We had the good fortune of connecting with Bill and Rebecca Rowley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Bill and Rebecca, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Most people in the United States are unaware that 80% (or more) of cut flowers sold in grocery stores, wholesalers, florists, etc., come from overseas. Of the 20% grown in the US, about 80% are grown in California with the next highest percentage grown in Washington, Oregon and the rest scattered around the United States. These flowers are usually specialty cut flowers and not imported from overseas. Therefore, most consumers have never seen or know about these locally grown flowers.

I am always educating my customers on this fact as well as the flower/foliage I grow. For many, it is a novelty item.

What should our readers know about your business?
We have always been entrepreneurs, so beginning a new business was not as stressful or challenging as it might have been for someone without the business experience. Bill has a degree in International Business and Masters and PhD in other fields and Rebecca has a Master Gardener certificate, and Masters in Educational Leadership. Both have a combined total of over 25 years of gardening/farming experience.

Both Bill and Rebecca administered an international school in Brazil for 6 years before starting the flower farming venture. That experience, plus Bill’s 30+ years of business experience, helped them to seamlessly launch Ingadi Flower Farm.

When we first started in 2020 (what a year!), we thought to do what every other flower farm seemed to be doing: sell bouquet subscriptions. After some self-evaluations, we realized we needed to follow our passions. Rebecca began booking flower arranging classes at a local community center as well as scheduling homeschool workshops on the farm. Her passion for teaching and (mostly) self-taught flower arranging skills, brought the farm to life. We continue to book flower arranging classes not only at the community center, but at churches, organizations and private in-home classes. The homeschool workshops continue but also grew into a newly formed homeschool community garden at the farm. Rebecca also does what she calls, “A La Carte Events”, making small scale creations (small, medium and large arrangements, personal accessories, bud vase arrangements, etc.) for people’s events, such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.

As with any business, there will always be challenges in finding your niche. We find perseverance is always key in any business being successful. Look at “failures” as learning opportunities instead of tragedies. And a sense of humor always helps!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Alabama is part of the Southern culture that enjoys food and gatherings. There’s a little bit of everything for every type of personality and style. Although our farm is located in Chelsea, AL, just a half hour from Birmingham, there are some signature areas a visitor would enjoy.

Starting close to home, a morning visit to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens offers a free and year-round experience of seeing the diversity of what grows best in our region, including several greenhouses and a rose garden. Take a lunch in the quaint little district outside the gardens. Continuing on, just across the street from the botanical gardens is the Birmingham Zoo, a favorite for all ages! Wrap up your day with dinner from any of the fine dining restaurants (bar and grill/Mexican/fast food/etc.) close by.

Spend a morning at any of the public golf courses around the city; Ballantrae Golf Club, Limestone Springs Golf Club, and Cumberland Lake Golf Course to name a few. Finish your evening with some live music at Iron City, a world-class music venue.

For some family fun, head to McWane Science Center, a hands-on children’s museum. If that doesn’t fit the bill, take a day trip to the famous US Space and Rocket Center, NASA’s official visitor’s center, located in Huntsville, about a 2 hour drive away.

Finish your week by taking a few relaxing days at Alabama’s famous Gulf Shores (about 4 hours away) where you will find white, sandy beaches, golf course, zip line over dunes, a zoo, and plenty of restaurants to pick from. After a week in Alabama, you’ll be planning ahead to return and do it all over again!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When we first started, we began encouraging others who needed it in the midst of COVID-19 such as rest homes, shut-ins, community organizations, and organizations helping those going through difficult times. This was the springboard to growing our flower farm from a hope to a viable small business. Organizations like our local library, Chelsea Community Library, not only enjoyed the flowers but also helped promote our classes and raise awareness in the community. Our local church not only purchased flowers but hosted flower arranging classes for the ladies and partnered with us to provide flowers to the teachers at the local elementary school.

Website: https://ingadiflowerfarm.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ingadiflowerfarm/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ingadiflowerfarm

Image Credits
Bill Rowley, Rebecca Rowley, Allison Shirley, Christa Brassington

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