- Written by Hannah Dunne
- June 18, 2017
Now in its fifth year running, Emily Avenson’s Lonely Bouquet initiative has taken the flower world by storm with thousands taking part and numerous spin-offs popping up around the globe. There’s a dedicated day for doing the good deed and so Emily, who runs gorgeous flower blog Fleuropean and is in our 'People who made us Smile' feature in our Jubilee edition, is gearing up to celebrate for the fifth time on June 25th - International Lonely Bouquet Day 2017.
We first spotted the special idea floating around cyberspace back in 2013 as Emily, a florist based in Belgium, began sharing her inkling of an idea online. Soon, the Lonely Bouquet had spread like wildfire, described as, “a movement dedicated to spreading happiness and smiles, one flower at a time.” The idea is simple; make a bouquet, attach a “take me!” tag, and leave it for a stranger to find to brighten their day. Not only does it cause unsuspecting strangers to smile, lifts bad days and leaves a fuzzy feeling inside, but it’s also proven to be a fantastic way for florists to PR their own business.
With a dedicated day for spreading smiles with Lonely Bouquets, together we can provide a stronger hook for the press and social media users to whip up a storm. Emily’s Facebook page now boasts over 12,000 followers and we’ve seen the initiative featured in numerous local UK newspapers, let alone the buzz created by those overseas.
We’ve heard from florists who’ve grown their online presence and gained many a new customer after taking part in the campaign, since people love the feel good factor and it reaches a whole new audience of unsuspecting strangers. Not only does it give independent businesses a little boost but with a big enough push it should even promote the florist industry itself to a wider new audience.
But of course the best part is the act itself. No gesture is too small, from a simple jar of wildflowers to a whole hand-tied bouquet. The Lonely Bouquet now has its own website where those who’ve left or found a bouquet can leave messages. Have a read through the site or the campaign’s Facebook page for reams of heartfelt messages of thanks and stories from grateful passers-by who’ve had their day made thanks to the kindness of strangers.
Here are a couple of examples…
"Thank you so much Four Seasons. I found this at 2pm on Friday 6th of May on a bench on the downs. I took to my mother in South Wales this is her 4th time in hospital this year. She was delighted with them and told the story of the flowers to everyone in the ward. Thanks great idea xx"
“While walking through Flower Hospital this afternoon a couple coworkers and myself came across a Lonely Bouquet sitting on a chair. We read the note attached and decided the perfect home for it would be with an oncology patient. We gave it to a patient undergoing treatment who is fighting cancer alone. The look on her face made our day, and that bouquet of beautiful roses made hers! Thank you for doing this. It's truly an amazing blessing!!!”
One man who’s no stranger to floral philanthropy is Grant McGowan of The Paper Studio. Always keen to jump on board when he sees a good cause, Grant is a huge supporter of independent floristry and each year he sends special Lonely Bouquet tags to participating florists - completely free of charge.
Grant explains, “The Lonely Bouquet is a heart-warming idea that we are happy to support all through the year, not just for the International Lonely Bouquet Day on Sunday 25th June or the NAFAS day on Friday 5th May.
“As we have over the last few years, we will print personalised tags for any florist shop or flower arranging society that wants to take part completely FREE of charge. We think it's a brilliant idea and a great opportunity to bring a smile to lots of faces with the power of flowers, and in the process generate some great positive publicity for your shop or society, so we're happy to help as many florists as possible.”
Image source above: Emily Avenson, The Lonely Bouquet
Beneath: Grant McGowan, The Paper Studio