Fall 2014 // Spring 2015
UrbanStems, DC’s first on-demand flower delivery startup began operating during a snowstorm the week of Valentine’s Day in 2014. Ajay Kori, the CEO and co-founder, and Jeff Sheely, co-founder and head of marketing, kept their new business lean and focused on delivering the very best bouquets beginning at just $35 to happy recipients and senders around DC. They earned early praise from local business press and soon were featured as a great Mother’s Day gift on Fox 5 during anchor Laura Evans’s signature segment “Laura’s Likes” in 2014. By that fall the company had grown and was gearing up for three important events and milestones. First, the expansion of the company to New York City. Second, the most important time of year for any florist: Valentine’s Day. Finally, the announcement of over one million dollars in seed funding from investors including Under Armor CEO and founder Kevin Plank. In October 2014 Kori and Sheely hired Courtney Flantzer PR to execute a public relations strategy to introduce the brand to New York City, help make UrbanStems bouquets the must-have bouquet for Valentine’s Day in Washington, DC and New York and effectively announce the startup’s new round of funding.
To announce UrbanStems’s arrival in New York City, Flantzer PR created a targeted list of business and startup-focused press based in New York. Immediately prior to the day UrbanStems began delivering flowers throughout New York City, we gave the exclusive announcement to the prestigious business publication Fast Company on December 15.
Weeks before the launch we delivered flowers to each targeted reporter, producer, and editor. With beautiful bouquets to enjoy for at least a week some reporters chose to incorporate our launch with a Brooklyn-based flower company with a very different model and delivery service. It was great way for large daily outlets like the New York Daily News to include UrbanStems in their coverage of new and exciting businesses New Yorkers could enjoy in the New Year. On December 28 this positive piece hit the stands.
This December push allowed us time to cement our new contacts in New York and allowed Flantzer PR enough bandwidth to simultaneously work on Washington, DC for the $1.5 million funding announcement and Valentine’s Day. Weeks before Valentine’s Day we were thrilled to be in included in Gotham, the exclusive New York magazine’s list of Unique Valentine’s Day gifts, as a fantastic beginning on January 29.
By the week of Valentine’s Day we had secured one of our main targets, an interview with CNN Money. This appearance kicked off a week of business press around the fundraising and Valentine’s Day in DC and New York.
We were successful in highlighting UrbanStems’s affordable prices with consumer segments in Washington and New York. On CNBC.com UrbanStems was part of a story about the shift away from brick and mortar flower shops.
In print and online media we secured some of the region’s most popular outlets.
Capping off our successful Valentine’s week was the flurry of coverage about UrbanStems’s seed round from a variety of news sources.
With the busiest flower delivery holiday behind us we moved towards spring with a partnership with Lean In DC. Shedding light on the wage disparity between men and women, UrbanStems joined other DC-based businesses and offered a 22% discount on the Signature Mix on Equal Pay Day, April 12. With our Lean In partners we secured excellent coverage and increased awareness for the pay disparity.
Currently UrbanStems is focused on an entirely digital marketing and advertising campaign. They have expanded quietly to cover all of Brooklyn, Queens, and part of Long Island. In 2016 UrbanStems is excited to enter more cities and Courtney Flantzer PR is looking forward to next year’s Valentine’s Day campaign!