Wang, Lin, launch start-up to spread environmentalism

Three days after Blume first launched their website, their product was completely sold out.

CEO Andrea Wang (10), Head of Production Tamara Lin (10), and Head of Customer Relations Jed Narvarez (10) said they can all clearly remember when they finally released their succulents for sale, March 16.

Wang and Lin came up with the idea for their company, called Blume while working on an Economics of Business Ownership school project in which they were instructed to create their own start-up company.

Lin had seen terrariums filled with succulents on Pinterest in the past, and said she thought the idea had a lot of potential. She then decided to make her own terrariums, putting her own twist on the idea using old light bulbs, filling them with rocks and soil, and planting succulents inside.

And so, Blume was born.

After partnering with Wang on the project, Lin created her first line of 10 terrariums with multiple varieties to choose from, ranging from “suburban themed,” “color themed,” and “holiday themed.”

After hearing about the idea, 10 other members of the class, including Narvarez, Co-CEO Orland Ilusorio (10), and Head of Design and Media Leah Wibwow (11), were invited to join the company.

Narvarez said the process of creating a startup company hasn’t been easy, but for him, it has offered an important lesson in teamwork.

“I would describe watching this company come together as a team sport, like football or baseball,” Narvarez said. “We all have that one goal to succeed as a company, but there are so many members of our teams and there are so many conflicting ideas that in the end, we all have to come to a consensus and give the best version of our company we can. There’s a lot of struggle, but in the end, it’s worth it.”

Wang said she decided to use her business savvy to work towards a cause she is passionate about; environmentalism. The Blume team decided to gear their company towards the environmentalist cause in order to promote sustainability and drought-prevention through an aesthetic product.

“Tamara and I both took AP Environmental Science, and since we live in San Diego and have experienced droughts, [environmentalism] is something that hits really close to home,” Wang said. “And then also, terrariums are all about succulents, which are very native to our city. It just speaks for itself, especially in a market like San Diego.”

Wang attributes the rapid success of the product in part to the company’s carefully cultivated aesthetic, specifically showcased on their website, which is teeming with artistic photographs and extravagant colors.

“We are blessed with such an amazing graphic design team,” Wang said. “ A few of us on the team have taken photography, and many of us have taken graphic design, so our artistic vision is pretty strong, which is great, because without it our company would fail because our company is solely based on aesthetics, and if it’s not aesthetic it won’t sell.”

Now that their first line is sold out, the Blume team is working on a new line while also spreading the word about their company.

“Were hoping to make the company Blume more well-known in the San Diego community,” Narvarez said. “We’ve tried reaching out to news stations in San Diego to spread our name through the media and other things. Once our second line is finalized and we have it all planned, we plan to contact flower shops such as Four Seasons in PQ to sell our product and to get it more well known.”

Narvarez said he also plans to target specifically environmental-friendly areas to sell their products.

“We are planning to sell at beaches and at other environmental places that have that market that appeals to the ‘green’ people who will be interested in purchasing our product, and are interested in our cause,” Narvarez said.

All proceeds from the terrariums are donated to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmentalist organization with more than three million members currently.

“What [the NRDC does] is hire policy advocates, environmental advocates, and scientists, so basically they cover the whole realm of proving that global warming exists, and then going out there and just making sure that change is being made, even on the administrative level,” Wang said.

Wang said her biggest hope for Blume is to help inspire people to appreciate their environment.

“I think for our company our biggest goal is to make an impact on our world, which is what we’re doing when we donate all of our proceeds to the NRDC,” Wang said. “We hope that eventually, issues like global warming and issues about conserving our world will be more prevalent, even among our high school peers.”