I love flowers, real, live, growing flowers. However, I recently learned that silk flowers can be very important. For example, when the live plant I bought dies time after time because there is just not enough light where I want to place it. Or when a certain array of colors will add the perfect decorator touch and the real flower is out of season. The Silk Thumb, has a long standing reputation for providing beautiful, high quality silk flowers. The Silk Thumb’s owner Julie Brugioni has received so much attention for the work she does, I was curious to see what it is that makes her work so special.
I met Julie at her shop/studio where she meets with customers by appointment only. I was charmed by the shop and by Julie. Julie told me that her journey to this current location began when she was sixteen, in high school, and needed a job. She worked for the previous owner through high school and college, interned with The Silk Thumb and received college credit and really fell in love with the business.
The previous owner took Julie under her wing and began bringing her to North Shore homes. This is where she learned the trade of floral design, the art of picking up the colors and feel in someone’s space - colors in rugs, drapery and paintings, and creating the same “feel” for the arrangement that the home has. These arrangements are something beautiful that will be appreciated everyday.
When the woman she apprenticed with retired in 2007, Julie purchased the business and struggled through a downturned economy from 2008 to 2011. Julie explained that, “I focused more on corporate and commercial clients showing them the cost benefits of using faux flowers and plants versus real. My networking and ties to the community along with a quality product kept me from shutting my doors. In March 2014 I closed our long time storefront (Silk Thumb established in 1980) and moved the business to Highwood, which has been a blessing.”
She has found the larger space and by appointment hours have helped her to use time more efficiently. This was she is able to see more client’s, go to their home or business for a consultation or they can come to the studio in Highwood with a container in which Julie can create a display.
Julie’s client’s range from residential to corporate…. and she finds everyday is a surprise.
Listening to Julie’s stories, and observing the beautiful flowers and arrangements, I gained a new appreciation for silk flowers. They are ultimately very economical but most importantly if someone is allergic to the real thing, they can enjoy the beauty of flowers without suffering.
Julie goes on to tell that, “Currently, I am working on two large floral arrangements for Northwestern University Seminary graduation Friday May 13th. They recently found out that their keynote speaker is allergic to fresh flowers. The Silk Thumb is coming to the rescue!”
Looking at the work Julie does, it is not surprising that she was chosen to collaborate with Chicago Interior Designer and HGTV Host, Tiffany Brooks of Tiffany Brooks Interiors to decorate the 2016 HGTV Smart Home.
Julie decorated the home from top to bottom with her silk floral arrangements and plants and the episode debuted April 18 on HGTV. Julie’s blog
Julie does tons of residential spaces and also works with Lettuce Entertain You restaurants including Beatrix, Three Dots and a Dash, and the newly opened Summer House in O’Hare Airport as well several Chicago law firms and more. I've included a link of photos to these projects as well as a residential pool area she worked on just to give you an idea of her work.
Julie is also the Highwood Chamber of Commerce president and very active in the community. And she is expecting her first child soon.
Silk, It Makes $ense
Your premier resource for silk floral design, plants and trees for commercial spaces and homes.
The SIlk Thumb, LTD
6 Walker Avenue
Highwood, IL 60040
By Appointment Only
View the Silk Thumb Gallery of photos
To schedule a Corporate or Home Consultation email [email protected]
Photos:B. Keer unless otherwise noted