Christina Stembel, CEO and founder Farmgirl Flowers, is not really a farm girl, and she admits she learned how to arrange flowers "from the university of YouTube." But her floral e-commerce company is seeing revenue grow by 300 percent year over year.
As an outsider, Stembel spotted problems with the $4 billion dollar floral e-commerce industry and decided she could do better. Her company's pitch focuses on its socially conscious business model, which strives for U.S.-sourced product and less waste.
When Stembel, who is now 38 years old, was director of Alumni Relations for Stanford University's law school, she planned events and was stunned at the cost of floral centerpieces. Since she'd always wanted to start a business, Stembel began researching the floral industry, discovering that four companies dominated the e-commerce gift category.
She also realized that since the 1990s, the industry has been outsourcing much of its flower supply to South America. As a result, three out of every four cut flowers sold in the U.S. are now grown outside of the U.S., according to Stembel.