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The M Dash

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How a Creative CEO Styles Power Casual Outfits for Work

For East Olivia’s CEO, Kelsea Olivia, polish and practicality are equally important.

By Madeleine Kim

To celebrate the joyful styles and colors of our summer collection, we recently teamed up with the floral designers at East Olivia to bring free bouquets to our communities in NYC and D.C. We also had a chance to sit down for a delightful conversation with the company’s CEO, Kelsea Olivia, to discuss the multifaceted ways in which clothes support both her creative process and her day-to-day—which often starts with long walks through NYC’s floral market and ends with a visit to an event site. Read on to learn where Kelsea gets creative inspiration, which piece she considers her must-have work item, and why Power Casual is the way she’s dressing now.

“Fashion is at the heart of my journey with flowers.”

“I spent 10 years working in the music industry. It was really fun, but a little exhausting. One day, I just woke up and thought, this is not what I want to do anymore. I need to look for something different. 

I got a job working as a stylist for BHLDN, and since we were a bridal shop, we needed flowers.  I started going to the flower market here in New York City, and I fell in love. There was something about the juxtaposition of New York City and the lush flower market that sparked this joy and curiosity and childlike wonder. That feeling is what made me want to share flowers with other people. 

I’m not classically trained in floral design. But flowers are a visual medium like any other, and I learned about floral design through learning about how to merchandise fashion. Fashion is at the heart of my journey with flowers.”

“Getting dressed is the first creative thing you do each morning.”

“One thing I think is important with any kind of creative expression is your point of view. There’s this quote that says, “People don’t pay for your perfection, they pay for your perspective.” And as a creative, that’s where all the work begins. Are you going to museums? Are you really into fashion? Are you spending time in nature? Ask yourself what you’re consuming in terms of inspiration, because that will shape the perspective you bring to the table.

Getting dressed is the first creative thing you do each morning. So for me, fashion is always an easy source of inspiration. The sense of confidence that you get from being well-dressed is so special, and I think it’s connected to the creative process. When you create something you’re proud of, it helps build confidence.

There’s so much creativity and personal expression in the way people dress. And ultimately, I think personal expression is what makes a great flower arrangement.”

“What’s so exciting about the idea of Power Casual is the pairing of both of those things: presentation and practicality.”

“The different roles I balance can sometimes mean I’m spending the morning schlepping flowers through the flower market, then heading to an event site a few hours later. A lot of my work is very physical. One of my favorite types of items is a jumpsuit, because it makes me feel really polished, and I can dress it up or down. I’ll throw on sneakers and a jumpsuit to work on a floral installation, and then switch to a pair of pumps to go grab cocktails.

Having flexibility within my wardrobe is really, really important—it literally makes my life easier. What M.M.LaFleur does so well is it’s not just about what looks good, it’s also about what feels good and what supports your ability to get your work done and feel confident. I could show up to the flower market in yoga pants and an East Olivia T-shirt, but I don’t, because I know I’m representing my company. What’s so exciting about the idea of Power Casual is the pairing of both of those things: presentation and practicality.”

Want to give East Olivia a try? Click here to shop and use code MMLAFLEUR15 at checkout for 15% off your first order.

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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