DC STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: URBAN STEMS

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Flowers. If you’ve ever had them delivered unexpectedly, you’ll know that despite how many times you might have boldly proclaimed that you’re just “not a flower person” or scoffed at those who spend precious wine money on blooms that will soon go to pasture, you’ll (perhaps silently) agree with me: flowers are actually the best. There are few things that can beat living greenery right on your desk or smack dab in the middle of your kitchen counter or sitting perkily in an Anthropologie vase that you knew you had to have despite its outrageous price tag. We all want them sprouting up in the corners of our home or workplace, but they can be rare – a real treat, if you will. And while in the past, flowers might have to be picked up on the way home or ordered from the revolutionary 1-800-flowers, today, there are more options. One of those options, UrbanStems, is a start up that has blossomed right under our noses here in Washington, DC.

According to a Biz Journal article that came out a few years ago, right as Urban Stems was sprouting up, the startup began the way many do: out of a desire to make things better. For UrbanStems, that meant making flowers more of a regular thing (read: more affordable). The company is described as an “every day floral gifting company,” that has worked diligently to create a more cost-efficient delivery service so that fitting florals into the budget isn’t such a tight squeeze.

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Their premise of improvement came from looking at how the household names have done it time and time again, which traditionally involves an order placed with a large vendor that later gets passed to a local vendor, which both takes time and often leads to waste on the local florist’s level. Taking a different approach, UrbanStems ships in dehydrated flowers from places such as Ecuador and Columbia, which are then rehydrated in cities where they operate in order to fulfill orders and then delivered to customers via bike.

Although their roots are in The District, that’s not the only place they deliver. The company also delivers (for free!) in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Austin. They’ll deliver on “a moment’s notice,” aka remarkable speeds of even up to two hours later or less.

Cutting in even more to your emotional side, the company is dedicated to sourcing flowers responsibly. According to their website:

“We care about the environment, and we are committed to conserving natural resources and supporting the people who help bring out flowers to you. That’s why we work with the Rainforest Alliance Certified farms to source our fresh, responsibly grown blooms.”

The startup has been growing steadily, just recently raising $6 million in series A extension funding, in addition to bringing on a prominent COO meant to make the company’s ins and outs run smoother.

Also, in an unexpected turn of events for a flower standby, the company has recently partnered with 2 Chainz in their marketing efforts. With 2 Chainz, the company introduced their “Pretty Girls Flower Crown,” which is a flower crown that comes with different blooms depending on location and availability. Anyone who ordered a crown got a free digital download of 2 Chainz new album, Pretty Girls Like trap Music. And yas queen, the music is explicit. The deal only ran for a short time but shows promise that this company will continue to innovate and deliver flowers that are anything but ordinary.

Keep growin’, keep thrivin, UrbanStems. We see you.

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