Flowers are a part of our lives in so many ways. They decorate churches at weddings, commemorate loved ones at funerals or celebrate friends on birthdays. Lauren Stanfield recognized the beauty of flowers while growing up on her parents’ horse farm in Cincinnati. She’d design simple bouquets created from flowers growing in their fields or gardens, then give them to friends and family as a way to brighten their day. Years later, Lauren’s avocation has grown into her own business, Fleur & Frond, an eclectic mobile flower shop that she runs out of a restored 1959 Volkswagen Transporter. Let’s meet Lauren Stanfield, this week’s FACE of Louisville, to discover how she cultivated this seed of an idea and used her green thumb to turn it into a blooming business.
This is such a unique idea, running a flower shop out of a vintage VW truck. Did you take classes to learn how to become a florist?
It was more like trial and error from doing it as a kid. When I made bouquets or an arrangement, I always wanted it to have a unique twist. It’s not your standard style — it’s an eye-catching display.
I actually attended the University of Cincinnati and studied in the College of Business, where I graduated with a degree in marketing. While in school, I worked for a finance company, and after I graduated I began working in the investment industry. I worked with clients, assisting in investment planning, financial planning, estate planning and retirement planning. Four and a half years ago, my husband Nate and I moved to Louisville for his work, and I continued in my industry until I left this year to start the flower truck. I just started this in June.
What inspired you to start Fleur & Frond?
The whole idea for the flower truck had already been in the works for three or four years. I always had a dream of sharing flowers with others in a creative way. I developed the business piece by piece. I kind of waited until I had everything in line, then I knew it was time to leave my job. I enjoyed the investment industry, but it’s just that this has always been a dream of mine and I had to run with it.
Tell us a bit about your unique mobile “storefront.”
I tried to find the right truck, which took a little time. It took me months of research until I finally found it in Huntington Beach, California. We found it online. The owner had just restored it. Then I had to design the back part. We use half bourbon barrels, which carry our flower buckets. We also added a white canvas canopy that helps protect the flowers.
What types of flowers do you sell?
It really depends upon what’s in season. We sell sunflowers, gerbera daisies, ranunculus — all types. For greenery, I have the basics like eucalyptus. But my main thing is to have unique flowers as well as greenery. It adds to the experience. That way it’s not something that you see every day at a local florist shop or store. We have anything from single stems to an entire bouquet, which we wrap in burlap and fasten with a kilt pin, which looks like a big safety pin.
Where do you sell your flowers?
We attend various events around the city, like farmers’ markets and private events. We can even set up at wedding receptions if someone wants to have a flower truck there as kind of a thank you to their guests, so they can make a bouquet to take home. Or, we just set up throughout the city in places like Butchertown or Nulu or Frankfort Avenue. If there’s a big event, like a festival or an art show being held at places like Waterfront Park, we’ll set up there and sell our flowers.
How do you plan your sales strategy if there’s a day or week when you’re not scheduled to appear at a specific place?
There are plenty of weeks when I don’t have an event, so I just kind of decide where I’ll be on certain days. I reach out ahead of time to the local businesses to make sure it’s okay to set up there; I find places with a lot of foot traffic. I also post on social media where I’m going to be, and a lot of people share that as well.
What do you have planned for the future of Fleur & Frond?
We’re going to start a subscription service so customers or businesses can sign up to have flowers delivered weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. We also want to offer workshops. We’ll teach people how to make bouquets or arrangements, or show them how to make wreaths. It will be educational as well as interactive. We’re always trying to grow and get the name out about our flower truck.
Switching gears, do you have any hobbies or pastimes?
I like being outside. I enjoy nature, seeing the animals and taking our dog Waldo out for walks.
Are there any places where you like to hang out?
We like to go to Commonwealth Tap in Norton Commons, where we live, and spend time with our friends.
Do you have any favorite restaurants?
For breakfast or brunch, we love going to the Village Anchor. For lunch or dinner, it depends upon what we’re in the mood for — it could be Volare in Louisville, or Brooklyn and the Butcher or the Exchange Pub + Kitchen, which are both in New Albany, Indiana.
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Is there something about you that people would be surprised to learn?
I would say that most people would never guess I showed quarter horses very competitively when I was growing up. I’m actually a two-time world champion. We would go all over the country showing, year-round. I’m quite honored to have shown and earned enough points to qualify to go to the world show for two years.
What do you like about living in Louisville?
I would say it’s the welcoming feel we have here. It’s the hospitality of everybody and the way they’re willing to help you — something as simple as holding a door for you — and all of the support and love I’ve gotten starting my own business.
Is there any advice that you cherish?
My parents have always told me, “Be yourself and don’t let anybody change that.” Their voices are always in the back of my head, and I always try to stay true to myself — whether I’m with people or with thoughts that I have. You’re not always going to make everybody happy, and not everybody’s going to like you, but if you stay true to who you are, the right people and the right things are going to fall into place.
Besides faith, family and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?
Empathy — putting yourself in others’ shoes. Love — having compassion and affection for others. Hope — having aspirations towards greater things.
Meet more amazing Southern women in our FACES archives — click HERE!