Life has a way of putting us on a journey, altering our course and providing us with opportunities that lead us to our true passion. For Adam Havrilla, AIFD, PFCI, ICPF, owner of Artistic Blooms in Chicago, Ill., it was the need for the then college psychology major to find a way to support his young growing family that prompted him to take a job in a flower shop at Mother’s Day. After working part time in the floral retail world and going to school part time for a few years, Havrilla decided to follow his heart, quit school one semester short of graduation and become a floral designer. Crediting his creative success to stumbling over floral education offered by the Illinois State Florists’ Association, Havrilla now spends his days designing flowers for corporate events, weddings and showroom spaces – and living his dream.

NOTE: This summer, Havrilla will co-present a design program, “Unify,” with Andy Hopper, AIFD, and Corey Harbour, AIFD, PFCI, on the Main Stage at the American Institute of Floral Designers’ (AIFD) 2020 Symposium “Vision” in Chicago (July 2-7). Register to attend at

Flower Shopping on West 28th Street

Fashion and interior design are my sources of inspiration. I especially am drawn to the European fashion scene because it is two years ahead of the trends we see here. This allows me to see what will be coming into our industry in the future. I subscribe to Vogue magazine, and I especially watch the advertising pages. I also like to look at the lines of the fashion designs, examine the shapes of the clothes, observe the color palettes and see what patterns are used.

I also love walking down city streets and looking at window designs to see what is happening. In addition, I watch what is happening on social media and re-create what I see there but in my own way. This all makes me excited.

What new ideas have you opened yourself to that stimulate your creativity?

Working with other people really stimulates me, especially through collaborations. When I do a show, I listen to other’s ideas while still having my voice heard, and that synergy helps to make things come together harmoniously. Collaboration makes me think and create totally differently than I would on my own. It pushes me outside my comfort zone and propels me to be more creative and do something I would not normally do on a day-to-day basis.

I also like to go to hardware stores to find things to work with. Who doesn’t love a good hardware store and all the wonderful things you can discover to work with there? My mind goes wild thinking about how something can be changed, manipulated and used in a new unintended way.

Finally, I couldn’t do what I am doing today without my husband, daughter and friends supporting, pushing and challenging me to become a better designer.