Floral and event designer James Hurley expands his Ansley Park shop and branches out into interior design.
For anyone who’s kept up to date on the cinematic goings on in this city, James Hurley’s designs have most likely crossed into view. In the eight years he’s been here, Hurley has become a fixture on television and movie sets, such as Garry Marshall’s Mother’s Day featuring Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and more. (In the movie, Roberts plays a character on a shopping network, and Hurley’s flowers are prominently displayed in several of the network set backgrounds.) “I also was the floral designer for “The Vampire Diaries”,” laughs Hurley, “and to do this huge arrangement, they put me in a room full of caskets!”
The son of a florist, Hurley has lived in Paris, London, New York City and Los Angeles, and moved here from his native Nashville in 2008 to work with an interior design firm. “When I got here, the recession hit. The firm closed six weeks after I started,” laments Hurley.
A tenacious entrepreneur, Hurley broke out on his own as a freelance florist. Several recommendations from his happy brides and clients led to his foray into the movie and television world, and he’s kept the momentum going ever since, opening his first shop in 2013. In the last three years, he’s been able to quadruple his business thanks to his brick-and-mortar, and a recent remodel has helped the shop see a 60% increase in walk-ins.
He’s since done flowers for many discerning companies in town, such as the Mandarin Oriental, Van Michael Salon and the Four Seasons, where he was the florist for many years. His style is recognizable by the texture he brings into the arrangements, his traditional French pave bouquets (tight, clean and full) and his exceptional service.
“We really just want to give concierge-level service to our customers,” he says. “That means we’re open six days a week in summer and seven days a week in winter. We’ve got no time limitations—we can make special arrangements to deliver early or late.” That policy has also helped him score coveted VIP clients from some of the movie and television sets he frequents. For example, after Mother’s Day, he was hired to send flowers to the cast as a thank you from the studio.
Together with business partner and best friend Ed Tooker, Hurley has grown the business into one of the most sought-after shops in town, and the demand has led to an expansion of the Ansley Park location. “We’re now doing all the event production at a different location; we went from 800 square feet to 1,500 square feet,” he says. Along with florals, expect to find a mix of consignment and new furniture pieces and sundries such as products from The Laundress.
Hurley has also begun to dip his toes back into interior design, with one ongoing project in Ansley Park and another in neighboring Morningside. Both require three-room renovations that are keeping him busy but happily back in the industry in which he originally intended to be. If his success with florals and events is any indicator, expect Hurley to be extremely busy in his newest venture.
James Hurley Designs
1425 Piedmont Avenue NE, Suite A,
STORY: Lauren Finney
PHOTO: Sara Hanna