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Industry Innovators 2024: Danielle Flores-Gary & Katie Hartman

The owners of Floral Crush Studio are all about creativity and collaboration.

'We are always looking to grow and learn, so we welcome opportunities that push us outside of our comfort zone,' says Danielle Flores-Gary.
"We are always looking to grow and learn, so we welcome opportunities that push us outside of our comfort zone," says Danielle Flores-Gary.
Photo: Marc Patrick/BFA.com

Danielle Flores-Gary (left) and Katie HartmanDanielle Flores-Gary (left) and Katie HartmanPhoto: Courtesy of Floral Crush StudioDanielle Flores-Gary and Katie Hartman are the owners of Floral Crush Studio, a Los Angeles-based event floral design company that works with high-end brands and entertainment studios.

How they got their start: "Katie and I have a long history of working in events! We met in our early 20s when we were employed by a trade show company called George Little Management. It was here that we gained the strong corporate background that has helped round out the creative aspect of our current roles. We eventually went in separate directions for a number of years, and reunited when we were both between jobs trying to figure out what was next in our careers.

A friend of mine was getting married, and I volunteered to help her with the florals because I lived in a loft across the street from the flower market. I asked Katie to help me, and it was while working on this wedding that Floral Crush Studio was born. Ironically, we no longer do weddings—but more about that later!

We figured we could start the business with very low overhead and risk because we could work out of my house and only incur costs when we booked a gig. As with most things in life, timing was crucial to our success. A couple of key producers, who are still our clients today, were looking for a new florist and we made connections through mutual acquaintances—and the rest, as they say, is history. We said yes to everything that came our way, and hustled to get our name and florals in front of as many event producers as possible."

What sets their company apart: "I think what sets us apart from a lot of other florists is that we decided early on to keep our focus tight. We quickly learned we are most passionate about working on entertainment and corporate events. We don’t do weekly florals, one-off deliveries, or weddings. The floral market in Los Angeles is massive and there are some very talented people doing exciting and creative things within those realms—but for us, we enjoy the fast-paced hustle and collaborative nature of events. We work exceptionally well under pressure and prefer to work on jobs with quick turnarounds." 'We said yes to everything that came our way, and hustled to get our name and florals in front of as many event producers as possible,' says Flores-Gary."We said yes to everything that came our way, and hustled to get our name and florals in front of as many event producers as possible," says Flores-Gary.Photo: Courtesy of Floral Crush Studio

What innovation means to them: "Innovation is extremely important in events because none of our producers want their events to look the same. We may work on events for the same TV show/film for two different producers, and we have to figure out how to keep them on brand but different enough that the producers feel confident they have created something new and fresh. This is really what drives us to be innovative. It is essential to our success and the loyalty of our clients.

That being said, I think we stay innovative and forward-thinking by building off our experience and making changes and improvements based upon past successes or failures. We are always looking to grow and learn, so we welcome opportunities that push us outside of our comfort zone."

Memorable moments: "From a milestone perspective, the most memorable event for us was the first Oscars greenroom we did with Event Eleven. When we started the business, we said it was our goal to do something for the Oscars. When it finally happened, four years into starting Floral Crush, we really felt like we had made it! We continue to work on this event year after year, and it’s always a highlight for us. 

In terms of scale, this year’s installation we did for Netflix’s The Crown with Stellar Agency Inc. was the largest installation we have ever done.  We worked really closely with our friends at LabCreative, who fabricated the structure we built on, to come up with a creative solution to 'paint' a 1,200-square-foot mural depicting Princess Diana in florals. We knew we were not going to be able to achieve the level of detail required with florals alone, so we hired a muralist, Kelsey Grina, to help paint in details, shading, and dimension." 'Doing something totally new with florals after 11 years of being in the business was super exiting, and we couldn’t be more proud of the end result,' says Flores-Gary."Doing something totally new with florals after 11 years of being in the business was super exiting, and we couldn’t be more proud of the end result," says Flores-Gary.Photo: Courtesy of Floral Crush Studio

Their biggest hope for the event industry: "Today, the event industry is one that is very collaborative. Vendors, producers, and clients all have to work together, sometimes literally following behind each other on a job, shifting time frames and schedules on a dime to make things happen. We are all problem-solvers and outside-the-box creative thinkers. It is our hope that our industry remains this way—that the human, 'let’s get it done and make beautiful things together' vibe never goes away."

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