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

4 minute read

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


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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