Finding a “side hustle” is becoming more common amongst workers in the United States with, as reported by CNN, a little over 44 million citizens earning money from a second job. Another interesting statistic reported by Small Business Trends is one in four Millennials works at a second gig.
Alice’s Table represents this growing trend but, more importantly, the company empowers women of all ages to start their own small business. Alice’s Table is an online platform-as-a-service that will help teach women how to arrange flowers for special occasions, and host flower arranging events at bars and restaurants.
Alice's Table members, called Execs, can also schedule events, send invites, manage ticket sales, order materials, and more, with the back-end Event Management Platform, similar to an internal Eventbrite. In addition to that, the platform acts as a back office and provides customers with supplies, aprons, teaching materials, and insights to ticket sales.
“It all started with my obsession with flexibility in the workforce,” said Founder and CEO Alice Lewis. “A lot of women are looking for a newfound sense of flexibility. Whether if they are looking for a second job or if they are a stay-at-home mom and are looking for a reason to leave the house.”
Before founding the company, Lewis started researching what kind of opportunities there are for women and found flower arranging to be a perfect fit for Lewis’ idea.
“Why flower arranging? It’s easy to teach the teacher and it’s an item customers would return for,” said Lewis. “Flower arrangements are more ubiquitous. They can be used as a centerpiece for a holiday party or a bouquet for a wedding.”
She hosted a few flower arranging events locally in Boston and it became a success, selling over $100,000 in tickets to the events she hosted. From there, Lewis decided to take the plunge and become an entrepreneur.
Since the company’s founding in September 2015, Alice’s Table has scaled to over 30 states with over 100 women starting and hosting their own flower arranging events. Alice’s Table isn’t just reserved for career-oriented women either, as Lewis shared with us that it ranges from women just right out of college to grandmothers who are looking to keep active.
“We’ve had so many standouts,” said the CEO. “We’ve had one woman who took the business to the next level in Boston and has made this her full-time gig. She sells over 100 tickets a month.”
“Techstars was super rewarding, it made us a real company,” said Lewis. “What’s important to me is the community. As a startup, you’re always failing forward and it’s good to reach out to those who may have been in a similar situation and are open about failing sometimes.”
While she can’t confirm if any of the directors attend her flower arranging events, Lewis is sure, “We’ve been secret shopped [by someone from Techstars] a few times.”
“I can’t share every piece of information,” Lewis said. “But I can say how well Techstars prepared me for Shark Tank. Going through the accelerator, you feel more comfortable with people not liking your ideas and it makes you feel with what questions are going to be asked.”
Lewis’ company is one that fulfills two specific markets: women looking for a “side hustle” and women looking to start a small business. As a first-time founder whose company is different from others in the Boston tech scene, Lewis offers some sound advice for those who are looking to start their own company.
“I share the founding story of Sam Adams with our customers and executives,” said Lewis. “When he first started selling his beer to bars, every fourth bar said yes. When he received a ‘No’ he just knew he was three steps away from a yes. So, I tell them to chalk up the no’s and don’t be afraid to accept them.”
Images courtesy of Alice's Table and Disney/ABC.