Meet: Flourish & Mill
Meet Andrew and Allysa of Flourish & Mill in Chicago, IL. He builds, she beautifies. From metal to wood, calligraphy to furniture, this couple is the "jack-and-jill-of-all-trades," and we're simply amazed! Read their amazing journey below.
During their short engagement while wedding planning, Andrew & Allysa dove into DIY projects, flexing their creative muscles. This ignited a flame that could not be tamed!
After our wedding we started with Christmas presents for family, just hand-making stuff, Allysa says. People would say 'I saw you did something like this for your wedding, can you do this for me too!?'. It was a domino effect - opportunity after opportunity came.
Another inquiry was for a huge 6ft. x 12 ft. metal world map. Andrew tells me, This was one of our first big projects. Watching our skills & creativity seamlessly come together is so wonderful. We did bite off a little more than we could chew at the beginning, but the results for each project, including this map, were epic!
Wanting to meet the needs of their customers time & time again, both pressed on, making their passion project Flourish & Mill into a small business.
Watching our skills & creativity
seamlessly come together
is so wonderful.
Andrew & Allysa are the definition of hard-working. They both wear many hats, and as multi-faceted creatives with a family, I was amazed at what they accomplish and how they steward their time, talents, and treasures. When they initially launched, before having their two children, Allysa worked a job & managed to launch Flourish & Mill with her husband. By day Andrew works full time in machining/engineering at a local company with his dad, who's been in business for 25 years. He utilizes the cool, crazy machinery at his workplace for creative license and applies his skills to all their artistic creations! Both also serve and volunteer at their local church.
When I asked them about "growing pains" in their business, time management naturally came up. Both tell me, "All of this became hard to juggle, and when people would order stuff it was hard to say no at first, because we simply loved what we were doing. You have to learn to balance the business perspective and keep that lens on, constantly wrestling how do we make money vs. balance building a portfolio? How do you deal with the tension of trying new things which take effort vs. tapping into your strengths which are more effortless?
After talking with Andrew & Allysa, it becomes evidently clear they have two core values- both deeply value family & a strong work ethic. We started talking about how they grew up.
Allysa tells us - "On my side, I grew up with a single mom, who had to work long days, but still spent time with us and supported my sister and me. Money was always tight, so we had to learn how to work hard at a young age. It amazes me, though, how my mom was able to work very full weeks, make homemade meals, deal with 2 teenage girls, serve others, and find time to make little family adventures. At sixteen, I learned responsibility on another level, since I had to get a job to pay for my phone, car, clothes, etc., while still flourishing in school/sports teams/serving at Harvest, etc."
Andrew’s family immigrated to America from Romania in the 80s, and had to hit the ground running with zero money. Andrew and his sister were both born in Chicago, but his parents were adamant in stressing hard work and excelling in school. Andrew would even work at his dad’s machine shop as a kid on the weekends. For them, hard work wasn’t a choice - it just had to be done.
Allysa continues - "With both our parents (my mom is first generation Hungarian too), we think that immigrant 'survival mode' was really evident. Another part to that was always improvising or learning how to do everything yourself...EVERYTHING. I think that really formed the 'jack-of- all-trades' attitude we both have. You know what they say..."Jack (& Jill) of all trades, master of none, though often times better than a master of one!"
"We're both curious people, by nature, and we are always wondering how things work and fit together, in a broader way. This plays a lot into how we approach things and think about issues, big and small," says Andrew.
Both saw their parents work hard to make something from nothing. This experience during their upbringing gives them confidence to take on projects, even when they're not always certain how get from point A to point B. Their curiosity, combined with excellent creativity & exuding confidence, makes them beautiful creators with a flourishing business!
We've seen their kids on Instagram. It's awesome how they integrate their family into what they do as Flourish & Mill (their precious, ya'll!). Andrew & Allysa tell us, "Like we learned from our parents, we genuinely hope that our two kids can learn from us lessons of hard work, of appreciating beauty, and of serving the Lord in everything.
We genuinely hope that
our two kids can learn from
us lessons of hard work,
of appreciating beauty, and of
serving the Lord in everything.
Their two-year-old girl is curious about everything, constantly asking questions! Allysa mentions how her daughter loves to sit at the table while she works on calligraphy. Her daughter sits with a pad of paper & pen, scribbling circles, attempting to make something similar to what her momma is working on.
Similarly, their daughter loves to go to Andrew’s machine shop and press all the buttons. She’ll bring her little play hammer all over the house and say “i’m working” or “like dada does” or something along those lines!
"She takes in everything that we do and imitates it all, good and bad. She studies what we do and mimics it all." Children learn so much, simply by watching.
Andrew & Allysa believe it’s never too young to start teaching/exposing your kids and having conversations with them about how things work and how to “do it yourself." We think this is awesome! Additionally, they feel children are to be cherished.
Allysa tells us, "I personally never wanted to be the mom who forgets all about her kids to build her own empire. I’m not saying that it’s bad to aspire to be successful. (On the contrary, I think the Lord blesses those who live for and love Him.) However, I do not wish to neglect my children, in the process of growing our business." She tries to take the time to listen to their questions. She sits on the ground, at their level, explaining things in a way they can understand.
On the other hand, she tells us, "I never want my kids to be my idols. I have always longed to have children of my own to pour into and train them in godliness and equip them well for the future that lies ahead of them. Our children are ultimately the Lord’s. We hold them with open hands. They are one of the biggest ways we are able to literally “build” God’s Kingdom. Being a parent has opened our eyes in a new way. We've seen the Fatherhood of God from the perspective of parenting."
Our children are ultimately the Lord's.
We hold them with open hands.
They are one of the biggest ways
we are able to literally
build God's Kingdom.
In their own words, this is at the heart of it all. "Since our wedding, we’ve locked Romans 12:9-21, with emphasis on 12:12 - "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer" into our memories & hold fast to it even now.
Flourish & Mill somewhat happened one step after the next. We honestly didn’t have a crazy vision for it from the beginning. We simply kept saying “yes” to people who asked us for custom projects. We’re still amazed when we look at where it’s come, since we started the business and gave it a name.
Flourish & Mill is really just an extension of them. Their name means this - “Flourish” because Allysa has a background in calligraphy (flourish is a calligraphy term for the beautiful swirls and loops!), and “Mill” because Andrew works with steel (a mill is where steel comes from, and it’s also the name of a metal-cutting tool). In essence, they say, "it all boils down to beauty & hard work. The two weren't designed by God to be mutually exclusive!"
It all boils down to beauty & hard work.
The two weren't designed
by God to be mutually exclusive!
"Whether we are building a huge project, designing calligraphy prints, or making metal signs - we hope that by the products we sell and the interactions we have - we can emulate those 'marks of a true Christian' that Paul is writing to the Romans."
Andrew & Allysa are intentional - diligent - hard working people who love family, and in every aspect of their business, take these values seriously.
We love Flourish & Mill not just because their creations are seriously stunning and intentionally hand crafted with precision, but because of their values. They are stewards (or managers) of all God's entrusted them! Join us as we pray for their business/family and the opportunities ahead!