Jaclyn Rutigliano of Hometown Flower Collective is today’s guest. During our conversation, you’ll hear us trying to recall how we originally connected. And finally, while writing this intro, I searched my email archives to find the back story of how Jaclyn and I really did meet!
In March 2015, she reached out to me via the Slow Flowers “contact us” form. She wrote:
Hi there, I handle public relations and communications for the slow fashion brand Zady (Zady.com) and we are currently coordinating our events for Fashion Revolution Day and Earth Day.
I am wondering if there is someone I can speak with about possibly bringing in a slow flowers aspect to our events.
I would love to connect and look forward to hearing from you.
That email led to a long phone call during which Jaclyn brought me up to speed on slow fashion and I brought her up to speed on slow flowers — and we discussed some possible cross-promotions and collaborations. In her follow-up note to me, Jaclyn signed off with these comments:
I am going to spend a ton of time digging into your site but if you have any other initial suggestions for where I can begin to tackle these issues from the retail and floral design standpoint, I would love to look into that for my parents. Who knows- maybe I will take on the family business one day after all!
Fast-forward to this past January and I again heard from Jaclyn. It was long after her gig with Zady ended and many years after my Field to Vase Dinner Tour consulting that we referenced. But of course I remembered her immediately.
This time, Jaclyn had some news that delighted me:
Happy New Year and I hope this finds you well. You likely don’t remember but we had emailed nearly four years ago at my previous job when I was representing a company called Zady which was focused on the sustainable fashion movement. I am from a family of florists and when I heard about your slow flowers movement, it really resonated with me and you were kind enough to provide some additional reading materials for me to further educate myself.
Years later, my husband and I are in the planning stages to open up our own business . . . possibly a mixed use retail space which will have the retail arm of my parents’ floral event design business. I am keen to approach this differently as currently, I don’t believe there is any florist in Long Island focused on locally sourced flowers. I really want to provide artistically designed flowers that embrace natural beauty, lesser known flowers, greens, naturally grown varieties, etc. And it would be great to source these within a 50 mile radius or at least domestically. Our business will be focused on a tight inventory to minimize waste and to embrace what is readily available.
I would love to receive some guidance in terms of identifying the right farmers, varieties, the questions to ask, etc. It will be easy for me to follow the same path of my family and just source product from a regular importer but I would love to support local small farmers and source directly- though there are concerns about the cost associated. We are even considering planting our own flowers as well.
Anyways, I’m not sure if you do this or are speaking anywhere on the east coast in the future but I would love to learn from you to help get on the right foot.
It’s so wonderful how people can come into your life for what looks like one reason – only to learn from that experience that we can’t even predict how we influence and inspire one another. Hearing from Jaclyn four years later was an affirmation that all the messages and information I put out into the marketplace about flower sourcing and sustainable practices doesn’t land on deaf ears! When the timing was right, she eagerly devoured the mission of Slow Flowers.
Not only has Jaclyn absorbed these Slow Flowers concepts but she has put her entirely personal spin on them. Along with her husband Marc Iervolino, they launched Hometown Flower Collective earlier this year on Mother’s Day weekend, in fact. Their hometown is Huntington, New York – on Long Island. These two Long Island natives and residents are running Hometown Flower Collective as a family operation with their two daughters, August and Sage. Jaclyn’s the ones with her arms up in flowers, overseeing the floral designs, creative marketing, and branding for the company. Marc oversees the day-to-day business operations and logistics. Here’s a fun fact: they are two Leos who share the same birthday and a bold mission to shape a better future for their children and community.
Jaclyn and Marc write this on their web site:
Hometown Flower Collective connects people who love flowers with the local farmers who grow them. A new take on the traditional neighborhood florist, Hometown Flower Collective offers fresh, local varieties delivered right to your doorstep through monthly subscriptions, and through its vintage pick-up truck, Baby Blue, a 1976 Ford F-100, re-imagined to become Long Island’s first mobile flower truck.
Our mission is simple: to encourage people to look no further than their hometowns to find beauty grown nearby, and to provide access to locally-grown varieties in places where our farmers are typically unable to consistently reach. Inspired by a third generation flower designer’s experience growing up around the floral industry and witnessing how removed consumers and retailers were from where and how their flowers were sourced, Hometown Flower Co. was founded with a strong desire to change the status quo and encourage people to embrace their roots.
Please enjoy this conversation and listen for some very useful tips from Jaclyn on how to interest the local media in your floral enterprise. I’m inspired and energized by Jaclyn and Marc’s story and I hope you can draw at least one wonderful branding tip or marketing technique from our conversation to enhance your efforts.
Find and follow Hometown Flower Collective at these social places:
We’re taking a little hiaitus from our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – I’m committed to recruiting a North Dakota guest for you and we just need another week to pull that off!
As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.
Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.
Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August – and even September. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com
FarmersWeb. FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at www.farmersweb.com.
The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 513,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.
I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.
The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.
The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com.