DSC Member: Larsen Jay, Random Acts of Flowers

DSC Member Larsen Jay is putting extra Mother's Day flowers to good use.

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There’s nothing like breaking nearly every bone in your body to inspire a new business idea. After a fall that left him with 15 broken bones and skull fractures, Larsen Jay swore the get-well bouquets he received helped him heal faster. Leaving behind a job as a film and TV producer, Larsen started Random Acts of Flowers, a company that recycles flowers from weddings and delivers them to healthcare facilities around the country to boost the spirits of its patients.

On how Random Acts of Flowers started: “Almost eight years ago I had a near-fatal accident where a ladder collapsed underneath me and I fell about a story and a half, face down onto concrete. I broke more bones than I can count. The surgeries and intensive rehab made me healthy physically, but the get-well flowers in my hospital room are what helped me heal faster. After that, I knew I wanted to return the favor to people in similar predicaments—and Random Acts of Flowers was born.”

On his first flower delivery: “We launched on March 3, 2008, at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Our first official delivery was to a patient in the same room as I was in during my recovery. To be back in that room, paying it forward to someone new—that was a really special moment.”

On where RAF’s flowers come from: “We form relationships with rental spaces, event planners, wedding coordinators, funeral directors, grocery floral managers—anyone who might use or have a flower we could get donated before being thrown away.”

On RAF’s early days: “It was rough. We worked out of a small warehouse in north Knoxville with hardly any inventory. We only had about 20 volunteers, and if we were lucky, we’d serve 100 people per month making deliveries out of the back of our cars.”

On the current state of RAF: “Today, we operate in Knoxville, Tampa Bay, Chicago and Silicon Valley, with almost 1,000 volunteers. To date, RAF’s volunteers nationwide have delivered more than 65,000 bouquets and recycled more than 80,000 vases. All in less than seven years!”

On his advice to other entrepreneurs: “If you’ve got an idea that you’re passionate about, just do it. So many people overplan and think things to death. I tell young entrepreneurs that you have to make 10 decisions every day, knowing three are going to be fundamentally wrong. Then, tomorrow, adjust the three and make 10 more. There’s nothing worse than ‘paralysis by analysis.’ You get that, and you’re really in trouble.”

Interested in helping out or donating those extra Mother’s Day flowers to a good cause? Check out RAF here!

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