Liraz Birnbaum: Reinventing the concept of gifting.

Leaders

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In 2015, Liraz Birnbaum’s 3-year-old daughter was upset to see her mom throwing away a flower bouquet. It was at this moment, Liraz realized there has to be a better and more elegant way to share this sentiment. She went to a local nursery to look for a sustainable alternative that would not disrupt her busy lifestyle and immediately fell in love with succulents. Surrounded by dozens of different succulent plants, she was further enlightened by the way these pulpy little friends made her feel and how they connected with her emotions. To share this feeling of composure with the rest of the world, a year later, Liraz left her executive position in media and founded Lula’s Garden as a pioneering platform to serve the gifting needs of this modern world, that longs for deeper meaning and a sense of tranquility in their experiences through life. Headquartered in Inglewood, CA, Lula’s Garden has been gifting wellness, love, and care since 2016 planted in their intricately designed garden boxes. Each succulent garden is hand-planted using locally grown plants and arrives in a beautifully crafted gift box that is designed to serve as a planter, creating a unique and seamless experience while providing a lovely alternative to a bouquet of flowers.

We sat down with Liraz to know more about her successful business and learn what goes into building an innovative online succulent gift box brand.

“Our purpose is to make gifting plants easy. Being in nature and surrounded by plants release stress and make people feel happier. Our tagline ‘Happiness Grows Here’ expresses our mission – sending our garden boxes is gifting happiness.”

An expression of happiness  

Liraz Birnbaum: “Our purpose is to make gifting plants easy. Being in nature and surrounded by plants release stress and make people feel happier. Our tagline ‘Happiness Grows Here’ expresses our mission – sending our garden boxes is gifting happiness. As an eco-friendly succulent gifting company, we specialize in everyday and corporate gifting. Our succulent gardens arrive potted in a self-sustaining gift box that is uniquely designed to serve as a planter, an innovative concept of gifting. Each garden arrives with care instructions and a water dropper to water the plant so even people with black thumbs will enjoy it. Lula’s Garden is the only company in this $100 billion corporate gifting industry that offers potted succulents in gift boxes – a concept that has quickly been adopted by Fortune 500 companies.” 

Liraz Birnbaum, Founder, Lula's Garden.
Liraz Birnbaum, Founder, Lula's Garden.

As an entrepreneur and leader, I am proud that our business has tripled year over years since launch which is unheard of in our industry.

The craft of innovation  

Liraz Birnbaum: “The most challenging part of building this business was during the R&D process. Since I had a brand-new concept, product development wasn’t exactly straightforward. I wanted the gift to be an exciting and memorable moment, yet at the same time, be functional. It ended up taking months to find the correct formula of adhesive that could hold the potted succulent in place during shipment while being gentle enough so that it wouldn’t damage the plant! It all paid off. Soon after launching the website, I received an email from Real Simple magazine informing me that one of their editors received our garden as a gift and showed it to the team, who then decided to include us in the holiday issue as “Best Holiday Gifts Under $50.” From this point forward, everything was a whirlwind! Lulas Garden’s success is indeed my biggest accomplishment as well as the biggest risk I have taken. Its success is defined by the amazing team, our loyal partners, and customers that constantly provide us feedback as an opportunity for us to improve our business.”  

Grinding and shining  

Liraz Birnbaum: “As a business owner, CEO, wife, and mother to two amazing kids, my biggest challenge is to balance my time between work and family while making sure I still find some time for friends, sports, and recreation activities. It took me years to find the right balance, and I am still working on it, but the secret lies in a combination of support from home and amazing partners at work. As for the recipe behind Lula’s success- it is mostly hard work and luck in addition to being able to analyze social movements at the macro level and foresee where they will lead and find solutions ahead of time. Greenery gifting, eco-friendly products, and a busy lifestyle are all part of a global changing and that is what we were aiming to address while developing our products.”

Thriving as a team  

Liraz Birnbaum: “When it comes to tracking our progress, I rely on the following three factors- Growth, Long-term relationships, and Retention. As an entrepreneur and leader, I am proud that our business has tripled year over years since launch which is unheard of in our industry. We were able to attract major customers such as Google, Facebook, Bloomingdale’s, State Farm, and many more. Most of them have been recurring customers that we have had a long-standing relationship with. The same goes for our partners such as 1-800-Flowers or other suppliers. And most importantly, the majority of my staff has been with me nearly since day one. Whenever there’s a challenge, we face it as a team, which has always proven to be the winning approach. In the end, we are a family and that is success to me.”   

Gifting in times of coronavirus   

Liraz Birnbaum: “From March and forward, it very quickly became clear that companies wanted to express their commitment to their partners and customers in such challenging times. Many were looking for the perfect representation of this message and found it by sending a garden with a personalized message and corporate branding. This has also been the case for companies sending out gardens to their employees and suppliers. As a result, we have a significant increase in sales during the last 6 months. With most people working from home, we developed a service that allows companies to send gifts to their clients, prospects, or partners using their email address. You don’t need to know the physical address of the recipient.”   

A gift that actually makes a difference  

Liraz Birnbaum: “This is a very important topic for Lula’s Garden. We have pledged since the day a portion of every garden sold to pro-bono and supporting causes like water.org that we believe in. On an ongoing basis, each garden sold provides six months of access to safe water for a person in the developing world. We have supported tens of thousands of people to date and we’re extremely proud of this activity. During COVID whenever we can, we are gifting gardens to first responders and the amazing medical teams fighting the pandemic. We feel privileged to provide them with some positive energy and thank them for their unbelievable efforts.”   

To a lush and vibrant future  

Liraz Birnbaum: “We are coming up with new product offerings and designs as well as entering into new markets. Lula’s Garden is a totally new concept of gifting and we became a household name due to our unique gifting experience. At this point, we are focusing on growth.”

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Flying High: Women Leaders, 2020 ​.

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