TIME Startups

There’s a New Way to Buy Flowers This Valentine’s Day

Disruptors are now delivering nationwide

Startups around the country are testing out new models of buying and selling flowers that limit spoilage and lower prices. TIME breaks down their missions and where they deliver.

  • Farmgirl Flowers: The Aesthetes

    Courtesy Farmgirl Flowers

    Farmgirl Flowers founder Christina Stembel typically offers only one daily arrangement (buyers can see examples of past arrangements to get an idea of what they’re buying) and has built a loyal following based on her aesthetic: mostly neutral and muted tones of delicate blooms like fringe tulips and garden roses, with bold notes and plants ranging from protea to ornamental kale. She positions herself as a champion of American flower farmers and says that because her blooms aren’t shipped to the U.S. from other countries, as most flowers bought in America are, they tend to stay fresher for longer.

    Headquarters: San Francisco
    Price: $42 to $120
    Delivery fee: $10 to $25
    Delivery area: Nationwide
    Delivery time: Same-day in San Francisco; next-day nationwide
    Flowers are sourced: From American growers only

  • BloomThat: The Tech Guys

    Courtesy of BloomThat

    Co-founder Matthew Schwab says that “the flowers are secondary to the message” at their startup, BloomThat. They position themselves as a tech company that is all about taking the friction and unpleasantness out of doing something nice and are more focused on delivering a sleek and easy mobile experience than delivering life-changing bouquets. The company, backed by investors like actor Ashton Kutcher, announced it will be shipping nationwide for the first time in February.

    Headquarters: San Francisco
    Price: $40 to $86
    Delivery fee: $10 to $24
    Delivery area: Nationwide
    Delivery time: Same-day in San Francisco and parts of New York City; next day elsewhere
    Flowers are sourced: From American and foreign growers

  • Flowers for Dreams: The Philanthropists

    Courtesy Flowers for Dreams

    Co-founder Steven Dyme got his start by negotiating with college campuses, promising to contribute profits to fundraising for the schools in exchange for being allowed to peddle flowers for events like graduations. Today the business gives a quarter of its profits to a local Chicago-area charity, which changes each month. Flowers for Dreams has also worked with outfits like the Cook County jail, buying blooms grown by inmates who are learning agricultural skills as part of their rehabilitation.

    Headquarters: Chicago
    Price: $35 to $95
    Delivery fee: Free in Chicago; around $10 outside the city
    Delivery area: Greater Chicago area and Northwest Indiana
    Delivery time: Same day for Chicago; next day outside the city
    Flowers are sourced: From American and foreign growers

  • The Bouqs Co.: the Farm-to-Vase Startup

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    The Bouqs Co. sends their growers shipping materials and assembling instructions so that bouquets can be sent directly from the people who cut the flowers to the people who will receive them. One of the company’s founders grew up on a rose farm in South America and saw an opening for disrupting the industry after studying business. Thus the firm created a process that cuts out importers, wholesalers, shippers and retailers. “At each step along the way, you have waste environmentally and economically,” says CEO John Tabis.

    Headquarters: Los Angeles
    Price: $40 to $90
    Delivery fee: Free
    Delivery area: Nationwide
    Delivery time: Same day to several days, depending on location and bouquet
    Flowers are sourced: From American and foreign growers

  • BloomNation: The Facilitators

    Courtesy BloomNation

    Co-founder Gregg Weisstein puts his company’s business model like this: “BloomNation cuts out that middleman and operates more like Etsy, where we’re just a platform connecting customers with the top local florists in the area.” BloomNation sees itself as a booster of local brick-and-mortar businesses, giving the roughly 3,000 florists in its network an entrée into e-commerce and making it easier for shoppers to find florists already operating in their own communities.

    Headquarters: Santa Monica, Calif.
    Price: Varies locally; average around $80
    Delivery fee: Varies locally; average $12
    Delivery area: Hundreds of cities nationwide
    Delivery time: Some same-day; some next day
    Flowers are sourced: Varies by florist

  • UrbanStems: Team Transparency

    Courtesy UrbanStems

    This startup promises to save buyers money by cutting out middlemen such as wholesalers and working directly with the South American farms that grow their blooms, while using sustainable practices and providing fair wages. After flowers arrive in the U.S., UrbanStems promises to deliver orders within an hour, and with a photo confirmation. (The courier snaps a photo of the bouquet outside the delivery location.) Co-founder Jeff Sheely says his team was inspired to start the company after flower-sending fails threatened to end his co-founder’s long-distance relationship.

    Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
    Price: $35 to $150
    Delivery fee: Free
    Delivery area: Washington, D.C. area and parts of New York City
    Delivery time: Same day
    Flowers are sourced: From South American growers

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