Skip Navigation

Flower.Style35: Holly Heider Chapple Talks Balancing Family and Career, Her "Hollyish" Design Style, and More

Leesburg-based floral entrepreneur, wife, and mom of seven, Holly Heider Chapple—also known throughout the industry as "Flower Mama"—is the founder and creative head behind Holly Heider Chapple Flowers, Hope Flower Farm, and Chapel Designers. Holly's trendsetting designs are featured in acclaimed publications including Martha Stewart, Brides, and The Knot. With 28-plus years of experience, she also serves as an educator and mentor for flower hobbyists and professionals around the globe.

1. What is your idea of the perfect flower arrangement? I love designs that are highly textural and showcase the best of the garden and the season. My arrangements are loose and airy, and if I had my choice, they would always feature garden roses.

2. How did you get started in the floral industry? Flowers have always been a constant foundational element in my life. My parents had a garden center, and my grandmother was an avid gardener. As children, we worked in the fields, growing and caring for flowers. We also made designs for the holidays or waited on customers at the nursery. As a young mother, I decided to create a business focused on my passion for flowers. I had a lovely small garden at my home, and I started using those blooms to make an income. Growing and designing flowers became my outlet, source of revenue, and allowed me to be home with my children. Over the years and with my father's help, I added to my gardens and developed my floral design style based on the unique and heirloom varieties of flowers I grew. Clients began searching out our home-based studio because of the natural elegance of the designs. In 2009, I was one of the first floral designers who began blogging and using social media to leverage my business. Our company saw incredible growth and media recognition from these efforts. This visibility and my willingness to share set the stage for the educational conferences I would produce and the organization for floral designers I would build.

3. If not a florist, what would be your fallback profession? I would love to have a line of textiles and home decor. I envision fabrics with floral patterns—of course—which would become linens, napkins, curtains, and such. I would also love a line of goods for setting the table: china, flatware, glassware, and candle holders.

4. Are you a Type A or B personality? Example? I admit I had to look this up. I've had a lot of people over the years tell me I am Type A. After reading the description, I have to own it. I have a lot of nervous energy that pushes me forward. It makes me overly critical and concerned about quality and performance.

5. What is your most treasured possession? My grandmother's engagement ring.

6. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Really, honestly, literally, and sexy!

7. Where do you find inspiration outside the flower world? In architecture, beautifully merchandised stores, and traveling abroad. I observe structures and color combinations everywhere I go and imagine how I can use these elements to inspire my next design or installation.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I wish I were more focused on one project or task at a time. I've always said I am mentally hyper; thoughts, ideas, and the "next big thing" constantly run through my head, pulling me in yet another direction.

9. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Building a home-based business while raising seven kids would undoubtedly fall under the achievement column, but a truly remarkable achievement in my career was the network of designers I started, called Chapel Designers. In 2010, there wasn't an organization that supported wedding florists. I believe that Chapel Designers has genuinely helped to change and form the wedding industry.

10. What's one thing you would tell your younger self? You have got this; listen to your gut!

11. What event or job has been your favorite? Designing at the White House, the John F. Kennedy Center, Fleuramour, and AIFD's National Symposium.

12. What is your most marked characteristic? I am known for being a connector. I love bringing like-minded people together so they can flourish and inspire one another.

13. What's your present state of mind? In all honesty, my family and company are going through a complicated time. We as a team envisioned a more intentional business with time and margin for family, clients, students, and followers. We were making significant changes and setting up divisions in our company so that my husband and I could have more time with the last three children we have in the home and so that our employees felt empowered and excited to be a part of the company. For many years I ran the company without the guidance of my husband, Evan. Ten years ago, he became a strong partner and influencer in our company and one of our educators. Evan is responsible for the finances, management, and growing at our farm, Hope Flower Farm. At this time, Evan is battling cancer, which means our company is going through a period of adjustment. I have found that the goals we were aiming for are even more critical at this time, so I would call our present state of mind focused or driven.

14. Who are your heroes in real life? Evan Chapple, my children, and Megan Pollard (founder of We Choose Joy).

15. Who is your floral hero? Gregor Lersch, Hitomi Gilliam, and Françoise Weeks.

16. What is your favorite color? Muddy tones in all hues.​

17. What is your favorite flower? I honestly don't have a favorite flower, but lilac will always be special to me, as I got my start selling bundles of lilac. I also love Fritillaria persica and Allium schubertii for their uniqueness.

18. What flower could you live without? Liatris.

19. What would you call your style of design? Hollyish. Seriously, this term was coined by my followers. I think "Hollyish" designs are full, lush, and properly executed; each design is created with love and sincere effort.

20. What is your favorite tool for working with flowers? My Holly Chapple Egg and Pillow by Syndicate Sales. This product line transformed my look and style and has helped us make great strides in sustainability.

21. Who's on your playlist? Stray Birds, Halsey, Sarah Jarosz, Lake Street Drive, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan, and Ma Fleur.

22. What's on your to-do list? Shake up the wedding industry; we are ripe for change! Also, plant more flowers, organize build-outs on the farm, strengthen my online offerings, grow our direct-to-consumer offerings, and Chapel Designers are always on my mind.

23. What flower best represents your personality? Why? Tulips because they are continually growing and reaching for the light.

24. Who is your favorite artist? Claude Monet.

25. What's the last book you read (and loved)? "A Fresh Look at Judging Floral Design" by Hitomi Gilliam AIFD and Kathy Whalen AIFD.

26. Any pets? Nineteen chickens, two cats and two dogs.

27. Favorite beverage? Fizzy water.

28. What do you see trending in floral design? I am starting to see classic, structured shapes making a huge comeback. While they are being presented on social media as something modern and edgy, these traditional designs go back to the beginning of floristry. Everything old is new again.

29. What's out? Dyed tropical flowers.

30. What's your motto in life? "If fear is the only thing making me say NO, I must move forward with a resounding YES despite the fear."

31. How would your friends describe you? Outgoing, vivacious, sentimental, and emotional.

32. What have you learned from flowers? Everything has a season to shine, but glory and full bloom can return with just one good seed.

33. If you could invite 3 people (dead, alive or fictional) to a dinner party who would they be? Describe the centerpieces. I would surely choose Grandmother Heider and my parents, Albert and Sheila Heider—whom I would give anything to sit with again. I would delight in showing them our farm and thank them for the passion and love of flowers they instilled in me. As for the centerpieces, whimsical flowers and vines would crawl across the table and gently grace our platters of tomatoes and fresh veg from the garden. I would also set the table with Grandmother Heider's china and Mother's silver. We would talk of the past world we built together and our time in the garden.

34. What's your best advice to someone just starting out in the flower industry? If being a part of floriculture is your true heart's desire, then you will be unstoppable. If you are looking for an easy and fun career, perhaps you might want to reconsider.

35. What did we forget to ask? "Why do I keep pushing forward after all this time?" The answer is I believe this career is for the chosen; it's a God-given talent and privilege. I say florists are the ambassadors of beauty. Florists and flowers make the most precious moments in life more beautiful and memorable; flowers have a magical power that everyone can see and touch.


To stay connected with Holly and view more of her work, click on the links below.

Holly Heider Chapple Website | Holly Heider Chapple Instagram | Holly Heider Chapple Facebook | Chapel Designers Website | Chapel Designers Instagram | Chapel Designers Facebook