From bespoke hand-tied bouquets to an assortment of crystals and candles, there’s a feeling of magic in the air at Sincerely Vavé, which offers floral designs and delivery services for weddings and special occasions, in addition to a unique assortment of gifts and lifestyle items. Founded by Jessica Van Alderwerelt and Patrice Veyna, the shop’s name is a combination of the owners’ last names, which perfectly represents the special bond between the two friends who have known each other since they were 19.
“We met through a mutual friend at Pepperdine University and hit it off right away,” said Veyna. “Jessica was also my big sis in our sorority and we were joined at the hip. We’ve remained close friends ever since.”
“After we graduated we got jobs, then Patrice went to LMU for grad school and I attended USC,” Van Alderwerelt added. “Then we got other jobs but weren’t really happy in our chosen fields that we had studied and gone to school for. We invested all of this time, energy and education but neither of us was satisfied or getting what we wanted out of it.”
When Veyna and Van Alderwerelt were bridesmaids at a mutual friend’s wedding in Hawaii, they were tasked with arranging the flowers. Veyna had dabbled in flower arrangements as a hobby, and while it was Van Alderwerelt’s first time doing something like that, they both loved the experience.
“At that point in time I hadn’t done anything super creative like that so I didn’t think I really had it in me,” said Van Alderwerelt. “But I had so much fun doing it, and after we got back from the wedding, I started doing some research and discovered that some people did flower arranging as a business. When I first suggested to Patrice that we could do that instead of what we were doing, she thought I was crazy.”
Then one day on a whim, Van Alderwerelt told people she was a florist at the old place she was working at and managed to collect around forty orders for Valentine’s Day. She immediately called Veyna, who was working as a teacher at the time, and asked if she’d be able to call in sick to school the next day to help her fulfill all of the orders. They spent the rest of the evening creating a website together, and the rest is history.
“That was in 2014 and was the year we first started the business,” said Van Alderwerelt. “We started doing pop-ups at Laurel Canyon Country Store, then after that we got a truck. That summer when Patrice was on vacation from teaching, we just dove in and did it. From that point, everything happened so fast. We couldn’t believe it. We were doing the work to make it happen, but it felt very surreal. It still does.”
Eventually, they both quit their jobs to focus on their new business full-time. As it grew, they started to look for a location in South Pasadena, where Veyna grew up, and shortly after finding a space on Mission Street, they signed the lease and set up shop. They started out doing flower arrangements for weddings, but to fit into the Mission Street Specific Plan which requires that businesses in the zoning district have a retail aspect to them, Van Alderwerelt and Veyna began to offer handmade bouquets, flower delivery and small gifts for customers.
“Lori Wheeler from the South Pasadena Chamber gave us some great advice, which was to not be afraid to be ourselves,” Veyna explained. “A movie that always inspired us was “Practical Magic,” which we’re both obsessed with, so we started making hang-dried flowers, bringing in crystals, tarot cards and incense, and doing more magical things. We’re really grateful to Lori for inspiring and encouraging us to be authentic and true to ourselves.”
Most of the brands that Sincerely Vavé carries in its retail space are sourced locally and they have discovered a lot of great companies on Instagram as well. In addition to the books, cards, and various gift items, the store also sells one-of-a-kind vintage clothing and accessories, which Van Alderwerelt and Veyna have handpicked themselves.
After outgrowing its original space on Mission Street, the studio moved to its current location on Fremont Avenue. Van Alderwerelt and Veyna also started a second sister business called Flowers Magic Meditation, which offers special events, wellness classes and workshops such as sound baths and dream circles—all of which are taught by guest teachers and offered in the studio’s meditation space. In the fall, it will start to offer intentional bouquets, which are designed to inspire and manifest different things in one’s life.
“There was a point after we both got married when we realized that there are so many other things to celebrate in everyday life,” explained Van Alderwerelt. “We didn’t like the idea of one’s wedding being the only important thing that happens, so we like trying to find magic in every single thing. There’s been so much growth in every aspect of our lives, and after figuring a lot of things out, we were able to build this beautiful thing together.”
“We’ve reached a friendship level that we never knew was possible,” Veyna pointed out. “I feel like we’ve been able to be more honest with each other than we’ve ever been. I feel like I can be more honest with her than most people in my life. One piece of advice I would give to others that are starting businesses to that you really need to know every aspect of your business. Jessica and I talk almost every day regarding the business, and we’ll split things up but come back and report to each other about everything we’re doing. It’s like a marriage in its own way.”
Sincerely Vavé also has a beautiful mural on the outside of the store, along with hand-painted quotes that adorn the insider walls of the shop’s enchanting space—which serve as reminders of positive inspiration while helping others manifest their dreams.
“One thing that we’ve built into our business culture that’s really important to us is women’s empowerment,” said Van Alderwerelt. “All of our employees are women and we always try to be really aware of the role that we can play in this little part of town. If you take a look at the mural outside on our wall, it depicts two women with flowers in their hair. While they are whimsical and beautiful, they are also really strong.”
“Customers tell us that whenever they come in, they get a feeling of creativity and are in awe,” added Veyna. “They feel a sense of relief and an overall sense of magic. People just love this space—it inspires them. Our tagline is, ‘Let us help you write your love letter.’ Our words are one of the most powerful magical tools that we have.”
Sincerely Vavé is located at 915 Fremont Ave. in South Pasadena. It is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Thursday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays. For more information, call (323) 487-9147 or visit sincerelyvave.com and flowersmagicmeditation.com.
Sincerely Vavé Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 6.7.19. Support Local Business.