Your name: Sullivan Owen
Your Business name: Sullivan Owen floral & event design
Your Location: Philadelphia, PA
How did you start your business?
I was working as a retail environment designer for an athletic apparel
company that wasn’t a great fit for me, I had previously worked for fashion
retailers and wasn’t feeling creatively challenged. During my last year, I
got engaged to my now husband and discovered the wonderful world of wedding
blogs. Being “that” girl, I DIY’ d my entire wedding from linens to invites
to flowers and loved it. I decided to take a chance and take a class if
floral design and was fortunate to find Flower School NY and started taking
classes and interning for any master teacher that would have me. I learned a
ton, worked for some amazing designers, free-lanced for a bit and then
opened my Philadelphia studio in February 2011. It took off faster than I
could have possibly imagined and we’re always racing to keep up!
How many years have you been in business?
What is your design aesthetic?
I always struggle to answer this question because I’m still figuring it out.
I prefer to work with a lot of texture and layer shades of color and tone to
create interesting compositions and I love sculptural, asymmetric shapes. I
try to be the best designer for my client’s vision, rather than the other
How do you create your style and where do you draw your inspiration?
I am inspired primarily by high fashion probably due to my background; it’s
easy to see where style and color are going. I am also drawn to fine art,
both historic artists and new modern artists. I love when a client has just
a color, a print or a single favorite flower and we can design the entire
evening around just that one starting point.
What are the trends, flowers & colors that are unique to your region?
I don’t think it’s unique to my region but the preference is towards looser,
more garden like compositions. I’m also seeing a lot of soft colors,
heirloom roses and foraged materials.
Are you a retail shop, studio/warehouse or home based?
Design studio with retail deliveries in Philadelphia
Do you offer any services in addition to floral designs?
I try to provide whatever our clients need, sometimes we make custom linens
or we might be sculpting custom props or building a unique chuppah. I love a
How do you balance the desires a modern bride when purse strings rest on the
shoulders of traditional parents?
I try to be upfront about costs from the first contact, I hate disappointing
clients but the reality is that specialized custom design work does cost
more than a wedding factory. Most clients understand. As a newer business
it’s sometimes hard to say no when you can tell it’s not the right fit but
I’ve also learned neither party is going to be happy with the result if
there are too many compromises to your designs to fit the budget. It’s best
to refer them to a designer that’s going to suit the budget.
What tool in your toolbox can’t you live without?
A super sharp knife
What’s your favorite flower?
The French grown anemone has become a signature flower of mine but I love
too many to list. My favorite part about working seasonally is how exciting
it is when something comes back into season. It’s like it’s new all over
Anything else you’d like to share with Flirty Fleurs followers?
I just started teaching a series of classes at Flower School NY on how to
start a flower business which will take place a few times each year. My
background in retail marketing gives me a unique perspective on how we can
all attract the clients we want and there are some very simple things new
designers can do to help pave the way to success. So many creative people
struggle with the business side of the industry and I want to see talented
people make it! We also discuss the financial aspects and the work/life
Your contact information:
510 Bainbridge Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147