Long distance relationships are notoriously hard, but even harder: sending a gift of fresh flowers to a long distance lover and ensuring they arrive on time. At least, it used to be hard until Ajay Kori founded UrbanStems, and brought the solution to bloom.
It all started in 2013, when Kori was living in Washington while his girlfriend was in Philadelphia. With so much distance between them, staying close meant sending thoughtful gifts like bouquets of flowers to remind her of his affection. Unfortunately, that didn’t always go so well.
“I sent her a lot of flowers and had a miserable experience every time,” said Kori in an interview with Forbes. “The flowers were expensive and never looked like what I thought I’d picked. I would get a text with a photo of the bouquet and it was always half the bouquet I thought I was getting.”
It got worse, Kori told Forbes. He ordered flowers for his girlfriend’s birthday, then waited until the end of the day to call her so he wouldn’t ruin the surprise.
“The flowers never showed up and I finally called late at night, because the company had assured me the flowers would be there. But when I called, my girlfriend almost broke up with me.”
And that’s how the idea for UrbanStems took root. Kori reached out to his college friend Jeff Sheely to plant the idea, and together they grew the company from the ground up. Unlike other floral services, which typically rely on wholesalers who act as middlemen between company and customer, UrbanStems’ “bulb to bouquet” approach creates a seamless delivery experience for customers — not to mention better conditions for farmers and for the plants and flowers themselves.
Since flowers are often sent as tokens of love, appreciation or condolence — or as pleas for forgiveness — you could say that by ensuring they arrive on time and in good condition, UrbanStems is actually in the business of relationships.
Giftagram had the pleasure of talking with senior manager of corporate gifting McKenna Huntley about UrbanStems and gifting flowers:
Giftagram: What makes UrbanStems a different and great gift?
McKenna: UrbanStems is a modern floral and gifting service for thoughtful people. UrbanStems differentiates itself from floral and gifting competitors with a focus on human connection and the emotion behind our beautifully designed arrangements.
We understand that it’s more than flowers. Our brand mission is to create a world that is more connected and cared for, which we strive to do through a memorable unboxing experience and product offering that includes modern bouquets, on-trend plants and luxury gift boxes.
Giftagram: What is your favorite UrbanStems product to gift?
McKenna: One of the things I love most about gifting through UrbanStems is that we have something for everyone.
I love sending one of our most beloved bouquets, The Firecracker, to friends and family — it has a fiery mixture of texture and color that leaves an impression.
I also really enjoy sending one of our plants, The Bosco, to teammates or clients. The Bosco features a ZZ plant which is really easy to keep healthy and doesn't require much sunlight to thrive, making it perfect for a home office.
Giftagram: How does the "bulb to bouquet" method work to create your beautiful arrangements?
McKenna: When we say ‘bulb to bouquet,’ what we mean is that UrbanStems is involved in every step of our floral production.
We build strong relationships with flower farmers all over Central and South America to ensure we're able to deliver the freshest and most beautiful flowers directly to you!
Older models of flower delivery would typically involve a wholesale or middleman negotiating the deal, but we've cut that step out. This means we're able to bring you chic, contemporary bouquets that are designed in-house and grown exclusively for UrbanStems (and for you!).
Giftagram: We love that UrbanStems works with Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. Why is this important to the company?
McKenna: To work with a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm means farmers are able to produce better crops, adapt to climate change, increase productivity and reduce costs.
These pillars greatly benefit us and our customers, but it also ensures we’re working with people who care about increasing sustainable supply chains for the future.
UrbanStems for client and employee gifting
Gifting a living plant is like planting a seed of gratitude and appreciation that can continue to thrive for years to come. And when you choose a plant or bouquet from UrbanStems, you can feel good knowing that their plants and flowers are Rainforest Alliance Certified and will arrive within a day of ordering.
Here are some thoughtful gift ideas from UrbanStems, popular choices available on Giftagram:
Light up your next gift-giving occasion with The Firecracker bouquet. Fiery orange roses, bright golden craspedia and cool blue thistles create a stunning display of bold hues and dynamic textures. Whether you're celebrating a corporate achievement or just showing appreciation for a hardworking employee or valued client, this vibrant bouquet promises to bring the fireworks.
With sturdy, waxy green leaves to complement any decor, this low-maintenance ZZ plant is an easy choice for dedicated plant parents and brown-thumbs alike. A minimal amount of water and sunlight are all it needs to thrive, making it a continual source of enjoyment for its lucky recipient.
This out-of-this-world succulent comes nestled in a stylish matte black planter adorned with gold constellations. Simple, chic and low-maintenance, it’s a gorgeous way to remind the important employees or clients in your universe that you care. A great choice for holiday gifting!
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