The floral industry around the world makes billions of dollars every year. In the United States alone the flower industry produces over $5 billion annually which is supported by about 15,000 retail flower shops.
While many online flower delivery companies exist, most of them involve middlemen who can make it difficult to pinpoint which blooms are ethically sourced. Another concern with traditional flower deliveries is that many flowers often die in transit.
Bouqs, an online flower delivery company is changing the way people can access sustainable flowers. The company has established a system where customers can pinpoint exactly where their eco-friendly flowers are grown and sourced.
In an email interview with Green Matters, Anna Wilhelmsen, Brand Partnerships Manager for Bouqs, shares, "We connect farms and a curated network of artisan florists directly to consumers, and disrupts the traditional supply chain by eliminating overhead costs like warehouses, importers, distributors, auctioneers and more."
What does this mean for consumers? She goes on to explain, "In turn, this model enables a superior product and redefines the experience and economics for both consumers and producers alike."
To begin with, their farm-to-table approach enables the company to create less waste. Companies in the flower industry generally lose 1 out of every 3 stems because the time-consuming transit through the supply chain can cause some flowers to wilt before they can ever be sold. Bouqs farmers avoid wasting blooms through their farm-to-table system because they only cut a flower once it’s sold.
By cutting and shipping the plants the same day customer's place their order, the company can curtail the supply chain and get the flowers to their final destination quicker, so they last longer. In fact, Bouqs asserts that their flowers are only 1 to 7 days old on arrival, while traditional flower deliveries are about 17 days old. All in all, the company is able to limit 90 percent of unnecessary waste because of their cut-to-order process.
In addition to wasting fewer flowers, their minimized supply chain model eliminates overhead costs like warehouses, importers, distributors, auctioneers. By skipping intermediaries, the farmers that partner with Bouqs can keep more profits so they can grow their businesses. According to Bouqs, their farmers make 20 percent more than average flower farmers. This model keeps costs down for consumers and minimizes carbon emission since transportation between middlemen is eliminated.
Many of these partnering farms skip chemical pesticides when possible and try to opt for natural insect predators like ladybugs. The company also works with farms that are independently certified by third party agencies such as Veriflora and The Rainforest Alliance. This approach ensures that the flowers are grown in sustainable environments which provide services to workers such as proper wages, healthcare, and childcare.
Their Creative Director, Dave Plafchan, told Common Thread, “Bouqs.com is unique in that we’re the only flower company helping farmers practice sustainable, eco-friendly, responsible farming all over the world.”
How was the idea for Bouqs born? Classmates John Tabis and Juan Pablo Montúfar founded Bouqs in 2012. Tabis had experience as a brand and strategy executive at Disney, while Montúfar is a third-generation farmer. They saw a need to disrupt the flower industry and were able to prove there was a demand for an improved system.
To date, the Los Angeles based company has raised more than $43 million and already delivered 30 million stems. As the company flourishes, it continues to help sustainable farmers in California, Ecuador, and Colombia grow.