Sustainable Floriculture

In September of 2009, Susan Bigler and I decided to embark upon a new business venture focused on addressing the environmental impact of the floral industry. With nine years of floral design experience (which I accrued prior to becoming an architect) and Susan’s business acumen, Fleurish, LLC was born.

Fleurish was a floral design studio in Philadelphia that specializes in eco-friendly events. Our mission was to make it easy for our clients to decide to ‘go green’. We did this by not sacrificing creativity, drama or excitement in exchange for sustainability. As a sustainable business, we employed several techniques ranging from our choice of flowers and supplies to our business structure and strategy. Foremost, we purchase certified Veraflora, certified organic, certified fair trade and local flowers to offset the impact the cut floral industry has on the environment and third world countries. Additionally, all materials from business cards to floral accessories were recycled, repurposed or reclaimed.

The business became very popular, very quickly with 22 events in its first season. Fleurish was featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Magazine in our first month of business. We were also asked to exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower show. Our whirlwind success was exciting and challenging!

At the end of our first year, complications arose: the governing body certifying flower farms for sustainable practices (Veraflora) decided to make their standards more stringent. As a result, 50% of the certified farms dropped out of the program. We had a big decision to make: change our business model to eliminate sustainability as a goal or close our doors. We realized that this was an idea before its time and decided to close in hopes of implementing sustainability in other ways.