About this episode

So can change in a year. That’s certainly been true for this podcast. Some opportunities were missed in the tumultuous year of 2020, but amazing things happened around here, too. For one, we’ve built up an extremely rich episode vault. I want to take some time to share some of those episodes again.

This week we’re bringing back the episode with Christina Stembel, founder of Farmgirl Flowers. You may recognize Christina from the national Capital One campaign, where she gets to quote the known slogan, "What's in your wallet?"

And if you couldn't guess, Christina's story is unique on many levels, including her challenging upbringing. Christina was born in a small Indiana town where she was raised with the idea that young girls did not have the same future or potential as young boys. For most of her childhood, she felt like an outsider. She was a young girl with big dreams, and that was not the norm in her town.

Despite any of the challenges Christina faced, her childhood was influential and helped her get to where she is today. She's often asked what's the secret sauce to her success? She immediately points back to the most important lesson of her life, and that is where we begin her story. This is Christina Stembel's startup story.

In this episode, you'll hear:

  • About how she grew up in a small town in Indiana with religiously conservative parents. And how she was continually asking questions and bucking against that system.
  • Though entrepreneurs didn't surround her, she did learn the value of hard work.
  • How and why she made a move to New York City after graduation. And later, moving to Chicago, taking classes at Columbia College, and working in a hotel.
  • Christina shares how she eventually ended up in hotel management in San Francisco. And later, she details her exit from the hotel business.
  • She describes her time working at Stanford University, first in their catering department, and then with Alumni Relations. Her time planning events for Stanford helped her recognize the amount of money being spent, and in her opinion wasted, on the decor.
  • She was able to save the university money by buying flowers and making the arrangements herself, rather than buying finished pieces.
  • Christina could see the gaps in the flower industry but knew she didn't want to be doing events. She researched the e-commerce side of flowers and felt there was something better she could be doing to improve it. That led to Farmgirl.
  • Early Farmgirl had limited product options with excellent customer service and a minimal marketing budget. Christina shares some of the unique marketing she explored in the early days of her startup.
  • Some of the frustrations are getting financing in Silicon Valley and her experiences.
  • The growth of Farmgirl Flowers, including her desire for early regional growth, subsidizing shipping costs, and working on company culture.
  • Why Christina believes anyone willing to work for it can be an entrepreneur.

Resources from this episode

Join Grindology: https://grindology.com/

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Get Emails: https://app.getemails.com/referrals/newaccount?ref=R18HWW5

The Startup Story Inner Circle: https://www.thestartupstory.co/vip
The Startup Story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thestartupstory
The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney
The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory

Farmgirl Flowers: https://farmgirlflowers.com/

Christina Stembel on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christina-stembel/

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The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help.

First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you!


If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment.

He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world.

Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory

Episode transcript

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February 16 2021
Christina Stembel, founder of Farmgirl Flowers

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