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Philadelphia's most creative floral studio

Martha Stewart Weddings

I’m very pleased to announce that Sullivan Owen was named one of Martha Stewart Weddings Top 62 Floral Designers in their Spring issue, out now. It’s always exciting to be acknowledged for your hard work and creativity.

I’m very grateful for our clients, current and past who trusted me and my team to do our own creative, original work for your events and so I say thank you to all of you! 

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Martha-Stewart-Weddings-Cover-Spring-2015

SO x Poseybooth + Friends

Poseybooth, Rabbit Rabbit Crew and I recently got together with Love Me Do Photography & Lovely Bride Philly to have some fun and shoot a whole bunch of photos. I'll share photos and Amanda's video of my gown inspired bouquets in the new few weeks but today we're revealing the 3 floral backdrops I designed exclusively for Poseybooth.

Any color combo is possible and there are prices for every budget. To get one for your event is super simple. Just get in touch with the team at Poseybooth to book your booth package and let them know which style you're interested in. They'll take care of the details and we'll make you a fabulous floral photo booth! Bonus points if you can say that 3 times fast.

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Sullivan Owen is HIRING!

*Update* Due to a server issue, all applications received prior to Saturday May 10th were lost. Please ONLY reapply if you applied before Saturday May 10th. Applications received on or after Saturday May 10th have been received. Thank you!

Philadelphia’s most creative and rapidly growing floral design studio is looking to expand its team. There are several opportunities available for the right candidates. We will be accepting resumes via email. We will be conducting interviews quickly and making our hiring decisions fast. Please do NOT call or send additional emails about the open positions. Send a resume and cover letter, with links to your portfolio if applicable, to hello (at) sullivanowen.com.  If you are a good fit, you’ll be contacted for an interview. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified when the positions have been filled. Again, we are a busy delivery studio so please do not call to inquire about the status of your application.

Studio Assistant/Delivery Driver
This is an excellent entry-level opportunity with part-time hours Monday through Friday and the occasional Saturday during wedding season. The position requires approximately 25-28 hours a week, with a schedule of 9am to 2pm during the week and the possibility of some Saturday hours. Ideal candidate must have a valid driver’s license, a clean driving record and be comfortable driving in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Daily tasks include processing bulk flower orders, order taking, packaging orders for delivery, ringing up sales, sending delivery confirmation emails, completing deliveries as well as light errand running, maintaining the studio, restocking shelves and supplies, and light cleaning. This is NOT a floral design position. The candidate may be considered for training for future design opportunities after a 6-month period should they prove to be a good fit.

Part-time Designer
This is the perfect opportunity for a seasoned floral designer to have a flexible schedule in a creative environment with an hourly rate commensurate with experience. The ideal candidate will have a flexible schedule with some Saturday availability and a strong body of work with a versatile design style. The candidate must demonstrate design skills in a practical demonstration during the interview process. Formal design training from an accredited program is preferred. Projects might include execution of wedding orders, delivery and set-up of weddings, completing daily delivery orders during heavy weeks, and the occasional processing of bulk flower purchases. The position requires approximately 21 hours a week, with a part-time schedule of Wednesday through Friday and occasional Saturday hours during wedding season. Successful candidates will be required to sign a non-compete agreement.

Guest Post on The Styled Bride

Check out my new monthly Tips & Tricks post on The Styled Bride. This month we're talking about the Do's and Don'ts of Pinterest! You can find me on Pinterest here.  Here are a few highlights, check out the full post here...

Do: Organize the details of your big day into separate boards (i.e., Fashion, Décor, Floral, Beauty). It’s ok to keep one master board of your favorites, but a board with 300+ images is going to be hard to sort through with your creatives.

Do: Consider this: Most great designers use Pinterest as a portfolio, so pay attention to how much of the designer’s own work they feature vs. how much they pin from other people. (You’ll quickly be able to tell the trendsetters and tastemakers from the followers.) And do remember that when you work with a creative professional, they should be able to find a way to communicate with you and design for you using their own work and ideas.

Don’t: Assume that every design you see on Pinterest will fit into your budget. Remember that Pinterest is a curated version of a designer’s work, a place where they feature their best images and ones that likely represent a fair amount of editorial shoots or over-the-top designs. 

Don’t: Even if you find the most amazing photo of  ____fill in the blank____, don’t bring it to your designer and ask them to copy it. Truly creative and talented people should be designing for you. Instead of asking us to copy our own work or, even worse, someone else’s, let’s talk about what exactly it is you love about that particular design. It’s our job to interpret that information and create something just for you. The most amazing designs usually result from clients giving us a little inspiration and a lot of trust to do our thing!

And be sure to check out The Styled Bride's gorgeous new website, we have some fabulous weddings in the works together this year!

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Valentine's Day is Friday!

There's still time to order your Valentine the most popular flowers in Philadelphia! Choose your palette below and give us a call at 215 964 9790 or shoot an email to hello at sullivanowen.com and we'll get right back to you during our normal business hours.

See what Philly Mag's The Shoppist had to say about the Easiest Valentine's Day Gift Ever here!

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Here's to a fabulous Valentine's Day! SO

Year Three

Today marks three years since this website went live. Of course Adriene and I were working in the studio three days prior to the site going up but no one knew we were there. So today is the date that I officially count as the business anniversary. Every year I think about throwing a grand party to celebrate. I think that’ll probably have to wait till Year Five; fingers crossed there won’t be a polar vortex in two years.

Year Three was full of ups and downs. Despite some personal challenges and growing pains, I would say that I did some of my best work this year. Year Four is looking fantastic and it’s easy to forget the tough times when things are great, but I’ve learned some valuable lessons in the management of my business in 2013.  They are:

  1. Edited for negativity
  2. Edited for misanthropy
  3. Edited for being nihilistic
  4. Edited for general bitchiness

 (Edited by Bridget our web content controller and general happiness enforcer)

In summation, I’d like to say that despite dealing with vicious copyright infringement, proposal theft and website plagiarism, I’m so happy that our clients continue to allow me and the team to keep doing the best work we can for them. Though we are a talented bunch, part of the reason we continue to develop as designers is because our clients trust us to keep amazing them! Thank you clients!
xo,
SO

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Sullivan-Owen-Floral-Design-Philadelphia-Best-Red-Purple

photo of our very first delivery arrangement on February 7, 2011

2 Weeks to Valentine's

Only 2 weeks left till Valentine's Day! It couldn’t be easier to make sure you get the exact flowers you want this Valentine’s Day. We've taken three of your favorite designs and turned them into beautiful floral palettes that we’ll be arranging in our always interesting vase collection. This helps make things easier on your sweetheart, too! Just save and send the image of the flowers you love the most to your special someone and we will take care of all the rest.

Designs start at $100 and delivery is available all around Philly, the surrounding suburbs, and even parts of New Jersey and Delaware. Delivery to your office is preferred because we’ll get your flowers to you earlier in the day and you’ll get to show off just how awesome your honey is! But make sure your sweetheart contacts us ASAP at 215 964 9790; we sold out early last year and expect to do so again this year! 

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Here's to a fabulous Valentine's Day!
SO

Valentine's Day 2014

It couldn’t be easier to make sure you get the exact flowers you want this Valentine’s Day. We've taken three of your favorite designs and turned them into beautiful floral palettes that we’ll be arranging in our always interesting vase collection. This helps make things easier on your sweetheart, too! Just save and send the image of the flowers you love the most to your special someone and we will take care of all the rest.

Designs start at $100 and delivery is available all around Philly, the surrounding suburbs, and even parts of New Jersey and Delaware. Delivery to your office is preferred because we’ll get your flowers to you earlier in the day and you’ll get to show off just how awesome your honey is! But make sure your sweetheart contacts us ASAP at 215 964 9790; we sold out early last year and expect to do so again this year!

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Champagne-Palette-Sullivan-Owen-Philadelphia-Florist-2014
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Holland Day One

To say that our visits today to the Flora Holland auction, a major exporter we use often at Flower School and a 100 year old lilac farm were mind blowing is an understatement. Coupled with the jet lag and too much wine at lunch, my head is literally spinning. 

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Thursday is the quietest day at the auction, which means maybe 15 millions stems are sold as opposed to 20 million. The Flora Holland company is owned by the growers, over 6,000 of them. There is so much product it’s hard to photograph because its all packed together in trolleys that are wheeled in front of the buyers who rapidly purchase the lots they need at the best possible prices and thousands of stems are sold in seconds.We were given a fabulous tour by a staff member and I highly recommend a visit if you are in the flower trade.  

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The logistical systems, rigorous testing for quality and vase life and the principle that the 3rd party auctioneers level the playing field for growers large and small by dictating the minimum prices based on supply and demand are completely fascinating. It also takes a lot of the romance out of flowers, they are a commodity like any other produce here. The offerings were pretty basic-hydrangea, fillers, roses, tulips but again it’s the quiet day. For the NYC florists, the big Wednesday plane loads are bought at auction Monday/Tuesday.  

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Our group then crossed the street where the trolleys of flowers go via a refrigerated conveyer to the major export companies for sorting, packaging and then travel. We saw the vast cold room facility and saw all the blooms destined for the US customers. We saw thousands of perfect hydrangea, super closed peony and what seemed like millions of tulips. The exporters all test the flowers for quality as well. Our group of floral designers and enthusiastic hobbyists didn’t want to leave the cooler but we eventually had to lest we get run over by one of the hundreds of good looking Dutch guys trying to pack up orders. I did feel like I was cheating on my beloved Dutch guys on 28th St.

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Our next stop was in a residential area of Aalsmeer city, the lilac and viburnum farm. I have visited some US growers and I was expecting an open couple of acres with plants. This farm is compact, efficient and a lake divides the two growing areas. A series of buildings, greenhouses and tiny canals are used for the currently growing plants while the plants that have been cut wait in small fields to be shuttled across the lake by flat boats and rested for 2 years before they will be bloomed again. The plants themselves are not dug into the ground but rather rest on beds of rich black soil and in some of the houses they are given water every hour.

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Only 7 employees tend to 120,000 plants each year and each flower is sorted by hand  number of heads, stem length and quality. A machine cuts the stems to length and binds them. Then they are sleeved and sent to auction and direct exporters daily. The owner & grower grew up doing this, his grandfather started the farm and he took over from his father. It was incredibly charming and impressive at the same time. They produce over a million stems each season and rarely replace plants. Their soil comes from the lake and they graft plants to 80 year old root stock. Most surprising to me was the efficient use of space, how they can grow more in smaller houses, it takes no time to move around the property and that they only grow two types of flowers. They prefer to specialize in their plants rather than diversify crops. Together with two other farms, this groups supplies 25% of the market supply and for you florists this lilac is carried at Dutch Flower Line, Harvest, G Page, 28th Street Wholesale, DV and I’m sure Mayesh and Florabundance. I will never look at lilac the same way.

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I have been fascinated with the process of flower distribution since I started designing. I sometimes feel prices are too high for some wholesale flowers but when you see the number of hands that touch each stem and move them you start to understand where the price is impacted. The standard of quality from the grower down ensures really beautiful products. We wrapped up our long day with a fabulous lunch at Restaurant De Kas which grows their own veg and herbs in greenhouses on site and an evening cocktail class using floral infusions at our lovely College Hotel. Tomorrow we buy flowers, have a workshop in a 150 year old garden filled with Dutch heirloom varieties, shop for vases and flowers for a little wedding at the Hotel that Matthew Robbins is designing for a lucky couple and a boat ride to visit the lilacs and other fields on the other side of the lake. Time to rest up.

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Introducing Online Ordering

We're so happy to announce that we will now be offering online ordering in addition to our great phone ordering experience. We know how much everyone loves to chat with us and we really do love hearing the details of who and why you're sending flowers but we also recognize that it's not always feasible to pick up the phone for a 10 minute chat with your favorite florist.

Soon you'll be able to securely process your online order directly from our main navigation and we couldn't be happier! For now you can use this link here...

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Spring-Branches-Sullivan-Owen

We're also available to help you send flowers around the country and internationally via a consortium of hand selected florists around the world so you'll know you'll be sending the same innovative, high quality flowers just like ours anywhere you need them.

Working with your Floral Designer

Setting your budget for floral and decor: Setting the budget for your wedding is an important task. It’s about finding the balance between the wedding you want and the wedding you can afford. If you don’t love flowers, well you’re probably not reading this blog so let’s focus on you brides who love flowers and more specifically my designs which are lush, textural and full of all kinds of seasonal and interesting flowers.

You’ve got your date, the venue, the photographer and the dress. You might have even used one of those handy wedding calculators to help you budget. Well, it’s been my experience that those work just fine for those brides that don’t really care about flowers. But that’s not you. You found me because you saw my work in a magazine, on a wedding blog or one of the vendors I work with often raved about me and my team (because we are super awesome to work with by the way) .

Let’s go back to the calculator, sometimes those calculators spit out downright unreasonable numbers, like $500 for a reception with 25 tables. I don’t know a florist in Philadelphia who can do a centerpiece that looks like something on my site for $20 each. I’ve seen those calculators suggest that the floral budget should be 4-8% of the overall budget. When you work with a creative designer who works in season with an abundant and lush style, that budget percentage may go to 10-12%. If you want custom designed ceremony backdrops, a lavish chuppah or suspended floral designs or full towering tall vase cascading above your tables then you might be closer to 20%.

My suggestion is to get an idea of pricing for your florist before you’ve booked every other vendor. Sometimes when brides come in 4-6 months before the wedding, the only place left to cut is floral and décor and we hate to be the bearer of bad news. And if you’ve had to cut you floral budget, you might not be able to have everything on your wish list. It’s about adjusting your expectation along with the budget.

Book your appointment early, I’m happy to give you an estimate a year or so before your wedding that way you can have the look you love at a price that works with the rest of the wedding.  I think it’s better to have all the information first and then you can make your decisions. We also book up early for key wedding weekends so this way you can make sure we’re available for you as well.  As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about your wedding, we’re happy to help!

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New & Improved

You may have noticed that I fell (jumped) off my regular blogging schedule sometime in the fall and have failed to jump back on. That’s because even though my old blog posts were pretty to look at and fairly easy to put together, they didn’t really feel like they were accurately communicating what my life and business are about. There’s a lot more than just  photos of flowers going on.

I’m hoping to change that for the better. There will still be gorgeous wedding features-I have 25 folders of photos I’m dying to share. There will still be recaps of what’s going on around the studio via our different social media outlets like Instagram & Vine. There will still be the great editorial projects and press we are so fortunate to work on. There will still be fashion, color palette ideas and how they relate to flowers.

But there will also so be some new topics like the Business of Flowers where I’ll talk about all the work that goes on behind the pretty pictures and discuss  how I became a well known floral designer in Philadelphia in just 2 short years.  I’ll be blogging for brides about how to work with your florist, setting budgets and translating what you see in magazines & blogs to your wedding. I’ll also be blogging about flowers at home-from designing cutting gardens to incorporating weekly fresh flowers into your interior designs.

And finally, I’m hoping to share a little bit more about my creative process and insight into who I am, not just as a floral designer but as an artist and craftsperson. I’ve enjoyed the quick evolution of this business and I’m looking forward to seeing this blog become more than just a resource for flower photos.

I hope you’ll continue to read and will share your thoughts about what you like or don’t like in the comments.

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photo by Sullivan Owen, detail of one of 5 living walls for the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department

Vacation

We're taking advantage of a brief break in our wedding schedule to head out for a few days, see you on July 5th! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u2G6OyZyCI

Drop a hint

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and here at Sullivan Owen we've been busy prepping for the Super Bowl of flowers. If you'd like to receive (or send) the best flowers in Philadelphia this Valentine's Day, forward this post or save the photo below and send it along to your significant other. We'll help them make sure this is the best Valentine's Day ever! Orders placed before February 8th will receive free deliver to anywhere in our delivery area.

First Year

70,000 flowers processed
37,000 miles driven
6200 photos taken
4500 buckets washed
3900 emails sent
1800 varieties of blooms used
687 spam comments on the blog
560 locally grown succulents used
430 vintage containers collected
350 orders delivered to happy clients
300 facebook fans
215 twitter followers
160 instagram photos
125 air plants used
65 fabulous vendors worked with
44 flower crowns made
36 trips to The Navy Yard
30 weddings for happy couples
25 venues worked in 14 inches our lemon tree grew
11 months since opening
9 classes taught 6 magazine features
1 person who finally found her place in the world

Happy Holidays everyone and thank you for an amazing first year!

Thanksgiving Flowers

There's still time to order your Thanksgiving flowers wrapped in our limited edition Thanksgiving packaging. Order before Friday 11/18 and you'll receive free deliver on Wednesday 11/23! Give us a call at (215)964-9790 or email hello@sullivanowen.com

What clients are saying...

 

Instead of hearing from me today I'm going to share some of the kind words our happy clients have sent in the last few months.

“I wanted to quickly say thank you for your truly gorgeous flower arrangements on our wedding day! I can't tell you how many compliments we got on the arrangements, my bouquet and the banister design. It was hard for me to put my bouquet down; it completed my dress! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We are so lucky to have found you at the eleventh hour.

I should also say that I absolutely love to garden and have always loved flowers, but your unique arrangements, and eye for detail and color and design, have truly made me fall in love with flowers all over again. You have such a talent for taking a single bloom and transforming it into something quite different--something brighter, softer, sweeter. How sad to think that before my wedding day I never saw a garden rose nestled against a tree peony nestled against a french anemone. They are so perfect together!”

R & J VA married October 30, 2011 at Cairnwood

“When I reflect on the more memorable aspects of our wedding, your flowers will stick with me for life. The bouquet you made for me was so far beyond my realm of expectations. You are amazing…”

CK married October 29, 2011 at Terrain

“I just wanted to thank you for the beautiful, remarkable work you did on the flowers for my wedding. I have heard from so many just how lovely all the designs were and I saw for myself just how exceptional your work can be.”

DB married September 4, 2011 at The Horticulture Center

“Thank you so much for making our special days so memorable. Everything was magnificent –from the bouquets to all the centerpieces.”

KR married September 29, 2011 at City Hall and reception October 9, 2011 at Terrain

“The flowers looked absolutely beautiful! You did an amazing job. Thank you so much. I got so many compliments on the arrangements. And I was in love with my bouquet. Everything was perfect!”

HW married October 22, 2011 at Greenfield Hall

“Thank you so much for designing the MOST gorgeous bouquets and floral arrangements for our wedding! The flowers were truly breathtaking and all of the décor came out beautifully. Thank you for going above and beyond to ensure that our vision for our day became a reality! We really enjoyed working with you!”

S & DL married September 4, 2011 at Terrain

“Thank you for your great work this weekend.  Our wedding turned out beautifully and your work was a big part of that!”

EH married October 15, 2011 at Terrain

“Just wanted to let you know that the florals were more than I could have imagined!!! Simply stunning!”

KJ married September 3, 2011 at Terrain

"We just wanted to send a note of thanks for the gorgeous floral arrangements you created for our wedding.  The arbor, the centerpieces, the boutonnieres, everything was gorgeous, unique and exactly what we had hoped for.  We were completely blown away by the colors and how lush and natural you made everything.  We did not want our arrangements to be the "typical" wedding decor, and you work was absolutely anything but,  It was absolutely perfect. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

S&F married October 29, 2011 at The Horticulture Center

Flower Files: King Protea

Name: Protea Cynaroides Nickname: King Protea, Giant Protea, Honeypot, King Sugarbush Fragrance: None Ego Maniac: This flower has the biggest head of it's genus Hometown: National flower of South Africa Superpower: Can withstand fires due to its thick underground stem which contains lots of new buds

This would make an awesome bridal bouquet as a single stem!