IN CONVERSATION WITH: It’s By U Founders (& Sisters!) Caroline + Christine Strzalka
IT’S BY U BREAKS FROM TRADITIONAL FLOWER DELIVERY SERVICES. HOW DID YOU COME UP FOR THE IDEA TO SHIP DIRECTLY FROM GROWERS?
Christine, an award-winning florist, realized that the faster a flower can get from the field to your vase at home, the healthier it will be, the longer it will last, and the more value you get for you money. So it just made sense to skip the traditional floral wholesale middlemen, and go straight to the growers to deliver the best flowers anywhere. Also, working directly with growers allows us to ensure that our flowers are fair trade and sustainably grown. It also gives us first dibs on new and different flower varieties, so we can offer our customers things they can’t easily find in grocery stores. It’s a win all around!
WHAT’S IT LIKE WORKING WITH AS SISTERS?
We’ve been collaborating together almost since we were born! We have complementary skill sets, so the division of labor in building a business is easy. Just like with any other co-worker, we don’t always get along; but we always do have unflinching trust in each other. We both have the same vision for It’s By U and that makes it easy for us to plow through the hard times. Plus, we like the same food and music. 🙂
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Our customers! We believe that anyone can build something great if given the right tools and the right guidance. We’ve seen people who don’t think they’re creative surprise themselves by making stunning bouquets and centerpieces with our kits. We’ve also discovered that our customers are not shy to tell us what flowers and kits they want to see. We make it happen for them.
ANY DAILY RITUALS?
We spend A LOT of time together. We cook and eat a big breakfast together every day. After breakfast, we have our daily standup meeting to organize our tasks. Mid-afternoon, we always share a cup of tea and catch up on how the day is going. And when we’re not together, we always call each other at least once a day, every day.
FAVORITE FLOWER TO WORK WITH?
Christine loves working with orchids. They look delicate, but they’re surprisingly hardy little creatures, with strong stems, and shapes that you can’t find anywhere else in nature. They add a touch of sophistication to any floral design.
ANY HIDDEN TALENTS?
Caroline is the best karaoke backup singer you ever did hear. Christine was a competitive ballroom dancer.
THE MOST MEMORABLE BOUQUET YOU’VE GIVEN OR RECEIVED?
Our grandmother always made us giant bouquets of gorgeous, fragrant English roses from her backyard garden for our birthdays and graduations. We’ve seen a lot of bouquets in our lifetime, but those bouquets still are the most beautiful, because they were homemade with love.
MOST IMPORTANT TIP FOR A FIRST-TIME FLOWER ARRANGER?
Always handle a flower by the stem. Never touch the head of a flower – they are very delicate and get damaged easily. Treat flowers as if they were babies!
WHAT’S A FUN FACT WE CAN’T LEARN ABOUT YOU FROM GOOGLE?
We are first generation Americans. Our family is from Poland and Argentina and we speak Polish and Spanish at home.
IF YOU WEREN’T FLOWER PROS, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
We’d still be involved in the start-up world – most likely in tech. Once you are a founder of a startup, it’s hard to imagine doing anything else!
IT’S BY U IN SIX WORDS?
DIY flowers make life more beautiful.