As a women-led creative brand, what values and conversations fuel East Olivia's mission?
Without a doubt, our own current lives. As women, we have seen economic fragility first-hand, drastic changes in modern life thanks to technology, and more creative and educational opportunities than any other generation before us. Those experiences fuel the culture and mission of East Olivia.
Shortly after launching EO, I recognized its capacity to grow and create good jobs. It's important to me that when we grew, that we did so in a way that would support talented and entrepreneurial professionals not only with well-paying jobs but also with fundamental benefits like health insurance and maternity leave. It is an incredible lift, as a very small business, to provide these things to our staff and a worthy challenge pushed forward by this difficult, wild year.
Creating a strong creative culture is also a high priority for us as a company. As a founder, I am committed to building a company where everyone actively creates and leads projects rather than passively performing tasks. Recognizing that human beings are complex and dynamic, we work hard to create an environment that allows space for people just to be people and to 'come as you are'.
What were some of the resources you used early on to turn your love for flowers into a business?
Something that's been essential and a continual resource is staying humble and being vulnerable in what I "don't know." Be fearless in asking for support and seek continual education from experts. Seek out mentors, "cold call" shamelessly, email, or dm people you admire. These strategies can bring you more access than you may have thought possible. For instance, my first large scale installation came from a cold and bold email I sent to Create & Cultivate, and today they are one of our biggest and greatest ongoing client relationships.
What keeps you and your team motivated and inspired?
We are collectively motivated by creating beauty in the world. We believe that beautiful environments or moments of beauty, naturally put human beings at ease, and they're able to connect more authentically with themselves and each other. Our team is incredibly talented with decades of experience across several industries, and each individual on our team has their own unique personal sense of motivation and drive. Together, the distinct contributions create a chemistry that is beautiful within itself.
Have you found it challenging to create and design during these unique times?
Yes, absolutely. While creative work is regenerative, it also requires energy to give and to tap into that creativity. It requires you to be well-rested and to bring your best self. Today, we have so much of ourselves going to survival, slogging through the pandemic, and making sense of the current political and social moment.
My number one priority right now is keeping my talented and creative staff employed. I know so many other businesses fighting to do the same, especially in the events industry. Events have been hit incredibly hard in New York and across the country, and we at East Olivia are dreaming of the days when we can bring back the collective creative power of all those people to create more beauty in our world.
You mentioned flowers being a form of therapy. What are your tips for creating a mindful and nurturing space with flowers?
I believe that a clean and orderly space for arranging is very important when it comes to a more therapeutic form of working with flowers. This is very different than when, for example, prepping 200 bouquets for a client. No matter what, a project like that is going to create a big mess! For something more nurturing and relaxing, I prefer designing in my home in a neat and tidy space, enjoying some of my favorite tunes (currently rocking Folklore by Tswift, obviously), lighting some palo santo, and doing my best to be one with the flowers. I also find that taking what I've made and placing them around the house or gifting them to a friend or loved one is another way I experience the good vibes of "flower therapy."
Besides flower therapy, what other ways do you practice "staying in the moment" in your everyday life?
Lately, I think "staying in the moment" has been less like a calm, peaceful practice and more of one where I choose to sit with my discomfort/fear in the moment rather than trying to numb it out. It is a difficult time to be a small business owner (and a human being!), and naming it feels more honest, and it allows more space for the human-ness that I spoke about earlier. At the same time, practicing gratitude daily, especially for all of the incredible people in my life, is what truly reminds me to stay in a more positive mindset. I am also finding hope and comfort in my personal and professional relationships. These precious connections, for me, are the most vital part of maintaining a position of stability and positivity in a very unstable time.
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