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A Beautiful Way to Virtually Connect for the Holidays

“Where flowers bloom, so does hope …” – Lady Bird Johnson

When Cameron Hardesty launched Poppy Flowers in late 2019, the world was a much different place. The plan for her new floral startup was to “bring together tech, farms, and floral designers to make event florals more accessible.” Meaning, she wanted to make the cost of flowers for weddings and other large-scale events more affordable by cutting out the wholesaler middleman. But as COVID led to the overnight cancellation of basically every event everywhere, event florals were no longer needed, at least for the time being. So, as many small business owners did in response to having the rug pulled out from under them, Cameron quickly recalibrated and reimagined a new business model: Poppy at Home, a ship-to-you DIY flower arranging kit. “During a very dark, uncertain time, I went back to what I know to be true in my bones,” she says. “Making something beautiful and tangible with flowers is good for the soul.”

Cameron Hardesty, founder & CEO of Poppy Flowers

Cameron Hardesty is the founder and CEO of Poppy Flowers.

Her customers agree. As months have passed and so many special events have been postponed or canceled, just as many, with a bit of creativity, have been reconfigured and adapted into a virtual format — weddings, baby showers, even family reunions taking place via Zoom. “I’ve learned during the pandemic that you can’t just leave Zoom programming up to chance if you want it to be meaningful. You have to actually create programming, even if it’s a less formal group like your work team or your family,” Cameron explains. “Flower arranging is a great way to do that because you can take about an hour to get into it, everyone’s results are a little different, and you have a reason to engage with other folks on Zoom without it feeling awkward or forced.”

Now, as we embark on the holiday season, many families have made the difficult decision to forgo yet another gathering — Thanksgiving — in an effort to safely wait out the pandemic. Cameron, too, made that decision recently.”I won’t be traveling to Dallas for Thanksgiving for the first time ever,” she shares. “That’s really hard, and I know many, many other families are in a similar position.”

RELATED: Here’s How to Make Your Fresh-Cut Flowers Last

Yes, many families do feel that pang and are longing for ways to stay connected while remaining apart. Poppy at Home, Cameron says, offers that opportunity. “We are coming up with ways to be connected during the holidays that feel authentic and fun, and setting a beautiful table, including handmade, homemade flower arrangements, is an important part of that,” she says. “It has been my job most Thanksgivings to create the flower arrangements for the table, and so I’m excited to be able to do that together, virtually, with my family, and I am really excited to be able to help other families do the same.”

Cameron Hardesty cutting fresh stems

Cameron originally launched Poppy Flowers to provide more affordable access to event florals, such as those used in weddings. Then the pandemic hit, though, and weddings — and all events — were put on hold. That’s when she launched the Poppy at Home kit, which delivers beautiful, fresh stems for at-home arranging.

HOW IT WORKS

Visit poppyflowers.com and click on “Shop.” From there, you’ll see a variety of beautiful arrangements, and you can select the one you want to create. Prices range from $60-$95 per kit. When your order arrives, each type of flower is grouped and wrapped together, separately from the other types of flowers. When you open your box, take out each group of flowers, unwrap them, trim the stems, pluck low-hanging leaves, place them in separate vases of water, and let them soak for a few hours. After that, they’ll be ready to arrange. Each box contains enough stems that you can make one large arrangement or several smaller ones — perhaps you want to make one big centerpiece for your holiday table, or a few smaller ones to spread throughout your home to bring a bit of cheer whenever you walk through.

Two sisters arranging flowers at home through Zoom

Here, two sisters enjoy some quality time while they arrange their Poppy at Home flowers together via Zoom.

Virtual flower arranging workshop through Poppy Flowers

Cameron, top left, also leads virtual flower arranging workshops. Everyone orders their Poppy at Home kits, and at the designated time, they gather via Zoom and learn how to create a stunning arrangement.

RELATED: Create a Stunning Thanksgiving Tablescape

If you do have a virtual floral arranging party and create an arrangement with your family or friends in advance of the holidays, you can find joy in knowing that no matter where your family is on the map, you’ll all be connected — in a fragrant and beautiful way — by the flowers you arranged together, while apart. “I know it sounds trite, but people send us pictures of these virtual arranging events they’ve done with their mom or their friends with their Poppy at Home kits,” Cameron says, “and the joy we’re able to bring in a really difficult time has been the best part [of this experience].”

Thank you, Cameron. To learn more about Poppy Flowers, visit poppyflowers.com.

All photography provided by Poppy Flowers.

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