Sun, Water, and Social Media: Growing a Brand with Steven Dyme

Casey Gordon | September 1, 2016

Steven Dyme is the youngest CEO to join the FIVEinSIXTY ranks, but you wouldn’t know it from the way he’s built his first startup.

Steven and co-founder Joseph Dicksten have taken Flowers for Dreams from a summertime project in the Dyme family garage to a $3 million flower delivery service that donates a quarter of monthly profits to local charities.

It started seven years ago with a truckload of flowers Steven purchased on credit from a college friend’s floral wholesaler dad. Steven and Joseph recruited friends to sell the blooms outside graduation ceremonies throughout Chicago’s North Shore, donating a backpack to schools for every bouquet sold.

Fast forward to 2012 when DePaul University signed the blossoming duo as the exclusive flower vendor for commencement, and Steven knew they were on to something. Digging into the $30 billion US flower market, Steven and Joseph noted that most key players had major setbacks: online delivery services charge fees for unpredictable quality, supermarkets are affordable but don’t deliver, brick and mortar florists offer superior quality for an arm and a leg.

Their most important discovery: a glaring absence of brands that people could feel good about engaging with.

Could they engineer a brand that not only offered honest prices and top quality, but that also got people excited enough about flower delivery that they would actually tell their friends about it?

Just ask their 30,000 Instagram followers. (For perspective, 1800Flowers has just shy of 10,000.)

Millennials love an ethical business, so it’s not all that surprising that a locally sourced flower brand with free delivery (on bicycles!) a “no waste” policy (i.e. a single digit spoilage rate, well below the 35 percent industry average), and a charitable mission has proven a totally viral success.

Steven shares 5 ways to grow your brand with social media:

1. Everyone’s an influencer. Don’t only curate influencers with X number of followers. Every user has a network, however small.

2. Define define define. Social channels are the best way to constantly reintroduce yourself, to remind your followers who you are and what you believe in.

3. Leadership. Don’t just hire a social media manager. Social is the most authentic touch point people have with a brand. The owner of founder needs to be involved.

4. Quality over quantity. Your content has to be shareable. Only post when you have something compelling to say.

5. Connect offline. Promote tangible ways to interact with the brand. Invite people to events. Drive them to your actual flower truck, not just your website.

FIVEinSIXTY is our interview series with leading CEOs, founders, and other executives about building amazing company culture, designing creative offices, and creating compelling employer brands.

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