Customers who visit The Bouqs Company website might be surprised to see some smiling faces posted alongside the flowers and custom bouquets sold on the site.
Just who are they? They’re the American flower farmers who grow a variety of blooms sold at the popular site. And in addition to getting a glimpse of the farmers and their locations, customers can also click to see a one- to two-minute documentary video about the farmer and their flower operation and read a brief bio of each farmer.
“The stories are for consumers to understand there’s a good way to farm and that we work with farmers who do it right,” explains John Tabis, founder and CEO of The Bouqs. “We want to create a rich experience so people get a feel for where flowers come from, how they are cultivated and why that’s important.”
The Bouqs sources flowers from 21 American flower farms including operations in California, Ohio, Wisconsin and Washington; the number of farmers featured varies by season.
And whether the blooms are from American or South American farms, they all are sustainably grown and operate with responsible labor processes.
“Wherever we buy from, we want to adhere to a set of standards,” Tabis says. “We know that transparency matters, but the fact that labor and sustainability standards matter in the flower industry isn’t widely known. People don’t know to ask. So there’s a education process.”
Founded in 2012, The Bouqs initially sourced all flowers from South America due to some local connections. But all along, the vision was to offer American Grown products as well.
Thanks to a few tweets that led to direct messages and phone calls, Tabis connected with Kasey Cronquist, CEO and Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) who helped get the ball rolling with several California flower farmers who could deliver exactly what The Bouqs had in mind.
“Within a few weeks, we had a program,” Tabis recalls. “The transparency piece of where (flowers) come from matters to people.”
Today, the most popular product sold by The Bouqs, a design called “Wild About U,” comes from California’s own Mellano & Company. You can see flower farmer Mike Mellano’s smiling face right there next to the bouquet and read his story:
“Flower farmer, family man, fantastic human being; those are just some of the words you can use to describe Farmer Mike. His farm grows some of the most interesting and beautiful flower types imaginable. Ask him what he loves about work and he’ll tell you he’s just continuing the family tradition. He’s a farmer through and through. Also, Mike’s farm is Certified American Grown.”
And there are more stories like Farmer Mike’s, and even more to come, as The Bouqs expands its connections to more and more American flower farmers.
“Wherever we buy from, we want to adhere to a set of standards that the customers want, is good for the environment and for the people working the land,” Tabis says.