COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A new local business born out of the COVID-19 pandemic is growing in Columbus.
Sweet Blossom Floral is a flower shop Downtown at 14 N. High St., and owner Alexandria Ottney is preparing to welcome guests to the storefront next year.
The idea for Sweet Blossom came to Ottney and her boyfriend amid their pandemic blues. Ottney remembers the uncomfortable feelings during the early days of the pandemic and the unfortunate reality of having to miss graduations, birthdays, and other family celebrations.
“Growing up, celebrating was something that we always did,” Ottney said. “That’s how I’ve been raised, to celebrate life, celebrate all the blessings you have no matter what – I felt like our celebrations were taken away from us.”
Ottney’s boyfriend, also named Alex, encouraged her to take on a new hobby to lift her spirits. He suggested a flower fundraiser, where Ottney could arrange bunches of flowers, then sell them and donate the proceeds.
The idea was intriguing to Ottney, who grew up in an artistic family and was encouraged to pursue different forms of creativity. Even before the pandemic, arranging fresh flowers for her home had been an extension of her expression and a safe space for Ottney to relax and let go.
Still, she was hesitant to sell her creations and wondered why anyone would buy her flowers since she wasn’t a professional. After the initial hesitation, she gave in, picked up some materials, and began designing. She posted the arrangements on social media, and the result shocked her – Ottney had received up to 80 requests.
Ottney got to work and donated the proceeds to a pandemic relief fund. From there, Sweet Blossom has only continued to grow. In the past two years, Ottney has arranged for many events, including weddings, birthday parties, graduations, and everyday celebrations.
Though the pressure to produce beautiful arrangements might be daunting, Ottney said she tries to have fun with it and trust the process.
“It’s definitely been trial and error,” she said. “I just love it, I have such a passion for it. So, I think that has really guided me and helped me develop a natural talent for it.”
Now, Ottney is preparing to take her business to the next level and open a storefront.
Until this point, Ottney had been running Sweet Blossom out of her home, arranging flowers in her basement and dining room. Eventually, the spaces became too cramped and she needed to expand.
Ottney found Sweet Blossom’s North High Street home adjacent to the Ohio Statehouse and neighboring spots like Alley Burger, Tiger + Lily, and Veritas. She is already in the space, arranging in the back workshop. Next up, Ottney will collaborate with a designer to create a warm and welcoming storefront for guests to explore.
Sweet Blossom aims to open its storefront for guests by the new year.
“Every single stem has intention behind it, and I try to live my life that way,” said Ottney. “When it comes to my designs and my business, this is my heart — you’re seeing my heart represented in a flower arrangement.”