Fancy Florals by Nancy
Since starting Fancy Florals by Nancy—a studio florist specializing in lush custom floral designs for weddings—in 2012, Nancy Zimmerman has become an award-winning floral designer. In 2018, 2019 and 2021, she won honors for her bridal bouquets in Alexandra Farms’ “Garden Rose Design Contest”; in 2022, she won Florists’ Review’s “Picture Perfect Weddings” contest; and for eight consecutive years, from 2015 through 2022, her business won the “WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award,” which earned her a place in The Knot’s prestigious “WeddingPro Hall of Fame.” Amazing feats for any floral designer, but particularly—some might say—for a relatively young business located in a small town of around 3,600 residents in central Illinois.
FR: Tell us a little bit about your career and how you started in flowers.
NZ: I have had a love affair with flowers since I was a child. Through the years, I have designed and grown many flower gardens and enjoyed cutting from my gardens and creating flower arrangements. In 2011, I enrolled in floral design classes at Parkland College, a community college, in Champaign [Illinois] because I wanted to learn to design professionally. When I completed the courses, my husband did not want me to open a flower shop because I was 53 years old at that time, so I started doing weddings for family and friends, and that developed into a home-studio business—and a full-time job.
FR: What sources inspire your creativity and influence your design style?
NZ: My flower beds and nature have always been the inspiration for my lush garden-style designs.
FR: Do you have a favorite flower?
NZ: I am a sucker for all full-petaled blooms such as roses, peonies and Ranunculus. I fell in love with garden roses when I planted my first bush about 35 years ago. It was ‘Madame Isaac Periere’—an old heirloom Bourbon rose—and it completely charmed me with its huge blooms, full-blown blowsy shape, deep pink/magenta hue and intense raspberry fragrance.
FR: What current floral trend excites you?
NZ: I am excited by the “muddy” hues that blend so softly and beautifully together, and I love the whimsical, less-formal design styles that mimic nature.
FR: Do you have any advice for someone just starting out in the flower industry?
NZ: Get some professional training on the basics—principles and elements of design, flower care, wiring techniques and do on. Also, develop a set of terms and conditions for your business; be kind and helpful but firm so you don’t get taken advantage of.
FR: What are your business plans for the future ?
NZ: Last year, I celebrated my 10th year in business and turned 63. Because my husband and I have 13 grandchildren and my parents are elderly and needing more help, I have scaled back the business to accepting only one wedding per weekend, with a minimum dollar requirement. That is working well, and as long as I have the health and entergy, I will continue to bring couples’ wedding visions to life. If they can dream it, I will find a way to create it!