What it means to be a Chapel Designer

"I had no idea what to expect in NYC. It was an amazing few days of information and experience that I was grateful for. However, it wasn't until I returned home and continued on that the true value of being a part of this incredible group has manifested itself to me as I read over the FB posts and messages. The amount of teamwork, sharing, sourcing and encouragement to one another has been amazing to witness and has provided the confidence of being able to tackle new projects and stretch further. Thank you Holly, for creating this incredible forum of friendship, encouragement, education and growth which has opened doors and stretched horizons."

Tasha Carrington (L'Arrangement / Denver, Colorado)

"Last Sunday I went to a conference. A conference which I hoped would give me some guidance, some advice and some inspiration in my flower world. What I got was something entirely different. Something better than I could have imagined or hoped for. Something that made my head blow and the ground shift beneath my feet. I can barely verbalize what you guys did for me in those three days. You changed my world, making it somehow bigger and smaller. Bigger because there's no end to what I can achieve now and smaller because I now have people to support me on my way. You enabled me to feel my value and worth not just acknowledge it. For all of this I want to say thank you. I want to tell you what engaging, inclusive, generous, knowledgeable, crazy, wonderful people you are.

I don't think I will ever be scared again. I am proud and privileged to be on your team. I hope I can give back what you have passed on to me. 

Thank you Holly and Evan a million times and a million more"

Beth Forbes-Simpson  (Forbesfield / Cardiff, Wales, UK)                                                                                                                          

“I’ve been an event florist for over 10 years, and I’ve struggled to find a sense of community and support in the industry.

I’ve attended local conferences, national conferences, design classes, and numerous networking functions, only to leave feeling that my point of view wasn’t represented.

As soon as I heard of the Chapel Designers group, I knew I had found my people!

Holly Heider Chapple has put together an amazing organization- really a movement- that has completely changed the way I feel about my chosen path!

The atmosphere in the group is incredible- we are all here because we are passionate about elevating floral design. We want to continue to learn, get better, share knowledge, and help our fellow designers grow.

The annual conference is an absolutely life changing experience!  Last year, I was overwhelmed by my good fortune- I learned from Holly Heider Chapple, Francoise Weeks, Ariella Chezar, Karen Tran, David Beahm, Naomi De Manana, Anne Chertoff, and Abby Larson!  In those 3 days, I received more knowledge and inspiration than I had in the past 10 years of attending other conferences and classes.

As well as offering demonstrations from the best, most artistic and current designers in our field, the conference also offers top notch business advice, insight into the best floral and supply resources, and networking with an amazing group of talented, passionate, generous event florists that have all become friends and confidants!

In the past 8 months since I became a member, I have crossed so many goals off my list, that I am encouraged to dream bigger than I ever allowed myself to dream before!

With the support of the Chapel Designer family, I know there is nothing I can’t achieve.  I have joined an amazing support system full of eager, knowledgeable designers that are willing to help me figure out any problem I may encounter.

I am truly thankful for this group!”

Susan McLeary (Passionflower / Ann Arbor, Michigan)

"I am just so full of joy and want to thank Holly and the entire CD family for sharing your knowledge and just being such a fantastic floral family! I know many of you have already said it before but attending the CD conference in London was one of the most valuable things I've done for the business- we just finished our biggest wedding of the year and I didn't imagine we'd have one so big this early in our business! Next weekend we are creating a luxury chuppah which I'm thrilled for (thank you for the chuppah making class Nick Priestly)! I'm at a place of peace where we finally have our target market and are creating the designs we love. Thank you so so much!! 

Janelle Gerestein de Lima (Flowers by Janie / Calgary, Aberta, Canada)

“Attending Holly’s workshop at her home based studio for 3 days was like becoming a member of her (adorable!) family. We were welcomed with open arms and a huge heart; we left with a new outlook for our business and a dear friend. We spent 3 days around taking notes, touring her gardens, designing side by side with her and preparing for a photo shoot. Working together with the other CDs and Holly felt natural, safe, challenging and inspiring. Our business has been refocused and invigorated, we can’t wait to see what lies ahead for us and know that the other CDs and Holly are there to help. The investment we made has already been returned and we can’t wait for NYC!”

Mary Coombs (A Garden Party / Elmer, New Jersey)

“There are so many amazing things I could say about Holly and this amazing group she has created, but it would take way too much time, so I will just stick to the most important.  No matter what…  Holly always makes me feel special, like we have a special bond that nobody else shares her.  The cool thing is…  I bet every last Chapel Designer would say this.  She makes everyone in the group feel special, relevant, and confident.  She has created an amazing family of floral designers that lean on each other for business and personal support.  There are a lot of other Wedding industry groups and events out there, but I can promise there is no other group like The Chapel Designers.  The other really cool thing about Holly is that even though she is a leader in the industry and a master at her craft, she still asks us for advise and leans on us for support.  I love that she is so humble.  This group is amazing and our leader is even more so!”

Lesley Frascogna (TULIP / Jackson, Mississippi)

The Chapel Designers is filling a gap and providing something that has long been missing in the floral design industry. True open communication with no humility sacrificed about the operations of a true florist and design firm.  For years we relied on only one of our true friends in our area to confide in.  The designer was (Isha Foss) and she was the one that encouraged me to take a leap and come to New York.  She began to explain the group that she had joined and met in New York and what she told me was truly eye opening. An open group of designers who all sought the same knowledge, who were willing to share ideas, sources, inspirations, to discuss our own disasters in order to keep another designer from making the same mistake.

Since my first trip to New York City “Who wants to Join me in New York” I have attended another year.  One more year of life time connections with other designers who inspire me to be more than I am, and a group who pushes and supports you in your challenges as a designer and as a friend.  They serve sometimes as my conscious, and reassurance of who I am, who I want to be in the future, but reaffirming why I LOVE MY Craft!

When I met Holly I truly could see and hear the genius of her passion and what she wanted to share.  I have since worked alongside her both in her studio and other amazing places. I truly can not thank her enough for opening my eyes even further. The past year I have been on a photo shoot with her at an amazing abandoned house, joined her on a weekend of spectacular over the top events that she designed and executed flawlessly. This group exudes what I want to be and it gives me the exact nourishment I have been longing for.  I spoke to her and a few designers last October on the direction I saw my business going and what I craved most was to have the opportunity to connect with other designers, and to work beside them to gain more understanding of design, how to manipulate product,  gain education of new flower sources, and travel to feed my craving creative soul.  I got exactly what I wanted and MORE.

The Chapel designers gave me more than I ever dreamed was possible. I now have a larger family, because each of these Ladies and Gentlemen genuinely cares for the members of this group. I feel sometimes like the big or little brother, and I love playing this role.  In addition to our workload we share real life issues. We as a group have suffered immeasurable losses, horrible tragedies, and emotional trials. Before we had each other we had to keep to ourselves to suffer through it alone, now we have each other. Over the last year I have witnessed this group triumph over so many successes, and rally with each other to lift spirits, jump on planes to come to aid in a designer crisis and most importantly to call a friend in need to just say “Hi" or "you're not alone, what can I do to help?” Prayers of silence, praises and cheers, and hugs when available to truly amazing talented people.

I am proud to be a Chapel Designer and a member of the Chapel Family.

Daevid Reed

“Being a Chapel Designer is by far the best thing I’ve done for my professional (and personal) life. This group of women and men are so special, I feel like I have the best extended flower family. We support each other, encourage each other, share ideas, help each other figure out how to execute designs, share resources and most of all we are there for each other when we need an ear to listen to our frustrations, disappointments and every day challenges. The Chapel designers have made me a better designer, a better business person and a better colleague, I truly feel more confident knowing that every one of them is in my corner cheering me on. I am lucky enough to say that I have made some true friends.

I feel so lucky to be a part of this extraordinary group led my our Flower Mama, Holly. I don’t know how she does it, but she does, and we are all so appreciative of her time as well as Evan’s. They are true visionaries!”

Susan Kelly (Marion Moss Floral Design / Petaluma, California)

“I love floral design and enjoy creating beautiful weddings for my clients.  I have a small studio and 1-2 part time staff.  I was so excited to join the Chapel Designers in NYC, to meet so many like minded people was wonderful.  I learnt so much over the conference, everything from design, business management to social media skills.  Everyone was so very welcoming and always ready to lend a hand, chatting about our own businesses and sharing ideas to improve different aspects was invaluable. I am grateful to be part of the ongoing forum of the Chapel Designers, although I am in Australia, I still get to connect, learn and grow. I would definitely encourage floral designers whether you are just starting out in the business  or own an established business to be part of the Chapel Designers Family.”

Michelle Van Eimeren (Affair With George / Robertson, New South Wales, Australia

“Becoming a Chapel Designer changed the way I do business and in some regards my life.  The week I left for my first event last year I was in such a negative place in my career and quite frankly didn’t even know it. I was so caught up with everything my competition was doing and being snarky and unsupportive. I also lived with a constant guilt for having worked at a local florist before branching off and creating my own company.  This then stemmed a fear my team could do that to me any day. This handicapped me. I didn’t share, teach, or really entrust those I hired to help me. On a specific day of design at the event Holly herself came over to me and said something in regards to “this is a lesson you needed to see. 60 some designers, same recipe, and not a single bouquet even similar. This is the beauty of what we are doing.”  At that moment I realized two things: one I found my new home and floral family and would never want to leave, two, I was limiting myself, my team, and my stores potential. I realized my store could be next to my old bosses, but they weren’t me and nothing I do is similar to them. From that exciting moment on I vowed to teach anyone who would listen, love myself for spreading my wings and taking a chance, and never say a negative word about my competition again. If I can’t say something kind I don’t let it pass my lips because it just brings toxins into my team environment.  2013 has been the BEST most successful and least stressful year yet. I love the Chapel Designer family and I am honored to be a member and feel with them by my side I can achieve any career goal I can dream up!!!  Thank you Holly for planting a seed and nurturing it as it grows. Hugs and kisses to you flower mama.”

Stacy K Ercan (Stacy K Floral / Rochester, New York)

“I had been in business for 10 yrs when I signed up to attend the Chapel Designer conference in NYC.  I was at the point that I was ready for the business to grow, and not sure how to do it.  I knew the second Holly called me up that this was something different. She has a passion and energy like nothing I have ever seen.  She genuinely cares about every attendee, and not because they are paying to come.  But because she truly embraces each individual and invites them in to her family.  By the end of the last day I was exhausted emotionally, mentally, physically and couldn’t have been more excited to put my knew found knowledge to work.  This group has become a second family to me.  We all feel it’s a safe place where we can dream big, share our fears, ask for help (which isn’t always easy to do), and problem solve.

Since attending the conference my business had the best year it’s ever had.  A lot of that is because this group gave me the encouragement to think the unthinkable.  I think our mantra has become ‘this job isn’t for sissies’ – which is so very true. Together, we are all working to create a higher standard, set ourselves apart and educate clients.  As Holly says ‘just leap!’.

I’m so very proud to consider myself a part of this group and have them as my extended family!”

Dawn Kelly (Soiree Floral / Nantucket, Massachusetts)