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Meet Julie Brugioni of The Silk Thumb in Highwood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Brugioni.

Julie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My story with The Silk Thumb began when I was only 16 years old, learning the ins and outs of the luxury silk floral and plant business after school, on weekends and holidays. After high school, I attended Northern Illinois University and interned at The Silk Thumb, applying a natural talent and eye for design while working hard to learn about the business end of floral design.

In 2007 I purchased the business from the former owner who was retiring. My dedication, networking and skill in this craft has solidified me as one of Chicago’s expert in high-end floral and plant design.

I am very fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful products and my amazing clients.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Smooth…ha! I bought the business in the fall of 2007. If you recall, America, went through one of the worst economic downfalls. Small businesses were closing their doors and many many people lost their jobs. The high end floral industry was not top of mind for residential clients. I struggled tremendously until about 2009. During that time, I transitioned the business from its historic residential clients to corporate and hospitality.

I networked in Chicago a ton and talked about how realistic faux plants and arrangements can save businesses money. There was still a need to have an inviting warm space for clients. Using permanent flowers or leasing arrangements from us can create a beautiful space and save money by not having to maintain and replace their live plants. We still create custom silk floral centerpieces for residential clients but my primary business is focused on creating solutions for commercial properties.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Silk Thumb – what should we know?
We are a faux floral & plant design firm utilizing the world’s most realistic permanent plants on the market. We will come out to your space and discuss with you a design landscape which will be implemented from concept to installation.

Silk/faux/permanent flowers and plants are a great solution for cutting costs, windowless rooms, creating spaces, barriers, hiding wires, second homes, and adding color and warmth to your business. The Silk Thumb serves as an ultimate showcase of the latest trends in silk florals and plants.

What sets us apart are a few things;

I visit industry trade shows annually to keep up with trends and offer my client’s the latest and greatest in faux plants, trees and flowers.

For nearly 4 decades now, The Silk Thumb has worked closely with homeowners, business owners, architects and interior designers to create the perfect natural environment in sustainable, high quality faux flowers and plants that simply cannot be found at national big box stores like Target, Hobby Lobby or Michael’s.

My passion, experience and love for the business is visible in my work.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Creating a comfortable, personable and professional environment for my client’s is super important.

Understanding and listening to what they like and expect from the final outcome.

Being organized and honest is also essential.


  • We offer a large selection of flowers and plants. For example; a simple orchid plant can run $60
  • A larger tree 6 feet plus can start at $300 and up
  • Single stems vary from $5-$26
  • Large custom dining centerpieces can run between $250-$500 depending on vase and scale of arrangement

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Julie Brugioni

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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