Episode 454: Meet the Flower Hunter, Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders, on his personal buying service connecting flower farms with florists
May 20th, 2020
As you have heard me discuss, since the last week of March, I’ve been hosting weekly Slow Flowers Member “Virtual” Meet-Ups as a way for our community to stay in touch using the technology of Zoom Meetings. It has been a wonderful new experience, allowing us to share more voices and more stories of resilience in an intimate setting. Typically, we have no more than 50 people participating on the call, and for those who can’t join us each Friday, we’re able to post the meeting video.
Today’s guest, Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders, is one of the most engaged attendees. As Lisa Waud, our membership manager pointed out, Yoni has almost perfect attendance, other than missing the Friday before Mother’s Day. Last week, I invited Yoni to share his story as a guest presenter, and it was a meaningful experience for our members to hear his rather unconventional wholesale model.
You see, Yoni calls himself a Flower Hunter. He isn’t like most larger wholesalers with a physical operation, with a large buying and sales team. Those folks are definitely flower hunters, too, make no mistake. It’s just that Yoni has a customized approach, working almost as a personal shopper with a small cadre of wedding and event florists as he scours the country and continent for specific seasonal blooms.
After just hearing from Yoni for 15 minutes, I knew I wanted to learn more – and I wanted to share his voice with a larger audience of the Slow Flowers Podcast. We made a last-minute decision to record this conversation just a few days ago — and I thank Yoni for being spontaneous and such a great source of inspiration.
Before we jump into today’s conversation, here’s a bit more about Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders:
As a young man, Yoni moved to Los Angeles from Cape Town, bringing with him a love of nature stemming from a childhood surrounded by the astounding biodiversity and beauty of daily life in South Africa.
He founded Orchids Without Borders in 2006 as a means to supply mainly locally-grown flowers to event companies, wholesalers and florists. The company was later rebranded as Flowers Without Borders. Yoni has worked in the wholesale flower business since 1989. Along the way, he also owned a high-end floral and landscape design business.
With nineteen years experience bringing the magic of international destination weddings to life, specializing in shipping flowers to Mexico and the Caribbean, here in North America, Flowers Without Borders provides personalized service to florists and event specialists, sourcing predominantly local and sustainably-grown flowers.
The business is a direct reflection Yoni’s personae. He’s interested in each client, their story, their lives — and he enjoys building relationships based on communication and a value of trust. As he writes on the Flowers Without Borders web site: “We believe in the farmers who grow our souls one stem at a time and we believe in the talented florists who create beauty with their flowers.”
Well, you’re in for a wonderful episode as we speak the language of flowers and color with a man who has centered his vocation on our floral community for thirty years.
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Thanks so much for joining today’s conversation. As a bonus, follow the link above to see the replay video of the May 15th Slow Flowers Member ‘Virtual’ Meet-Up, when Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders was joined by Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co.
The Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Ups continue to provide value and support as a member benefit. Please join me at the next Slow Flowers Virtual Meet-Up, this Friday, May 22nd — 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Can’t wait to see you there!
Follow this link to join us on May 22nd.
Thank you to our Sponsors
This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms. It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.
Thank you to Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Read our stories at slowflowersjournal.com.
FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. To help you better work with individual buyers, FarmersWeb has lowered its credit card processing fees to 2.9% and 30 cents per transaction. As always, by using FarmersWeb (unlike standard e-commerce sites) you get all the features designed with farms in mind for managing your orders, customers, sales, and record keeping. Learn more at www.farmersweb.com.
Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.
Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at shop.syndicatesales.com.
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As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.
I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.
The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.
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