How Albany Floral and Design Company Urban Poppy Grew Out of COVID

Urban Poppy, a floral and design company based in Albany and owned by cousins Sarah Fox and Teresa Carmel, wasn’t just affected by COVID—it was born out of COVID. It all started when Carmel was planning her own COVID-era wedding. “The wedding went from location A to location B to eventually location C in a matter of days,” Fox says. “Teresa and her husband made the decision to cancel their big event and change the number of guests from 250 to 11. With all the last-minute COVID cancellations and only a couple days to plan, we transformed their backyard into a venue in a matter of 72 hours, and Urban Poppy was born.”

Now, just to be clear, Fox and Carmel weren’t just any regular bride and cousin-of-the-bride thrust into planning a wedding. Carmel is a creative who dreamed of working in the wedding industry, and Fox had worked for another florist for three years right out of college. “We take the visions dreamt up by our couples and create a design around that vision,” Fox says. “We design pieces around the details, which can include flowers, candles, lanterns, backdrops—even boats.” (It’s true: one recent wedding featured a lantern- and flower-filled rowboat!)

Fox and Carmel’s combined wedding experiences—Fox’s with flowers and Carmel’s as a bride—have also made them sensitive to problems brides commonly have with other vendors. “We both quickly realized how impersonal and disconnected vendors could be,” Fox says. “That’s why, at Urban Poppy, we pride ourselves in making relationships. If a couple doesn’t see their personalities and dream brought to life in our work, then we consider our job a failure. So before talk of budget is even mentioned, we take the time to connect with each couple.”

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