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April 9, 2018
#WomensWork Feature: Sarah Petryk
Written by Kate Racculia
“The moment you become your own boss,” says Sarah Petryk, proprietor and designer at Allium Floral Designs, “is both exhilarating and terrifying.” That moment came for her eight years ago, when she left her full time job in events and marketing to focus on designing flowers for weddings. From her first local wedding, Petryk booked two more. And the business bloomed.
Last year, Allium provided floral designs and styling for 150 weddings and events. Petryk, collaborating with a team of 20 artists, loves using flowers to bring life to a space, helping clients achieve their vision-or, if clients don’t have a vision, helping them create an event with a beauty and feel that is exclusively their own, all with styling that is “100% Pinterest worthy.”
“I’ve loved gardens ever since I was little,” she says. “My grandmother always had lavish arrangements at the dining room table of flowers that she grew.” But not everyone can enjoy fresh-cut flowers, which is why Petryk is launching her second business, called Allium Everlasting. “We’ve found many of our clients with allergies, or who are traveling for destination weddings, have a need for stunning dried and silk florals,” she says. Petryk is excited to provide an arrangement that can become “a cherished heirloom;” “it’s always heartbreaking to break down a wedding and move all that remains to the compost.”
When asked about inspiration, Petryk immediately mentions her parents, both of whom she lost to cancer in the past decade. “Their legacy,” she says, “was about their generosity of spirit; what they gave to their family and their friends of their time and care and giftedness.” She hopes to pass that spirit to her daughter, now five. Getting caught up in the whirlwind of life is easy, and Petryk advises reminding yourself to slow down. Stop and smell the proverbial roses. Be present, and give of yourself to your family and loved ones.
“Feel confident in who you are now,” she says. “Not who you wish you were, or who you want to be, but who you are now. That is the woman who has the strength to start her own business, grow her existing business, figure out how to best support and love her family and friends.” It’s easy to compare ourselves to other people and other businesses, but: “Just don’t. Your client will want to know you.
“I once knew a guy,” Petryk says, “who said I was ‘too much.’ I was so hurt at the time, but I look back on it now and have to laugh. ‘Too much'”-being endlessly curious, engaged, creative, and enthusiastic-“is a wonderful and generous way to live.”