The fashion industry is extremely particular. We know they demand the best of the best in everything they do. Fashion is an industry built on attention to detail, which is why when it comes to their own events, they call on the best specialists to help bring their vision to life. In the case of florals, Popup Florist has become the golden child for the fashion world. For events, dinners, shows and presentations, the top houses are turning to Kelsie Hayes and with one look at her designs, it is not hard to see why.
Popup Florist has quickly become the fashion industry’s go-to for special events, retail décor and influencer collaborations. Founded in 2016, Hayes approaches floral design with a similar process as fashion designer by incorporating unexpected textures with captivating color palettes and providing photo-worthy arrangements that are vibrant, unconventional and affordable. Plants are sourced from farms in Southern California and hand-selected flowers from local NYC markets are garnished with Hayes’ whimsical touch. Having graduated from the FIDM in LA and working as a designer for a ready-to-wear brand before deciding to start her floral business, Hayes has developed a distinct eye and colorful aesthetic for floral design.
In 2018, Hayes opened her first standalone storefront in New York City's East Village, featuring an open studio concept where customers are encouraged to either grab-and-go or create their own arrangements. In March of 2019, Hayes opened her second location inside Neiman Marcus' first-ever New York City location. The shop features a custom-designed flower cart that offers a curated selection of blooms. The color story changes each week to complement the new collections being brought in weekly to Neiman Marcus. Beyond running her stores, Popup Florist has also worked with some of the biggest brands including Gucci, Prada, Oscar De la Renta, Cover Girl, ManRepeller, Sandro, Baja East and more. Popup Florist also partnered with The Elk, a popular East Village coffee shop, for a summer location called Coffee and Flowers in conjunction with Cynthia Rowley’s Montauk store. Since the Elk was the location of Kelsie’s first pop-up, this temporary partnership was a natural collaboration.
How did you get into flower arranging?
KELSIE HAYES: My background is in fashion design, but I've always been interested in floral design. While I was working in fashion, I would run to the local bodega to buy flowers at least once a week and create arrangements for my studio. When I started my company Popup Florist in 2016, I dove in headfirst with the first holiday as a florist being a big one, Valentine's day. I still have never had any formal training, but I spend a lot of time at the flower market/farmers markets and have learned so much along the way!
What's been the best part of growing your brand?
KH: The best part of growing Popup Florist has been being able to receive instant feedback on Instagram. I have really leveraged the platform and have used it to help create our delivery menus and selection in our shops. It's such an amazing thing to be able to come up with a concept, snap a photo and get feedback in real-time.
What's been the coolest event or party you have designed for?
KH: In March 2019, we opened a shop at the first ever Neiman Marcus in New York City at Hudson Yards. We had been working with the team at Neiman Marcus for over a year to bring the concept to life. The opening party was so special because I was able to have so many people interact with the space we created within the store. Nine times out of ten we create an installation or tablescape for a brand and we only get to see the interaction via social media. I got to see first-hand the reaction to our work and it was such an amazing experience. Also, Liza Minnelli performed "New York, New York," so how much more special is that?!
What's your favorite flower of the moment?
KH: Dahlias have always been my favorite flower! They are locally grown in the summer and the colors are vibrant and beautiful. I use them as often as possible.
What tips do you have for people arranging flowers at home?
KH: To keep them as fresh as possible: cut the flower stems at an angle, change the water every day and remove all of the leaves from the stems that are touching the water!