Making a positive difference with the Flowers for Good program while providing floral arrangements, Organic Bouquet is a unique company. This interview with Jesse Matney, Vice President of Marketing for Organic Bouquet will give you some insight on the company as well as what the organization is doing to make changes around the world.
Interview With Jesse Matney About Flowers for Good
LoveToKnow (LTK): Can you give us a brief background on Organic Bouquet?
Jesse Matney: Organic Bouquet is a mission-based company that focuses on environmental, social and economic sustainability. It is the largest online provider of sustainable flowers and eco-elegant gifts. Working towards becoming the world's largest supply of sustainable and organic floral products, our company is focused on responsible practices in every step of production - from the environment to the growers through the distribution chain to the final consumer. We have partnered with communities around the globe, providing zero-interest loans, childcare, healthcare, education, environmental protection, and more to local workers. Certified Sustainable Farms employ over 60 percent of the women from surrounding villages and pay fair, livable wages that far exceed government minimum mandates.
In collaboration with over 55 charitable organizations, including select flower farms in California, Ecuador, India and Colombia, every purchase helps to improve the lives of farmers, their families and the local community.
Traditionally, flowers are grown with harsh synthetic chemicals that are dangerous to the environment and the workers and consumers who handle them. Organic Bouquet flowers are sustainably grown and are certified by third-party agencies such as USDA, Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance. They are also a carbon neutral company, partnered with ClimateFund.org in a carbon offset program supporting re-forestation projects in Guatemala.
LTK: What does it mean to be eco-friendly in the floral industry?
JM: The floral industry has developed specific certifications that oversee the growing practices as well as the fair treatment of all farm workers. All certifications provide qualifications for how a flower is to be grown, and which products may or may not be used during the growing stages-all of which are designed to protect both the soil and the atmosphere. In addition, farms are required to provide a wide range of employee benefits including fair wages, equal opportunity for female employees, health facilities, training and education programs.
About the Flowers for Good Program
LTK: How did the Flowers for Good program get started?
JM: Organic Bouquet created the Flowers for Good program to provide additional donation opportunities for like-minded non-profit agencies. Bouquets purchased help support organizations such as Nature Conservancy, Humane Society, PETA, CASA, Born Free USA, Amnesty, Sea Web and many more worthy causes.
LTK: What does someone need to do in order to make a donation through your program?
JM: Organic Bouquet partners with a variety of non-profit agencies to provide a co-branded product for sale on our website. The agency promotes the partnership to all of their members and with the sale of each branded bouquet. We donate 5 percent of the bouquet proceeds on a quarterly basis. In addition, certain agencies have elected to provide additional marketing opportunities to their members through newsletter promotions, solo email promotions, etc. Organic Bouquet provides an additional 10 percent donation from the proceeds of these sales to that particular agency.
LTK: How are the specific bouquets for each charitable organization chosen?
JM: We work with the agency to select a bouquet that is a good fit for their member base, is a strong selling item, and will be available year round.
Additional Charitable Involvement
LTK: Can you tell us a little about your other initiatives?
JM: There are several initiatives that we are involved with such as Project Ecuador. This initiative helps citizens in Ecuador convert land to the sustainable production of exportable crops for consumers around the world. Our company helps in the following ways: provide the seed money, post harvest services as well as all the marketing, packaging and sales. We also provide the export permits necessary for shipping the products. Since Ecuador is an area where many lack access to resources, we help provide them to the citizens. Over 70 percent of all flowers purchased in the US are from Ecuador and Columbia.
Another aspect we are involved with is offering a turnkey solution in exchange for the exclusive supply of certified sustainable and organic products, our company provides low and no-interest loans and educational assistance in finance, organic and sustainable certification, crop management, as well as medical insurance, harvest facilities, packing materials, trucking systems for global exports and community support and marketing services.
Another initiative is in Colombia. Organic Bouquet provided the no interest loan that made it possible for the Gutierrez family to expand their farm outside of Bogata, Columbia to become one of the world's most eco-friendly growers of both flowers and greens. They became the first organic greens grower in Columbia. The family and our company have committed themselves to help support Autism therapy in a nearby village. Both donate 10 percent of sales from the farm to support the nonprofit organization, Fundacion DIA, founded by the Gutierrez family to provide free treatment to assist those diagnosed with autism.
Finally, our company has developed a partnership in Southern California with the leading floriculture farm in that area. Their biggest success occurred in 2008 when the Guarantee Purchase Program propagated the first USDA Certified Organic Gerbera Daisies in the world.
Love To Know would like to thank Jesse Matney and wishes him and Organic Bouquet much success in the future.