Don’t take this personally. But your last few parties have been missing…something.
No, not a 50 Shades of Grey read-aloud. Although you should definitely do that.
We’re talking about flowers.
We know you’ve heard of them. You can even name a few: roses, daisies, those ones that are big and yellow and smell good. And that’s about it.
Introducing Kristi and Keli Tolley, your new underground florists. They’re those kinds of people who have demanding, round-the-clock jobs, but somehow make time for their passion: flower design. Together, they run a local out-of-home enterprise that provides unique, high-quality botanical art at a very affordable price. While everyone else in Saginaw, MI was getting their first jobs as babysitters and Big Mac connoisseurs, the sisters were shaping gardenia-decorated arrangements into happiness-makers.
The company is Poppy and Pansy. For the laymen, those are types of flowers. Which, by the way, look identical. Seriously. Google it.
So do Kristi and Keli, actually. They are often mistaken as fraternal twins because they, well, look a lot alike, and also because they both almost knock things over when they talk. But, like the flowers, the sisters Tolley have very distinct personalities and approaches to the floral design.
There’s Keli. She’s messy, artistic, and has a freestyle creative attitude. Then there’s Kristi. She’s Type A, organized, and all about detail. Her BFFL (best flower for life) is the hydrangea. Keli’s favorite changes daily (today it’s the yarrow). With more than 17 years in the biz, they couldn’t be more different. But they always agree on one thing: listen to the client.
But, they admit they too get a bit of a rush when they’re “sculpting,” as Keli calls it. “There’s a lot more to it than an art form with your own hands. Flowers are so fickle by themselves, but when you put them together it becomes something completely different.”
Kristi moved to Charleston ten years ago. Keli, in her what-to-do-next stage, followed suit four years later: “There was no question: Charleston was the answer.” They became official in 2011 and official-er when they carted a Harris Teeter-sized flower cooler from Park Circle to West Ashley by themselves. “We drove really slow and took the back roads,” laughs Kristi. With success from 100% word of mouth, Poppy and Pansy provide local events—from weddings to anniversaries to funerals—with their designs. The flowers come from all over, but mostly a farm on Johns Island.
“We want to grow in a quality way. Any occasion is special. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have beautiful flowers,” says Kristi.
You now have a local outfit to provide you with nose-catching flower art on the regular. Keli and Kristi will join your ranks right next to your hairstylist and tailor.
Because your tailor has never had good taste in flowers.
Story by: Jessica Kenny
Photos by: Gregg Lambton-Carr Photography