Revolution Began with Love and Flowers
2008 Valentine's Predicted "Eco-Tipping Point" for $21 Billion U.S. floral
San Francisco (January 28, 2008)
When Gerald Prolman fell head-over-heals
in love with French Jazz singer Raquel Bitton, he used magnificent floral
bouquets to win her heart. He went on to create something entirely
unexpected: an eco-floral revolution worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Spending countless hours in florist shops, Prolman had discovered that,
behind the beautiful blooms, lay a darker reality: flowers are typically
grown with artillery of chemicals that can negatively effect the
environment, the farm workers who handle the flowers, the wildlife, and the
Prolman - who had already helped build what has become the multi-billion
dollar organic produce sector - set his sights on converting the entire
floral industry towards stringent ecological standards. No small vision, for
a guy who, just a few years earlier, barely knew a gardenia from a gerbera
Today, as the CEO of Organic Style Ltd and its flagship floral brand,
Organic Bouquet, Prolman is widely considered the pioneer of what has turned
into a market sector worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Organically-grown flowers are one of the fastest growing segments of the
organic market. In 2008, Organic Style expects to ship more than 20 million
stems of organic and eco-certified roses, with an additional $100 million
dollars worth of sustainably-grown flowers in the pipeline.
Prolman is joined by Adrian Bellamy, who serves as chairman of the board of
Organic Style Ltd. Bellamy also holds positions as chairman of the Body Shop
(a division of L'Oreal), chairman of Reckitt Benckiser PLC, and is a
director on the boards of the Gap and Williams-Sonoma. Together with their
team, they envision the day when all agricultural products are grown and
"By 2015, you won't be able to purchase a non-certified sustainable flower
in the United States," predicts Prolman. "Public consciousness about
environmental issues is at an all-time high, and never before has there been
such a powerful alignment between the growers, marketers and consumers."
According to the Natural Marketing Institute, 35 million Americans, or
approximately 16 percent of the adult population spend nearly $209 billion
for goods and services focused on health, the environment, social justice,
personal development and sustainable living.
Prolman has been busy, very busy. A tireless and often sleep-deprived
entrepreneur, he has initiated multiple projects that have put 'green'
flowers on the map, including: conceiving the need for an initiating
Veriflora, a sustainable certification that now boasts more than 45 farmers
and expects to certify more than one billion stems in 2008; hosting an
international floral symposium in conjunction with the United Nations
Environment Programme's (UNEP) World Environment Day; producing a musical
tribute to the environment by world-famous Gospel singers; created the first
eco-luxury online retailer www.OrganicStyle.com; and, later this week, re-launching Organic
Style magazine, which his company purchased from Rodale Publishing in 2007.
As a floral innovator, Prolman introduced the 6' high World's Tallest Roses
- which made a huge splash when Christina Aguilera presented them to Ellen
DeGeneres on national TV in 2007; honored Civil Rights hero Rosa Parks by
naming a rose after her; launched the first collection of organically grown
fragrant roses; and donated more than $250,000 to more than forty-five
leading environmental, human rights and animal welfare non-profit
As for Raquel Bitton, she's performed to sold-out crowds at Carnegie Hall,
recorded seven albums, starred in a major film, raised two
environmental-activist children, been married to Prolman for 21 years, and
continues to be amorously courted with fresh, organically-grown roses every
Eco Floral Certifications at a Glance:
Organic is defined and regulated by the USDA. Organic is an ecological
farming system that builds rich, fertile soil and uses natural defense
mechanisms to combat pests and plant diseases.
Sustainable standards address the farm management practices relating to the
environment, the farm workers and the ecology of the farm. Veriflora is
America's first Green Label certification standard for the floral industry.
Biodynamic is a well respected agricultural practice and the oldest
sustainable system in the Western world. The biodynamic system views the
farm as a self-sustaining organism within the surrounding ecosystem. It
emphasizes animals as part of the ecosystem and takes into account the soil,
earth, atmosphere, and cosmos.
Valentine's Day and Floral Stats:
About Organic Style Ltd.:
- 14 million (nearly 18 million dozen) roses are being grown for
Valentine's Day sales in the U.S.
- In 2008, Veriflora - the leading sustainable flower certification -
will certify more than 1 billion stems.
- Valentine's Day is the #1 in holiday flower sales, accounting for
36% of sales transactions, and 40% of dollar volume.
Organic Style Ltd. (www.OrganicStyle.com) is
an online eco-boutique for people seeking inspiring products that uphold the
well-being of the planet and humankind. Their flagship floral brand,
www.OrganicStyle.com, is widely
recognized as America's pioneer of organic and eco-flowers.