After growing up in Chicago and earning a degree from the Art Institute of Chicago, Cornelia moved to Manhattan. She then began a series of apprenticeships in floral design with leaders in the field. Legendary event design firm Avi Adler, now also David Stark Design and Production, appointed Cornelia as a primary floral consultant in 1999. There Cornelia relished the experience of working on events internationally and in the U.S. noted for their originality and lavishness. In 2003, she founded Cornelia McNamara Flowers.
Her unique vision was recognized when, in 2009, she was one of six people to be interviewed for the position of Chief White House Florist. Her experiences at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue left her inspired to raise the bar for both inventive design and social responsibility in her business.
Whether it be a classic wedding or a rap superstar’s house party, a cultural gala, or a dramatic product launch, Cornelia’s remarkable stamp on any event is met with uniform delight. Her clientele rely upon her insider’s knowledge, discretion and effortless talent.
Working in Chicago has allowed the company to expand not only creatively but consciously as well, offering clients the opportunity to donate flowers that aren’t adopted by guests to charities of their choice, harnessing the energy of flowers to comfort those in need. Cornelia McNamara Flowers is also a working member of The Chicago Honey Co-op, (an urban bee farm and community garden in the impoverished neighborhood of Lawndale). By raising crops of her own specialty flowers at the Honey Co-op, using beeswax votives at her events and bringing honey to market, McNamara’s sustainable approach to design is increasingly authentic.