You know those fancy
dinner parties you see pictures of online sometimes? The ones that are sponsored by fashion brands or cool start-ups and feature, say, Kendall Jenner sitting next to Chloe Sevigny, talking about god knows what? They're always at some five-star restaurant, get written up in Vogue, and — crucially — have incredible floral arrangements. If you're anything like us, you've wondered about the origins of said flowers and plants. Which is why we were excited to talk to Erik Mourkakos and Casey Godlove of PlantShed, a family-owned NYC institution that has worked with the likes of WeWork, Chanel, Kith, Kirna Zabete, and the Grammys. They've also done collaborations with artists like Curtis Kulig and Bodega Rose (whom you may remember from our deep-dive into plant lady culture!).
PlantShed recently opened a second location in downtown NYC across from the New Museum, and we took the opportunity to pick Mourkakos and Godlove's brains on everything from plant trends to what it's really like to work with some of the biggest, most beloved brands around. And yes, if you're sitting in a WeWork building right now, chances are, you're staring down a PlantShed plant. Who knew?
What's the hardest thing about what you do?
I think the hardest thing is always working with perishable products, everything is super time-sensitive. There's no making these arrangements or this plant wall six months in advance and waiting to install it. It's 48 hours ahead of time and go all night if you need to," explains Godlove. "And the turn-around time is pretty quick. We might have a two-week lead time to get flowers from Italy or Holland. Which for me is super interesting."
How did PlantShed begin working with so many high-profile clients?
"I think a lot of it has to do with just being a fixture in the neighborhood," says Godlove, referring to the Upper West Side space the company has occupied since 1981. "And always having a pretty good amount of inventory always available. We can do a pretty quick turn-around."
"The past few years, we've had some big clients just from being around for so long," says Mourkakos, whose family opened the business in the 1950s. "We have longstanding relationships with some brands. But it's also just, people want plants now. I think we're getting more exposure in general because of that. We try to only work with brands or do collaborations that fit our aesthetic and our company vibe."
Is there anything that sticks out to you as having been really difficult to execute?
The Rochambeau fashion show that we did — I forget what season it was for them, but it was all indoor palms and stuff. It was also an overnight, so that was fun. To do the whole runway show and come up with a design [took place overnight] because we didn't get any plans prior. But that happens often. That's one reason why I think we get a lot of the work we do. We're always available," Mourkakos says.
What are the biggest trends you're noticing right now in the floral space?
"I feel like people are trying to less to do everything and focusing more on finding an aesthetic that fits them personally. You're seeing a lot of florists focusing on one style of arrangements and really orienting that to themselves, rather than being diverse in the traditional sense of a florist," shares Godlove.
How do you use flowers to help articulate a brand's aesthetic?
"It depends on the brand. We have a great collaboration coming up with Bloomingdale's and it's all about being sustainable and promoting them as a brand that cares about [sustainability]. All of our industries are gearing up to go that way and incorporating plants and flowers is such an obvious way to do that," says Godlove.
What are your favorite projects that PlantShed has executed?
"The install that we did for Kith was pretty incredible. Kith is just an awesome brand, and the concept, everything, was incredible," says Mourkakos, referring to a recent collaboration with the beloved streetwear store that featured floral installations as well as free take-home bouquets.
"I loved our work over Valentine's Day with Dirty Lemon. They did a whole rose market and I loved the giving back aspect. It was just done really beautifully," Godlove says of this year's collaboration with Dirty Lemon, a portion of the profits from which were donated to the non-profit Equality Now.
Can you tell us about some of your artist collaborations?
"Well, for Curtis [Kulig], the 'Love Me' is just becoming iconic New York," Mourkakos says, referring to Kulig's signature street art motif. "I've known Curtis for a long time. I used to live downtown and 'Love Me' was everywhere. I was thinking about bouquet wrapping paper and thought, 'what if Curtis could do wrapping paper with us?' and I reached out to him and it was cool, so we did it."
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