How Farmgirl Flowers CEO Christina Stembel Built Her Startup Without an Academic Pedigree or Institutional Funding

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Farmgirl Flowers CEO Christina Stembel
Courtesy of Christina Stembel

From her one-bedroom apartment, Christina Stembel grew her local flower delivery service to a company that delivers nationwide.

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, the founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers discusses growing up in rural Indiana, overseeing a company without investors and finding creative solutions to obstacles.

Stembel’s family wanted her to stay local to their farm, but she said she knew that wasn’t the path for her. She left the farm after high school and eventually found herself working in hospitality in San Francisco. Seeing people in the city manage their own startups inspired her to consider her own business path, and she considered hundreds of ideas before landing on Farmgirl Flowers.

When it launched, the company offered just one daily bouquet. It has since grown to offer up to 40 arrangements at a time.

Stembel had no experience in the floral industry, and she soon discovered how difficult it could be to work with highly perishable products. Everything from heatwaves to shipping issues impacted the flowers, and she had to familiarize herself with potential roadblocks as she placed orders months in advance.

“I think it's really important especially for women to hear that they don't have to be the cliche story of, ‘Oh, you're so lucky you turned your hobby into a business,’” she said. “You can be intentional about wanting to be an entrepreneur and start a business.”

Stembel said she used to regret not going to college; investors often could not see past her lack of a degree. She had to pull from her own savings to fund the company, which is still completely bootstrapped.

Now, she said she values her experience having to foster her own intellectual curiosity and drive outside without the prompting of an academic institution, adding that perspective helped grow both her understanding of her industry and her creative approach to the business.

“I think we need to get out of this mindset that success equals funding,” She said. “It was the most freeing moment that I've had since starting Farmgirl.”

Hear more of the Behind Her Empire podcast. Subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA editorial intern Kristin Snyder contributed to this post.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


Greater Good Health Raises $10M To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Greater Good Health Raises $10M To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage
Courtesy of Greater Good Health

The pandemic highlighted what’s been a growing trend for years: Medical students are prioritizing high-paying specialty fields over primary care, leading to a shortage of primary care doctors who take care of a patient’s day-to-day health concerns. These physicians are a cornerstone of preventative health care, which when addressed can lower health care costs for patients, insurers and the government. But there’s a massive shortage of doctors all over the country, and the pipeline for primary care physicians is even weaker.

One local startup is offering a possible answer to this supply squeeze: nurse practitioners.

On Wednesday, Manhattan Beach-based Greater Good Health unveiled $10 million in new funding led by LRVHealth, adding to $3 million in seed funding raised by the startup last year. The company employs nurse practitioners and pairs them with doctor’s offices and medical clinics; this allows nurse practitioners to take on patients who would otherwise have to wait weeks, or even months, to see a doctor.

Read more Show less

Plus Capital Partner Amanda Groves on Celebrity Equity Investments

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
PLUS Capital​’s Amanda Groves.
Courtesy of Amanda Groves.

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, Amanda Groves talks about how PLUS Capital advises celebrity investors and why more high-profile individuals are choosing to invest instead of endorse.

As a partner at PLUS, Groves works with over 70 artists and athletes, helping to guide their investment strategies. PLUS advises their talent roster to combine their financial capital with their social capital and focus on five investment areas: the future of work, future of education, health and wellness, the conscious consumer and sustainability.

Read more Show less