Minnesotans are constantly looking for ways to support their local communities. It turns out all you need for one solution is to head to a coffee shop and purchase a bouquet of flowers.
This is the proposal offered by Flowers for Dreams, a "socially conscious flower service" donating a portion of sales of its locally sourced flower arrangements to area charities.
Since debuting, Flowers for Dreams has donated over $1 million to charity with its "every bouquet benefits a local charity" model. The mission-driven retailer continues to expand, recently rolling out in Minneapolis in partnership with Spyhouse Coffee. Bouquets are available to Twin Cities area residents through online orders or at Spyhouse's Northeast location.
We talked with CEO/founder Steven Dyme about the unique business model, the Twin Cities launch and what's next.
Q. What does "socially conscious flower service" mean?
A. Our mission is really to use flowers to advance causes of justice and charity and the communities we serve. So for us, we give a quarter of our profits to local charities.
We are also really focused on sourcing locally, ethically and sustainably. So we have a few certifications we require when we're sourcing. Most of our sourcing is done direct. So, for example, in the Midwest, we're buying flowers from about 25 to 30 different local [farmers and florists]. They're usually small mom-and-pop flower farms.
Q. How did the idea for Flowers for Dreams come about?
A. When I was 19 as a freshman in college, I was looking for ways to make money to pay for school at the University of Wisconsin. My friend's family ran a floral operation and the idea of Roses for Dreams came about. We sold a bouquet of graduation roses to a parent arriving to a graduation ceremony. For each bouquet sold, we would donate a backpack to a student in need. The organization sold 100 bouquets and bought 100 backpacks for kids in need. It led to Flowers for Dreams, in which every bouquet would benefit a different charity on a rotating basis.
Q. How has Flowers for Dreams grown since you started?
A. In just 2021 alone we sold 94,970 bouquets and we did almost 700 weddings. We have multiple locations across four cities — Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit and, now, Minneapolis. We're new to Minneapolis, but we're really excited to kind of find the next generation of charities that we can support across Minnesota with our flowers.
Q. Why pair up with a Minnesota coffee shop?
A. We have a little bit of the back story in that we bought an old church bus, decked it out and took it on tour across the Midwest to introduce Flowers for Dreams to new cities that we didn't serve. In Minneapolis, we had a great, unbelievable showing. And Spyhouse was one of our stops.
People planted in our minds, 'What if you could come in and order a latte, but also get a bouquet?' We thought this would be really fun and unique.
Q. Which local charities benefit?
A. Currently, a lot of our focus is on recruiting charities. We're taking nominations for charities through our website, flowersfordreams.com/charity. If you visit the Spyhouse in northeast Minneapolis, there's a tin can where you can drop in the business card or information of the nonprofit you want to nominate.
Q. What's next?
A. After the pop-up wraps up in November, we eventually would like to have a Flowers for Dreams standalone location [in Minneapolis] like we've done in other cities. Right now, we don't do flowers for weddings or events in Minneapolis because we don't yet have the capacity. But that's a really big goal heading into 2023. If folks have floral decor they need for a wedding or event, we'll be able to design that for them, and so on.