Company name: Flowers for Dreams
CEO and co-founder Steven Dyme shared the story behind Flowers for Dreams, a Chicago-based florist that specializes in creating bouquets from locally crafted flowers.
This photo shows our seasonal summer bouquet — it's the best of the farmer's market with everything from red charm peonies to organic parsnips.
Every bouquet we sell benefits an amazing local charity in Chicago. By the end of August, we'll have contributed over $100,000 to local charities. That's a big number for us! In three years, our model has been able to help a lot of worthy nonprofits do everything from better educate low income students to rescue animals, revive urban blight areas to house Chicago's homeless.
When we started this business, we wanted to create an alternative to the tacky online florists and the prohibitively priced mom and pop shops — you'll never see us sell a dozen red roses with baby's breath in cellophane or a hot pink 'carnation cupcake' for example — and we felt like the floral industry needed a facelift, with less complications, service charges and upsells. My co-founder Jo and I had a seasonal flower business in Chicago where we sold bouquets at graduations, and we were so fed up with the lack of tasteful bouquets. Nobody could offer us a modern product at a reasonable price. We thought, 'why can't we solve this problem ourselves?'
Our biggest business challenge so far has been capital. Specifically, trying to grow the business responsibly and on our terms without selling our souls to investors. Many people have wanted us to expand rapidly and be in a zillion cities at once, but we'd prefer to take more authentic and organic next steps. We love knowing everyone on our team — from the floral designers to the flower couriers — but cash is king, and hiring fast to meet demand with our own resources can be difficult.