Since blowing on to 95th Street a year ago, Aimee Bachmann has become Oak Lawn’s official connoisseur of good taste.
The proprietress of , Bachmann knows how to take customers’ vague ideas and transform them into fabulous “wraps” (bouquets wrapped in cellophane) and floral arrangements.
When Bachmann opened her shop at 5419 W. 95th St., she brought 20 years of ground-up experience from running floral shops for other people to being the Midwest buyer for a major online flower distributor, serving such high-profile accounts as the Minnesota Vikings and Disney World.
It’s with this knowledge that she’s survived an economy that has claimed many small business victims, as well as saving many husbands who would otherwise be shopping for anniversary flowers at the supermarket.
“People trust me to put something together for them with a certain price point in mind,” Bachmann said. “I ask what they like and don’t like. Then I pick out the best flowers I have in the cooler for them.”
Bachmann discovered her passion for flowers when she was 14 growing up in St. Bede’s.
“I was the kid my dad would give a twenty-dollar bill to and send to the local florist to pick out something for my mom’s birthday,” she said. “I actually remember this one bouquet for Mother’s Day. It was so amazing, just the colors and texture. I was inspired.”
This is Bachmann’s second Christmas on 95th Street and she’s stepped up her game offering a wide selection of traditional and unconventional blossoms, including roses, lilies, hydrangeas and bi-color poinsettias, including a red and white number called "Splash."
“I try to do unique stuff like lime green roses or white roses with just a hint of red,” Bachmann said. “I like having stuff that’s different. You can go to Jewel and get the carnation wraps. I’d rather not be Jewel.”
Windy City Flower Girls carries many flowers from local growers. Bachmann buys her orchids from a grower in Villa Park, and her poinsettias in nearby Plainfield.
“I go out there and personally hand pick them,” Bachmann said. “A lot of the poinsettias in the stores are grown in Canada. By the time they get through customs they’re pretty beat up and don’t last very long.”
The question she’s most asked around the holidays is what to do with poinsettias on Dec. 26.
“People don’t want to spend money on a throwaway item,” Bachmann said. “If you take care of the plant you can enjoy it for several months. The unique ones are fun to keep around the house because it makes it a little more non-traditional.”
Windy City Flower Girls fast facts:
- Bachmann once sat in on a Mickey Mouse-autograph signing class while on a backstage tour of Disney World in her former life as a corporate floral buyer.
- Besides flowers for all occasions, Windy City Flower Girls offers hundreds of trendy gift items for under $20, including wine bottle coasters with cute sayings like, “Drink ‘til he’s cute”; fragrant soy candles, moss purses and Girly Girl stationery.
- Store display shelves and other furnishings like the hanging star lights, were purchased from IKEA for just $1,000.
- Looking for a girls’ night out? Sign up for one of Windy City Flower Girls’ group classes by appointment. Bring your favorite adult beverage and learn how to design your own floral arrangements. Bachmann doesn’t let anyone leave class with a bad arrangement.
- Bachmann is most touched by notes from her customers, including a recent letter from a customer thanking her for her floral arrangements for his mother’s funeral.
- Are poinsettias poisonous to pets? “Pets shouldn’t be eating any kind of plants.”
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