FIRST THOUGHT: Just Bloom
Whether you’re on a play date with a woman who seems like Wonder Mom or listening to that co-worker who says she wakes up at 4 a.m. to workout before going to the office, it’s hard to put your blinders on and just be the best you can be.
But remember this sentiment you’ve seen floating around Pinterest: Flowers don’t compete with other flowers; they just bloom. And all of them are beautiful, right? Even those pesky dandelions.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 80 Percent
Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl loved pink peonies and Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls was a fan of yellow daisies. These pretty plants are distinct and colorful, and can really turn a bad day around.
But for something so many of us love, most of us don’t have the slightest clue where flower bouquets come from (other than the grocery store or an online delivery service). In fact, 80 percent of flowers sold in the United States are imported. This explains why your tulips start wilting on day two. They’ve traveled really far!
Not only that, but flower workers in other countries earn very little income. The typical Colombian flower worker earns only $6 a day, which is well below the minimum wage in Columbia, whereas the American flower farmer makes an average of $104 a day.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Christina Stembel, Founder of Farmgirl Flowers
After working in event planning for seven years at Stanford University, Christina Stembel began shaking up the $4 billion online flower industry. She says the most recent innovation when it comes to flower delivery occurred in the late ’90s, when companies traded local flowers for cheaper offshore ones. This led to more than half of U.S. flower farmers closing up shop. She identified waste and farmers’ wages as serious issues in the industry and, oh yeah, the flowers looked just plain sad.
This self-proclaimed floral snob didn’t create her company, Farmgirl Flowers, until she conducted informal focus groups, which loved the idea of supporting local farmers. She nixed the obnoxious cellophane for recycled burlap from coffee shops to give her flowers an identity.
Stembel used her personal savings and found it tough to get investments because rather than using contract and delivery workers, she has 46 employees who receive full medical benefits. It didn’t help that all the new startups were founded by men, typically with deep pockets, even though she discovered 79 percent of floral purchases in the United States are made by women who are buying for other women. How thoughtful are we?
Stembel created a beta model in San Francisco, and five years later, her company projected more than $4 million in revenue in 2015 and offers nationwide shipping. In addition to only using U.S. flowers, Farmgirl Flowers eliminates waste by creating only one daily arrangement, which means Stembel dedicates more time to a design and doesn’t have to keep a million different flowers in stock.
What Stembel delivers are enchanting, contemporary and Instagram-worthy bouquets you can feel good about giving. All it takes is one woman to make real change in a billion-dollar industry, and Stembel is doing just that.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson was given the nickname Lady Bird for being as “purdy as a lady bird.” She lived up to the name through her avid efforts to beautify cities and highways across the U.S. Lady Bird Johnson once said:
“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.
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