Natalie Gil is the Founder & CEO of Native Poppy, a thriving direct-to-consumer flower shop in San Diego. Five years ago the lightbulb went off to become a florist and the rest was history. It filled me with so much joy – it was a pure expression of creativity. As of 2019, we own two floral shops, one in South Park and one in Solana Beach. I have a team of really wonderful florists and I’m so proud of this brand we have created for flowers in San Diego.
1. You guys are an icon in the floral industry and making serious moves in San Diego as entrepreneurs. Looking back, was there a “moment” that really made you see the opportunity and double down on the business?
The opportunity was that our business was doing really well. We felt like we had enough systems in place and a strong team behind us that it made sense to expand and go north. We’re excited to explore the possibility and be in the new neighborhood. Solana Beach is close enough that we could test the water of opening another shop. We are looking forward to opening more Native Poppy locations soon.
2. I know how hard it is to run a business that has inventory with a super short shelf life. In my experience it really impacted my psyche (i.e. when it rained and foot traffic suffered). How do you manage your own mental well-being even when there are so many things that are simply outside of your control?
It’s important to cash forecast so that we’re not as affected by rainy days. It’s definitely a bummer but we have to build that into the budget. We know we’re going to have slower days but we have alternate days of making money. We have a thriving online shop for flower delivery and do lots of events to balance out the slower days.
3. Why do you think that despite how technology has connected us, we feel disconnected and disengaged with our inner lives? How is Native Poppy playing a role in bringing us together?
In this day and age where so many people can choose to order flowers and ship them in a box, I love providing a face to face experience. For example — our stem bar, where you can touch, smell and interact with your flowers. We believe that having a retail shop allows us to service people in a unique and meaningful way.
We’re all going through the same things!
4. There’s a lot of talk on startups vs small businesses…female entrepreneurs vs entrepreneurs, broadly. What self imposed limitations do you think you’ve ever put on yourself and how did you overcome them?
I never feel like I have enough experience to do the things I want to do, but I realized the only way to gain experience is by doing them. Getting my MBA sounds great but I value real world learning. Unfortunately I learn by making a lot of mistakes but I never repeat the same ones twice.
5. What does “wellthy” mean to you both and in your partnership as co founders? What are some practical ways you guys keep the friendship in check vs “always business”?
Meg, our Vice President of Native Poppy, and I worked together before we became friends, so I feel like we just created natural boundaries. When we’re at work we focus on work and when we’re outside of work we can be friends. We focus on making sure we have communication and honesty.
We both care about the business a crazy amount, and that is often our connection and driving force. That, and Bachelor in Paradise. We really care about Bachelor in Paradise.