Talk with Kathi Cochran and Stefani Chisholm, and the phone line snaps, crackles and pops with laughter and one-liners as befits their longtime friendship and their shared passion for all things floral.
Such is that passion that the two are partners in a business Cochran founded 28 years ago, KC Creations LLC, which does event production and floral and garden design. Cochran and Chisholm are also among four partners who make up Creations Collective, which does weekly floral change-outs and maintenance — including special holiday designs — for the Global Brands Group on13 floors of the Empire State Building.
“We’re on call 24/7,” Cochran says. “We’ll get a last minute request, but we make it happen.”
And how. KC Creations got an 11th-hour call from The Westchester to create an environment for a recent afternoon of lunch and curated shopping co-sponsored by Harper’s Bazaar.
“We had to come up with a proposal and we had very little time,” Chisholm says.
But, Cochran adds, “Stefani is the most talented artist. She makes watercolor presentations that are breathtaking.”
That same adjective could be used to describe the result — a trellis of autumnal roses in sherbet colors that provided the backdrop for Neiman Marcus models. (No mean feat: Carpenter Kevin Krause had to don a bathing suit to anchor it in one of the mall’s fountains, the women say.) The floral theme wound about a garden gate and then unspooled as a kind of runner across a banquet table. Meanwhile, KC Creations had set up a flower stand in Neiman Marcus that allowed the guests to create bouquets to take home. (Needless to say, the individual arrangements that made up the table runner managed to disappear as soon as the luncheon was over — a gesture of appreciation that has Cochran and Chisholm dissolving into giggles at the memory.)
Attendees must be forgiven such thievery. KC Creations’ work is just that irresistible. The company got The Westchester gig through word of mouth. (Operating out of a barn in Closter, New Jersey, where Cochran lives — Chisholm is in nearby Tappan — KC Creations has no storefront.) The company had provided the décor for an elaborate birthday party for Deborah Simon of the Simon Property Group, which owns The Westchester. The party took over Nougatine at Jean-Georges on Manhattan’s West Side, then spilled over to Lincoln Center, where Bette Midler provided the entertainment. The color scheme was lavender, a Deborah Simon favorite. KC Creations designed a lounge setting for Midler’s performance and had less than three hours to do 21 complex tablescapes for Nougatine. Do you think Cochran and Chisholm made their deadline? What a silly question.
The pair relies on what Cochran calls “very specific sourcing” — strong relationships with vendors from the tri-state to Ecuador to The Netherlands, along with a core staff of veterans that can expand in a moment as the situation demands. But at its heart, KC Creations is about two women who seem to glide from one pressure cooker to another — a movie premiere like “The Wolf of Wall Street,” an event at Cipriani 42nd Street, a wedding.
“We love to do destinations,” Cochran says.
It’s been that way since the two worked as waitresses at the ’76 House in Tappan — the tavern, dubbed the oldest in New York state, where Maj. John André, the British spy who conspired with Benedict Arnold, was held before his execution.
“Back then, Kathi was just starting to grow her business and I helped her,” Chisholm recalls.
“Then Stefani decided to move to Nova Scotia and make a family,” Cochran adds with mock indignation.
But even in rugged Nova Scotia, where she spent six years, Chisholm was thinking vegetable gardens, perennial gardens, landscaping. Today, they do the spring planting for 60 to 70 clients.
How do they do it all?
“We have a small but hardworking staff,” Chisholm says. To which Cochran adds, “We’ve been working together for so many years.”
And with that, they’re off to plan two more events.
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