This Saturday, McLain’s Bakery is hosting a block party from 4 to 7 p.m. in Waldo.
Gary KC’s owner, Jessi Taylor, recently left a 17-year career in advertising to pursue the mobile floral studio. Flowers run in Taylor’s family. Her dad, Gary, was a florist — so Gary KC is a tribute to him.
Gary KC’s mission is to spread joy to others, and its tagline is “Always wander home.” Recently we caught up with Taylor to find out what it’s like to pursue your passion.
Maker City KC: What inspires you and your work?
Jessi Taylor: I’m constantly inspired by innovators and dreamers. Creativity has driven me throughout my life, and it is what drove me to leave a 17-year career in advertising to start Gary KC.
The concept is inspired by my dad, Gary. In fact, the logo is a version of his handwriting. When I’m doing floral design, I’m inspired by the white space. I like to treat floral design like any design — the beauty is often in what is not there. I guess it’s sort of a Swedish approach to design. Knowing that I can bring joy through flowers and pop-ups to our city is what keeps me going. I love watching people discover the camper for the first time. The smiles I see make it all worth it.
Maker City KC: Are makers doers or dreamers?
Taylor: I think they’re a combination. To make anything, you have to think about what doesn’t exist yet — you have to create something that people will want to be a part of, and that they haven’t seen before. But then there’s the executing part. That’s where the ‘doing’ comes in. Seeing a dream through to fruition is, to me, the true definition of a maker.
Maker City KC: What invention/product do you wish you would have created?
Taylor: Dri-fit. As a person who spends a lot of time in the gym and on the trail, I don’t know how people ever got comfortably sweaty in any material before moisture-wicking was a thing. It’s brilliant and necessary.
Maker City KC: What is the worst invention/product still embraced by modern society?
Taylor: I’m going to go timely with this one and say vape pens. I’m not sure why anyone is surprised they’re killing people, but they are!
Maker City KC: If you could sit down and have a drink with any person in your industry, who would it be and why?
Taylor: Not exactly my industry, but Ed Ruscha. His art inspires me every day to think about ways to look at doing things differently. I’m obsessed with his word paintings and the way that he can take a simple fragment and turn it into a beautiful print design.
Maker City KC: What do you love most about the Maker Movement happening in Kansas City right now?
Taylor: I love how it’s transforming our city. There’s an energy that’s undeniable — and a lot of support for makers, too, in the form of resources, classes, mentors, etc. It’s really an exciting time.
Maker City KC: Who is another maker in Kansas City that impresses and inspires you?
Taylor: My friend and gym rat buddy Brendan O’Shaughnessy of Ocean & Sea inspires me with his simple, elegant designs and his commitment to growing his brand.
Maker City KC: What Kansas City creation/icon best reflects our makers’ community?
Taylor: I think when First Fridays originally began, it was sort of the tipping point of letting people in Kansas City know that there is an impressive and growing creative community here. It’s been really great to watch that spark a movement and a city that supports makers.
Maker City KC: If you could ask people to do just one thing to support the Maker Movement, what would it be?
Taylor: Pay attention and educate yourself about the Maker Movement. There are a lot of talented, local people who are dreaming big and scheming hard to make things to make a living. I think especially around the holiday season, or any time there’s an occasion for gift-giving is a good time to decide to support a local business or maker. In the end, it all goes back to empowering our city to be more self-sustaining. And that’s what’s best for all of us.
Keep up with Gary KC floral studio here: