Joy: “One of the best ways to send off happy endorphins is to give and The Grateful gives,” says Jessica Shuwalow, right, with Gemma McBurnie. THE Grateful is, well, grateful.
The “one for one” pay-it-forward bouquet business launched barely six months ago by Newcastle mumsGemma McBurnie and Jessica Shuwalow has reached a milestone.
The online floral businesshas delivered more than 500 of its bouquets to the John Hunter Hospital and Ronald McDonald House thanks to the support of local businesses and individuals.
The Grateful works on the concept of allowing clients to buy a bouquet knowing that another similar bouquet will then be donated to the hospital.
“It’s almost like it’s become bigger than us, The Grateful has its own legs and we are just keeping it going, the community support has been amazing,” says Mrs Shuwalow.
“And when you go to the hospital, people come running up to say thank you and that we’ve made their week, so it’s taken off.
“It’s not really about the numbers [of bouquets]but it’s about the impact.”
Friends Mrs McBurnie and Mrs Shuwalow began their venture late in 2016, determined to run a business that “removes transactional consumerism” and allows customers to bring cheer to themselves and others.
Hunter businesses soon learnt of the venture and many take part in a subscription program where they receive a weekly bouquet for their office, home, clients or employees and then sponsor a particular area of the hospital or Ronald McDonald House where their donated bouquet goes.
At the end of each week following the delivery of their donated bouquets, participants receive an ‘feel good’ email update with some pictures and a story about their donated bouquet, which businesses can then share with their network.
Mrs Shuwalow said the business has grown organically –both she and Ms McBurnie have young children and have not actively promoted it –and relied on word of mouth: “For us it’s not about the money so far, it’s been more about the cause.”
And the community has rallied to the cause.
“We’ve had people calling to offer jars or vases which we use to put the flowers in, or just to donate, it’s been overwhelming,” she says.
“People feel so good with the concept, it puts things in perspective,like‘Hey, I can afford flowers if it’s once a week or yearly but I can share that’,because there is someone else always worse off than you,so be grateful for the good things.”
The Grateful supports local florists in sourcing its blooms and its founders plan to open a bricks and mortar store in Carrington with the same concept, this time dealing in homewares and clothing.