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Amanda Nicolai AIFD, CFD, ICPF, ICD Wins Designer of the Year at Illinois State Florists' Association Retreat

[Carterville, IL] — In an outstanding display of creativity and skill, Amanda Nicolai AIFD, CFD, ICPF, ICD has been named the ISFA 2024 Designer of the Year at the recent Illinois State Florists' Association (ISFA) Design Retreat Weekend. Nicolai, earned first place in both the 'Sympathy' and 'Flowers to Wear' categories, propelling her to the top overall position in the competition.

The ISFA Design Retreat Weekend, held annually, is an event that gathers talented floral designers to compete, learn, and share their passion for floral artistry. This year's competition was tough, with participants showcasing exceptional skill and creativity across the three categories.

Nicolai's designs stood out for their unique combination of texture, color, and emotional resonance, particularly in the 'Sympathy' category, where her arrangement was praised for its ability to convey deep sentiment and beauty. In the 'Flowers to Wear' category, Nicolai impressed the judges with her innovative approach to wearable floral art, blending fashion and flora in a breathtaking creation.

In addition to her victories, Nicolai achieved a remarkable second-place finish in the coveted Judi Borah Land of Lincoln Cup.

"Amanda's achievements at this year's ISFA Design Retreat are a testament to her exceptional talent, dedication, and vision as a floral designer," said Jonathan Reiman President of the Illinois State Florists' Association. "Her work not only captivates and inspires but also elevates the art of floral design. We are proud to have such a talented artist within our ranks and look forward to seeing her future creations."

Nicolai's success at the ISFA Design Retreat is a significant milestone in her career.  With her comprehensive list of designations, including AIFD (American Institute of Floral Designers), CFD (Certified Floral Designer), ICPF (Illinois Certified Professional Florist), and ICD (Illinois Certified Designer), Nicolai continues to push the boundaries of floral design, earning her well-deserved recognition. 

To say Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery and Garden Center is proud of all of Nicolai’s accomplishments is an understatement.  We are very proud that she continues to share her successes with all our clients.  Countryside Flower Shop is happy to spread sunshine with flowers, designed beautifully by our team of floral designers, including Amanda Nicolai, AIFD, CFD, ICPF, ICD and 2024 ISFA Designer of the Year.

About the Illinois State Florists' Association:
The Illinois State Florists' Association (ISFA) is dedicated to advancing the art and knowledge of the floral industry. Through education, networking, and competitions, ISFA supports florists at all levels of their career, fostering a community of passionate and skilled professionals. For more information, visit

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