~ CFDb Interviews Craig Wambolt
CFDb Interviews Craig Wambolt – President at The Frugal Flower Companies
= > Tell us a little bit about www.Christianflower.com ? What is unique about your company?
We started Christianflower.com about 8 years ago as an offshoot to our other brands- The concept was born out of a desire to use our business to help fund nonprofit organizations that had at their core the spreading of the Gospel.
The business model has evolved over the years and is just now beginning to take a real form as we expand our product lines through our new “Vase and a Verse” Collection. And our patented personalization of “VaseExpressions”. Through these two product lines we give the consumer the ability to say whatever is on their heart in a very meaningful and personal way. The product line is like combining a personalized greeting card within a vase.
= > What led you to open up an online Flower Shop?
God has a sense of humor…. I think that my business partner (and former football co-captain) Mike Devlin and I were voted least likely to be florists in High School- He went on to play College at Ithica and Umass and I went on to the University of Maine. I had purchased a fledgling import company from a family friend called Bangkok Boston Trading co. (still run it today) we were importing flowers and distributing them to wholesale and retail operations from New York to New England- adding a retail shop was a logical step for us… as we needed to capture the holiday business. We started with 6 buckets on the side of the road and the rest is history… still in the making.
= > What led you to start a Christian Floral Company?
In 1997 I started a company called ourgift.com – the founding principal was to give money back to charities with every floral/plant/fruit order. We grew the company to about 75 participating non-profits and made substantial donations for many years. There was always a struggle involved between Christ centered organizations and humanitarian organizations. For me it was a non-issue because what I was doing was attempting to cure Heart disease in the name of Jesus…. But for the non-profits, some had an issue with the fact that someone really believes in God- Salvation- and the Amazing Grace that God extends to us! Imagine that… the world has a problem with Jesus? S0 I decided that I would try to model Christianflower.com after ourgift.com and did not have very much success. Cause marketing is a concept that just hasn’t caught on in the Christian world yet.- and I understand the hesitation… there is a reason why Jesus flipped tables in the Temple- and I never want to be one of the guys sitting there trading doves for a buck! So I decided to focus our efforts on one place where our business could really make a difference. That place ended up being a little orphanage in Uganda- we have made a small impact into the lives of people there- kids are alive, growing up knowing Christ and their future is bright as they excel and spread the gospel wherever they go.
= > How many online floral shops do you own?
We own a few companies in the floral space-
With more to come!
VaseExpressions- We recently licensed this product and the surrounding technology to 1800flowers.com this is a very exciting development for us- I believe within a year or so… VaseExpressions will be a household name! The product really brings floral buying and giving into the facebook age- it is such a beautiful marriage of a gift that has always communicated sentiments and now those sentiments – have a visual-personal counterpart.
= > Tell us how to locate each of your online floral shops and explain what is different about each one of them?
They are all on the web and for the most part they are very similar- the main difference is that frugalflower.com is a brick and mortar shop that serves metrowest Boston- doing weddings, funerals, and everyday deliveries in our own fleet of vans. The other brands are primarily online- and we serve the nation using Fedex, UPS, and the leading floral networks.
= > Does Christianflower.com deliver all over the United States? Are deliveries to the US only?
We deliver to the U.S. and internationally!
= > Do you also own a brick and mortar floral shop? If yes, where is it located and how long have you been in business?
The Frugal Flower- www.frugalflower.com
We have two locations in Massachusetts and we have been in business 25 years.
Thanks for the opportunity! I pray God blesses your vision for films and I look forward to sharing mychoice with you soon- Craig