Anne Dickson’s Time to Fleur-ish

With an unexpected jump from fashion to florals, Anne Dickson shares how she found her passion and launched her brand, Fox and the Fleur.

Anne Dickson arranges flowers in an urn.

Flower: Tell us about yourself and your earliest experience with flowers.

Anne Dickson: I was born and raised in Pittsburgh but, despite being in the heart of the city, our neighborhood had a small-town feel with a deep sense of community. My mother and father were avid gardeners, and we would spend weekends planting bulbs, raking leaves, and building lattices. Our yard was modest but always bursting with colorful blooms. After college, I moved to New York City to study interior design at Pratt Institute only to learn that fate had other plans for me. I was offered an amazing full-time job in the marketing department at Tommy Hilfiger! In my two years there, I helped promote fashion shows, new product lines, and company initiatives nationwide. I was involved in so many wild projects—fragrance lines with Beyoncé, a collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld, and a fashion show with Pharrell Williams, to name a few. From there, I went to Dolce & Gabbana and served in a similar capacity. It was a super exciting and intense time.

You later made quite a leap from fashion to flowers!

Yes, a lot happened in my life between my career in fashion and my move into flowers—mainly the sudden passing of my father. That loss really changed me. I was newly married to my husband Andrew (also from Pittsburgh), and we decided we wanted to be closer to our families as we embarked on raising our own.

Organic flower arrangements sit next to a candlelit table.
A candlelit vignette from a cocktail party at the Aspinwall shop. Anne frequently hosts events and workshops to engage the community and enable patrons to experience the Fox and the Fleur brand and those of the artisans it represents.

I’m sorry about your loss, but it sounds like there is a “silver lining” story in there somewhere.

There absolutely is! After returning to Pittsburgh and having our second son, we decided to buy a farmhouse on seven acres. I went from working full time in the city to being a full-time mom in the country. It was a big adjustment for me, but I soon discovered a passion for working in my garden. I would spend my days outside with my sons while growing, pruning, and cutting flowers, much like I did as a child. I wanted to share this joy with others, so I would make fresh bouquets to drop off to family and friends, unsolicited and unannounced. One day, a visitor at my mother’s house commented on my arrangements that were on display and asked for the name of her florist. My business began right then and there—humbly and from a deep place of purpose.

Tell me about your brand, Fox and the Fleur. What’s in the name?

We live in an area called Fox Chapel, so there is that kitschy connection! The “fleur” comes in because my mom is French and I love all things French. I also love the masculine/feminine play of the name. It fits perfectly with my family of all boys and my love of all things pretty.

Bags and scarves sit in the corner of a shop.
A cozy corner of the Aspinwall shop is draped with handmade textiles from around the world, including blankets by Scottish designer Paulette Rollo and handsewn bags by Casa Lopez.
Floral wreaths sit on the heads of statues.
Towering bronze statues wear grapevine crowns festooned with fresh flowers including roses, forsythia, and ranunculus. During the COVID shutdown, Anne spread joy throughout the Pittsburgh community when she adorned the “Noble Quartet” of Bach, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, and Galileo who keep watch over the Carnegie Museums.

How did you transition from a home-based business to a brick-and-mortar space?

In 2016, I started the business from inside my home with $1,000 in a bank account. Within a few years, I realized the need for a store presence. We established our first location in Aspinwall in late 2022 and a second location in Sewickley just nine months later. Having a shop allows us to offer a complete sensory experience and immerse others in our world in a way that pretty pictures simply cannot.

Pink roses burst out of a chinoiserie pot.
Massive garden-style arrangements in Chinoiserie-inspired vessels grace a farm table inside the Aspinwall shop. Each week, Anne creates fresh “statement makers” that complement the ever-evolving display of new introductions.

How would you describe your floral style?

Organic. I don’t like to confine or constrain flowers. Their natural form and movement is innately beautiful and linguistic, so I see my role as merely a messenger of what they want to say.

Aside from the flowers, tell us about your wares.

I pride myself on carrying pieces that are created with intention and guided by quality—heritage products that can be passed down for generations. With three sons, I don’t have anything in my house that is too precious to use or display. We have a “dogs-on-the-bed” and “kids-withmuddy-shoes” kind of lifestyle, and I have that same philosophy in my shop.

Anne Dickson, her husband, and three boys pose for a picture in their garden.
(Left to right) Teddy (7), Anne, George (12), Foster (10), and Andrew Dickson in the garden of their Fox Chapel home with Rumi, the family Australian Labradoodle.

You’ve got a floral design business, three sons, and two retail shops, and yet you still find time for community outreach. I’ve seen your “pop-up projects” on social media, and they are amazing! Tell us more about them.

During the COVID shutdown, I started doing temporary floral installations around town inspired by the ones that Lewis Miller does in New York City. I wanted to remind members of our community that beauty abounds even in the darkest, most difficult times. My creations might come out of a trash can, climb up a wall, or wrap around a street sign. The positive reactions they have triggered have been the absolute highlight of my career thus far.

Produced by Margaret Zainey Roux

Photography by Joey Kennedy

See more from Anne Dickson on her website and following her on Instagram.