The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.
Ali Chrisler is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm a third generation florist--both my grandmother and mother owned flower shops in my hometown. Though I'm a trained researcher (I have a PhD), I've always been interested in tapping into my creative side. When I had a miscarriage about a year ago, it really threw me for a loop. When I was evaluating where I was in my life, I decided to leave my job and pursue this business endeavor. I've always wanted to start a small business and decided this was the best way to start. I come from a line of small business owners (my grandmother, dad, mom, step-dad, brother, aunt, and uncle). I've always said that I would much rather fail trying than to have never tried at all.
What did it take / how did you get started?
I knew I didn't want a brick and mortar store. I know many think this is the marker of success but I disagree. Storefronts are limiting and keep you bound to one location. I wanted the shop to be mobile so I pursued a mobile flower shop. Many mobile flower shops/flower trucks are big vintage trucks. However, because I am in DC, I knew it needed to be small. So, my brother found examples of mini trucks. I found an importer in Miami that had a mini Japanese truck. I bought it sight unseen and that was the start of my business!
What does the future look like for you and your hustle?
The great part of a small business is that it can be as small or large as you want it to be. I like the flexibility!
What drives / motivates you?
I like being able to see how my hard work pays off!
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
Be very strategic about your startup costs. I did a lot on my own to save costs--for example, I built my own flower cooler and the flower setup on the back of my truck. I have no experience building anything. I watched YouTube videos, bought a miter saw and electric screwdriver, and told myself that I could do it! By keeping your startup costs down, it allows you to leave the hustle if it's not a good fit.
What has been the hardest part of the hustle?
Surprisingly, the pandemic launched my business because I pivoted from outdoor truck events to contactless deliveries. As DC, Maryland, and Virginia continue to open, I am doing more truck events. The hardest part of this business is how isolating it can be. Luckily, there is a group of mini flower truck owners on Instagram that I have connected with. It's helpful to bounce ideas off of others who have a similar business model.
Also, this is not a glamorous business. People often say, you get to play with flowers all day! That is so not true! I spend most of my time cleaning my home studio and flower buckets, driving around the city doing deliveries, and responding to emails.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
Side or full-time hustle?
Currently, this is my full-time hustle.
List the founders
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
I treat it like a full-time job but often put in more than 40 hours.
# of Employees?
Just me for now to keep costs down
When did you start?
I did a soft launch November 2019 but fully launched January 2020
How much did it cost to launch?
A mere $17,000--I'm very proud of this. I've already made this money back. Most flower trucks spend at least $50,000 due to the cost of their vehicle.
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
I used my own funds.
Any call to action?