What’s so funny about authenticity, integrity and transparency?
Face it. Outside of the Big Four — Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas — flowers are special occasion purchases. So, how is Farmgirl Flowers on-track to hit $100 million in sales during the pandemic? The online florist offers a minimal number of products and doesn’t even guarantee exactly what flowers you’ll get. It is also not afraid to partner with organizations like Planned Parenthood, post videos on arranging “supermarket flowers” and canceling and reshipping orders during snowstorms when products won’t be as beautiful as promised.
Christina Stembel, founder & CEO of Farmgirl, attributes the company’s success to authenticity, transparency and integrity.
What I love about the company:
The mission, path and decision criteria are consistent, clear and meaningful to me.
Farmgirl is an eco-conscious company developed with the mantra that it’s a place the founder would want to buy from, sell to and work for. Business decisions — even painful ones, like pandemic furloughs — are freely communicated to customers. When surveyed during the pandemic, customers rated the company (not its flowers or service) as the number one reason they shopped at Farmgirl.
The founder is still the face and driving force of the company.
The business is a 100% bootstrapped organization, and everything that goes with being an entrepreneur is part of the brand. Ms. Stembel doesn’t shy away from pivots, like moving from the original U.S.-only sourcing strategy to using a global supply chain because it would ultimately reduce waste from 40 percent to two percent.
The flowers are beautiful, the packaging recyclable and you get a special surprise.
You don’t know exactly what you’ll get — you order an arrangement “style” that is guaranteed to be beautiful, fresh and attractively packaged. There are no crinkly plastic or cookie-cutter clear vases that go to Goodwill. This is why some individual customers have supported Farmgirl, spending $20,000+ during the pandemic.
The communiques are fun, informative and stylish.
Farmgirl kept customers updated on real-time business challenges during the pandemic with frequent blogs, extended video posts and direct communiques. When the dust settled customers asked Farmgirl to continue this pace, so now there is a weekly news update. Following the shutdown in March 2020, Farmgirl saw an 80 percent order decrease. Updates helped normalize levels in three weeks as customers rallied to back Farmgirl.
Authenticity, transparency and integrity are reasons for consumers to shop, and Farmgirl’s results are proof that standing up for something can help retailers stand out this and any year.
- Farmgirl Flowers
- Farmgirl in the News – Farmgirl Flowers
- Christina Stembel Bio – eTail
- Has COVID-19 turned fashion into an endangered retail species? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why do so many retailers and brands seem challenged when it comes to demonstrating authenticity, integrity and transparency to consumers? What lessons can others learn from the Farmgirl Flowers experience during the pandemic?