Kelsey’s career began with her selling handmade clothing on the internet at the age of 16. Slowly over time this developed into custom bridalwear, and lead to her earning a Bachelor of Fashion from UCOL by the age of 18. “I would sew all my orders on my lunch breaks at Uni,” she remembers.
Being a designer, businesswoman, pattern maker, and seamstress is all in a day’s work for 23 year old Kelsey Genna, work which she says is “honestly my dream job”.
Her career has grown “very slowly”, which is something Kelsey is grateful for. “It takes a long time, especially starting young, to really figure out your niche and how you want something to work. Figuring out how to live a really balanced life whilst thriving in your career also took me quite a while.”
Founded in 2012, Kelsey’s bridal label The Flower Bride has been brought to life through floral and nature inspired components. While Kelsey is based in Manawatu, her label is stocked in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchuch and is also established in major centres around the world including Los Angeles, New York and London.
Kelsey has also recently designed and released a new Kelsey Genna activewear range, which she says was inspired by travelling to Indonesia.
I think following your dreams is a beautiful thing but I think it also takes so much more dedication, patience and hard work than anyone realises.
“I spent some time in Bali last year and fell in love with Ubud, a small town up in the forests. It’s a really creative town and there is also a big organic, raw food and yoga culture there. It seems to represent everything I want my activewear brand to be about. I’m spending the next few months based there setting up my activewear line… it’s an inspiring place to be.”
Sold exclusively online, her activewear range incorporates fashion and sport through a variety of unique designs and vibrant printed fabrics.
As well as designing, Kelsey relishes having the opportunity to travel. “I love travelling which is why I’ve tried to incorporate it into my work as much as possible. I find travelling from place to place a little annoying though, which is why I usually try to base myself somewhere for 12 months at a time. As long as I keep super organised I find living out of a suitcase really easy.”
This year looks to be a busy one, but Kelsey is excited about the work ahead. “I’m going to be juggling my time between my bridal and activewear, this is my first year working on two big projects. While I am in Bali I will be setting up a base for my activewear and also designing a new bridal collection. I’ll spend a little bit of time tripping around Asia fabric sourcing too, and then I plan to head to New York for the Bridal Market in October.”
It takes a long time, especially starting young, to really figure out your niche and how you want something to work.
While this year is well planned out, Kelsey doesn’t have many solid plans for the future. “Life is ever changing and I’m happy to just see where it takes me. I’m just happy to keep slowly growing. As much as I love my job it is just one part of my life.”
“I think following your dreams is a beautiful thing but I think it also takes so much more dedication, patience and hard work than anyone realises.”