Company's Popup Ad Makes Its Stand Against Racism Very Clear

by Christine Organ
Flowers for Dreams

Florist adds pop-up to its company website to take a stand against racism of all kinds

A Chicago florist is taking the Internet by storm for the clever and unambiguous way it is taking a stand against racism and neo-Nazism in the wake of the violent and deadly rally in Charlottesville last weekend. Basically, if you’re a racist – or unwilling to affirmatively denounce racism in all forms – the company doesn’t want your money. It’s just that simple.

On Monday, the Chicago and Milwaukee-based florist, Flowers For Dreams, added a pop-up to its website that asks, “Do you condemn racism, nazism and white nationalism?” Visitors have one of two options to proceed into the website: (1) click “Yes, I can’t believe we’re still having this conversation; or (2) clicking “No, I’m ignorant and complicit in hate.”

If you click “Yes,” you move through the site, after the company offers a gentle suggestion to consider donating to the Anti-Defamation League, United States Holocaust Museum, and RefugeeOne. Visitors who click “no” are reminded that they are ignorant and complicit in hate and told in no uncertain terms that the company does not want their business before being redirected to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s homepage.

Flowers for Dreams shared a photo of their new pop-up on Facebook and the post already as over one thousand likes, and hundreds of comments and shares – the vast majority of which are positive messages of support and gratitude for the company’s willingness to take a stand.

Flowers for Dreams isn’t new to community outreach and social activism. In fact, that’s how the company got its start. In the summer of 2010, co-founders Steven Dyme and Joseph Dickstein were two college students working at Supplies for Dreams – a nonprofit organization that provides critical resources and opportunities to students in the Chicago Public School (CPS) system. Looking to earn a few extra dollars and give back to the organization, Dyme and Dickstein decided to sell flowers outside of their old high school during its graduation ceremony. For each dozen flowers sold, they planned to donate a backpack with school supplies through Supplies for Dreams to a student attending CPS.

Their idea was such a huge success that soon several Chicago high schools had invited them to sell flowers at their commencement ceremonies as well, and business idea was born. Two years later, the duo “realized power of connecting profit and purpose” and launched Flowers for Dreams, a values-driven company that gives back to the community. With 25 % of all proceeds given to local nonprofits, and nearly $250,000 donated to date, the company is making a huge impact.

In addition to a charity partner that receives a quarter of the company’s profits for that month, during the month of August, the company is also providing backpacks and school supplies from proceeds earned at its newly-opened Milwaukee location.

Kudos to this company not only for its community outreach, but also for taking a stand during this scary and turbulent time.

It’s refreshing to see a company take a firm stand even if it means risking sales. While Dyme said support for their statement has been overwhelming positive, there have been a few negatives responses from people who think companies should remain neutral. But for Dyme and Dickstein, the decision to speak up against racism, neo-Nazism, and white supremacy wasn’t a difficult one and fell in line with their company philosophy.

“We sell flowers as a vehicle to advance causes that we care about,” Dyme told us. “We’re apolitical, but we aren’t afraid to speak up when there is a cause or organization we care about that’s vulnerable and deserves our support.”

“For us, standing idly by and pretending this hate and bigotry is isolated, or even temporary, was not an option,” Dyme wrote in Crain’s Chicago Business. “We’ve seen those mistakes made before—over and over again throughout history.”

As for their most recent statement on their website, Dyme said he’s a little surprise so few business leaders are willing to speak up, especially on issues as black and white as those of racism and white supremacy.

“It isn’t controversial to speak up against Nazis and racism so it’s strange how few people do it,” Dyme said.