December 2020 Amber Grant Awarded to Silk Stem Collective
We’re thrilled to announce the $10,000 December Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to Amanda and Megan Rapacz, Co-Founders of Silk Stem Collective. They’re the first qualifiers for the 2021 year-end Amber Grant ($25,000).
For information on their business, their advice for other female entrepreneurs and more, continue on to our interview below.
Note: Applications are currently being reviewed for the $10,000 January Amber Grant. You can apply today to be considered.
WN: Describe Silk Stem Collective and the purpose it serves.
Amanda: At Silk Stem Collective we believe single use items, especially in the event industry, are poisoning our planet. We strive to offer beautiful alternatives for our eco-conscious consumers.
Silk Stem Collective is a faux flower rent-and-return boutique. Brides and grooms rent our beautiful flowers for their event. We believe in reducing waste by providing affordable, high-quality faux flowers to everyone.
Many fresh wedding flowers are grown with toxic chemicals and shipped from around the world using lots of energy and water in the process. And many fresh flower alternatives are only used once and end up in a landfill once the event is over. With Silk Stem Collective, couples borrow flowers and return them after the event, significantly reducing waste and carbon footprint.
Our business began during the COVID pandemic as we saw a new market emerging: more and more couples were eloping or having micro weddings due to the social distancing restrictions. We noticed many of these couples were choosing non-traditional florals and were looking for affordable options. We saw this opportunity and Silk Stem Collective was born!
Since then, we’ve had customers from around the country rent our reusable collections for their events. We simply ship the flowers to customers and after the event they ship them back with a pre-paid shipping label provided by us.
The business is young but it’s already catching on. Website traffic increases every month and we have couples from around the country booking collections for 2021 weddings. We currently offer over 15 unique collections for rent!
WN: What differentiates you from competitors?
Amanda: While the wedding floral market is competitive, we don’t see many options for fresh flower alternatives that realistically mimic fresh flowers. Our market is asking for affordable, beautiful alternatives so we sourced the highest quality faux flowers for our collections.
Our mission is to provide beautiful florals at a reasonable price range. Although the cost to purchase each collection is high, our rent and return model allows us to spread that cost over many different customers. As a result, our customers save up to 70% on florals when renting with us compared to purchasing fresh flowers.
WN: What are some upcoming milestones for Silk Stem Collective?
Amanda: This is a really exciting time for Silk Stem Collective. We hope to see an increase in weddings as the world begins to recover from the pandemic. To prepare, we are currently perfecting the rent-and-return experience, administering user experience testing for our website, and researching floral trends for 2021 to ensure our collections appeal to even the most fashion-forward couples. Meanwhile, we are establishing our brand image on social media and doing what we can to get our name out there.
WN: How are you planning to market the Silk Stem Collective brand?
Amanda: We know fake flowers have a stigma. When people think of fake flowers, they think of the flower aisle at the craft store filled with plastic-looking, cheap flowers with an odd smell. But most people have never seen the beauty of high-quality fake flowers in person.
The main goal of our marketing strategy is to show everyone that high-quality fake flowers are realistic and beautiful fresh flower alternatives. We will be using some mainstream marketing streams like social media, sponsored content, and Instagram ads but the majority of our marketing is more personal.
Customers need to see for themselves how amazing faux florals can be. So far, partnering with wedding planners and investing into our Sample Program have been the most fruitful marketing avenues. Once people see our flowers in person, they understand the value and beauty of our collections.
WN: Share some advice you’d give an aspiring female entrepreneur.
Amanda: It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.
My sister and I still work full time jobs. We are a team of two. All of the work done for Silk Stem Collective is done in the early mornings, late nights, over lunch breaks, and on days off. We work very hard, but we also take things at a manageable pace. We aim to accomplish just a few meaningful tasks every day. Over time, the meaningful things have built up into something amazing.
On tough days when we just don’t feel like working, we lean on gratitude. We always make time to look forward to the next milestone. To overcome tough days, we make it a point to reflect on the milestones we’ve already hit to help motivate us to continue to work towards our dreams.
WN: If you have anything else to share, please do!
Amanda: As a business founded on a passion for eco-consciousness, we try to live that mission in everything we do for Silk Stem Collective, both with our product and with our day-to-day operations.
We reuse packaging as many times as we can. We don’t do any paper mailings, and we try to minimize the paper goods in our shipments. We also avoid air freight as much as possible.
Silk Stem Collective is always on the lookout for new ways to reduce our footprint and have a bigger impact on the high-waste event industry. We’d love to collaborate with other eco-event businesses and founders to promote eco-friendly options for weddings and make low-waste options more mainstream, especially as we grow as a company and have a larger audience.
Join the journey with us on Instagram @SilkStemCollective.