How One Woman From Indiana Challenged U.S. Floral Industry With Locally Grown Flowers

For her, business is not all roses, it’s also carnations, peonies and all the other flowers grown in America.

Christina Stembel founded Farmgirl Flowers to marry an innovative idea with the desire to make a positive impact. She supports local businesses and delivers gorgeous hand-picked burlap bouquets nationwide.

Photo: Christina Stembel/Facebook

Christina grew up on a small farm in Indiana, yet her dreams have always been big. She thought up one business idea after another, but nothing seemed right. She moved to the Silicon Valley working as an event planner, and that’s when it hit her. Flowers.

The woman had to order lots of them for weddings and parties. There were two problems, though, diversity and price. Bouquets cost a fortune even though the choice of colors and stems wasn’t great. The reason for this was simple – more than two thirds of flowers sold in the U.S. are imported.

Thanks @dee.rock for another amazing shot of our one of our amazing couriers in the wild! This is Sarah who does it all – designs some days and delivers via pedal power others. Thank you Sarah! So grateful for our ridiculously talented team! 🙌#teamfarmgirl

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Christina set out to change the industry. “I knew if I had one shot to go for the gold and build my own business, I wanted to hit out of the park and create something truly unique,” the woman explains.

California was a perfect place for the business as it is the state where most U.S. flower farmers reside.

In 2010 she quit the day job to start Farmgirl Flowers and put all her savings into the project. “Trying to raise cash as a female founder really difficult — if not impossible — especially if you have a mission business,” Christina admitted to Forbes.

The premise was simple and bold. Farmgirl Flowers asked customers to take a leap of faith and let florists design a unique bouquet for them, promising to use only the best available locally grown flowers. It saves buyers’ time, and no flowers go to waste at the end of the day.

Moreover, the company follows strict standards for work ethics and is eco-friendly. For example, they use 100% biodegradable burlap as wrapping. “I want to build a company that I would want to buy from, sell to, and work for,” Christina says.

And they are ready to express an opinion on the problems that matter.

My dad used to tell me often that “love is a choice.” As adults, we come back to that sentiment often, as we don’t agree about many things, politically and otherwise. We have heated discussions about those differences of opinions, but we always come back to choosing love. Even when emotions run high, we always hug it out (after calming down 😉 and say that the only thing that really matters is that we love each other no matter what. In leading my company I want us to always choose love too – no matter what it looks like, believes in, loves, or even votes for. So, we hear you loud and clear when some of you say we should stick to making flowers and not get “political”. And I’m here to let you know that that’s not who we are, or who we want to be. We, as a company, will always choose love. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜#fgflove (and thanks for the great pic @montseandree!!)

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“The early years are extremely tough,” the founder says. “In addition to being scared all the time, you have to do every single thing yourself and not let anything slip and all with about 2 hours of sleep a night tops.”

But the market was ready for the change, and the idea caught on. Eight years later stunning flower arrangements wrapped in Farmgirl’s signature burlap are delivered to every state except Alaska and Hawaii.

It doesn’t make Christina’s job any easier though. “You have a lot of people relying on you for their livelihood,” the woman shared, “so you better not make a wrong decision because every mistake (and bill for that matter) is now 100 times bigger.”

The important thing is, it’s all worth it. Hard work, honesty and taking time to gain the customers’ trust pay off. It’s no wonder the business is thriving.

Source: Farmgirl Flowers, Forbes, Medium

Featured Image: @leahzgram, @farmgirlflowers/Instagram

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