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Floral Queens: Women Who Have Revolutionized the Floral Industry

Posted on February 23rd, 2023

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the incredible contributions that women have made in all areas of life, including the floral industry. Women have been at the forefront of this industry for centuries, and their work has had a profound impact on the way we appreciate and use flowers in our daily lives.

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, let’s take a look at some of the most influential women in the floral industry.

florist Ellen Biddle Shipman
left image: Image Via New York Times courtesy of Nancy Streeter | Right Image via Library of Congress

Ellen Biddle Shipman

A pioneering American landscape architect, She helped shape the profession in the United States. Born in Philadelphia in 1869, Shipman received her education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Bussey Institute at Harvard University. After starting out as a painter, she turned her attention to landscape architecture and went on to design numerous private and public gardens throughout her career.

Shipman’s designs were known for their use of color, texture, and romantic, informal style. She was also a strong advocate for the profession, working to establish standards for education and professional practice. As a founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Shipman was the first woman to be elected to its executive committee. Her legacy continues to influence the practice of landscape architecture today.


Constance Spry florist
Images by Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images/Flowermag

Constance Spry

Spry paved the way for the modern floral industry. Spry was part of the avant-garde floral designers in the 1920s; Spry used an incredible amount of diverse materials, including tomatoes, fruits, wildflowers, and weeds to name a few. Spry used 17th-century Dutch flower paintings as inspiration while striving to express the beauty of the flowers and organic materials.

As a result, Spry showed the romance of flowers from simple arrangements in small vases to contemporary, larger pieces. She was one of the first women to establish a successful floral business in London in the 1920s and went on to become a leading authority on floral design.



Amy Merrick florist
Images via amy-merrick via Instagram

Amy Merrick

Amy Merrick is a renowned floral designer and writer based in New York City. Her work has been featured in some of the world’s most prestigious publications, including Vogue and The New York Times. She is known for her romantic and whimsical designs, which often incorporate wildflowers and other unexpected elements.



Banchet Jaigla florist
Left Image: Image via Ruby Washington/The New York Times | Right Image: via Facebook via Banchet Flowers 

Banchet Jaigla

became well-known in 2008, when people noticed how unique her floral designs were. Jaigla is inspired by her childhood in Thailand and the energy of New York City. Jaigla is known for variations of orchids and fans of baby’s breath. Jaigla works with growers in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, providing her with a variety of flowers not currently found elsewhere in New York.



florist Sarah Ryhanen
Images via refinery29.com via Winnie Au

Sarah Ryhanen

She is the founder of Saipua, a floral design studio and soap company based in Brooklyn, New York. She is known for her naturalistic and textural designs, which often feature locally sourced and seasonal blooms. In addition to her work as a floral designer, Sarah is also a writer and educator and has shared her expertise through workshops and lectures around the world.



Debra Prinzing florist
Images via theflowerpodcast.com

Debra Prinzing

Debra is known as the leading advocate for American-grown flowers. Prinzing won the American Horticultural Society’s Frances Jones Poetker Award. Prinzing promotes the Slow Flowers movement.



Ariella Chezar florist
Images via FlowerMag via Corbin Gurkin

Ariella Chezar

Ariella Chezar is a floral designer and author based in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her designs are known for their lush, romantic style, and often incorporate unusual textures and colors. She is the author of two books on floral design, The Flower Workshop and Seasonal Flower Arranging, and has taught workshops around the world.



Vanessa Glover Florist
Images via Macon Magazine via Jessica Whitley

Vanessa Glover

Vanessa is the first African American woman in Georgia to earn the Certified Floral Designer accreditation through the American Institute of Floral Designers in 2017. Glover’s business, A Touch of Glover, launched in 1997, is now a family affair, including her husband, children, and grandchildren.



Loria Stern florist
Images via Living Lars via Loria Stern

Loria Stern

Stern’s edible botanical creations are harvested from her abundant flower garden. Stern rethought floral creations by transforming bouquets into edible art. Stern draws inspiration from the natural beauty surrounding her to create edible, artfully arranged works of art.



Kateen Morris Florist
Image via Facebook via Kateen Morris 

Kateen Morris

Kateen started Kateen’s Floral Designs in 2019 and believes in the power of florals to spark emotion. Morris is the chairwoman of Black Girl Florists, a collaborative community of black women whose purpose is to support, promote, and celebrate the creativity and contributions of black florists.




These women have made significant contributions to the floral industry, inspiring and influencing countless others with their talent and creativity. Their work has helped to shape the way we think about flowers and floral design, and their legacy will continue to inspire future generations of women in the industry.

Do you have any favorite historical women figures in the floral industry that have impacted your business or inspired you? Drop your favorite below to inspire your fellow florists.


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4 thoughts on “Floral Queens: Women Who Have Revolutionized the Floral Industry”


    Thank you for this lovely post! What an amazing lineup of women — I’m happy to be included!

  2. Teresa Casson says:

    I loved this compelation of some mighty fine florists and visionaries.
    Inspires me to grow!

  3. S. Reisbick says:

    Nice article. Frankie Shelton and Hitomi Gilliam, both in floristry for decades have influenced my floral journey.

  4. Helen Sawden says:

    No mention of Jane packer or Paula prike?

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