Alyssa Sager is pretty much brand new to the floral industry. Nothing about her professional background might have alluded to her current line of work. She’s bounced around a lot — geographically speaking — from Washington DC to Hawaii, where she learned the art of lei making and flower crowns, which she found to be “fun and joyous and awesome.” After six years of island life, Alyssa relocated to Los Angeles, where she spent nine years. During her time in LA, Alyssa worked extensively at both SpaceX and Tesla.
When she left SpaceX and Tesla, Alyssa was sort of at a loss. She was “completely exhausted.” Where to go from here? What to do? She bounced around between several tech jobs, one of which led her to Vancouver. Then she was recruited by Lululemon. After about a year working for them, she decided she needed to take some time to herself and unwind. During this self-imposed decompression, Alyssa decided she wanted to start her own company. “I wanted to help humanity and change the world. I wanted to do something epic. My expectations for myself were, like, next level. I had to take some time to ground myself and think long and hard about what makes me happy. I realized that I didn’t need to be a mega billionaire. What makes me happy is this: building community and helping people get their hands on beautiful things,” tells Alyssa.
So she’s put down roots in Vancouver, which is where her current venture, Leis De Buds, is really beginning to blossom. Leis De Buds a variety of products and services, all revolving around fresh flowers.
Leis De Buds’ motto is “Have fun, be safe, get lei’d.”
Alyssa’s brick and mortar storefront is called The Plant and is home to two CoolBots, including a CoolBot Pro. The Plant is a combination production studio and retail space, and it’s where Leis de Buds’ fresh flowers are stored and prepped for custom arrangements. Alyssa will soon be teaming up with Foodora (Canada’s version of GrubHub or DoorDash) to offer both regular flower delivery services (brought straight to your door in under thirty minutes!) as well as monthly bouquet subscription options on a simple e-commerce platform. You can also visit The Plant to soak up its whimsical ambience. Alyssa is passionate about design and has worked hard to make the space truly special. “There are swings everywhere!” Alyssa says. The Plant is where Alyssa’s dream of “getting your hands on beautiful things” comes to fruition. You can spend a few hours or an entire afternoon here, weaving your own flower necklace or crown — leis or hakus, as they’re known in Hawaii. You can also purchase pre-made bouquets or build your own custom floral arrangement, paying per stem.
Alyssa wants flowers to feel accessible. “It’s become very clean and hoity-toity. It’s nature! Leis de Buds offers reasonable price points, because we want people to get their hands on them. We encourage our customers to bring wine and have fun,” she explains. Plus, Leis de Buds uses all locally grown flowers and actively practices sustainability whenever possible, from their packaging to sourcing products.
Then there’s leisdeBUS. This adorable solar-powered bus has been outfitted with a CoolBot and Tesla Powerwall 2. Alyssa takes leisdeBUS on tour to festivals and events throughout Canada, setting up a mobile pop-up flower shop that offers festival attendees the opportunity to create their own DIY flower crowns and necklaces and purchase fresh bouquets. So far, Alyssa has taken leideBUS to Craft Beer Week, Greek Day, Khatslano Festival, Folk Fest and Vancouver’s Pride Parade. The bus is also available for private event bookings.
Initially, Leis De Buds didn’t have any cold storage at all. But once Alyssa got her permanent Canadian residency, she started thinking about what exactly she wanted to build, researching everything thoroughly. She’d first heard of the CoolBot through TedX Nairobi. Once she looked into it more and realized just how the CoolBot worked using the A/C unit, she thought it was so cool.
“Of course I wanted a ‘bot!” she exclaimed. “It fit right in with my tech background.”
She couldn’t believe how inexpensive the CoolBot was, either. After speaking extensively with John Bergher, Store It Cold’s VP of Sales and Marketing, she was sold. “I’ve never met anyone so knowledgeable and easy to work with!” she tells us. Now Alyssa uses one CoolBot for tropical flowers and the other for regular ones, both located at The Plant. As far as her mobile CoolBot on leisdeBUS, she says she’s constantly surprising people with it. “Everyone who sees it wants one,” she tells us.
The Florist’s Toolkit
For new florists: Pick up some practical flower-raising tips from Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden, by Erin Benzakein. Erin is a CoolBot cooler user and master florist that you’ll be sure to learn a few pro tips from.
For the Pros: Thinking about building a flower cooler like Alyssa’s? Consider picking up some non-toxic buckets to hold your flowers, and a commercial humidifier to keep the air from getting too dry.