To Top

Meet Mary Simmons of Persephone Floral Atelier in Hyde Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Simmons.

Mary, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Flowers have always been in the background of my life and I always knew I wanted to do something creative when I grew up. I studied English and Painting in college, but when I graduated I didn’t know how to support myself on that. Eventually I found myself working at a law firm and arranging flowers for friend’s events on the side–a light bulb went off. Once I realized that I wanted to be a florist, it was just a matter of having the courage to do it. I spent a good while doubting myself, but when I had my daughter it hit me that it may never happen. I didn’t want to regret anything, so I decided to go for it.

Rather than go work for someone else, I opted to start my own company so I could keep my schedule flexible. I often pause and think how crazy that decision was, I knew I could make beautiful arrangements but not how to reach clients. It’s been incredible how well it worked out, though, Persephone just grows every day. I can’t express how grateful I am for it; I’m able to spend time with my daughter, I get to be creative, and I get work with the best people (other vendors and my clients).

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I’ve been in business for about a year and a half, but I often feel as though the first year was such a learning experience, it doesn’t even count. I can’t point to any real disasters, but I think most business owners can relate to the emotional roller coaster that it is. My emotions used to be much more tethered to its success. When I was busy, I was on top of the world. When a few weeks would go by with a job, I would be miserable. Now I’m better at appreciating down time. Persephone is still growing and not exactly where I want it to be eventually, but I’m more confident that I’ll get there. The most important lesson I’ve learned is to compartmentalize work and my personal life. That has been a huge for me as a business owner and a mom–to learn when to work and when NOT to work.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Persephone Floral Atelier – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Persephone is a floral design studio that specializes in fine art floral design for weddings and events. “Fine art floral design” is not a term anyone else uses that I’m aware of, I borrowed it from the fine art photography movement. People often describe my work as organic, wild, whimsical, or garden-style; I don’t mind those associations at all, but I wanted a way of describing my company that expresses the essence of what Persephone is; at its core Persephone arrangements are works of art. The Persephone event philosophy can be boiled down to three words: bespoke, local, and intimate. Bespoke because each design is crafted with the couple’s individual vision in mind. Local because we work with local flower farmers whenever possible (building my business around sustainable practices is definitely the thing I’m most proud of). Intimate because I look at my job as creating an environment where people can come together, connect, and make lasting memories. At the end of the day, we live in a city full of amazing florists and people have so many options. My clients come to me for many reasons, either they like my arranging style, they want locally grown flowers, or they like being able to have it so personalized. My clients tend to either know exactly what they want or they want me to create something I’m passionate about, but across the board, they all want something unique and personalized, and I love creating that for them.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Big changes are coming, although I don’t want to say too much before anything is set in stone. I’ll just say I’m looking for a new studio. I’m growing so fast and I need a space that can accommodate that. I’m very excited about it! With a bigger space, I’d like to start teaching classes geared towards both professionals and amateurs.


  • All my prices are customized for the project, but pricing starts at $2,000. A typical small wedding (100 guests) is usually $3,500.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Studio 29 Photography
Laetitia Photographie
Summer Leigha Photography

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in