You may not think twice about a florist’s environmental impact — they’re just arranging plants for horticulture enthusiasts and those last-minute gift shoppers, right?
But it turns out that the industry behind cut flowers is potentially damaging to the planet we live on — and it’s not just about sourcing locally or buying organic flowers, according to Peicha Chang, the owner and founder of Falls Flowers, a flower shop located in the East Falls neighborhood.
As the world’s first florist to be licensed as a B Corp, Falls Flowers knows a thing or two about sustainability and it’s something Chang tries to be transparent as possible about when talking with her customers and clients. For her, being a B Corp has been about things like building relationships with local flower farmers, paying her employees well and perhaps most importantly, supporting the local East Falls community.
Being a part of the community was something Chang thought about even before starting Falls Flowers back in 2008. These days, 18 percent of the business’ profits go back to community groups including East Falls Community Council, East Falls Development Corporation, Friends of Falls Library and more.
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“The primary reason that I was looking for a neighborhood to settle down in was because it meant for me that that was going to be where I was going to start my business,” said Chang, who lives with her husband.
Now, Chang is hoping to expand her business to hopefully become an even more central part to the East Falls neighborhood with Vault + Vine, a reinventing of her flower shop that’s planning to have its grand opening on May 5. With a bigger space on 3507 Midvale Ave. (4,600 square feet) and plans for a café and greenhouse, it’s been a hectic — and costly — two years for Chang and team as they have made preparations.
That’s where Chang is hoping the neighborhood she’s done business in for the past six years can help. An Indiegogo campaign for Vault + Vine just started this month and is looking to raise a flexible goal of $50,000 by the end of the month for to help out with equipment purchases and completing the interior fit.
As of this writing, $4,115 has been raised so far. Check out the Indiegogo campaign here.
While the bigger space will undoubtedly help Chang in expanding retail business efforts — with events and weddings making up — most of Falls Flowers’ revenue, a primary reason for this growth goes back to community.
Chang heard from a number of people in East Falls who wanted a space where they could gather, so she built out Vault + Vine in hopes it can become that area. Not to mention, she wants to become a bigger part of the effort in putting East Falls on the map, both in terms of recognition and retail potential.
In Chang’s experience, “East Falls has always been a little sister to Manayunk” or Chestnut Hill, and she hopes that will change as the East Falls community rallies behind something like Vault + Vine. The reason she went with an online crowdfunding campaign was because she sees this as a “community project” where anyone can become a part of it.
Granted, as it’s stated in the campaign, Vault + Vine will still be completed even without the completion of the campaign — to Chang, it’s not necessarily about the money.
“I know deep down that it’s worth it, and that’s why I’m doing it all,” she said, “but it does help to hear it from others.”