Meet Chelsie Ardelan: Owner of Lavender & Lilie Design

Chelsie is a talented florist, she started her passion when she was in high school under amazing guidance of some amazing people nearly 10 years ago. While this idea of starting her own floral company started with Chelsie. Her success has all been made possible by a wonderful “team” of people who have come along side of her with mentorship and support. Besides owning her own business, Chelsie is also a mom and a military spouse. Her husband is in the Navy, they are currently stationed in Norfolk, Virginia.

When did you start your business & what made you decide this career? I started my business three years ago after having worked in the floral industry for about ten years. I started working in a floral shop when I was seventeen. I worked through college 4 days a week with an amazing group of people. I found a passion in creating beautiful pieces for customers and being surrounded by my co-workers. They had so much experience and knowledge to share- I just soaked it up. I loved watching them make gorgeous pieces and for me it really struck something. At nearly every big moment in life there’s flowers. Your baby’s birth, wedding day, birthdays, and so on. For me- this was my chance to make something that was memorable and leave my mark. After having children and working for others for so long I wanted to branch out to make a schedule that worked for my family and allowed my kids to be in it. My girls love creating and I get such a kick when my oldest daughter tells me she wants to work with flowers, just like mom!

Where have you lived & what has been your favorite base so far? This is our first duty station. Both my husband and I grew up in Illinois, relocated to Northern Virginia for a bit where he received his Masters degree at George Mason. He worked full time at Novant Health System before he was laid off and we moved back for a year to IL. While there he decided to follow the military career path, something he’s always wanted to do (I mean always wanted, there’s a paper he wrote from third grade saying so!) After OCS we ended up here in Norfolk! We actually love it here. We miss family and while being close to home had it’s benefits we have enjoyed our time here very much.

What is the biggest challenge of being a military spouse & pursuing your career? There are so many challenges. My career, while important, has had to take a bit of a back seat. Duty nights, deployments, all of that means I need to find extra help with our children when I’m working. I can’t set up a wedding with three kids under five. Add in having very little support in the area and you’ve got an interesting challenge to tackle. The first year I started my business my husband was home maybe 3 months out of the year, maybe. My mother in-law, Mom, and Grandma really became my assistants. They’re great, they can’t do the flowers but they can follow orders and they’re all quick learners.

What are your hobbies? I am an avid reader, I love reading when I can’t get five seconds to (in a five person household with three dogs this feels like never). I also love to make cakes, I’m not good at the decorating part but my kids love to ask for off the wall birthday cakes. For my daughter’s second birthday she requested a cake shaped like an onion, I feel like that was Shrek inspired. One of these days I’ll take a cake decorating class until then I’ll continue my album of semi pinterest fails.

What are some of the benefits of being a military spouse as a business owner? Being a military spouse and business owner has really made me up the task management side of things. I’ve become much more efficient with my business and schedule not having close family to fall back on for help anytime I need. It’s been hard but relocating out to VA from IL has required me to start putting myself and my business out there more. I’m breaking into a new area and that means my game needs to be A++.

If you could, what advice would you give yourself when you first started your business? Know your value. Believe that what you’re providing is worth having. If you don’t believe 100% in what you’re selling, doing, making then how can you expect someone else to want to buy it?

Photo credits:

bridal shot photo to Cory Hammons (Altamira Film Co.)

Check out Lavender and Lilies Design:




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