floral design as an aspect of that job, I couldn’t keep my hands off it – literally! I also love the knowledge that comes along with the job, and I always say that when you crave digging deeper and deeper into something it’s a sign that it’s meant for you. I’ve been in this industry for 10 years, and not only do I learn something every day, but I learn about 10 things every day! I make it a point to always be learning.
What are some challenges that keep you awake at night?
I always think about my clients. With each piece of work I try to capture the vision of a client, but more importantly I aim to “wow” them! I’m always hoping I can open minds to different design concepts, and then keep those minds open. “Wowing” a client, yet staying within their parameters, is a fine line and definitely my favorite challenge – whether it keeps me up at night or not!
Do you believe in work/life balance? Is it something you feel you have?
Work/life balance can be a challenge in this industry, but through the years I’ve learned that organization and planning are key. As an artist, I’ve never wanted to stay within a routine. It would bore me or drive me crazy, but now with a 4-year-old son having a good routine has saved my life. As a mother, a businesswoman and an artist I realize I can get more done the way I want to with a routine, including the fun activities.
What are some of your “I made it!” moments?
I’ve been promoted into all of the positions I’ve held in this industry. I’ve worked in a few very successful event companies, and every time I was promoted to floral director or head of floral department. Of course, each time that happened I thought, “This is great. I made it!” But, now I feel as though all of those times I felt that way, it felt like I had made it at the moment. But, here at Flowers For Dreams I truly feel like I’ve made it.
To me “making it” means working somewhere that satisfies all of your cravings. At Flowers For Dreams I am fulfilling my need to give back (I love, love our charity donations) and I am fulfilling my need to make flowers affordable for people. I also enjoy making it easy for everyone to enjoy beautiful flowers. Flowers For Dreams has made it possible for me to spread my knowledge of flowers and design to so many types of people, whether through our bouquet workshops or magazine interviews.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Keep an open mind.
Practice acts of random kindness.
What does it take to be successful in your industry?
You need to have drive to succeed in this line of work. I suppose that can be said about any industry, but in my case my drive has propelled me further than anything. An outgoing personality also is a must. I always think about clients who I acquired purely from my talkative and friendly nature, and it’s those clients who always return. When you genuinely want to get to know people and you care about their needs, then everything else will come.
What would you tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
People cross your path in life for a reason: To teach them, yes, but it’s mainly to learn from them.
Has your line of work changed the way you look at life?
Yes, most definitely. When I see others excited about flowers it’s a constant reminder that it’s the simple beauties in life that make people the happiest.