We previously complied a list of some of the best flower shops in Naperville. Here’s a more in-depth look at one of them. We spoke with Carol Sawka of Ocie Floral and asked her about what makes her business tick.
How did you get started in this business?
While I was working my way through college, I needed a part-time job so I applied at a floral shop. It was a perfect fit. I moved back to Illinois and moved up the floral ladder to become a wedding specialist. Through knowing vendors that I did weddings with, it was their input and push that sent me to start my own business.
What makes you happy about doing this business?
I have always loved gardening and flowers since I was a small child. Being of an artistic nature, this was a medium that I could make a living off of being an artist. The truly best part of my business is turning a bride’s dream into reality. When you have a special connection with a bride I mentally construct her bouquet with the feelings she has projected to me.
What are some of your inspirations and/or influences?
On the big scale, Martha Stewart, European gardens, and Japanese design. On the small scale, each of my brides and clients are my inspiration. They all come with a vision that they give me to create. Here are some samples – I want the colors of Tuscany; I want a bit of every country I’ve been to; My mother has passed away and I want her favorite flowers all around me so I know she’s with me; I’m a teacher and I want to incorporate that. The list goes on but I think you get the gist of it.
Do you work only with weddings or do you do any other work related to floral arrangements?
We do corporate and special events but weddings are my love.
Do you remember a particularly rewarding experience/client?
Too many to list!
Do you remember a particularly stressful situation or mistake that was able to be turned around to make for a very happy client?
Several years ago we made huge wreaths for the entry doors for a client. They were all roses and they cost a fortune and were truly beautiful. As my assistants were putting them up, one dropped and shattered. The guests were to arrive in 40 minutes, assistants were crying hysterically, and I had to send them back to church for transferring of flowers to reception. I was left to try and put humpty dumpy back together. I do really well in emergencies and my mind did not fail me. Within a half hour I was able to reconstruct the wreath. The wedding went smoothly and the bride had no idea.
When a customer comes to you with a request, what’s the most helpful thing they can do for you to ensure that you can provide them with what they want?
As in life, many things we want are not in our budget. Weddings are particularly made of dream dust and when the cost of those dreams are in print, some brides have difficulty letting go. Most reconcile quickly and we help keep the dream alive where it matters most. It is hard on us when they still want to have things that are not affordable.
How much lead time should someone expect to have their order filled?
Weddings require a few months. Smaller events like parties and special occasions require 2 weeks.
Anything else that would be good to know about you and/or your business?
We love what we do.
Contact Carol at Ocie Floral
329 N. Center
Naperville IL 60540