Jenifer Kaplan and The Flower Truck take to the streets of Los Angeles
One sunny Saturday afternoon a colorful truck pulls onto a busy Venice, California, street corner. At first glance, it might be one of Southern California’s many gourmet food trucks. Look closer, however, and the side panel opens to reveal a stunning display of flowers–fragrant bunches of blooms including ranunculus, larkspur, gerber daisies, freesia, and dahlias.
For the last year and a half, Jenifer Kaplan has brightened Los Angeles’s trendy West side with The Flower Truck, a flower shop on wheels. She carries a changing selection of flowers, selling single stems and small arrangements in foldable vases or craft paper tied with raffia. Kaplan’s customers are local residents who find her through social media or in front of popular shops, restaurants, and events.
The Flower Truck’s roots are in Kaplan’s own love of flowers, which she traces back to the lilacs and sunflowers surrounding her childhood New Mexico home. After stops in Hawaii and San Francisco, Kaplan landed in Los Angeles where she began a long career in high-end fashion retail, gaining extensive knowledge in finance and operations.
Looking to do something of her own, she abandoned early plans for a food truck but remained intrigued by the business’s visual impact. In mid-2010, she had an inspiration, combining her love of flowers with a head for business.
“The whole idea of mobile and the graphics that would be rolling down the street definitely clicked in my mind,” Kaplan says. “I was at a friend’s house, and she had one of those PVC vases, the ones that fold flat. I looked at this vase and thought, Okay, flowers, vase, retail, graphics. that’s it–sell flowers out of a truck!”
She found a 1971 ice cream truck on Craigslist and gave it a complete makeover, from a new radiator and tires to an outer plastic “wrap” design with larger-than-life flowers. On Valentine’s Day in 2011, The Flower Truck made its debut, rolling onto Santa Monica’s eclectic Main Street with a romantic assortment that featured peonies, hydrangeas, calla lilies, gladiolas, and, of course, roses. Kaplan was ecstatic with the day’s success. “I was exhausted, but I was bouncing off the walls,” she remembers.
Now she makes twice-weekly trips to the downtown Los Angeles Flower Market. Kaplan has a resale license, pays state taxes, and, in a situation particular to a mobile business, holds permits from every city in which she sells, including Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills. While her teenage son helps her load and unload the truck, she recently hired a small crew to assist her on busy weekends and to keep the truck visible every day of the week.
Like gourmet food trucks, Kaplan uses Twitter and Facebook to connect with her customers. She regularly tweets her location and the flowers she has available that day. She also mentions the Twitter usernames of the shops she parks near, allowing her to reach each shop’s followers and maintain good relations.
“One of the first things I do after I park my truck is run out to whoever I’m parked in front of, say ‘Hi,’ and make sure they don’t mind me being there. It’s very important to me to respect brick-and-mortar,” Kaplan says.
With the success of The Flower Truck, Kaplan has created a national licensing package for others interested in one of their own. The package includes a retrofitted truck and shipment, graphics, website support, as well as Kaplan’s experience and knowledge. “All you have to do is add flowers and you,” she says.
Soon there may be a Flower Truck in each city in the nation, something that is sure to brighten everyone’s day. As Kaplan says: “Who doesn’t like a truck full of flowers?”
Learn about The Flower Truck licensing package!
Feeling green with envy over Jenifer Kaplan’s Flower Truck and wishing you could take your creativity and love for flowers to the street? Covet no longer! You can license The Flower Truck trademark and brand and be the first to bring The Flower Truck business to your own town.
What comes with your licensing package?
• a fully outfitted and designed Flower Truck ready to fill with fresh flowers
• use of The Flower Truck trademark and brand identity
• website marketing and a social media presence
• training and support
• the ability to be creative and fill a niche in any community
What are the steps for obtaining your licensing package?
1) Fill out a questionnaire for Jenifer Kaplan so she can learn about your Flower Truck ambitions.
2) Sign a nondisclosure agreement so Jenifer can send you a Brand Licensing Packet.
3) Study the packet and decide if The Flower Truck is an investment you definitely want to make.
The Flower Truck Brand Licensing Packet includes:
• business strategy
• investment overview
• information on how to manage the day-in, day-out operations
• tips on how to reach your targeted customers through social media
Jenifer recommends having The Flower Truck shipped to you, and it should arrive within a month. Once your truck arrives, Jenifer will come to your town to train you and help get your business up and running. After she leaves, Jenifer is always available for questions and guidance through phone and email.
If you’re interested in acquiring the licensing package for a Flower Truck of your very own, email Jenifer Kaplan. The Flower Truck territories are exclusive, so don’t hesitate and stake claim in your area!