What do Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Kacey Musgraves have in common? Aside from being mega-icons, they’re also big fans of botanical artist, Kristen Alpaugh. Through FLWRPSTL, her LA-based business, Kristen creates one-of-a-kind arrangements that bridge fine art and floristry that are already being covered by the likes of Vogue and Architectural Digest.
You’ve got such a COOL story! What led you to ditch your day job and start FLWR PSTL?
In August 2017, I was on my usual end of the day run after work. One minute I’m jogging along my normal route and the next a wave of clarity hit me like a ton of bricks – I was going to become a florist. The realization was so vivid and something I had never experienced before.
At the time, I was working in corporate America but desperately wanted to fill the creative void I’d developed over the years working in a consulting environment. My whole life I’d dabbled with art as a hobby, but prior to that afternoon, I hadn’t followed even a single florist on Instagram.
I left my corporate job and went to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. When I returned from Tanzania, I officially traded my power suit for pink overalls and I've never felt more like myself. Since then, every day is a learning experience. I’m always looking for ways to push the envelope and try something different!
Your mentioned pink overalls. Why is that your outfit of choice these days?
Early in my corporate career, I was told my voice was too high-pitched and that I smiled too much. I was almost always the youngest person, and often the only woman in the room. Instead of owning that, I tried to blend in with the “old boys club.”
When I left that environment, I made a lot of changes—including the decision to consciously embrace all things pink and feminine. I never owned a single piece of pink clothing before starting FLWR PSTL. Now I have seven pairs of pink overalls, all lovingly hand dyed!
You use really unique methods to create your arrangements. Can you tell us more about your process and what inspires you?
It starts at 3am in the flower district. I need to be there in person to hand select each flower. This routine is not particularly scalable as FLWR PSTL grows, but it is part of my creative process. I love the wholesalers I work with and the personal relationships I’ve developed with them!
Once I have flowers, I start to visualize my designs. I consider texture, size and color contrast. From there, I’ll play with the materials I have on hand. I'll experiment with paints and dyes, which is how I developed my process for coloring pampas grass. I wanted to keep their soft texture so I began dip dying them and kept experimenting from there.
I'm inspired by anything that makes me stop and stare: the colors on the ocean at sunset, a piece of artwork, music, something as simple as the way a few pebbles have fallen across a sidewalk. I also have an affinity for long lines and obtuse angles—probably because I trained in ballet for so many years.
What are some exciting things that happened recently?
Besides finding my creative identity and giving FLWR PSTL a distinct style, it’s been super fulfilling to observe the positive energy that my pieces can bring to people. It’s really special when someone sees your art, like really sees it, you know? It makes my heart smile.
A few months ago, someone whom I have always admired noticed my work and allowed me to create for them. That someone was Katy Perry! She is a wildly talented trailblazer who has created something unique, authentic, and playful in her own terms. She inspires me all the time and I look forward to creating more work that stands out.
I have also worked with forward-thinking brands like Milk Makeup. It was super fun to be given a challenge not to use flowers as the entire design was based around agave and cannabis.
I’ve also had the opportunity to collaborate with you at Pepper Home. I love what you guys are doing; embracing one of a kind art and making it accessible in an everyday manner. Artwork usually comes with a “look don’t touch” rule, but your pieces are artwork that begs to be touched (and it's totally acceptable!).
An easy way to make a big impact with flowers?
Your surroundings 100% impact your state of mind. It makes me sad when I see floral arrangements in a boring, traditional place. Put your flowers to work! Let them stimulate your brain. Put them where you will most enjoy them – next to your bed, in your kitchen, at your desk. For a little self-care, you can select blooms and foliage with therapeutic qualities like lavender and baby eucalyptus (tip: snag some baby eucalyptus and drape it over your shower head).
What's your favorite thing about your apartment?
My studio. It’s creative chaos and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. I still warn friends before they come over that my house looks like Jumanji when I’m deep into a project. I used to care about things being spotless, but now I love that my clothes are covered in paint and my walls are speckled. It's who I am.