Before she founded flower delivery startup LeBlum, Sarah Corrigan owned a floral shop in New York City’s TriBeCa neighborhood. In buying the near-bankrupt shop in 2013, Corrigan inherited its mess, complete with an eviction and a lawsuit brought by her landlord. She managed to turn things around. By 2015, she had quadrupled the shop’s revenue, but found herself frustrated by the endless costs of running a brick-and-mortar store.
LeBlum, the startup she launched in January, aims to cut out the middleman and connect the consumer directly to the grower. Here’s how it works: The company curates what flowers are currently available at the New York City flower market from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. When the consumer places an order and the vendor accepts, a courier gets sent to the vendors and brings the flowers directly to you. Unlike other flower companies that hold inventory and do arranging and fancy packaging, LeBlum flowers are wrapped in plain brown paper and sent “raw” directly from vendors at the wholesale flower market. In other words, it’s up to the consumer to de-thorn, clean and cut stems. Corrigan says this allows her to sell flowers at a price that’s typically lower than the standard brick and mortar shop. The average bouquet retails around $35 to $45. The service is only available in New York City right now.
Corrigan participated in the startup accelerator TechStars this summer, and she is currently in the process of raising her first investment round. She says the hardest part about pitching to investors is taking the criticism well.
“When you go into these meetings with investors, it’s their job to poke holes in your concept and your company. But when you’re a founder, that company is like your baby. So it’s like someone saying your baby is ugly, and you just want to fight back. I fight back with eloquently accepting their criticism and calming their nerves. I take a lot of deep breaths, I go to yoga every day, and I try not to take it personally.”
Corrigan joined Fortune for a new weekly series called Founder Friday. Watch this video to hear more of her insights on fundraising and expanding into new markets.