When I was a new mom juggling work and a newborn baby, I discovered a milk delivery service in the area. Complete with a Welsh Farms milk box and glass bottles, it was truly a lifesaver. Now 19 years later, I still look at glass milk bottles with such a fondness for that time. It turns out so does the owner of Milkmaid Flowers as she used that inspiration for her new business. Taking the old school vibes of milk delivery service and putting her own fresh spin on it by delivering weekly flowers to doorsteps in Morris County, you’ll love learning about this new business.
What is your business?
Milkmaid Flowers provides hyper-local, weekly flower deliveries the way the milkman used to—collecting last week’s bottles when delivering this week’s fresh creations. It’s pre-arranged flowers, without the waste of traditional delivery and without the hassle of wrapped bouquets. People love our service for self-care, zoom backgrounds, and gifting.
What was the inspiration behind starting your business? How did you become an entrepreneur?
Last summer, my family and I cleaned out our garage and found ourselves moving large, glass vases from one place to another as we tried to decide what to do with them. They were vestiges of once-beautiful flower arrangements gifted to us over the years. Long empty of the fresh, organic creations they once held, they had been relegated to a cabinet under the sink, then to the garage where they now sat in my way. Frankly, they weren’t our style and they were taking up valuable storage space.
Over the years I’ve seen these containers in thrift shops, at yard sales, and in trash piles. What a waste! So I launched a modern solution by remembering a retro idea—the milkman.
For me, Milkmaid combines my love of art and design with my love of nature. Even as a small child, I could be found in the fields of South Jersey picking flowers and chasing bugs. In art school, the natural world inspired me and became a recurring theme in my work. After a break from my career as an art educator to raise my children, I am excited to embark on this new adventure.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow your business?
One word: Instagram. As someone who was largely absent from social media before launching Milkmaid, I was surprised that this was the key that unlocked my success. Once I gained an Instagram following, I found myself delivering to customers I didn’t even know. That was a turning point. I now make it a point to be active on my account daily. I love that it allows my blooms to spread joy to a wider audience. After all, I can only physically get to a limited number of deliveries, but through Instagram I can give everyone a little joy through flowers.
What are your success habits?
I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve learned to shed fear, jump in, and say “Yes!” Without that, I would never have been able to start Milkmaid. However, I also give myself permission to say “No” when something doesn’t feel right or when I’m over-extended. Without that, I would have crashed and burned by now. I follow my gut and find balance.
Oh, and baths. Lots of lavender Epsom salt baths!
What has been your biggest failure in business and what did it teach you?
This is embarrassing, but I forgot to pay my first quarter of sales taxes. I mean, I paid them, but they were late. I’m a visual and creative soul, not so much a business-savvy bookkeeper. Lesson learned. I’ve set a reminder for the next due date and my QuickBooks is at the ready!
What drives you on the most challenging days?
- Creating. Even when I’m exhausted or under the weather, the creative process gives me a boost. Cutting and arranging flowers is meditative and making something beautiful is rewarding in a visceral way. Flowers are magic.
- Spreading joy. My customers truly love their blooms and I never tire of their joy. I feel like I’m making a difference in a world that needs it–especially in this pandemic year. I’m passionate about self-care and really that’s what I’m delivering. Once I leave the arrangements on each doorstep, I know those flowers are going to bring joy to that home every day.
How do you define success?
I suppose I should be saying money but it’s really never been about that. See #2 above. I feel most successful when the customer is happy.
What is next for your business?
We just launched our Milkmaid Mother’s Day Bundle! With self-care at the heart of Milkmaid, we’ve paired a curated selection of locally-sourced gifts with two weeks of flower deliveries so you can give Mom a complete, at-home spa experience. It really is a great way to show her your appreciation for all she does. Added bonus: We’ve partnered with two other mom-owned Morristown businesses for this bundle. Your gift supports three local moms in addition to your own for Mother’s Day. Pretty special.