Business Profile: Rusted Vase Floral Co.

Interior of Rusted Vase florist shop

Rusted Vase Floral Co. Photo by Jennifer Astion

Floral Designs from Bouquets to Weddings

by Jennifer Astion

When Carlee Donnelly opened a storefront on the Ave on April 6, 2018, she was fulfilling a lifelong ambition. “I have a degree in public health but a flower shop was my dream as a little kid,” explains Donnelly.

How did she get started as a florist? “I was a bridesmaid in a wedding and really liked the flowers.” She talked to the florist about working with her and learned the business as a freelancer working at events. Now she does weddings all over Washington state and as far away as Idaho and Oregon.

How did Donnelly decide on her U District location? “I saw a real need in the neighborhood. There had not been a florist for years. And the rents are more affordable,” she notes.

While the store functions as a design studio, and meeting space. Donnelly also sells house plants of all varieties, floral arrangements, jewelry, and other locally made gifts. “College students can buy a small plant for a dorm room and an affordable gift,” she says.

Donnelly is committed to supporting local farmers. Instead of using cheaper imported flowers, 90% of her flowers are sourced locally. How does she deal with limited options in the winter? “I have to be more creative as seasons change.”

5228 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105 425.280.8069 | |