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Richard Christiansen pursued a career in fashion as an escape from his upbringing in rural Australia, where his parents worked as beekeepers and sugar cane farmers. In 2005, he founded global creative agency Chandelier Creative, which worked with clients like Hermès, Cartier and Calvin Klein. But when the pandemic hit, everything spun out: work evaporated, he lost his New York office and was forced to let some employees go.
Even amid those challenges, new opportunities emerged. Christiansen ended up revamping a dilapidated Los Angeles garden and found himself embedded in the local farming community. Soon, these new connections, with everyone from wine makers to olive growers, led to the creation of Flamingo Estate, a brand which generated about $6 million in sales in 2021 and has developed over 150 products, such as olive oils, vinegars, candles and soaps.
This week on the BoF Podcast, Christiansen talks about creativity and resilience and how the two helped him build Flamingo Estate.
“Spending my whole career trying to get excited about make-believe and luxury goods, It’s funny that the thing I love the most was right under my nose the whole time,” Christiansen said last year at BoF VOICES. His dream is to support more farms and businesses to move to regenerative agricultural practices.
“To me, that would be a fantasy that is really worth fighting for,” he said.