Leah Cheng, of Flowershop Nasty

Tell us about FSN...

Flower Shop Nasty is a floral service that solely provides fresh cut flower crowns for all occasions with a focus on music festivals. The crowns we make for festivals we use specific species of flowers that will last for 2-3 days with no water. We also promise a next day delivery on all our crowns.

Where did the idea come from?

The idea was born when my best friend Gerard was working at a floral shop and noticed how much waste there was to making an arrangement. He started taking the scraps and making crowns just for fun and they turned into beautiful, eclectic, unpredictable pieces. He started making them for birthday presents and anyone that requested them, soon word got around that we were the go to for chic high end flower crowns.

What was the moment that you decided to go for it and get started?

It was Electric Zoo weekend and I thought what better event to promote at so we made about 40 crowns and went to the festival. That day we stopped at the festival, The Met, Union sq farmers market, and all through Williamsburg. By going to so many places we got to spread the word and got the social media spike we needed to get some visibility.

Did you have any background in floral or fashion? What effect did this have on you and the project?

I'm an interior designer by trade but when I first started working in NY I thought I wanted to get into events so I worked at an event production company that did mainly florals this got me familiar with the floral district which helps when we do our shopping. My Co owner Gerard is the mastermind when it comes to floral's and which specific size and species to get, he taught me how to make the crown and how to create a pleasing composition. I believe to design anything all you need is good taste.

Do you have a specific inspiration for the crown style?

We like to make crown's that are more on the eclectic side, using combinations you typically wouldn't think would go together. Our clientele are the party goers, the drag queens and the taste-makers so we break away from the traditional options and go for styles that are a little more edgy.

Working with friends- good idea or bad? Why?

Working with friends was a great idea, as I mentioned this project was started with my friend Gerard Zengel and FSN wouldn't be what it is without our friends promoting, wearing, and contributing their design talents in all aspects of the company. We have had friends learn and make crowns with us, we also have friends that take great photos and videos that they will edit and promote for us on Instagram.

Were there any big surprises?

The biggest surprise was how many people didn't realize they were real flowers. We hand pick the best looking and freshest flowers to go on our crowns so they can look the best they can for as long as they can, the flowers look so flawless people keep thinking they are fake. 

What's your favorite part?

Almost all of the process is my favorite I love shopping in the floral district with Gerard and spending the day together making the crowns, then delivering and seeing how happy the customer is once it's on their head taking their immediate selfie. The crowns make people feel special and brightens their day and in a city where you're so desensitized by everything it's great to see something so simple do so much. 

Worst advice you ever received?

Some guy that said "Hey you know they give these away for free at Burning Man"

Come across haters? How did you handle it?

No Haters yet some people mentioning "Is there really a market for that?" at first I was weary of "the market" for a flower crown then realized, I'm the one that is going to create the hype and "the market" and that is exactly what we did through social media and by promoting through word of mouth. We sold at All Day I Dream (an outdoor music event) and once a few people bought a crown everyone came up wanting one too and we sold out in a couple hours. Now when people think "It's my friends birthday and I'm going to get her/him a flower crown" or recently a friend mentioned she was going to a music event immediately thought the only thing missing to her outfit was a flower crown. 

Any guidance for women looking to start their own venture?

My advice is to never limit yourself, and to never see anything as a failure. To be patient and forget about instant gratification, because as much as you want your baby to be an overnight success it most likely will not be. There is never a right or wrong decision there's just the best decision you can make at that point and the outcome is unpredictable no matter how much you plan.

Cheers to Leah with a glass of Mariette, Order Here.

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