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Meet the Team

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Heather Shouse
Founder & Creative Director

After a career in journalism, Heather returned to her childhood roots of geeking out over nature, eventually getting a Master Gardener’s certification from U of I and attending the UW Madison’s Cut Flower Growers School. She started Bottle & Branch in 2011 as the lone employee with her Dad’s old construction van, building seasonal terrariums and planting edible gardens for chefs around town before gradually expanding the business scope to include floral design, landscaping, interiorscapes and holiday décor. She’s as proud of her current crew and their Garfield Park design studio as she is of her hometown Kansas City Chiefs. When not checking in on B&B’s restaurant and hotel clients, she’s usually trying to get a shelter dog fostered, a foster dog adopted or her resident dogs to settle down during Zoom meetings.

Susannah Donne
Lead Floral Designer

This Chicago native has been a florist for nearly two decades, and we are proud to say that she has been working for Bottle & Branch for the last eight years, taking time off to pursue her master’s degree in ecopsychology as well as to build ‘earth ships’ in Malawi, Africa. Since returning from these sabbaticals, Susannah has created iconic large-scale flower arrangements for Chicago’s top restaurants and hotels while also working as a nature appreciation teacher for children and as a teacher’s assistant. If you think you might recognize this self-described nature and music nerd, maybe it’s because she was recently a backup dancer in a music video filmed in Mud-town, Jamaica. If not, maybe you’ve just seen her at the flower market.

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Amy Innis
People & Plant Person

When we think of the term ‘MacGyver-it’ we think of Amy. As our go-to gal for many things we don’t even know exist until they do, Amy epitomizes the spirit of Bottle & Branch in that she is always willing to help, always ready to tackle problems and always up for the challenge. This comes as no surprise to locals from her hometown of Evergreen Park, A.K.A Get-er-done Town. Amy hasn’t met a plant she isn’t willing to love, including dandelions (seriously!) so while her favorite specimen is the monstera, don’t be surprised if you see this self-described weirdo putting together plants that might be overlooked and making magic. Amy is also our Holiday Production Manager, and for that alone she deserves all of the gingerbread cookies.

Luci Ramirez
Interiorscapes Specialist

A native of Chicago’s Southwest suburbs, Luci worked in NYC’s environmental nonprofit sector bringing access to local food via farmers markets and community gardens. Inspired by her work in NYC and time apprenticing on a tropical farm in Puerto Rico, she moved back to Chicagoland to work in urban farming, interior plant care and exterior landscaping account management. Luckily for us, she fell in love with interiorscapes, tackling challenging spaces and bringing in unique specimens like her favorite: Stromanthe Triostar. “It has a bold pattern with a pink, green, and white tri-color palette that lights up spaces,” Luci says. “They’re a challenge to care for and to get to flower, but that’s what makes it even more enjoyable when it works.” Luci is also a traveler and a music and comedy fan, so if you happen to bump into her at a local show or comedy set feel free to ask her why your fiddleleaf fig looks awful. She will gladly tell you it’s because they are just big jerks.

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Kate Fox
Landscape Design Specialist

As if the fact that Kate is from a Missouri town called Fairdealing wasn’t enough to convince you, this gal is the real deal. With more than a decade of experience in exterior landscaping and container design throughout Chicago we were very excited to add Kate to our team so that she can continue her quest to beautify the city one planter at a time. When Kate isn’t working on trying to sneak David Austin’s Strawberry Hill climbing roses into landscapes throughout Chicagoland, she’s trying to figure out the best way to represent the seasons in hotel and restaurant planters across the city. Random fact: back in her barista days she once made a tall americano with three honeys for Michael Keaton. Who knew Beetlejuice liked his coffee so sweet?

Danny Arias
Landscape Technician and Installation Crew Handyman

If you've seen this Roger's Park native zooming past you, it's probably as a member of the "30 Mile Club" crew of bicycle bros, a dedicated group of cycling enthusiasts who hit the trails along Chicago's lake shore. An avid outdoorsman, Danny worked at the beloved Gethsemane Garden Center for over five years before joining our team, and his annual cycle of coming alive most when spring flowers start popping continues. When he's not planting patios or digging into his tool kit to execute interior and exterior plant installations, you'll find him with his trusty sidekick Nelly, a poodle-shih tzu mix who has him wrapped around her paw.

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Zachary Senn
Plant Care Technician

Regulars to the Lincoln Park Conservatory might recognize Zachary from his previous post leading educational and interpretative activities about plants and ecology, or if you try to imagine this guy as a baby you might recognize him from an OshKosh B'Gosh ad that plucked him for stardom after he won a local Most Beautiful Baby contest. Still pretty cute if we do say so ourselves, Zachary is a devout horticulturist who loves Begonias of all sizes and types, particularly his Begonia Ferox. When not taking care of his plants or yours, you'll find him tending to his aquariums, brewing up a batch of mead or cycling around the city digging in the crates to beef up his record collection.

Olena Hanchevska
Floral Designer

A romantic at heart, this native of Lviv, Ukraine, designs with love on the mind. After five years working in NYC as a lead floral designer for a wedding and event company, Olena followed her true love to Chicago. As part of our floral team at B&B, she now applies her amorous approach to delicate designs for our beloved restaurant and hotel clients as well as star-crossed wedding couples. Outside of our design studio, you'll find Olena channeling the Romantic era with her nose in a book, crafting a painting or sculpting stone.

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Julie Fasano
Bookkeeper & Office Manager

This self-described ‘suburban mom’ balances keeping our motley crew in line with raising two grade schoolers while also learning all the hip text-slang needed to communicate to her eldest son away at college. IJBOL! Julie lends her experience as a client relations director and office manager to Bottle & Branch, and in turn we applaud her for keeping her fiddle leaf figs alive in her home. Julie is a fiend for fall and all it brings: cozy sweaters, colorful leaves, bonfires, Halloween, apple orchards and football. Fun fact, fraternal twins run in her family, with four sets of living twins on just her Mom’s side, which means at the holidays it’s not just the eggnog that has her seeing double. 🥁

Want to work with us?

While we are not always actively hiring, we are always looking to meet passionate plant and floral superstars who might be perfect for a role either existing or yet to be created! Please drop us a line here and tell us why Bottle & Branch would be a good fit for you.

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