Beautiful floral accessories at an affordable price? It sounds like a dream come true, but that’s not the best part of this story. The flower crowns and bows that I’m talking about aren’t the flimsy, gaudy ones you see at chain stores. They are vibrant, eye-catching and high-quality, thanks to a young, passionate Phoenix designer.

Elizabeth Chung is not your average 21-year-old. Sure, like many of her peers, she goes to school (Arizona State University), she studies (classical piano), and she works (as a waitress). But for Chung, the list of responsibilities and commitments does not stop there. Despite her busy schedule of classes, rehearsals, and work shifts, she has found a way to dedicate time to her growing line of accessories, Graceful Gardens.

It all started in early 2013. After she began noticing flower crowns on fashion blogs, Chung was interested in buying a few. However, when she saw the expensive price tags, she opted to save money and make one herself, a project that proved fun and rewarding. It wasn't long before her friends noticed her new headwear, and soon, Chung discovered she could sell her creations that she was so passionate about making. It was then that Graceful Gardens was born.

For the past year and a half, Chung has been working hard to develop her business and spread the word about her unique accessories. She has quite the variety of products, as she creates flower crowns, ribbon crowns, bun crowns, bows, and lapel buttons for men. In addition to networking at events in Phoenix, she accepts custom orders on her website. After she graduates, she plans to focus on expanding Graceful Gardens to include a bridal line and children’s line.

As for the name, she chose “Graceful Gardens” because it reflects the delicate and elegant essence of the accessories, all of which are handmade with the highest quality silk flowers. “Flowers are so graceful and timeless,” she says. “I want to make really high quality products that are beautiful and not so expensive.” No two pieces are the same and she charges a fair price considering the quality of the materials and the time and effort she puts into her creations.

That being said, the coolest thing about her work is that she does it all by herself. Depending on the materials she uses, one crown can take up to four hours to complete, but it’s time well spent for Chung. When asked about the best parts of her work, she says, “The personal reward of being able to do something that I love, and being able to see the customers’ reactions when they get their piece.”

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By Rachael Bouley