WEST CHESTER, PA — Flowers are literally in her blood. Sherrerd Steele, the unfiltered creative visionary and “chief flower guru” of West Chester, PA-based Steele Orchid, is making a name for herself as an irrefutable go-to resource for out-of-the-box, eye popping floral arrangements that are bold, sassy and as she says, “bad ass.”
The spunky and ebullient Steele says she inherited her love of flowers from her late mother, Lucie B. Steele, a multi-year, award-winning flower designer at the Philadelphia Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia Flower Show. “When she died, I swear that’s when her flower spirit came to me,” laughed Steele. But she hasn’t always been in the floral business. For most of her career, Steele was an engineer/geologist and president of a successful environmental consulting company, which she founded in 1997. Until — at the age of 62 — Steele decided to sell her company and devote herself full-time to what she absolutely loves doing. “Before I launched Steele Orchid in 2019, I was just dabbling with flowers; it was a hobby. Then, my son asked me to do his 250-guest wedding in Pittsburgh. It came with some serious design and logistical challenges, but I had so much fun and joy designing the arrangements, I said to myself THIS is what I am meant to do.”
Steele is not your typical floral designer. She specializes in using flowers rarely utilized by commercial florists, giving each piece a unique vibe. Her unorthodox arrangements typically feature flowers with minimal greens, a stunning departure from arrangements procured from mass-market floral shops. “I do a lot of foraging, so my arrangements look very natural and organic. I am the exact opposite of most florists. My style really embraces wabi-sabi – finding perfection in imperfection.” Sherrerd also incorporates her environmental and engineering background into her one-of-a-kind designs. Her creations are structural works of art that defy gravity. A floating upside down installation, an elevated dance floor structure, floral body art, a Porsche adorned with exotic flowers — all in a day’s work! “If you can dream it, I can do it!” she exclaimed. Her list of clients include Hollywood actors, high-end resorts, boutique hotels, bold brides and corporate businesses looking to break the mold.
It’s hard to believe the incredibly energetic and youthful Steele is a mother of three grown children and grandmother to two. She said she gets her drive from her parents. “I come from a family of entrepreneurs who drummed into my head that I can do anything, but I have to do it well. She says her mantra in life has always been “TU,” short for Tts Up. “When you are struggling or down and out, you should still always stand proud, have your shoulders back and your tts up,” beamed Steele. “That’s my way of working through challenges. That’s how I launched and have grown this business, and that’s how I plan on making a mark in this industry.”
To learn more about Steele Orchid, please visit https://www.steeleorchid.com.