Valentine’s Day is fast approaching! Normally, when we think of the ideal Valentine’s Day gift, we think of classic roses. However, live flowers don’t have much of a shelf life. East Olivia has remedied this situation by offering a beautiful selection of preserved roses, each with their own beautiful vase, in their 2020 Valentine’s Collection. We had the chance to catch up with East Olivia founder Kelsea Olivia about her stunning new collection, as well as how the pandemic prompted her to reinvent her business. Check out the Valentine’s Collection HERE!
Cliché: What is it about flowers that speaks to you as an artistic medium?
I believe beauty is a human right, not a luxury, and nature is evidence of that. That belief and that truth is what made me fall in love with flowers. When I began working more with flowers, which started when I worked at Anthropologie and BHLDN in NYC and taking many visits to the NYC flower market, I got exposed to hundreds of varieties of flowers I had never experienced before. That experience helped me realize the connection between the human spirit and our exposure to beauty and how important that relationship is. Even though flowers aren’t the only way to experience beauty, they are the medium that inspires and excites me most.
Tell us about your company, East Olivia.
We are a female founded, women-led creative agency based in NYC who (pre-covid-19) specialized in large scale floral installations. Post-COVID-19, we have shifted gears to launch our direct to consumer online forever floral shop and our fresh-flower therapy boxes in an effort to still bring beauty and blooms to the world while we’re all stuck at home.
We want to hear all about your new Valentine’s Day collection!
The new Valentine’s Collection is so exciting because we are introducing a brand new ingredient which we have never used before, where our persevered roses are scented! Most other companies that sell preserved roses keep them in boxes – we believe the beauty shouldn’t be kept in a box and these roses should be displayed in an arrangement instead. The roses are 100% bio-degradable and last a year if taken properly and the scent lasts up to a month.
Why did you want to create preserved roses?
Preserved roses have been a trend for a long time, but they are always contained in a box. I have been working with preserved roses for a long time and believe that beauty doesn’t belong in a box. Being a floral designer, I like to take our ingredients and be expressive with them, rather than keep them contained.
What message did you want to send with your Valentine’s Day collection?
The collection represents everlasting love – how beautiful is it to be able to express your love to somebody with flowers, but with flowers that will last more than a week?! There’s nothing wrong with fresh flowers, however it’s a great medium to be able to express love and admiration for somebody with flowers that last longer.
What are some Valentine’s Day gifts that you would recommend?
I would recommend any and all of the gifts in our Valentine’s Collection at shopeastoliva.com. We’ve curated a beautiful collection of not only forever florals with scented roses, but a variety of fun, and on-trend candles and cards to complement our forever florals.
As a creative agency, what was your process in terms of cultivating a unique floral experience for every event?
Our floral installations have always been bespoke and have always been the result of the narrative of our clients. We partner with our clients to create a unique floral expression of their overall vision. It is always about connecting with the client and being clear about the narrative and purpose of the event and what they want their guest to feel like. It always starts with a story. It’s so fun to bring clients purpose and vision to life with our florals.
How has the pandemic impacted your business?
It completely destroyed our events business overnight, cost us millions of dollars in 2020, and wiped out my ability to maintain my staff. It was through launching the forever floral shop and fresh flower therapy boxes that made it possible for us to hang on this long. That being said, the road ahead is still very tough and it’s quite challenging financially for us and millions of other small businesses that relied on events. We hope and pray each day that that part of our business will come back very soon!
What lessons have you learned thus far by switching to e-commerce?
I’ve learned that customer #1 is our staff and team, meaning that our customers from our e-commerce can’t have a great experience if our team and staff aren’t taken care of. This is extremely challenging amidst a global pandemic when resources are extremely scarce. Also, the creative process is just as fun as events. Myself and my team have a blast creating each collection – coming up with the names for the arrangements and shooting the products. It’s just as fulfilling as the creative work of events – but nothing can replace the in-person connection that we had during events and that part we still greatly miss. Lastly, the finances are far more complicated. Bootstrapping a direct-to-consumer business is very challenging – if you want to scale your business, you have to spend more money in order to make more money.
Do you have any advice for businesses that are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic and (different degrees of restrictions) but are nervous to make the switch to e-commerce?
My advice would be to begin inward within your own industry. We turned inward towards our industry first for support and also to see how we could support one another. That’s how the flower therapy box came to be. Shifting to an e-commerce platform is something I had been wanting to do for many, many years. I think staying true and authentic to your own brand and offerings is most important and don’t necessarily think that shifting to an e-commerce platform is the right answer for everybody.
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com
Celebrate Your Everlasting Love This Valentine’s Day with East Olivia’s Valentine’s Day Collection. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kelsea Olivia.