June 5, 2003 marks the day Sandra de Ovando entered the brand new Bleecker Street Ovando boutique and began her incredible journey that has led to this week’s landmark event: the tenth anniversary of New York’s premier leader in innovative floral design and event production. Of Spanish and Russian descent, Sandra’s uniquely international heritage afforded her the taste of flowers through family, spending weekends with her mother reveling in the garden. Over the years, Sandra’s unique tastes in sculptural compositions has served as foundation for the signature arrangements for which the brand has become renowned for while simultaneously granting the opportunity to share her youthful memories of Mexico with the development and latest installation of the brand: Recuerdos de Mexico (Memories of Mexico) a home fragrance collection of seven unrivaled fragrances. Much, much more is in store for the acclaimed agency that has made its mark in the industry over the decade: a new studio location in the bustling Wall Street.Financial District neighborhood (next week!), future installments of exotic home fragrance collections, and keep an out for new Ovando boutique locations popping up in you neighborhood.
Recently, we sat down for a little Q&A with Sandra to reflect on the brand’s anniversary and the difference a decade makes:
What inspires you now, ten years after having launched the brand? Simply put, exploring nature and the latest fashion and designs. Truly what inspires most about fashion and design is innovatively creating a unique approach to expressing beauty. I enjoy the juxtaposition of hard and soft architecture in my work to create a chic minimal design. I always recall what Coco Chanel once said when I make my designs: “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”
What challenges have you faced while building your agency? The biggest challenge I faced was my competitors duplicating my designs. However, with a flawless strategy, the tortoise always wins the race. It was key for me to distinguish my agency flawlessly; Ensure the look and the feel of my arrangements have been consistent with my brand over the years. My clients always recognize a true Ovando arrangement.
What, for you, has been the most memorable part of the last 10 years at Ovando? Being discovered by Donna Karan! Also, there has been such joy in opening the two boutiques and bringing Ovando creations directly to the community. In fact, I am excited to be planning to continue opening more in the future. The development of the candle line – Recuerdos de Mexico is only the first, but I always take a moment to pause to smell one or two candles throughout my day and remember my childhood in Mexico.
In the past, you mentioned fashion as an inspiration. Who is your favorite fashion designer? How does their artistry translate into yours? Truly, I really love a variety of designers – keeping an eye on many of the newest trends is exciting. High fashion silhouettes translate directly into my floral art. However, if I had to pick just one, Hermes would be my favorite. The luxury of the product, the materials used and designs are perfection; These are the standards I live by, as well.
What can you tell us of the future of the brand in five 5 years? 10 years? I have plans to launch more home fragrance lines very soon and create an accessory line. As mentioned earlier, I plan to launch many more stores nationally AND internationally to continue bringing my brand directly to the public. Being a part of the community is important to me. I also would like to continue to expand the event production wing of the agency. Sharing my love for design is always an honor when putting on extravagant events.
What strategy have you actively kept in mind as you proceeded to expand the Ovando family? I keep an eye out for individuals with passion, unique personality, and nerve yet can recognize the elegance in simplicity. Being a part of my brand I expect them to remain authentic and make a commitment to excellence.
What is the best part of your day as Sandra de Ovando? Spending time with my family, who frequently come to our boutiques and offices to say hello and be a part of the Ovando family. Tucking my children into bed and kissing them goodnight is the most enchanting feeling every single day.
How have you been able to maintain the high level of clientele you have kept over the years? Fresh, cutting edge designs in my work and I have an expectation of perfection from my team. Yes, mistakes do happen, but we are highly organized and I run a tight ship. Customer service and accessibility are extremely crucial. I make sure to always be available to those who readily need me.
You’ve mentioned that much inspiration has also come from foreign environments. What travels do you have in the mind to continue your unique inspiration? Funny you should ask, I am currently making plans to visit many new countries; I’ll soon be visiting the Antarctic regions, exploring the Amazon rainforests, the stunning Galapagos Islands, and the Middle East deserts.
What about your staff stands out the most in terms of their contribution to your brand? They all possess the flexibility necessary to perform admirably under highly stressful situations and are constantly engaged. My team is creative, sharp and full of fantastic concepts.
What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur in the position you were ten years ago? Learn all aspects of your business, maintain constant engagement and integrity and have a true passion in your heart. As beautiful as your art may be, it will be hard work!
To share in the pride of its tenth anniversary, Ovando is offering a commemorative limited-edition floral design and home fragrance set which may be purchased at Ovando.com.