Natalia Shustova, also known @shoestova, launched her unique floral concept Goshá only four months ago, but in the time, her growth has been radical. Right away, orders started flooding in, and Goshá began partnering with luxury brands like Prada and Gucci to be their regional floral provider. Franchise requests also reached Goshá from all corners of the world when the concept was only four weeks old. Swift success owes credit to three elements: Natalia’s highly developed aesthetic sense and business acumen, and the incredible talent of its eponymous florist Goshá.
The two met because Natalia frequented the floral shop where he worked, and a friendship blossomed from there. After her life was struck by tragedy, it was Goshá’s bereavement bouquet that pierced her veil of grief and gave her path a new direction. The story of Goshá is an emotional journey, one that started out with compassion and empathy and ended being a vehicle for compassion and empathy for others. Goshá’s bouquets are so poetic and so unexpected that they have the power to touch hearts, to become a central character in important milestone moments from weddings and receptions to proposals and promotions.
From one success to another, Natalia now finds herself at a pivotal moment. With the new Harvey Nichols x Goshá pop-up open, adjacent to Gucci on the store floor, she sees a full circle moment come to fruition. Not only is Goshá the ultimate compliment to the new Spring/Summer 2021 collections at Harvey Nichols, but it also has adjusted its business model to include a tailored everlasting flower concept that is both perfect for this moment and a brilliant solution to home decor. The pop-up will run until March 31.
Is this the peak or is she just getting started? Read on to find out more.
I want to start at the beginning because knowing you, your passions are music, fashion, and interiors, and many other creative pursuits. I was wondering why flowers?
First of all, I’ve always seen flowers as a medium. Some say it’s material for everything that leads to art, music, and creative processes. Most importantly poetry. A side of me which people don’t know is I’m very into poetry. When we first started Goshá, I thought about how to differentiate exactly what we do. Our bouquets for example are never repeated, which means every single one of them is its own poem, right? We put ingredients together — same as words — we are putting them together and there is a poem. It’s the same with flowers, we’re putting different flowers together and they create completely different combinations. Something unexpected, something that inspires, something very beautiful, something very dreamy. Something that can release your emotion.
Why did you start Goshá?
My partnership began with a designer called Goshá, who is a very well-known florist who used to work in London, Moscow, and in Dubai for the past four years. It was his idea, actually! He was working as the head florist at one of the local flower shops, and I would shop for flowers at his studio very often. He once came to my house and said, “Natalia, we need to start something together because we have the same aesthetic vision, and you work in fashion. This is what I want to do. I want to do fashion flowers, designer arrangements.”
After that, for six months he was trying to convince me that that’s what I needed to do. Last year, my dad passed away and I came back home from Russia, I looked around my house and there were massive flower arrangements from friends everywhere. I was in such a state of mind that I didn’t really see any of it. And then I saw one small bouquet which Goshá did and they completely blew my mind. They were black orchids which he hand painted himself; he put tears on them, and they looked like they were crying. It was beautiful, and it was what I was feeling. I said to myself that I need to give this guy a chance because it’s absolutely impressive what he can do with his talent.
Goshá was born as a collaboration between me with my artistic vision, creative direction, and knowledge of business, and his incredible talent. The brand is named after him, for exactly the same reason as why Dior is Dior and Chanel is Chanel and YSL is YSL.
First, I’d like to say that I’m sorry to hear about your father passing. It sounds like what Goshá created for you really captured that time that you were in. I think that that really speaks to the power of the arrangements. I received one for your Harvey Nichols pop-up and the two words that came to my mind when I saw the arrangement were “poetry” and “soul”. I can feel that from the arrangements.
Thank you! That’s why every time you receive flowers from our studio, at the back of our packaging you’re always going to find a poem, you can also send a poem inside of our flowers as well. We’ll be releasing new cards which will come with your arrangement which will have a small poetry book with it as well. We’re trying to show people the beauty of flowers in a very different way. Often if you place an order with us we ask, who is this for? Can you describe them as a person? Who is this person’s favorite designer? What is their hair color? What is he or she celebrating? It’s always addressed to the person. They’re not just flowers; it’s a moment of happiness which we want to bring to everyone.
It was very sudden when my dad passed away in his sleep. Goshá was my way of coping with that. I was just doing flowers. That’s it, I was just doing flowers. We were delivering flowers to people, seeing them writing us back saying, “Oh my God, she said ‘yes’! Thank you guys for being part of this moment,” or “My mom is not well, I’m sending these to the hospital to make her smile.” Dealing with that is honestly not a business; we are sharing very beautiful emotions everyday.
I never thought that this was going to be my life, but now I feel that I’m never at work. I’m completely lost in a world of flowers and the beautiful moments of people’s lives. We are part of something very intimate and very beautiful everyday.
How has your business grown since you started it, and how quickly have you had to scale up to keep up with the demand?
In the beginning, it was just myself, Goshá, and my very loyal personal assistant. The very first time we posted anything from our studio was in the middle of October, and I was thinking “Maybe in six months we will hire people…” It picked up so quickly. By November, we got an invitation from Level Shoes to join them for the first time as a collaborative piece to open our store in Dubai Mall. We were only three weeks old at the time. By week four, we started to receive requests from Russia, China, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, for franchising the business there.
We started doing flowers for Yves Saint Laurent. We were picked as a Prada florist in this region, which is very rewarding because there are only nine florists in the world who are allowed to do Prada flowers.
I think it’s because we never wanted to be super commercial. We just wanted to be artistic and expressive. What we’re doing is coming from the heart, and everybody feels it! I built a luxury brand which is today on the first floor of Harvey Nichols next to Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Chloé. Here is Goshá on the same level, neighboring with those brands.
It must have been quite a feeling to be part of a Harvey Nichols story. Talk me through the process of opening the pop-up with Harvey Nichols.
The idea started from the launch of the Spring/Summer collections at Harvey Nichols. Because of the time we’re in, the content right now needs to be more visual and digital. As you remember, Harvey Nichols is famous for their seasonal fashion shows and presentations. It was something we all waited for. But now, flying is restricted, and so is gathering.
So we shot the Spring/Summer campaign at my house. When we started talking about shooting it, Harvey Nichols said, “ Natalia, we would love to put Goshá in it, and we would love to have you styling some of the shots with flowers.” Then it developed into styling the windows at Harvey Nichols with Goshá flowers for Harvey Nichols. All seven windows now have a piece of Goshá in them, which is impressive. From shoot, to campaign, to styling the windows with flowers, we decided to keep the story going into something bigger than that.
What are you offering at the pop-up?
My idea was to offer something that this country doesn’t offer in general. We started an everlasting flower bar. In the beginning, 90 percent of our arrangements were done with fresh flowers. We are offering fresh cuts, which are delivered to the studio three times a day. We don’t have any flowers in fridges. Any flowers which are not sold we dry, and we arrange them as everlasting arrangements.
The concept which we have in Harvey Nichols today is quite unique. Apart from our very flamboyant arrangements, you can also come and bring your vase from your house and our Goshá stylist will arrange your vase on the spot at Harvey Nichols from designer dried flowers. Many people right now are preferring sustainable arrangements. This is our specialty: our dry arrangements or our everlasting arrangements allow you to keep a skeleton for mixing with fresh flowers as well. So we’re putting together a skeleton and then you can buy from us, for example, a couple of anthuriums or roses which will have their own kind of a water source clipped to them. This way, you can always refresh your dry flowers with something fresh so it always looks very different. It’s quite an interesting LEGO style arrangement we do with you. It’s a very different poem now.
That’s absolutely brilliant, and I love the sustainable element. I’m wondering what makes Harvey Nichols and Goshá such a good fit together?
We are luxury and we are quite young. With Harvey Nichols’ newly upgraded look, the vibe of Harvey Nichols has become much younger, focusing on more emerging, younger labels. I think we’ve become a very good match.
We’ve been a florist for Gucci since day one. We’re doing gifting for all Gucci VIP clients, we do all the events for Gucci, and we’re doing Gucci ‘Blooms’ everywhere. Right now, having our store right next to Gucci in Harvey Nichols is really beautiful. I love seeing the prints of Gucci mixing with our flowers. Everything together tells such a beautiful story.
What are some of the Spring/Summer 2021 trends and pieces that have caught your eye that are available at Harvey Nichols right now?
It’s so interesting that you asked this question. While my team was setting up the store in the middle of the night, I was running around the shopping floor exploring the new collections. The majority of us changed our lifestyles since last year, the way we travel and the way we dress, and the way we spend our time. It’s really visible right now in Harvey Nichols.
First of all, there are all of these ice cream hues which you see and make you happy. To see those beautiful toned-down greens, toned-down blues, baby pinks, is amazing. Also, I’m so glad to see so many incredible emerging labels are in the front of the store, like Rejina Pyo or my favorite Jacquemus, and I’m so obsessed with Jil Sander, which has an amazing selection available right now. I honestly can’t take my eyes off Cult Gaia which, again, some of the pieces which are sold out everywhere landed in Harvey Nichols. In the footwear department, trends are going into more comfortable, very nature inspired looks. It’s lower heels, open silhouettes, and something that you can wear mainly day to night, although there’s not much partying going on for all of us.
There are a lot of beautiful linens, beautiful summer knits, and voluminous shapes. I think the main trend that I’ve seen right now in Harvey Nichols is the sophisticated bohemian girl and very street cool guy. I’m really saluting the buying team because it’s such an interesting selection. Some of the pieces you can’t find easily anywhere online, so it’s really good to see how well they did the buying for the season from some of these very cool brands.
You’re making me want to go to Harvey Nichols right this second.
You should, I honestly recommend it. It’s quite happy, the story happening there. Happy in the sense that you really want to try new things, and to me that’s always a very good sign.
Photographer Alexander Wolfe Model Joy @SignatureElements Creative Direction Gold & Bruun Hair and Make-up Kasia Domanska