We are pleased to spotlight our latest Marfa Muse, floral designer Kelsea Olivia.
CEO, Creative Director and Founder of NYC based floral studio East Olivia, Kelsea met Georgia virtually over the pandemic when purchasing her first Marfa Stance Quilt (in pastel pink of course!). An admirer of fellow female founder Kelsea’s work too, Georgia didn’t hesitate at the chance to bring another of her muses into the brand and work with East Olivia for the incredible dried floral installations at our recent NYC trunk show.
Kelsea wears size S-M in the Parachute Parka in wine, building with the Shearling and new Camouflage Collar in fuchsia.
Tell us about your career background
Right out of high school I began working in the music industry in Los Angeles. I spent 10 years in this world and did everything from managing bands street teams, to PR, tour management, artist management and eventually even launched an indie record label. While my time in music was incredible, I ended up getting a little burnt out and wanted to do something more creative. I started out my visual career by prop styling for photoshoots and working at BHLDN / Anthropologie. During my time at Anthro I began to work with fresh cut and preserved flowers and this is where my love affair with florals began! During this time I had just moved to NYC and it was the New York City flower market that made such an impression on me as a creative. I couldn’t believe all the incredible blooms that the market carried - things I had never even laid eyes on before - these flowers sparked a childlike wonderment and curiosity in me that has motivated me to share the ephemeral with anyone and everyone I can! During my time doing visuals and florals for Anthropologie I launched East Olivia on the side and over a few years it blossomed into its own business that was ready to be ran full time by myself and a small team.
What lead you to launch your own business?
I’ve been a bit of an entrepreneur since I was a little kid. I’ve always loved working and coming up with creative ideas on how to make and sell things, or babysit neighborhood kids etc. So it’s always been very natural for me to bring that entrepreneurial spirit into any job that I’ve had and that quality really served me well over the years. While I absolutely loved working for Anthropologie eventually, I came to a crossroads as I was moonlighting with EO - I had to decide would I grow my career at Anthro - or take a risk and pursue East Olivia full time? I ended up choosing my own business but am so glad to say that Anthropologie is still a frequent client of mine and I remain close to the team there that was so integral to my career. As far as what led me to choosing my own business - I was compelled by the opportunity to grow the company beyond employing just myself and create more career paths within the floral industry - which can be quite a scarcity, outside of owning your own business. I also truly fell in love with large scale floral installations and working with brands and clients to bring their creative visions to life through florals - this work, and the ability to share beauty in the world with others through florals is what gets me out of bed every morning!
What advice do you have for fellow female entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to ask for support, resources and help from experts and people in your life who want to see you succeed. If you don’t know the answer to something or are overwhelmed / in over your head - don’t turn inward but instead choose to seek out expertise in your field. There’s no shame in knowing that you don’t know something and acknowledging that to others. You’d be surprised how willing people are to utilize their knowledge and resources to support others.
What are you most proud of?
What I am most proud of is the fact that I was willing to take the risks (and still am willing to everyday) associated with running your own business, the resilience that having a business requires (especially an events based business that has been and is still going through a pandemic) and having just about the best team anyone could hope for - our staff are just amazing and they all care so deeply about creating beauty and sharing it with the world around us - all while committing to an inspiring level of excellence in everything they do!
How do you style your Marfa Stance piece and why do you like the brand?
My Marfa parachute in Wine /Olive & Burnt Orange is styled two different ways - both of which I am equally obsessed with! When wearing it with the wine facing outwards I paired it with a fuchsia collar and on the Olive and Orange side I paired with the Camouflage Fuchsia collar. Both ways I wore my parka with charcoal Levis denim, a Rachel Comey sweater and my favorite pair of Olive boots by Labucq.
Why do I love Marfa Stance? Let me count the ways! Haha ;) I love that MS is a female founded brand and that its founder, Georgia, is such a kind, lovely and talented human being. She has created such beautiful pieces that are on trend, yet so classic and timeless at the same time. I love how customizable the pieces are and really appreciate that when you invest in the product - that you have so many options to truly make it a unique expression of your own personal style.
Photography: Janina Santillan