KK Harris (right) with Store Manager Bobby Mohlmann (Photo by Jay Paul)
With a father, Bob Kelley, who served as a vice president at Ukrop’s for 18 years, and a mother who worked a decade as a designer and director of operations at Williams & Sherrill, Katelyn Kelley “KK” Harris’ roots are steeped in retail.
A former associate brand manager at Altria Group and currently an adjunct professor in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, Harris is practicing what she preaches. In December, she opened House of Floralie (829-0120 or floralie.com) at 1006 Lafayette St.
The store features unique, small-batch gift items that range from local products to wares from international vendors. Harris says she strives to ensure items are ethically sourced.
Harris came up with the concept after struggling to find thoughtful items for gift baskets for out-of-town attendees of her wedding in 2014. “I think I had to go to 13 different places to find everything and I just realized how laborious, how time-intensive it is to be thoughtful,” Harris says.
Her wedding to Austin Harris was featured in the summer 2015 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, showcasing some of her gift basket items.
Harris wanted a one-stop-shop where “you can come and curate a selection of items to create a more thoughtfully presented gift,” she says. Selections include Charbonnel et Walker truffles from London, screen-printed hand towels from Richmond’s Lightbox Print Co. and gender-neutral fragrances from Los Angeles-based Chay.
Bobby Mohlmann, who worked nearly 15 years with Williams & Sherrill, is the store manager. He says he enjoyed his time at the company, but admits that “having an adventure like this was hard to pass up.”
He had previously worked with Harris’ mother, Karen Kelley, and when Harris explained the store’s concept he jumped on it. “I think it’s really exciting and it gives me a warm feeling to help provide and to be able to buy something that was made by hand and that was made with a story behind it,” he says.
“We want to empower people to be more gracious and give more graciously, but really the purpose of the store is to reduce the time and effort it takes to give thoughtfully,” Harris says. Look for Harris’ e-commerce store this month at floralie.com.