A Journal exploring the value of plants and flowers
09-02-2018 Incubation Programme

Introducing Class 2: The Flower Family

Words by Kelsey Lee Jones

Photos by Let it Grow

In our latest Class 2 Incubation Programme interview, we speak with Jos van Beuningen of The Flower Family, the startup offering a special kind of flower subscription service.

The Flower Family deliver their flowers with a story. A story about the act of giving. And that doesn’t only mean giving beautiful flowers to loved ones, it’s also about giving back to their community at the same time. They’re working to build ‘a family’ of flower lovers in the Netherlands – working with local growers, offering entrepreneurial youngsters their first chance to bloom in the working world, and giving refugees, ex-offenders or disabled people the chance to learn flower arranging by designing their weekly flower bundles. It’s all in the name of “Flowering a better world”.

So what’s your story? How did your venture begin?

We’re two best friends who grew up together. We have a dream: to build up a flower company that makes a societal and environmental impact, one that makes people flourish and feel happy. We both devoted our masters’ thesis to focus on setting up our company. Laurens Mulder studied Organisational Science at the VU in Amsterdam and I (Jos van Beuningen) studied Technical Administration at the TU in Delft. Laurens’ research was about a traditionally organised flower sector with little innovation, partly because there are so many family businesses, compared with other sectors where many exciting things are currently happening. My thesis was about a new way of organising, namely a model that goes beyond corporate social responsibility. Our interests and studies came together and eventually lead to the birth of The Flower Family.

In your minds, what’s so special about flowers?

Flowers make your life beautiful. Every flower is different and they bloom into all kinds of surprising shapes and forms. Seasonal flowers alternate and there’s constantly wonder in what nature brings us. In a bouquet, we say: ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ – just like a family. Flowers offer colour, they brighten people. You can also approach flowers in creatively, they’re an artwork of their own. We believe giving flowers is always a good idea.

What can someone expect when ordering flower bundles from you?

All our bundles are available by subscription, and you can expect a whole new experience. For us, it’s all about how a consumer feels when buying a product. It’s more than just buying a bundle of flowers – it’s also the feeling of doing good by buying these flowers. That’s what we want to give to people.

“A flower company that makes a societal and environmental impact, one that makes people flourish and feel happy.”

Local, honest and kind, these are some of your core values. How do you bring them to life?

More so than ever, we have to take care of our planet, both our natural and built environments. The same can be said for the sense of responsibility for society, diversity, and for a decent life for everyone. The so-called common good is an assignment that cannot be left to others, to politicians and the state, but should be the concern of each and every person, citizen, consumer and business. The Flower Family is focused on purpose, we also want to enable personal growth and to build a sense of community.

You’re working hard on a sustainable model, tell us about that...

The main thing we’re focusing on is an open and transparent market in which local growers are put back into the foreground. We work using fair prices and green, diversified quality supply. We only work with Dutch growers, after all, they say you don’t have to seek far to find beautiful things. We like to work with natural, mixed bundles, fresh from the field – as if you picked them yourself.

Could you tell us about the people who arrange your bouquets?

Our bouquets arranged by people from the bottom of the labour market. Currently, there are around 1 million people who are distanced from the market. We’re talking about ex-offenders, such as refugees and people with disabilities, for example. These could be people who sit at home and don’t feel part of society, maybe they lack self-confidence and are sometimes considered a risk for an employer. At The Flower Family, everyone is welcome and we are all equal. We really feel good about giving people a chance to flourish in life.

And who are your Flower Rangers?

Our Flower Rangers are our local entrepreneurial flower team, they deliver our bouquets. They are part of a horizontally self-organized team, they’re mainly youngsters and students, mostly coming from vocational schools. They deliver using electrical bikes and are responsible for their own block in the city, they’re the friendly face of the block building good relations with all our family members.

How do you hope to flower the future?

We want to do more than just sell flowers, and continue to offer a new experience, It’s all in the way we do it. We want to flower the future together, with a big and happy family!

 

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