Amanda Greenwood never thought her experience in and joy for event planning and floral design would become a socially-driven business bringing resources and education to homeless youth.
“I’ve always had a passion for floral and event design, and also a passion for creating impact in the community,” the social entrepreneur says. She’s turned that passion project into a business.
She recalls founding Petals That Inspire back in 2018, after participating in GiveBack Hack. After pitching the business, formerly known as “Petals With a Purpose,” the founder was inspired to take her ideas further.
“I stayed throughout the weekend and totally got immersed and motivated by this idea of social entrepreneurship,” Greenwood says. “I really didn’t realize what a big community that was here in Columbus and how many businesses were built on this foundation of corporate social responsibility, which I think is so important.”
Through the accelerator program, Greenwood got connected to Star House Columbus, a walk-in center that provides basic needs and resources for youth experiencing homelessness. In 2019, Greenwood partnered with the center, working directly with youth on building work skills through the creation of floral arrangements.
“While they all weren’t going to become floral designers, it was more or less working on the importance of teamwork, communication, accountability, developing professionalism, all those skills that we need in our skillset when we’re first starting out in the workforce,” Greenwood explains. “I became extremely motivated just by the work that they were doing over there. It aligned exactly with the mission that I had put forth when I first came up with this idea.”
In 2020, Greenwood had plans to work with Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, providing them with weekly floral arrangements. However, enter a world pandemic, and the social entrepreneur had to quickly pivot her plans, without losing sight of her goals.
“I wasn’t able to work with the youth all of last year,” she explains. “So, [I was] just finding ways to still grow my business, be an advocate for the work that was being done at Star House and help support them financially by purchasing items that they would need for the youth, and making monetary donations through my business model as well.”
Greenwood also continued doing virtual floral arrangement workshops during quarantine, getting the community involved from home.
“It’s so important to me to keep that hands-on element as a foundation in my business,” she says. “I could just make flowers and sell them and deliver them to people. But I just see the joy that it brings to people and the power of a creative atmosphere.”
During the holiday season, Greenwood spread joy throughout the city via pop-up shops at local businesses, like the Bexley Natural Market, and surprising frontline workers with floral arrangements.
As the new year is off to an optimistic start, Greenwood has resumed working with Star House through Carol Stewart Village, a temporary housing project in Franklinton for homeless youth, giving back a portion of proceeds to the organizations.
Eventually, she hopes to expand her social impact through an employment model for Star House youth, and expand her business to a physical location where others in the community can experience creating floral arrangements.
“Ultimately, my goal is to work with these youth in a training program and hire them to work in my own shop one day,” Greenwood says. “That’s definitely been a dream of mine…actually creating a workspace where I can host these sessions with youth, or children with disabilities having this common workspace to be able to bring creativity to those environments.”
In the coming months, Greenwood plans to have more pop-up shops throughout the city, and safely gather people for virtual floral arrangement workshops, in partnership with Carol Stewart Village.
Despite still being a one-woman show, Petals That Inspire remains Greenwood’s side hustle and social impact passion project, with a mission that has stayed the same through a difficult year.
“That’s kind of the heart of my model is spreading joy and positivity, throughout the community, through the creative art of floral design,” she says. “It’s been so reassuring to see the success and see people latch on to what I’m doing and help spread the word.”
To order your own floral arrangement, or visit a pop-up shop near you, check out PetalsThatInspire.com.
To learn more about Star House programs and how you can support visit, starhouse.us.
For more information on Petals That Inspire and other social impact organizations that are doing amazing things for the community, visit the SocialVentures Marketplace.
Founded in 2014, SocialVentures is a non-profit organization that advances remarkably good businesses—businesses that intentionally integrate social impact as a non-negotiable component of their business model. To contact SocialVentures, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit socialventurescbus.com.
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