a Tottenville florist focuses on unique, edgy arrangements
by Jessica Jones-Gorman • Photos By Robert Nuzzie
If you scroll through the Instagram page of the newly opened, Tottenville-based Wicked Florist (@wickedflorist), you’ll find gorgeous hydrangeas and tulips, certainly, but you’ll also find serious art: Rose blooms dipped in 24-karat liquid gold, garden topiaries draped in glitzy gems, tiny square gift boxes stuffed with delicate miniature roses, and a collection of polished silver skulls budding with black orchids and bows.
“Our look is definitely edgy,” noted Danielle Ruggiero, who opened the boutique shop eight months ago with business partner, AJ Favorito. “I think the best way to describe our style is unique, but elegant at the same time.”
That would explain the vintage cigar box bases, spilled flower pot designs, and reclaimed Cup ‘O’ Noodle containers that often star in many of Wicked’s unique arrangements.
“We’ll basically see an object and think ‘What can I use this for?’” Ruggiero said. “AJ was at the Cigar Vault [96 Page Avenue] a few months ago and noticed these vintage boxes and thought they would be a great base for a centerpiece. We inject our own style and taste into each item we create, and I think that’s what makes each arrangement special.”
Ruggiero, who has a background in interior design, teamed with Favorito, a longtime friend with more than 15 years of experience in the floral industry.
“I was working in the design industry for a while, but it was always my dream to be my own boss,” Ruggiero said. “And AJ has worked with most of the major florists on Staten Island.”
So, the pair decided to blend their talents and open Wicked Florist. In addition to one-of-a-kind custom designs, the duo has offered veggie centerpieces blooming out of a kitchen colander and an arrangement of rose buds stuffed into a leopard printed shoe.
“We had close to 200 orders on Valentine’s Day,” Ruggiero said. “Even our conventional bouquets are unique, and there’s a big market for that here on the South Shore.”
Located in a bustling strip mall on Arthur Kill Road, the shop also accepts online orders. Its most popular design is a $60 box of roses, neatly packaged and tied with a matching ribbon. (Shoppers can choose the same design with Nevermore roses for $129.)
“Our Nevermore roses come straight from Japan and are preserved to last at least four years with little to no maintenance,” Ruggiero explained. “They are just a beautiful gift.”
According to Ruggiero, one of the floral industry’s main trends is bold color, which is evident across all seasons and currently applied in just about all of Wicked’s centerpieces. And for this budding business, unique, custom arrangements never go out of style.
“I’ve found that many brides are loving our designs because we discuss every aspect of a wedding before we begin to create bouquets,” Ruggiero concluded. “I booked a Halloween wedding for 2018, for example, and the centerpieces are going to be gnarly, twisted, and dark, which is just so creative and…Wicked. But that’s what’s great about working dynamically with someone to design elements for the most important day of their lives; you get to play a role in such a special event, and I just really love that.”
4916 Arthur Kill Road / 718.356.0814