It was brought to my attention that we helped inspire some florists to carry on with The Lonely Bouquet mission long after our national Open House & Lonely Bouquet Design Day, which was held this past June. So when I saw an email from our Detroit branch letting us know about Kristyne Carian-Case of Della’s Maple Lane Florist, I knew that I had to interview her to get more details. If you only have a minute to read through the interview, then be sure to skip to the 7th question below (“I’m sure you have heard back from many of the recipients – any particular story that stands out from the rest?”), but be sure you have some tissues handy! I seriously love the power of flowers!!
When did you start The Lonely Bouquet for your shop?
We started right after the Mayesh open house, around July 5th or so. It was slow and that is why I had extra flowers around the 4th of July, so I decided to try it. I would rather give away my flowers and let someone enjoy them than let them die in my store and throw them away!! I also love doing things like this – it makes people very happy!!!
What kind of response do you get from your community?
The people who have received the bouquets send the most touching emails or post them on our Facebook page. They are REALLY making peoples days, cheering people up, and traveling all over, someone who finds one may not keep it themselves, they may give it away to someone else.
When did you first hear of The Lonely Bouquet? I heard about the Lonely Bouquet idea from Mayesh Wholesale, they were doing it as part of their open house and I could not attend. I thought it was a great idea. I do a lot of similar things to the Lonely Bouquet so I am always looking for ideas to brighten the day of unsuspecting people.
Was there anything specific that happened to prompt you to continue creating/abandon Lonely Bouquets
Well I couldn’t attend the open house and do one at Mayesh and this particular week I had a ton of Birds of Paradise & foxtail, so made a sample for my designer and she made up 20 to start with. We used a cheap red container, 2 birds, red gerberas, yellow roses and statice, they were simple and elegant. I would much rather give my flowers away than throw them in the garbage, so when I see I am long on certain items I give my customers bonus flowers in their arrangements, mixed bouquets etc…or have a nomination on our Facebook page of who may need flowers and why, I usually pick them all and send out arrangements to people who need them for various reasons. Here is the first one we did:
How many have you dropped/left/abandoned already?
I wish I would have counted them from the start, but to date it is approximately 200 or more. (I am guessing based on the cases of containers I have used.) We generally stay in the city of Troy, MI and drop them in the entrance of a store, in an office building lobby, a parking lot, an outdoor restaurant table that is empty, the hallway of the hospital, the hallway or elevators of doctors offices, even the parking lot of the funeral home!! We do it as we are making our normal deliveries and I have a driver that comes in now and her and her son or daughter will go out for the day and drop them all over. She donates her time and uses her own vehicle because she wants to do her part in making people happy too. I very seldom pay her, she won’t let me (but when she is making deliveries and doing this, she is being paid)!!
How long do you plan on creating your own Lonely Bouquets?
I had planned on stopping at the end of July, but we find ourselves making more and more, because the stories we are getting back are making us very happy!! It really brings us great joy to read them, so I think I am going to continue at least until the end of August. I am kind of ordering more flowers than what I need to have an excuse to make more. People that have heard have donated vases to us and I’ve called my wholesalers for some cheap container options. We are having so much fun with it!! There are a lot of the stories on our Facebook page, and if you read some of them you will understand why we want to continue.
I’m sure you have heard back from many of the recipients – any particular story that stands out from the rest?
The story below was called into us, so as soon as my employee, Michelle, got off the phone, (and in tears!!) I set her up on our Facebook page to tell her story:
We just received the most touching Lonely Bouquet story…
Gail Bedell was at Troy Beaumont last week, taking her daughter, Cali, to her regular treatments for the severe health issues she’s having. That day happened to be Cali’s 47th birthday, and on the way to treatment that morning, Gail had told her that she didn’t have enough money for a birthday present, due to overwhelming medical expenses. While at the hospital, Gail walked outside and saw a man set down a floral arrangement and leave. She thought it was odd that he had done that, and walked over only to see that it was a Lonely Bouquet! She took the arrangement home and hid it so Cali wouldn’t see it and made a card to go with it. When her and Cali got home, Gail surprised her with the flowers! Cali was SO surprised and expressed to her mom that she shouldn’t have done that because they couldn’t afford it. Gail told her that she didn’t buy them, and told Cali the story about finding the Lonely Bouquet. Gail told me that they both sat there and sobbed, and couldn’t believe the greatest act of kindness they had both ever seen. Gail said she is so extremely grateful that we did that and that she was the one to find them! She carries around the pink note attached to the Lonely Bouquet, and told us that she shows it to everyone, at least 20 people she has shown so far. She plans on showing it to everyone she comes in contact with, to let them know what we did for her that day.
I see you have received news coverage, how did that end up happening for you?
The driver who was doing this for me emailed the Troy Patch to let her know what we were doing. She says she’s sick of all the bad stories and thought this would be a good one. The woman from the Troy patch did a great job on the story, here is the link to the story:
Are there any other activities that you participate in, other than The Lonely Bouquet, to give back to your community?
We do give-aways on Facebook for flowers – we ask people to nominate someone who deserves them and why. We gave away a 5 pound Sanders chocolate Easter Bunny at Easter, an Origami Owl necklace at Mothers day, and of course we donate all kinds of things from gift cards to flowers and things for local school fundraisers or teacher appreciation or whatever. I donate as much as I can, especially to schools and the elderly or good organizations that are local here in Troy.
If our readers want to connect with you, what is the best way?