To start off this beautiful spring week we had the pleasure of getting to know a little about the lovely Candice Miller. Candice is the Illinois State Floral Association 2014 Land of Lincoln Cup winner and will be representing the ISFA at the 2014 National Designer of The Year Competition hosted by the National Alliance of Floral Associations.
Candice is an owner and designer at CM Cakes and Flowers, located in Dixon, Illinois. When she’s not doing anything floral, Candice loves to travel, watch movies and to coupon. Floral.today actually met Candice when we sat at the same table at the Illinois State Floral Association, where almost everyone won at least some award during the night. Candice won the 2014 Land of Lincoln Cup title when she created her Tropical Tree with mixed greens, red anthuriums, red ginger, red haliconia, orchids, burlap and sheet moss to the theme “Welcome to the Jungle”. It was a stand out piece that utilized texture, height and a fun creativity. Let’s get down to getting to know a little about Candice!
Where did you get your start in your floral career? C. My floral career started as a middle school kid in 4-H. I took floral design as a 4-H project and have been hooked ever since. In high school I then took a horticulture class that sealed the deal on what I was going to do with my life. I went to Parkland College and the University of Illinois, taking floral deign classes along the way and received multiple degrees. Now in addition to a full time job in the hort industry, I run a freelance wedding and event design business. Tell us every second of your 2014 Illinois State Land of Lincoln Cup experience, all the way to the announcement that you had won! C. Well I decided to enter the Land Land competition just as a long shot. I thought it would be a great practice for testing for AIFD this summer. I came up with a plan to do a large tropical tree design and had my boyfriend help make a stand for my design. Then the day came and I just did the design I had envisioned in my head. I really wasn’t very nervous because, again, I was just doing it for practice. When I won, I was completely shocked, humbled, and excited! It was a great night. How are you preparing yourself for the National Designer of the Year Competition hosted by the National Alliance of Floral Associations? C. So far nothing! PFDE testing is currently my focus for this summer in Chicago! So I’m receiving techniques and design styles and will be having some practice sessions soon. Tell us about the grant you won at the Illinois State Floral Conference and what exciting experience you are looking forward to embarking on with the grant? C. I won the William J. McKinley Education Grant this year which I will use towards PFDE testing this summer and attending symposium in Chicago! This will be my 6th year at symposium and I can’t wait. If you had to select a favorite design style, what do you prefer personally to receive and to design for others? C. I’m a big fan of monofloral designs. I would love to receive a vase of simple tulips every day. My favorite to design for others would probably be more of a garden, naturalistic style. I love to use unique florals and foliages with a lot of texture. Who are some of your major influences and mentors that have helped shape your blooming floral career? C. Well the first was my ag teacher in high school. She gave me the initial spark to get started in horticulture. Then in college I had two amazing instructors at both my schools. Trisha Locke AIFD and Dianne Noland both taught me so much and I still rely on them for help and guidance. Now that I’m a member of the Illinois State Floral Association, I’m also meeting a lot of other great designers that are becoming great mentors. As a fresh fresh face to the Illinois State Floral Association and Floral Industry, what can we look forward to in the future from Candice Miller? C. Well hopefully next year I’ll be lucky enough to be inducted into the AIFD! If not, I’ll keep practicing and trying and attending symposiums. I’m hoping to get more involved with the ISFA in the future as well and will continue to attend the spring conference. For now I’ll continue my freelance design business, but sometime in the future I would really love to open a shop! In your personal opinion where do you see the floral industry heading towards in the next 10-15 years? C. In 10-15 years I hope that there is more consumer awareness of the floral industry. I think as florists, it’s our responsibility to educate people about the importance of buying local and we must emphasize the skill and expertise that we posses as florists. If you were to be granted one wish for anything, what would and why? C. I really can’t answer that one. I am very happy with my life, my love, my friends and family and really couldn’t wish for more than that. Floral.today is excited for all the exciting things that are ahead of Candice and wish her luck on her PFDE this coming summer. It takes great confidence in yourself and your designing to make the decision to put yourself out there when it comes to testing and competing and we congratulate Candice on the success she has found with that confidence so far. We also wish her luck as she represents the Illinois Floral Association at the 2014 National Designer of the Year at Mackinac Island, MI hosted by the National Alliance of Floral Associations. Make sure to find this lady at symposium as she is our future. Till next week,