My name is: Sarah-Eva Marchese.
I’m known for being: Someone who believes in the power of a good idea.
I'm talking about: Floracracy.
You can find it at: floracracy.com.
Before I created this company, I was: Thinking about conflict resolution in the international realm.
What inspired me to launch it was:
I read about the first florist in Mogadishu, Somalia. At the time, I’d been playing around with a downloadable PDF idea for brides. I hadn’t believed I could build anything bigger than that.
But Mohammed believed meaningful flowers could change his entire country. I met with him and listened to him talk about how he believed that flowers were the one thing that could help heal twenty years of violence and trauma. Nothing in my study of conflict resolution prepared me for that, and yet it made sense. Research suggests that the combination of personalized letters and flowers can reduce depression and loneliness, even changing body temperature to mimic human touch.
When he was murdered by terrorists for the impact he was having, I shared an interview with him with The Guardian. The title of the article became a rallying cry for youth protesting his death and my inspiration to redefine how we think about the letters we write and the flowers that get sent with them.
How it works is:
Users go on our site and answer a few questions about the style they want and the meaning they’re hoping the piece conveys. We then share an idea in real-time, which they can approve, edit or change completely. Everything is 100% guided, meaning that our algorithms are not letting you design something that would not be aesthetically stunning. You truly cannot design something that isn’t beautiful.
What makes it special is:
How we communicate has become cheap and impersonal, like the flowers we send. We buy cards with pre-written messages and pre-arranged flowers. In the other current offerings, we don’t have the option to be more involved with how we show our love and support on a national scale.
Every piece of ours is uniquely designed. The sender helps make it personal and yet it still has all the luxe elements of an artisanal piece. The letter works with the florals, sharing beautiful stories that are conveyed in the flowers.
What you see online is what you are sent (or we’ll let you know about the change). We’re ambitious about being the most sustainable company, reimagining how flowers are sourced and sent.
One thing you can’t miss is:
Our letter-writing team! So many people aren’t sure what to write or how to say something, so they say nothing. We offer complimentary help with this. On the letter page, select free concierge help. Someone from the team will connect with you and help you.
My favorite secret detail is:
That you can’t design something that isn’t beautiful. We spent years just figuring out how to make that work. With every test of the software, when I see what it created, something unique and new and stunning each time, I think: we did that. We helped put that kind of beauty in the world.
For consumers, this is huge. The reality is that one of the biggest complaints about the industry is not getting what you were expecting, especially when you’re ordering remotely. Sometimes it’s size and quality. But it’s also just feeling like you know what you’re sending or that it will reflect your style and quality standards.
For me, what it means to feel grounded is:
I live in a world of high risk and constant change. Startups are by nature not grounded. One in five of them fail in the first year or something like that. Because of this, I’ve had to learn to find grounding despite a constant sense that the sky might be falling at any moment.
For me, being grounded is finding that small space inside of you that isn’t responding to the daily stuff. It’s having faith that tomorrow will be beautiful no matter what today looks like. It’s the space that feeds peace even when the waves are crashing.
Over the last year, I’ve taught myself how to go to this space, and it makes me feel invincible. Nothing and no one can take that from me.
Grounding is so important because:
So little in life is. You realize this when you work with flowers. Things that live are constantly changing. We’re being born, growing, blooming, dying. And none of us are perfectly good at change.
Grounding allows you to stay on the train that’s always moving forward, to be part of all that change, but to have a way to look out the window and smile at the view.
This can help you live your process (and get grounded) because:
Knowing what grounds you is deeply entwined in living your process because, in the end, it’s one of the most essential processes you’ll create to shape who you are.
Regardless of what is happening, it gives you an action you can take. You have a home to which you can return in a sense, and you know the path no matter what is happening.
This is what I love about our company. We watch people write letters to themselves with the meanings they need. It could be hope, peace or courage. In this act, they are creating a path for themselves.