In an on-the-go world, mobile businesses continue to flourish.
Flourish Flower Truck owner Savannah Pannell capitalized on the budding industry.
“The biggest challenge was my own mental barrier,” Pannell said. “Feeling like I didn’t have the skill set or knowledge to pull something like this off. Sometimes, that’s still the biggest barrier honestly, but I have grown and learned so much.”
Pannell works as a Pro Re Nata, an ‘as needed’ or part-time nurse, at an OB-GYN clinic. Even though she studied to be a registered nurse, her heart lies in another field.
Growing up, Pannell remembers her mother always had an abundance of flowers in their home. She derived her deep love for flowers as she watched her mother garden. Pannell loves nature; she loves being outside, whether hiking, camping or traveling.
Pannell’s dream of having her own flower truck originated when she visited one of Amelia’s Flowers trucks in Nashville on her birthday in 2017. She followed the owner’s story since day one, and her inspiration for her own truck bloomed.
“I looked at my husband and said, ‘this is what I want to do,’” Pannell said. “Saying that out loud was huge for me after years of feeling misplaced with my current nursing career.”
Her husband remained instrumental in the truck’s launch and subsequent success. Pannell said that he takes leaps of faith when she hesitates.
“After months of him pushing me towards this dream and encouraging that it could be a reality,” Pannell said. “We bought my little truck in October of last year and I went from full-time to part-time at my nursing facility.”
Pannell uses flowers mostly from local farmers in East Tennessee; however, she sometimes acquires flowers from wholesalers. She realized filling the truck solely with local growers flowers was unrealistic. So, she gets the flowers when she can from local farmers. Ultimately, she wants to make sure her truck’s fully stocked for customers.
“I started by reaching out to the growers at our local farmers market and that’s how I met Jenni with Napping Cat Flower Farm,” Pannell said. “She was the first person in the flower business world that jumped right in and supported me from the moment we met each other. She passed me on to Robin with Sevier Blumen, and that’s how those relationships started.”
Relationships remain important to Pannell, as she creates one with nearly every customer that visits her truck. She greets everyone with a smile and creates a friendly atmosphere for shoppers.
“To me, there was just something so beautiful about creating a place where people could come to love on themselves or others in their lives through the gift of flowers,” Pannell said. “Being able to pick out your own flowers makes that so much more special.”
Pannell also creates relationships using social media. With more than 5,900 (and growing) followers on Instagram, she’s constantly active on the flower truck’s page. Pannell said that by using Instagram, she really jump started her business and created a buzz in Knoxville. She credits most of her success this first year to the platform.
“There is something about the way social media is used to spread the word of what’s going on around us; while also making people feel like they are involved and connected with the lives of business owners,” Pannell said. “It brings a personal feel to running a business that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Along with her business, Pannell hopes to grow her online presence in years to come.
“I haven’t ventured into the world of IGTV or Instagram live yet, but hope to incorporate that into my business account over the next few months,” she said.
With Flourish’s quickly blossoming popularity, Pannell’s schedule grew wild in the last few months. With different locations around East Tennessee three to five days each week and deliveries, Pannell no longer begs businesses to let her park on their property anymore.
“I remember when I first started out I always felt like I had to beg or sell my idea to local businesses to establish a good rotation of locations to get out in the community with,” Pannell said. “Now I am having to turn businesses and events down weekly because I just don’t have room in my schedule for all of them anymore.”
Pannell wants to expand her flower truck by offering bouquet subscriptions for Knoxville and surrounding areas. Subscriptions would allow customers to have fresh flowers delivered weekly, biweekly or monthly to their work or home. She hopes to have the subscriptions going by winter.
“For me personally, I also hope to flower farm and source some of the trucks flowers from my own farm next year,” Pannell said. “I know this will be time consuming and take away from quite a bit of the time I have to run the truck and do deliveries, so hiring someone to work alongside me next season is definitely something I am considering.”
Other than subscriptions and personally sourcing her flowers, Pannell does not want to change anything about the way Flourish operates. She loves the reaction from community over the past year.
“Joining in with local businesses in our area and joining what is already taking place has been so much fun,” Pannell said. “That’s one of my favorite things about the Knoxville community.”
Check out Flourish’s Instagram for truck locations weekly.
Featured Image by Chelsea Babin
Edited by Lexie Little