Today we’d like to introduce you to Alison Franchi.
Alison, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I come from a very tight knit Italian family just outside of New York City. My grandfather whom I was very close to was immensely passionate about gardening, flowers and in particular gardenias. Immersing myself around his favorite past time, sparked my curiosity and interest in botany from a young age.
At the impressionable age of 16, I was confident that this was a career path and passion that I wanted to follow. To aid this career trajectory, I decided to get an Art History and Fine Arts degree. This provided me with a stable foundation and knowledge to proceed forward with the practical aspect of the industry. To further my personal and constructive growth, I became the manager of a small, well established neighborhood floral shop in Bronxville, New York. This was the ideal breeding ground for me to put my theory into practice and had the added advantage of enabling me access to their roster of high end clients. In our line of work having an organic rapport with your client is as vital as having the creativity and the insight.
My varying experiences, such as floral director for hotels, working on events at The United Nations and working internationally in Rome, Italy, London, UK and cities like Miami have cultivated this passion, in addition to expanding my client base and creativity. In order for me to expand my horizon I realized that I would have to take the bold step of spreading my wings. Therefore, at the age of 22 years old I made the first foray into the botanical community under the banner of La Petite Gardenia. Using the nickname my grandfather gave me and due to my pocket size height and family business ideals I wanted to create, this venture was born.
To further these career prospects and my love of the Mediterranean and desert climate, I was encouraged by my brother to move to Los Angeles where he was also based. From this location, I was able to use my East coast chutzpah, talent and hard work ethic to charm a new breed of clients. After consuming myself with various celebrity house accounts, weddings and events ranging in style and location, I found myself craving a new challenge. The natural progression was commercial, television and film. I had never expected to achieve the success that I have and I always make it a priority to keep myself grounded. If I don’t, my friends and family will be the first to remind me of this!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The unfamiliar territory of commercial film and television has been pivotal in expanding my skills, both in terms of how the product is represented on and off camera, thinking on my feet and in dealing with the crucial and constant ever-changing environment.
Gaining trust and brushing off criticism with new clients is always a challenging obstacle. However, my stubbornness, perseverance and fear of failure has weathered many of these storms and proved that my childlike looks and young age are not comparable with my experience.
For example, a high-profile television show decided at the eleventh hour to add on a number of new changes to their original idea. To deliver this in a timely fashion and fulfill their order, required me and a staff of ten to work round the clock to get the job done. It is normally during these chaotic periods that I find myself questioning my career choice. However, this is usually super seeded by the end result, my loyal team and a satisfied client!
So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the La Petite Gardenia story. Tell us more about the business.
Combining my knowledge of flowers and sustainable plants I collaborated with Jennifer Aspinall, an Emmy winning prosthetic, special effects makeup artist to invent the Human Vase. This is an original concept that fused together both of our talents to create unique botanical art that straddled both genres. Having the opportunity to showcase this creation for a LA Confidential high-profile event cemented our arrival and provided the ideal platform to showcase our work.
The magazine event was held at The London hotel and the excitement and amazement at the finished product solidified a proud achievement in my career. As the request for this tailor-made style became popular it also became synonymous with our brand.
However, as I seek new challenges and adventures within my industry, I have felt a continual urge to train a new generation of self-starters. Passing on my skills and creativity has lead me to giving back to the community through teaching. I may not be Mother Theresa but she has definitely lead the way to encouraging my path in this direction!
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
The people I have met, travel experiences and relationships cultivated have shaped LPG over time. I consider myself blessed to have so many creative mentors in my life. I have stayed patient and humble while letting time take its course on the business growth.
Having the luxury of working internationally has always been a constant thrill. Working with well established, respected figures in their field and liaising with present and past work colleagues is the sincerest form of flattery! Surrounding myself with these people who are on the same conceptual wave length ensures that I am constantly stimulated. It also enables me to find the right candidate to pass on the La Petite baton when the time is right!
- Address: 651 Clover Street
Los Angeles, CA 90031
- Website: www.lapetitegardenia.com
- Phone: 323.424.4076 or 212.710.1327 (New York)
- Email: Livingart@lapetitegardenia.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lapetitegardenia/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lapetitegardenia/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/lapetitgardenia?lang=en
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-petite-gardenia-inc-los-angeles