There is something unusual about the bouquets Lisa Christine makes and yet familiar at the same time. As in, "Oh yeah, I need to fix that leaky gutter."
That’s because the long stem roses, pots of posies and boutonnieres she sells are made from duct tape, not actual flowers. Yup, the same stuff covering that tear in your bike seat.
The Lakewood native decided to combine her long interest in crafting with her latest career in business to serve a market she feels is untapped: floral arrangements for men.
“It’s our rebellion against frou frou,” she says of her manly floral arrangements.
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Studly Stems, the new business she started Jan. 1, sells three types of floral arrangements, all handmade from that sturdy tape that holds ducts and so many other things together.
Christine hit on the idea after last year’s do-it-yourself duct tape prom dress craze. After experimenting with several styles of flowers, she came up with her final version and took a bouquet to a guy friend’s birthday party. It was, she says, a big hit with the men there.
“Any time you can make a group of guys go gaga, you’ve hit on something. Usually they just nod and grunt,” Christine says.
Christine taught kindergarten and preschool for 15 years at Fort Lewis and in the Steilacoom School District but made a career switch to marketing five years ago. Studly Stems is just getting off the ground in time for Valentine’s Day but she hopes to be fully ramped up for Father’s Day. Christine has 15 designers ready to roll if her web-based business goes viral.
A ceramic pot covered with contrasting shiny duct tape holds a dozen of the chrome-colored roses and sells for $25.95. A dozen long-stem roses sell for $24.95 and a lapel-style boutonniere sells for $9.95 – the perfect young man’s accoutrement to his date’s duct tape prom dress.
While Christine’s business plan is geared toward women purchasing these macho blooms for the men in their lives, she encourages them as gifts for women as well. And though 21st-century duct tape comes in a variety of colors, she’s sticking with manly metallic for the time being.
Christine admits that her product is not as “green” as living flowers but says it will last much longer than a real floral arrangement. And, it might be noted, real flowers can’t be used to plug leaky radiator hoses.
“If you really want to MacGyver something you could pull it apart,” Christine said.
Christine envisions men all over America brightening up their offices, garages and man caves with a keepsake from that special lady in their life.
Finally, a bouquet that says, “My flowers can beat up your flowers.”
Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541 firstname.lastname@example.org