Behind-the-Scenes

Part 2 of 4: Meet the True Krewe!

In our previous post, you got to see a tour of our Soul Flower warehouse, a.k.a. the place where we all work! In this post and the next 2, you’ll get to meet everyone involved with the Soul Flower company.

Let’s take a look at a typical day at Soul Flower…


6pm – 9am
6:00 p.m. is when we close up the warehouse, and between that time and 9:00 a.m. when we open the next morning, things still get done! The website is always up and running, and that’s probably when you do a lot of your online shopping at Soul-Flower.com.

The True Krewe (as I like to call them!) consists of owners Mike & Peggy. They are the true founders and the original team members of the Soul Flower company. These two are always working on things to keep Soul-Flower running smoothly. They are in charge of selecting and ordering products for Soul Flower, designing the original Soul Flower line of products, finances, marketing, the website, catalogs, wholesale, and everything else running a business entails. Let’s meet them now!

Mike
Hi buds – Mike here. My role with Soul-flower is to be a good multi-tasker; I deal with the marketing and finances for Soul-flower. I also work with our design partners and go on buying trips. One of the best parts of my Soul-flower life is getting to go to St. Paul and hang with our incredible crew. When I’m not working you’ll find me enjoying family time with Peggy, Siera, and Dakota. I love to eat good food (Vegetarian), go see live music, enjoy a good beer/wine, play golf, and hang with my friends.
Favorite Take-out food: Thai Curry
Favorite Tree: any LIVE one
Favorite Songwriter: Bob Dylan
Favorite Singer: Jerry Garcia (especially when he plays a Dylan tune!)

Peggy
My name is Peggy, I live & virtually work in my home town, Des Moines IA, my business Soul-Flower.com is in St Paul MN. I spend most of my work days on my computer designing clothing, bits of our website & finding cool, new things for Soulflower. When I am not working, I love hanging out with my family (2 kids,a cat & a husband, Mike, who is also my biz partner). My favorites beyond work are my kiddles, great food (cooking), good books, and live music.
Your Favorite Band: right now – Michael Franti & Spearhead.
Your Favorite Soul Flower find: My Zoey Wrap Dress with the green mandalas.
Got it over a year ago & still wear it all the time!
Your Favorite website (besides Soul-Flower.com of course): http://www.etsy.com

Mike and Peggy both work from Des Moines, Iowa, but since our warehouse is located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, we have a few more important faces for you to meet! Both of these krewes keep all the behind-the-scenes ops and the warehouse running smoothly. Coming up: Meet the Dew Krewe and the Glue Krewe!

Part 1 of 4: Soul Flower Warehouse!

This post is the first in a series of 4 posts about the Soul Flower warehouse and the people who work here. We are starting with an introduction to where we work – our warehouse:

If you’ve done some exploring around this Soul-Flower Blog, you may have come across a blog post from July 2008 about the Soul Flower warehouse. We’re still in the same building we were two years ago, but the times they are a’changin’ and we’ve made some big changes to the warehouse and our process.

In this post, we’ll take a tour of Soul Flower North (a.k.a. the Soul Flower Warehouse), and in the next 3 posts, you’ll get to meet all of the SF buds!

Let’s start the tour!



This is the hall of Soul Flower fame! All of our previous catalogs are framed up on the wall, right next to our favorite concert/band posters.

The hallway is decorated with Soul Flower memorabilia and notes from our customers! If we love your handwritten note (and we always do!) you can count on it being tacked up on the wall some place!


We love music. And we listen to it all day long! This shelf is filled with our favorite CDs, so there will never be a silent moment… (and if there is, we can all count on Joe to say “HEY! Can we get some tunes?”)


All of our SF merchandise is delivered right to the warehouse via our old skool elevator lift. Some days we’ll have dozens of boxes waiting to be sorted on to the shelves! And see that stack of cardboard in the background? That stack is ready to be taken to recycling: we reuse or recycle all of our big ol’ cardboard boxes.



Here it is: the main room of the warehouse in all its glory! We’ve got shelves and shelves of products, all sorted by type and product id number, so we can quickly and efficiently pick everything to be sent out to you! Our walls display some old tapestries to keep it lively. You can even see Joe in the last photo, rushing to pick out all the bags to be sent out!


We have a separate room for accessories (it is temperature-controlled so our body balms and soaps don’t melt!). This room also doubles as our lunch room, which is a sweet place to kick back (with tunes, of course!) and chow down.


In the two opposite corners of the warehouse, we store some pretty important stuff. In the one corner is tubs and tubs full of extra product that doesn’t fit on the shelves, and in the other corner is where we keep packaging supplies (boxes, envelopes) as well as our huge bins for recycling! As you probably know, here at Soul Flower, we think, work, and live green. And we recycle absolutely everything possible that comes in our door– this includes takeout dishes, pop cans, Tyvek envelopes, paper, and more!


Last but not least, here is a glimpse in to where all the packing happens! In this beautifully-sunlit room is where we spend most of our day putting together the orders and packing each one up to be sent out. It’s a great place to work: notes from happy customers on the walls, Soul Flower goods all around, and tunes flowing– every day!

Meet Peggy, Soul Flower Co-Founder

My name is Peggy, I live & virtually work in my home town, Des Moines IA. I spend most of my work days on my computer designing clothing, bits of our website & finding cool, new things for Soulflower. When I am not working, I love hanging out with my family (2 kids,a cat & a husband, Mike, who is also my biz partner). My favorites beyond work are hanging with my kiddles, great food (cooking), good books, and live music.

Here is a link to an article about me that just ran in our local paper – you can read a bit about me & about soul-flower.com.

My Favorite Band: Michael Franti & Spearhead.
My Favorite Soul Flower find: My Zoey Wrap Dress with the green mandalas. Got it over a year ago & still wear it all the time!
My Favorite website (besides Soul-Flower.com of course): http://www.etsy.com

Giving Back

Here are Soul Flower we do our best to keep the vibe going. We support environmental organizations who are working hard to reverse the harsh effects man has had on the world. We also believe in supporting local community – as an internet shop, it is hard to focus on what is local, as our customers are all over the world. But our day to day lives, at least those of Mike & Peggy, the founders of Soul Flower, find us in Des Moines IA, a great city with many great organizations that help to make our community & world a better place.

In 2009, we continued our efforts with the
Arbor Day Foundation to plant two trees for every one that we use in our catalog production. This is an effort we proudly began in 2008 and continued this year. We helped with an amazing project to plant 125,000 total longleaf pine trees in the Manchester State Forest in South Carolina.

Also in 2009, Soul Flower supported the the Des Moines Music Coalition (
DMMC) in producing the 8035 Festival in Des Moines, IA. We continue to support Camp Courageous (also located in Iowa) by donating enuf to send 8 kids to the camp in 2009. (Camp Courageous works with disabled children and adults to build self-esteem through an awesome camp experience – please check them out if you get a chance.) We continue our support of the Iowa Food Bank. We began working with a new organization this year as well called After School Arts Program (ASAP). We realize there are many great organizations out there, so please let us know if you have a favorite you would like to see us support.


In addition, we support Carbonfund.org in helping to offset Soul Flower’s carbon footprint; and we continue to expand our green practices as a company.


Sign Sealed Delivered

Sign, sealed, and almost delivered….finally. After months of hard work we have our Spring Summer ’09 issue out the door. It takes while to get to you. Apparently up to 4 weeks. I am not really sure how that works but if you are impatient like me & just can’t wait to see your soul flower issue, click here to see the virtual version.

I have to send out a HUGE (or as cody would say – gynormous) thanks to our graphic artist Mindy Hoskin-Driscoll of mayday design. She continues to create unique and inspiring artwork for us.

So, let us know your thoughts and watch that mail – it will be your way shortly.

Welcome to Our Warehouse (and meet your bud Chad)

Perhaps some of you have recently been sitting around a summer campfire, wearing your favorite Soulflower shirt and wondering, “What’s going on at Soulflower?” “What sort of place did these great duds that I am wearing come from?” Anyone? Well, even if not, here is your chance for a little behind the scenes tour of our warehouse.

Our “warehouse” is in St Paul Minnesota, and sure, its full of boxes, tape, shelves, and computers just like any warehouse. After that though, it diverges a bit from what you might normally expect. Hardly a minute passes during the day without music playing throughout the place, and we try to keep up a laid back atmosphere. (except during the catalog rush of course)

Here’s a birds eye view of the main room with all sorts of new clothing folded and sorted and ready to be sent to you! If we ever get stuck in here in a disaster, we might not be too happy eating only lip balm, but we could each wear a new shirt every day for years!

This is the spot where all of our merchandise is packed up to send out to the customer. We’ve got every shape and size of new and about-to-be-reused boxes and envelopes. Plus, we have a couple of huge maps so we can check out where all you folks live. If you look close you might even see Jenn through the window answering some of your e-mails!

We’ve got the place decorated a little like a funky apartment. Almost every bit of wall space (that isn’t covered by racks of clothing) is covered by tapestries or concert posters. This wall, however, is reserved for some of our favorite letters and pictures from customers!

By the end of any given day we have a pile of packages ready for pickup, so we send them on their way and get ready for a bunch of new orders tomorrow! Hopefully now you have an idea of what’s going on around here, Thanks for coming on a virtual tour on the world wide web!

Your warehouse bud,
-Chad

p.s. I’ve been here at Soulflower for about 4 great years, working on the site, on our operations, and on getting better goods out to you faster! All the great customers we have make it a pleasure to work here in the Soulflower warehouse.

My favorite thing to do outside of work is to go out and see live music, but I also love building things from wood, fixing up my house, golfing, biking, and playing organized whiffleball. I lived in Madison, WI for several years where I also went to school at UW, before moving here to Minneapolis. I’ve come to like Minnesota a lot, but I’ll always stay the biggest Badger fan in town. Go Bucky!

 

Soul-Flower Mike!

Meet Mike, one of the founders of Soul-Flower.com:

Hi folks – I must admit that writing about yourself is kind of a strange exercise – but here I go…

My role with Soul-flower is more specialized than it was when we first started. In the beginning I wore every hat since we didn’t have employee’s, but today we have a most excellent team of folks (many of which you may have met online or via phone calls) who handle the day to day operations and I can focus on where we’re going as a company – in terms of the catalog, website, and product selection. My life today is very busy, but also laid back.

Peggy and I both live in Des Moines now, which is where we’re both from originally. We both work from home (but in different parts of the house) and our children (Siera -age 6, and Cody- age 4) have a great time playing outside, going to their schools, and getting to visit their grandparents on a regular basis. However, as much as I love Des Moines, I still love the Twin Citie’s too and you can find me at the warehouse once or twice a month.

I miss answering the phones and having “live” contact with our customers – so I have to go up to get my fix 🙂 I also enjoy being where the action is and we have lots of fun at the warehouse while your orders are being picked, packed, and shipped. Through all these years we’ve always had fun, and hopefully you feel a little of that happiness and love when you open your packages. The rest of my lifestyle is pretty easy to figure out – all you have to do is visit our website, catalog, or this blog.

Soul-flower is a reflection of our lifestyle, and nothing makes us happier than seeing others who have had a Soul-flower experience and subscribe to many of the same ideals. I like to think that we created a “General Store” that you can visit via online or thru the catalog – maybe you’re just wanting to see what we’re up to or you want to make a purchase – it doesn’t matter as long as when you leave you have a smile on your face, a bounce in your step, and know that you’re part of a larger tribe 🙂
Peace and Respect –
Mike S.

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