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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How One Farm Girl Turned Flowers into a $10 Million Empire

Christina Stembel, founder of Farmgirl Flowers
A dream, hard work, determination and tough decisions turned Christina Stembel, a former farm girl, into a successful entrepreneur with an empire has grown to $10 million in annual revenue. Her company, Farmgirl Flowers, sells U.S. grown flowers made into bouquets that appeal to a younger audience. Her farming background in rural Indiana inspired her to be loyal to American farmers by buying U.S. grown flowers.

Initially met with opposition

She started her business in 2010 with a “Buy USA” theme but was met with opposition that nearly ended her company. Her premise to buy USA was totally opposite that of most of the flower delivery industry, which relies mainly on South American imports.

As wholesalers and industry heavyweights threatened to take their business elsewhere if US suppliers sold to her, she realized she needed to make a decision. Her decision was to continue to support her Buy USA initiative but also buy from imports when needed. She had no choice as the demand for her flowers was outstripping her U.S. supply.

Growth comes from tough decisions

As a result, Stembel's business has grown 431.3 percent from 2014 to 2016, from $1.9 million to $10.1 million. The company also outgrew its 9,000-square-foot warehouse and moved into a 14,500-square foot space. In addition, Stembel's workforce grew from 41 to 67, with a projected 90 employees by the end of the year.

It was a tough decision for Stembel to compromise on her Buy USA initiative, but she feels she is still strongly supporting American farmers. “We will always be loyal to the many American farmers who will work with us, but I’m not going to stunt my company’s growth,” she explained.

Farmgirl Flowers delivers in San Francisco via bicycle and vehicle courier.  On orders outside of local delivery, flowers are delivered through their delivery partner FedEx.

Read more about Farmgirl Flowers by visiting www.farmgirlflowers.com or follow them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/farmgirlflowers


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