Continuing Education..

Sometimes people ask me why I continue to take classes and workshops in floral design. I have always been most drawn to a designer’s process and I learn the most when I can watch them assemble a design in front of me. I’ve taken dozens of classes with florists, some of whom are now my peers. I’ve taken some lesson away from each experience whether it’s a small technical tip or a life changing view of a color or flower that I had previously overlooked.

It’s so easy to fall into a familiar style of design when you do it day in and out but in order for our clients to want something new, we have to show them something new. I’m grateful that earlier this year I was able to take 3 very important classes with designers that I admire and that have informed my career in various ways.

In February, my friend Christian Tortu came to Flower School New York to teach a class that he had never taught before on wedding design. He showed us images of some of his weddings that no one will ever see due to exclusivity or privacy and then we made two designs, a bridal bouquet and centerpiece. The techniques I took away from the day are firmly in my back pocket for future practice as I learn to make his techniques my own. It was a lovely experience and he is truly a wonderful teacher. This was my 6th time studying with Christian and I was inspired in part to write this post because I used a technique he taught me 18 months ago just last week for the first time!
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photos by Flower School NY & Sullivan Owen 

In early March, Charles Masson taught his first master class in quite a while at Flower School NY and I was able to attend. A photo of one of Charles’ designs used to hang on the wall at the Tudor City location of Flower School NY and when I went for my very first class I was so charmed by this design. The design was so charming, slightly disheveled and imperfect but clearly thought out and composed. That picture came to symbolize what I wanted to find in myself, my own style of design that blended all these aspects of designers that I admired. Charles was the only master designer at Flower School who was left on my wish list and I was so happy to meet him and make a design reminiscent of that photo I fell in love with 5 years ago.Charles-Masson-Flower-School-NY-Sullivan-Owen-2
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photos 1 & 2 Flower School NY, photo 3 Sullivan Owen 

In mid March, my friend Jennie and I had a fabulous day studying with Shane Connolly. I’m happy to say that the designer who did the wedding of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge is completely charming, amazingly talented and incredibly humble. We made a bridal bouquet and centerpiece during the full day class. We  learned so many new techniques and also met some great designers!
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photos by Flower School NY & Sullivan Owen 
It seems like almost every floral studio offers classes these days and while I do think it’s great that there’s so much interest in floral design, as a very experienced “student” one of my biggest takeaways is this: The design that you make in class is to teach you that designer’s technique. That design does not become “yours” just because you put the flowers together. The teacher in fact did the design for you when they chose the flowers, the vase and the skill they wanted to teach. To grow as a designer and to truly learn you must take these techniques and practice them until they become your own. And practice some more. What I admire most about the 3 gentlemen I studied with this year is that their designs are completely original and their own. That is what we should all aspire to as designers.

Real Wedding..

Spring has sprung (sort of) here and we’re getting ready for the start of wedding season. One of my favorite venues in Philadelphia is the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park. We’ve done some amazing weddings at “The Hort” with the Starr Events team so while we’re looking forward to an awesome 2014, it’s nice to look back at Simone & Rich’s beautiful wedding from November. Enjoy!
xo,
SO
floral & event design: Sullivan Owen, photos: Darker Shades of Brown, cake: Whipped, venue: Starr Events at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park, coordination: Truly You EventsSullivan-Owen-Philadelphia-Horticulture-Center-Wedding-Bridal-Bouquet-2I was incredibly proud of Simone’s bouquet, sometimes the floral palette just comes together in a way I couldn’t possibly predict and it’s even better than I imagined it! Sullivan-Owen-Philadelphia-Horticulture-Center-Wedding-Bridal-Bouquet-1Sullivan-Owen-Philadelphia-Horticulture-Center-Wedding-5Sullivan-Owen-Philadelphia-Horticulture-Center-Wedding-Bridal-Bouquet-3Sullivan-Owen-Philadelphia-Horticulture-Center-Wedding-2Sullivan-Owen-Philadelphia-Horticulture-Center-Wedding-3Sullivan-Owen-Philadelphia-Horticulture-Center-Wedding-4Sullivan-Owen-Philadelphia-Horticulture-Center-Wedding-Whipped-CakeThe gorgeous cake by Whipped featured edible rose petals we sourced and fresh floral added on site. It was a fun and tasty collaborative process!Sullivan-Owen-Philadelphia-Horticulture-Center-Wedding-1

Oscars Inspiration..

Right before the Oscars I committed to doing some floral designs inspired by the fashion. I watched all the red carpet coverage and ALL of the eternally long broadcast. I even watched Fashion Police to make sure I didn’t miss anyone. I’m sorry to say that even though I loved some of the movies this year, the fashion left me completely uninspired. Sure, I loved Amy Adams’ earrings and lots of the stars looked really beautiful, but mostly the fashion felt too neutral and too bridal—and, well, I do enough bridal already.

There was only one look that was remotely interesting to me and that was Pharrell. I routinely listen to “Happy“ while getting ready in the mornings. T.O. even sings it to our cats! Pharrell’s performance was a bright spot in this year’s snooze-inducing Oscars … and at least no one is talking about that Grammys hat anymore!

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Shorts tuxedo by Lanvin, image credit

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Flowers, custom ‘pharrell’ vase and photo by Sullivan Owen 

SO, Anthro and the New Potato..

We recently designed a wild Moroccan inspired centerpiece for Anthropologie and the New Potato. You can read more about Danielle and Laura here and shop the products here!
Enjoy!
SO

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photos courtesy of Anthropolgie

 

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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Instagram & Waterlogue..

It’s no secret that I adore Instagram. I’ve been looking for a way to make my old round up posts feel new and the Waterlogue App is just the thing to mix it up this month. Waterlogue debuted about 10 weeks ago but I saw it making the rounds at the beginning of February and immediately started running images through it’s watercolor inspired filters. Not wanting to blow up my feed with 8 million photos people have seen before I’ve been collecting them for this post.

Waterlogue seems to be the best fit for flowers (yes!), pets and landscape images or architecture. Give it a whirl if you’re tired of those Instagram filters. You can follow me and see what we’re up to at the studio here: @sullivan_owen
XO,
SO

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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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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

Winter Wedding-Brides Magazine..

This stunning winter wedding we designed last January photographed by the amazing Alison Conklin was featured in Brides Magazine. I’m so happy to finally share her amazing photos and the hard work of all the talented vendors that made this wedding so gorgeous. Bridget & Tom celebrated their one year anniversary just yesterday the 26th! Bridget joined the Sullivan Owen team in November working with me and our brides. She’ll be writing a few upcoming posts about the process of working with your designer and putting together all the details that make a wedding your own. Enjoy!

photographer: Alison Conklin, event design: The Bride,  Mother of the Bride and Sullivan Owen, floral design: Sullivan Owen, Paper: Loveleigh, Custom Illustration: Meg Hunt, Cake: Tartes fine cakes & pastries, Hair:Zaneta Leszczynska from Studio CL , Makeup:Nives Riddle and Dawn Episcopo , Venue: terrain at Styer’s
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photographer: Alison Conklin, event design: The Bride,  Mother of the Bride and Sullivan Owenfloral design: Sullivan OwenPaper: LoveleighCustom Illustration: Meg HuntCake: Tartes fine cakes & pastriesHair:Zaneta Leszczynska from Studio CL Makeup:Nives Riddle and Dawn Episcopo Venue: terrain at Styer’s 
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