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Non-Scents - Every Blossom has a Message
by Startacus Admin
It’s that time of year folks, people get ill and can potentially end up somewhere bleak and bland, that’s right, the hospital. Yay. (Yes, that was sarcasm). Many people, in particular the already ill, differently-abled or the elderly are susceptible to any number of conditions that could require additional care. No one wants to be in a hospital, especially when you can’t even have flowers or anything to brighten the day. So when we heard about “Non Scents” we just had to chat with company founder Elizabeth Greenberg.
Hi Elizabeth; Tell us, what exactly is “Non-Scents”? “Non-Scents delivers messages and greetings in the form of origami flower arrangements. Each flower holds its own personal message so that each gift of Non-Scents is as unique and personal as the relationship between the giver and receiver. Our arrangements are safe to send to anyone, anywhere, at any time.”
That seems like a really creative alternative to flowers; What inspired you to pursue that idea? “Many of my relatives have gone through cancer treatment - whether it was my dad’s surgery, my mother’s radiation, or my grandfather’s chemotherapy; I’ve witnessed it all. However, it wasn’t until a personal friend of mine was rushed into the hospital for cancer surgery that I found out live flowers were actually banned from certain areas of the hospital. It bothered me not because I thought flowers were a “be all, end all”, but because I thought a hospital room without vibrant colours and personal gifts was a bleak and lonely place to wake up in after surgery as serious as cancer treatment. Origami flower arrangements happened to be my solution, with a little help from YouTube’s “how to” videos, and the messages inside the flowers made it the personal gift I was looking for…one that only I could send. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you a reason for why I chose origami. I guess I figured if live flowers weren’t an option, and silk flowers reminded me of grandmas, then paper was my next alternative material that was convenient and affordable.”
That’s really very sweet! Do you only provide these for people in hospital or do people order them for other things, like Anniversaries? “I’m glad you asked this question. While I started the business with hospital patients in mind, my customers soon showed me how versatile they wanted our products to be. We’ve had people using them for marriage proposals, bridal showers, golf tournament centrepieces, party giveaways, mother’s day gifts, corporate gifts, and too many other occasions to count. Simply put, because we give our customers the ability to customize their arrangements, we also give them the ability to make their Non-Scents arrangement into anything they want, theme it any way they want, and present it any way they want. One of my favourite conversation quotes from Alice in Wonderland is when Alice says, “This is impossible”, and the Mad Hatter replies, “Only if you believe it is”. We love it when our customers let their imagination run free and call us to ask if a Non-Scents arrangement can be used as a raffle ticket drawing device or instructions to a science project or ingredients to a family recipe.”
We would assume that your sales are over a distance, as your platform is online, how would you ensure that the “Non-Scents” arrive ok? “Packaging has actually been our most recent project and we just finished ordering our new shipping packaging with custom inserts to ensure that the arrangements remain upright and arrive in perfect condition. The nice part about our arrangements however, is that they aren’t fragile. The vases we use are eco-friendly bamboo vases and the flowers themselves are paper making it much easier on use to ensure their protection. That said, shipping anything is always a gamble so if a customer receives an arrangement in any form of disarray, we replace it free of charge. However, with these new shipping inserts, we hope that our shipping concerns can be put in the past.”
Through “Non-Scents”, it appears you’ve started a sort of philanthropic social platform through Twitter and Facebook. What else have you been up to that builds upon that? “It’s difficult to donate 10% of your annual profits as a start-up you don’t have any real profits for the first few years. As we work to grow our base of future giveback partners, we’ve been volunteering our time as well as organizing and running origami workshops with the patients at the Children’s Hospital that we’re currently partnered with. When you don’t have much money, your time is your most valuable asset so we give that instead and I think, in part, the non-profits are just as grateful for that as well.”
We have to ask. Is there any special reason for the messages inside the flowers? “For me, there were two reasons why I wanted to have the messages as well. First, because every time I’ve received flowers I’ve thought they were beautiful and it made me happy but it was pretty much as impersonal a gift as you can get. The custom messages allowed me to make my gift of origami flowers unique to my relationship with my friend transforming it into one of the most personal gifts I could give. For example, my friend had been trying to get me to watch Frasier all the time and I knew some of his favourite books so I pulled some of my messages from those TV and book quotes. The rest of the messages I chose were chosen or written by me with him in mind so they were directly from the heart, not some cookie-cutter card. My second reason had to do a lot with my endless struggles over choosing the appropriate greeting card to accompany a gift for any occasion. I’m both humorous and sentimental so I never knew if I should buy both, or which to choose; and I have the worst luck of choosing cards and realizing others have chosen the same ones for the same person at the same event.”
So, “Non-Scents” looks fantastic, what are your plans for the future? “One downfall of being young and fresh out of college when running your own business is that my imagination takes off with me. This has left me with a number of ideas for where and how to expand. The one absolute I have is that Non-Scents will be in every hospital gift shop and carried by every hospital gift shop distributor in the U.S. and abroad. I know it’s a lofty goal but I didn’t make it with dollar signs in my mind, I made it because Non-Scents fills a void. There were three things I needed to accomplish with our products to know that I had something that could add value to the lives of others:
1) They make people smile 2) They brighten up a room 3)They connect people on a personal level that can’t be attained through emails, texting, or any other form of technological conversation
And guess what, we did it! In addition to hospital gift shops, we’re currently looking at corporate gifts and the wedding/event space as two additional markets for us. Of course there are too many possibilities to count but this is where we plan on starting.”
Here at Startacus we always appreciate a story like this; It warms the heart to see a business idea like this that just fits. We hope you’re all well, and if not, we hope you see some “Non Scents” on your road to recovery! Good Luck to Elizabeth and her Mom, Mimi!