SYCAMORE – When Tiffany Burdick isn't working her full-time job at an agricultural lending firm, she's creating dozens of flower bouquets for weddings in the kitchen of her Sycamore home.
Burdick was recently recognized for her work. In July, she joined 49 other people at the American Institute of Floral Designers symposium in Chicago to become certified floral designers, a feat that 143 florists attempted this year, according to the institute.
During the symposium, florists had to create five floral designs in less than four hours. Burdick created a flower hairpiece, basket arrangement, bridesmaid bouquet, asymmetrical arrangement and a duplicative arrangement.
"It's always different once you know you're doing it for a test, but once I got into it, I was fine," Burdick said. "I had previous experience as a student and knew how the pressure would feel and how the atmosphere would be."
Burdick has been to these types of competitions before. In 2005, she traveled to Seattle for an AIFD symposium as a student. She also attended a symposium in Kansas City in 2009.
Burdick has been in the floral industry since 2001. As the owner of The Petal Boutique in Sycamore, she has been interested in flowers for as long as she can remember.
Burdick typically provides floral services for between 15 and 20 events per year. This year, she is creating floral arrangements for 27 weddings.
"I design everything myself," she said. "The one person who helps me the most is my mom. She helps me process the flowers and get deliveries."
Burdick's mother, Nikki, doesn't mind that her daughter has taken over her entire kitchen with flowers. Nikki Burdick even helps her daughter unbox the flowers when they are shipped from a wholesaler and strips the flowers for her.
"Sometimes I enjoy watching her create things," Nikki Burdick said. "I don't think I've ever not liked something she's done. We're proud of what she does."
While becoming a certified floral designer is not required to run a floral business, Tiffany Burdick said she wanted the achievement to market herself. It also doesn't hurt, she said.
"I wanted it for my own personal goals," she said. "For me, it's important to have and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. The bonus is to have the certification to show everybody else I'm qualified to do what I do."