MT. VERNON, Wash. — From a field in the heart of Skagit Valley to the fingertips of flower lovers all over the world, by sharing the story of Floret Flowers, owner Erin Benzakein has cultivated a blooming business.
"Out in this beautiful field with all these things going on I can just take my phone out, take a picture of what's going on and share it around the world. There's no barriers," said Benzakein.
With more than 340 thousand Instagram followers, Benzakein has made quite a name for herself in the digital world. A recent photo of her harvest went viral and was shared by media outlets all over the world including Buzzfeed, and was even regrammed by Britney Spears.
"I just wanted to goof around, so I started organizing the truck by color and we were out in the field and I took a pretty quick cell phone shot with the truck and this beautiful ombre and posted it on Instagram."
However, Erin says her success didn't bloom overnight. After moving to Mt. Vernon from Seattle with her family, she thought she wanted to have an apple orchard or sell fresh eggs. She also tried her hand at growing produce, but none of the ventures took off.
"Nine times out of ten I fail at what I try. The percentage of success is so low, but I've learned more from failures and mistakes than I ever had from the successes and it makes the successes that much sweeter."
Her persistence and grit paid off. The day she delivered her first order of flowers, and mason jar of sweet peas, Erin knew she'd finally found her calling.
"I just wanted to run away, and she took one smell of the sweet peas and just started bawling," Erin said. The two cried together, recalling childhood memories of time spent in their family's gardens. "We were two perfect strangers instantly connected by a little jar of fresh flowers."
That one, hand-delivered jar quickly stemmed into a two-acre organic flower farm. And rather than expanding the farm's footprint as demand grew, the Floret team focused on perfecting small-scale, high-intensity flower farming.
Floret now supplies fresh flowers to Whole Foods and flower shops across the Pacific Northwest, and last year started supplying seeds to retailers across the country. Flower lovers from all over the world also attend annual design workshops.
Erin book, "Cut, Flower, Garden" was released on March 7th, 2017. It's a how-to on growing, harvesting and arranging local, seasonal blooms. The book set a record for the most number of preorders in the publisher's history.