Long-distance relationships can be tough, especially if the flowers you send your loved one arrive dried and dead. Massive overhead costs and a disjointed business model mean that huge, multi-national florists can't always guarantee consistent quality, undermining the impact of a loving gesture. After experiencing this firsthand, Ajay Kori and Jeff Sheely saw an opportunity to revolutionize the industry and opened UrbanStems on Valentine's Day 2014. “We’re building a flower company that solves the issues they experienced firsthand,” Chief Marketing Officer Lauren Bates explains. By creating a seed-to-door supply chain—one that cuts out the middleman and sources directly from farms—UrbanStems passes on savings to the customer while also providing a better overall customer experience.
The only way to send UrbanStems’ bouquets and gifts is online. Because of this, “we’re really prioritizing the customer’s web experience and investing a ton in digital marketing to grow our business,” Lauren remarks. Today, digital marketing comprises 80 percent of the company’s marketing budget, and it's yielding major results. AdWords, Google's advertising program, helps UrbanStems attract customers in an already crowded industry, while Google Analytics gives laser focus to their online campaigns. “Those tools are really important for understanding the granular details of our customers’ behaviors and making data-driven decisions to scale our business,” Lauren says. And for a company that strives to be lean and scrappy, “it’s been an incredible advantage to have access to a free tool like Analytics that can give us so much data,” she adds. Google Tag Manager also equips UrbanStems with the robust performance-tracking capabilities of a much larger company, while G Suite tools Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar keep their administrative work as fast as their business model.
UrbanStems is blossoming with year-over-year growth of over 300 percent. They currently operate in five cities across the U.S. and are expanding to more this year. As they grow, they continue to have a positive impact on everyone in their community. For the farms that are their partners, the company remains committed to providing great working conditions. And for their customers, they deliver happiness with each fresh bouquet. “At our core, we’re in the business of making people happy,” Lauren says.