Meet the Team
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.
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.
Florist & Lead Wedding Designer
With over a decade of floral experience, this Missouri native landed in Chicago on a whim nine years ago, and has been working with Bottle & Branch for the past six years, including time as a plant technician before settling into her current position crafting beautiful arrangements for many a Chicago restaurant and hotel, as well as guiding local brides on their quest to create the perfect Big Day. Katie is a natural-born overachiever, graduating high school a year early and spending the following six months living in Norway, traveling through Europe and volunteering in Nepal. Now back in Chicago, when she’s not turning flowers into gorgeous arrangements, you might catch Katie and her beautiful family hanging out on the lakefront or checking out neighborhood parks, soaking up all of the seasons for inspiration.
Known affectionately to our work family as “D,” Demetrius has spent the majority of his life in Chicago, leaving his birthplace of Louisiana as a baby D. That would explain why cold winters don’t phase him: “It’s my favorite season because I don’t have to deal with the heat and Christmas decorations make me happy.” We love that he still feels that way after two seasons of helping deck the halls with our holiday crew, pitching in to tackle any task we throw at him. A Jack of all trades, D has logged time as a prep cook, cabinet maker, retail clerk and now as our go-to guy when any team member needs a hand. In return, we make sure to save all alocasias we wind up with after jobs, knowing D has dibs on his favorite plant, or as he calls them “big floppy elephant ears.”
Delivery Driver, Plant Technician and Utility Player
Bottle & Branch was lucky to scoop up Tommy in 2022 when he moved to Chicago from California. Before you go thinking he’s just a silly surfer dude, please know he’s originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota, so these Chicago winters are not going to stand between him and you getting your flowers on time. Tommy is a man of many talents who has worked as a winemaker, graphic designer, mailman and line cook but these days he’s happy to geek out over weirdo flowers and plants, particularly his favorite, the Cactus Dahlia (“Have you seen these things? Are you freakin’ kidding me??”) His favorite season is summer when he can go swimming, ride his bike and wear shorts at night. Don’t let him fool you, we have seen him wear shorts in winter.
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.
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.
A college research trip via Florida Atlantic University took Kathleen from her home state to Chicago, where she fell in love with the architecture and the food, leading her to make the move to our city shortly after school. Here she pursued an Urban Agriculture education through the Chicago Botanical Gardens Apprenticeship Program, started a small incubator farm business and became involved with food justice initiatives including joining the non-profit organization Plant Chicago. Kathleen’s true loves of the plant world include orchids, moss and tillandsia, all of which remind her of her humid home state. If you’re lucky enough to have her as your plant tech, ask Kathleen to share her survival tale of “the dumbest and most dangerous hike” she’s ever done, a story involving Machu Picchu, train tracks and maybe or maybe not an alpaca.
Landscape Design Specialist
This diehard Chicagoan been working in the green industry on both the retail and wholesale side since he was 16 years old, and after we got to know Mike during his days at the Chicago outpost of CJ Fiore, one of our favorite landscaping nursery wholesalers, we were excited to welcome him on board as our go-to guy for residential and commercial landscape design. When Mike isn’t figuring out a way to work in his favorite plant, Baptisia Australis, into your landscape, you’ll find him playing guitar on the weekends for many a wedding and corporate event near you. Side note: Mike also is ambidextrous, a breakdancer, raised turtles for 4-H and once spent a summer scalping Cubs tickets with his uncle at Wrigley. Go Sox!
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?
Bookkeeper & HR Coordinator
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. 🥁