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The Short Version: Lora and Darren Irwin started The Succulent Source to give couples an eco-friendly and beautiful alternative to traditional wedding bouquets and decorations. Succulents can make a statement as centerpieces, party favors, or bridal accessories, and they get rave reviews from people who don’t want to hassle with short-lived flowers. Over the last decade, The Succulent Source has grown into a one-stop online shop for succulents and cacti that brighten up all types of special events.
Lora and Darren Irwin started dabbling in succulent sales in 2004 as a way of bringing in a little extra cash to support their young family. At the time, Lora worked part time as an occupational therapist, and Darren was a special education teacher, so they hoped their side hustle would help them make ends meet.
Darren would find succulent plants at garage sales or flea markets and post them for sale online. They’d usually be snapped up within minutes. Darren saw an opportunity to grow in this market so he brought his father on board and established a brand on Amazon for selling succulents.
Soon, life for the Irwin family became a juggling act between day jobs, child rearing, and a flourishing side gig. After putting their children to bed at 8 p.m., Lora and Darren would work side by side into the wee hours of the night to prepare and ship orders.
In 2010, Lora and Darren decided to take a chance on themselves, and they quit their jobs to focus on expanding The Succulent Source, an online store that sold succulent plants in bulk for weddings.
“People were so excited to be able to buy succulents in bulk at one place,” Lora recalled. “We tried to be in line with what customers were after, and we grew from there.”
Today, Lora and Darren run a succulent nursery in southern California, and they have turned The Succulent Source into a one-stop shop for succulent plants and cacti. Couples can use this resource to make their wedding days and bridal showers a little greener and more eye-catching.
Customers have flocked to The Succulent Source to find unique decorations for an upcoming event. Some are planning an outdoor wedding ceremony, and others are looking to create a waterless cactus garden. People of all ages have become captivated by the beauty and diversity of succulent plants, and they fill their carts with succulents for all occasions.
Whether it’s the centerpiece of a table or the boutonnière on a groom, succulents can make a memorable statement on the wedding day and still be alive the next day — and for years to come. Couples can keep the succulent as a lasting reminder of their love and their wedding day.
As a party favor, a succulent is a good option because it is a simple and elegant decoration that fits nicely on desks, shelves, and side tables. Guests can keep these mementos for a long time, and it’s a meaningful way to keep those memories alive.
The Succulent Source offers different sized plants for all types of events, and the team can create personalized tags with the guest’s name, their table number, or a special message. A local florist named Amber specializes in turning the Irwin family’s succulents into custom wedding accessories, including crowns and hair combs, that add a wow factor to a wedding ceremony or reception.
“The feedback we’ve gotten on our succulent wedding items has been amazing,” Lora said. “Some of the pictures could be in a bridal magazine. It’s just the highlight of a wedding.”
The Irwin family is passionate about succulents, and they put a lot of heart into maintaining their nursery. Lora and Dareen’s five boys even lend a hand and sell the fruits of their labor for some pocket money. The Boys Corner features aloes, haworthias, agave, cacti, and other plants grown and potted by the Irwin boys.
Succulents don’t need much water or care to survive, so they appeal to eco-conscious folks who want to support a green planet without wasting water or exerting much effort. The Succulent Source sells beautiful and durable plants that come in many different sizes and shapes, and they’re versatile enough to thrive inside an office or outside in a garden.
For years, The Succulent Source has primarily focused on providing decor for events, including weddings and bridal showers, but the 2020 pandemic has caused that side of the business to slow down significantly. Last spring, hundreds of succulent orders were canceled or put on hold because brides- and grooms-to-be had to delay their special day.
After months of postponements and refunds, Lora and Darren are starting to see orders for fall trickling back in, and they said they’re hopeful that next year will bring a big influx of wedding celebrations.
Fortunately, the Irwin family has been as resilient as the succulent plants and cacti they grow, and they’ve come up with some unique ways to expand The Succulent Source’s selection and meet current needs.
The Succulent Source now offers more options for home and office decoration. Lora said they’ve been working on growing living walls that could add extra color as well as a natural air filtration system to an office space. They can also premake succulent arrangements that are great for corporate gifting or a surprise delivery to a loved one.
DIY planting kits have become particularly popular among families stuck at home. These kits can provide an entertaining and educational activity for children of all ages, and they’re an easy way to start a home garden.
“Succulents are super easy because they’re drought resistant” Lora said. “The plant itself is gorgeous, and it can outlive you if it’s well cared for.”
The Succulent Source has been helping people make special memories for years now, and Lora said it’s a blessing to be there for customers during major milestones in their life. Over 9,000 customers have left positive reviews about the succulents and praised the company’s friendly customer service.
“The succulents arrived just as promised and pictured,” said Sandra S. “They were adorable and such a hit as favors for my daughter’s graduation party. Everybody loved them!”
“This was a great gift to our clients,” said Brant K., who used the Etched Wood Box Planter as a corporate gift. “The team at Succulent Source went out of their way to help expedite the process for us and meet our deadline.”
Lora told us she has received many wonderful stories about The Succulent Source bringing people together and adding a smile to people’s faces. The Succulent Source has supported many event planners, brides, and families in arranging a memorable party, and it can make a big difference sometimes.
Years ago, The Succulent Source was contacted by a wedding planner who was organizing a free wedding for a woman diagnosed with cancer. Lora and Darren talked it over and decided to donate succulent arrangements to the cause.
About two months later, they saw a news story featuring the bride and her succulent-decorated wedding.
“We were just starting out, so it was a huge decision for us to donate,” Lora said. “And it ended up being so beautiful to be part of her story.”
Over the last 16 years, Lora and Darren have managed to grow their succulent-selling side gig into a full-fledged business, and their family-run operation has brought beauty and joy to weddings, bridal showers, and other events across the country.
The Succulent Source has flourished, and its plants have become centerpieces, party favors, office decor, and cherished mementos that can withstand the years.
Whether you’re looking for an eco-friendly bouquet or an at-home gardening project, The Succulent Source can send over kits, cuttings, and arrangements that fit your needs.
“We really love the fact that we are a small business, and I think our customers love that too,” Lora said. “It’s our mission to make our customers happy, and keeping it small, keeping it family, and keeping it personal helps with that.”