NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- This business has mastered digital sales and is now doing the reverse pivot in their expansion.
On the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank, Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso caught up with Jaclyn Rutigliano of Hometown Flower Collective who brought her 1976 Ford F100 to Huntington for the WCBS Business Breakfast in October 2019.
Jaclyn was positioned to succeed in the pandemic with a digital and mobile-first business that has since accelerated with her strategic use of Instagram and local partnerships.
"Since day one, we really knocked on all the doors of any like-minded businesses just to say, 'Hey what can we do?' From a photo shoot to an event to a workshop to free flowers to a giveaway, anything, collaboration has been the number one focus and the number one growth tool for us," she said.
"If you're looking to go online, pay attention to that and try to offer ways to help other small businesses because that's really what we try to do. Help us, help you."
Hometown Flower Co. is increasing their mileage. They recently expanded their footprint from Long Island to Brooklyn and Queens.
"There are some incredible designers, especially in Brooklyn, so it's definitely humbling," Rutigliano said. "Our design aesthetic really has resonated with a certain group, especially in Brooklyn and Long Island City and those parts. It's been fun and it's also attracted some people in the media landscape and fashion world."
The public relations professional told Connolly and Carousso that the city can be intimidating, but called it "validating" for her business.
Hometown Flower offers monthly, weekly and annual subscription services to its customers, sourcing from 10 to 12 Long Island farmers. They played an important role helping their customers cope with the sadness of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now, they are being approached for large-scale and private events.
"We've increased our wedding work, which is something we never thought we would be doing," Rutigliano said.
She and her husband Marc Iervolino have also opened their first brick-and-mortar store in Huntington Village to service pickups across Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Rutigliano realized she and her Ford truck cannot be everywhere at once.
By all accounts Hometown Flower Co. is operating on all cylinders, but Jaclyn and Marc are struggling to find skilled workers, which is hindering their ability to scale.
"It's been very difficult to find drivers, it's been very difficult to find administrative and associate-level support as well. It's tough and we can't scale if we don't have the support. It's just not sustainable," she said.
They were able to find a designer who Jaclyn refers to as her "right hand." Before the hire, Jaclyn had been designing until 3-4 AM every night. But, in order for them to grow even more, Hometown Flower will need support staff. Meantime, they've had to turn down some events that are coming back in full force this summer.
See this creative, flourishing business in-action and see how Hometown Flower Co. is managing fast growth on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above.