Studies have shown that the under-30 crowd values small, local businesses over big box stores. These same studies have also noted that many people in this generation would spend more money and be willing to pay more for the same service to a company who gives back to a community. So what happens when a business is created to earn profit and give back to the community? Dreams come true.
While on summer break, a college student, Steven, came up with the idea of Flowers for Dreams. He persuaded a friend in the floral industry to send 300 dozen rose bouquets to his parents’ home in Chicago. He sold the bouquets outside his former high school’s commencement ceremony as congratulatory gifts. With the flowers he got on credit, his idea was to supply a backpack with a full set of school supplies to each of the first graders he had worked with during the previous summer.
“For every student’s congratulations, another younger student’s opportunity. For every bouquet, a backpack. Profit and purpose working together.”
Within two months, Steven, with the help of his friend, Jo, helped 400 first and second grade students in the Chicago area get the school supplies and backpacks they needed for the school year. Flowers for Dreams believes their way of giving back gives the children they help a chance to be a successful student. Students are able to take pride in their education, organize their work, and have the tools they need for success both at home and at school.
“The most important door a student will ever walk through is the front door of their own home.”
-Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago
Flowers for Dreams is able to give a student the supplies needed for both schoolwork and homework. By empowering children to take charge of their learning, they can be more involved, and therefore, more likely to stay in school and pursue education beyond high school.
In just one short year, Flowers for Dreams has grown drastically. They now offer fresh floral delivery and floral event decor to anyone in the Chicago area. Currently, they support studetns of six low-income Chicago schools and have nearly one hundred corporate and community partners, all while increasing a child’s access to education.
By providing freshly cut, organic, and sustainable flowers, Flowers for Dreams has a great future for both itself and the community. They have no brick and mortar storefront which helps cuts costs on rent, staffing, utilities, and most importantly, spoilage. By not having spoilage (flowers dying before reaching customers), Flowers for Dreams has the ability to offer competitive prices on flowers, as well as provide backpacks and school supplies to kids.
Flowers for Dreams offers many different options for the Chicago customer. They have a subscription service, a one-time delivery option, or the ability to florally cater an event. Many events include corporate functions, proms, and graduations. I hope Flowers for Dreams branches out to other cities across the nation and spreads the spirit of socially responsible ecopreneurism.