BY Cody Kour|October, 2020
Rebel Against Ordinary
What does it take to revolutionize an industry that thrives on championing traditional practices? Rebel Girl Floral shows us how it’s done by setting a new standard in the business of floral design and flower delivery. In just a year, RGF has taken their startup business to unexpected heights by staying true to their values of innovation, creativity, and client satisfaction. Though they still have a long road ahead of them, RGF is already turning the heads of both floral businesses and customers alike with their unique creations.
Lighting Up the Night
Imagine this. The sun has begun to set on your wedding. As you look around, you lament that the intricate, bright, and beautiful flower arrangements that your guests have fawned over all day will no longer be noticeable. Gradually, you observe that as the day fades, your flower decorations start getting brighter. Petals slowly begin to open, reacting to the evening air and highlighting their beauty against the night. Flower bulbs begin to glow all around your ceremony like tiny stars, illuminating the awe and enchantment on the faces of your closest family and friends as you enter an evening filled with the promise of joy and celebration. It sounds like a wedding straight out of a fairy tale, but this is the one-of-a-kind experience only Rebel Girl Floral can deliver, with their patented Illumafloral design.
Of course, light-up flowers are not exactly a new idea. Rebel Girl Floral just took the concept and made it better. Instead of the typical stark, white lighting surrounded by synthetic petals that you receive from other light-up arrangements, Illumafloral gives off a warm, natural glow—highlighting the beauty of a real flower rather than overshadowing it. Rebel Girl Floral first debuted their Illumafloral concept at the Minnesota State Fair in 2019, drawing lots of foot traffic, and not just from fellow florists or flower aficionados. Even husbands and teenagers would stop and stare, as if they were seeing a flower for the very first time. Some were curious enough to pull apart the flower petals, just to see how real flowers were being lit up. It is creating these moments of enchantment and awe that RGF has been striving for since they first started.
Strangely enough, Rebel Girl Floral began with the idea of endings. Sothea Keller, the floral designer of RGF, saw that funeral flower arrangements were being put together in bland and uninspired ways, and she asked herself, “If you’re celebrating somebody’s life, wouldn’t you want something beautiful to remember them by?” So, she set out to create just that. Ironically, clients were so charmed by her funeral flowers that RGF began to get wedding requests from people who had seen them at funerals. With a growing influx of new requests and support from her husband, James, who operates the business side of RGF, Rebel Girl Floral began to expand their business into creating made-to-order, everyday flower arrangements. Their vision was to create beautiful, wedding-worthy arrangements for people who were tired of sending just a dozen roses or getting another bouquet of carnations. RGF believes that there doesn’t always have to be a special occasion to send somebody something special, and according to their growth over the past year, many customers definitely agree.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
As with everything else about them, Rebel Girl Floral is not your typical flower shop. In fact, they don’t even have a storefront. Instead, Sothea and James conduct all their business through their website and have a barn that serves as their floral studio, inventory, and storage space. When the COVID-19 pandemic facilitated lockdowns across the US, many small businesses suffered, including flower shops. During this time, Rebel Girl Floral actually had an increased amount of orders due not only to their delivery system already being in place, but also because people began to send flowers to their friends and family as a form of comfort and connection while being quarantined. Ironically, by choosing to walk their own path, RGF created a new standard for how floral businesses could be run.
Not All Rebels Wear Leather Jackets…Some Wear Flower Crowns too.
Rebel Girl Floral’s independence and innovation has allowed them to take risks that many floral companies are either unable or unwilling to take. To further push forward the idea of flowers being a part of everyday life and expression, Sothea made wearable flower crowns and designs showcased them in professional photoshoots. The most exciting thing about RGF’s flower crowns? The models who wear them of course! When models don RGF wearable flowers, they become the centerpiece of the photoshoot—their true beauty highlighted by RGF’s designs. Minneapolis-based artist @artsypeach even participated in a photoshoot to highlight their message of empowering others to see flowers as a form of self-expression—the same way people might wear a necklace or a bracelet. By making beautiful, wearable arrangements, RGF challenges the idea of having to admire expensive, untouchable flower arrangements from afar and instead brings them to life with the help of flower models.
A Creative Vision for the Future
So, what exactly is a rebel? Rebel Girl Floral answers this question not by changing the way things are done, but by forging their own path in the floral industry, without permission or fear from others. By staying true to themselves, they’ve refreshed the floral industry—showing people a new way of doing things. So what advice does RGF offer to those inspired to follow in their footsteps? “Don’t be afraid to succeed in your own way,” says James, referring to their unconventional startup plan. “Never try to recreate someone else’s work,” adds Sothea, who prides herself in having never created the same arrangement twice, in order to give her customers a truly unique floral design.
Like true visionaries, Rebel Girl Floral dares others to be true to themselves and dream big. For their future, RGF hopes to continue to satisfy their customers in delivering beautiful everyday arrangements to homes, corporate events, charity events, galas, and wherever else they are needed. They also aim to continually push the boundaries of what is possible in the floral industry with new ideas like Illumafloral or their flexible business model. Who knows? You may see Rebel Girl Floral with a flower truck selling flower crowns at the next Coachella festival!
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