Collective Feature: Piedmont Wholesale Flowers

Piedmont Wholesale Flowers, a cooperative founded in 2017, remains focused on their mission of being a farmer-owned cooperative that provides designer-quality sustainable florals to their local community in the Durham, NC region. We recently connected with their Market Director, Julia Carpico, who shared insights into their origin story, how they differentiate themselves from traditional wholesalers, and exciting changes for the 2024 season.

Rooted Farmers
Rooted Farmers5 min read

We were thrilled to catch up with Piedmont Wholesale Flowers (PWF) Market Director Julia Carpico to hear the cooperative's origin story, how they differentiate themselves from traditional wholesalers, and exciting changes for their upcoming 2024 season. (Spoiler: they moved into a larger new location that shares space with a coffee bar!)

Based in Durham, North Carolina, the cooperative is celebrating its 8th season and focused on providing designer-quality stems for florists, floral designers, and wholesale buyers "looking to source the freshest cuts that represent a seasonal sense of space."

Listen to the Slow Flowers podcast to hear more from PWF farm member Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm and Julia Carpico!

You can learn more about their 14 flower farms on their website and follow them on Instagram for the latest updates and inspiring floral imagery. 

What is your collective's origin story?

Piedmont Wholesale Flowers (PWF) started under the direction of two of our amazing members: Kelly Morrison of Color Fields and Katy Thielen of Happy as a Coneflower Farm. Launched in 2017, we have grown to include 14 flower farm members. We continue to grow but remain focused on keeping to our roots: a farmer-owned cooperative that provides designer-quality, sustainable florals to our community of local supporters. We are committed to maintaining and preserving our authentic, Durham-based feel while providing exceptional, personal service to our customers. I joined PWF in 2019 and am honored to be entrusted with ushering our grower’s flowers into the hands of our designers.


Pictured above: Julia Carpico, Market Director of PWF

Why is being in a cooperative valuable?

Participating in a cooperative is extremely valuable for both our customers and our farms.  

For Customers: The cooperative model allows customers the convenience of a one-stop shop for locally grown product from multiple, carefully vetted farms. It allows customers to know where their product is grown, how it is being grown, and what farmer is growing the items they are procuring. Our live market provides our customers a location to form a community with their peers (we witness designers lending supplies to one another, free-lancing for each other, etc. - it is such a beautiful thing!). 

For Farms: Our farms learn best practices from one another, they substitute for each other if someone experiences shortages, they share tools and equipment, they help each other in all farm practices. The cooperative takes on the burden of billing, delivery, marketing, and more. It's a true win-win for everyone. 

Pictured Above: Anna Alexandre of Humble Umbel Farm and Cheryl Gibson of Vine and Branch Flower Farm


What are some ways you intentionally build trust with your growers and buyers?  

We have set quality standards for all items we sell, which builds trust for both our customers and farmers. We are always performing quality control reviews of our product to ensure our customers receive consistent, top-quality product from all our farms. With this, our farms also maintain trust that their product is co-mingled with other equivalent, top quality product. 
We pride ourselves on our great response time for our customers, and we work hard to provide even unexpressed wishes for our busy designers. We develop relationships with our buyers to know and understand their businesses. At the heart of things, trust is developed, especially when buyers meet our growers each week at our market. 

Pictured above: Katherine Hoke of Orlaya Flora

What are you focused on improving/changing this year?

Extended hours: Our discussions with customers revealed a demand for more days/hours for our live market, so we will be open 3 market days this year vs. one. We are now open Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings (Fridays for last-minute product needed for the weekend).

New and larger location: This move will not only provide our customers with more room to explore and shop but also allow us to expand the volume of our product offerings. The icing on the cake: a coffee bar is located within our new shop space - offering local coffee and beverages. So, it’s a win-win for everyone - we are excited to welcome everyone to our new location.

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What specific problem or challenge were you facing that led you to seek a solution like Rooted?

The platform we used before Rooted was not designed for flower cooperative usage, i.e.: facilitating sales of a perishable product line with a weekly sales cycle. This led to many challenges. The Rooted platform is designed by farmers who have a detailed understanding of and experience in this business and who clearly have the capability of designing tools needed for success.  

What features or aspects of Rooted do you find most valuable or unique?

To begin: the Rooted Farmers team! We significantly benefit from this incredible technology team that knows us well and provides quick assistance and unparalleled support. We receive superior training, planning, motivation, and goals from the Rooted experts, a true game changer to our business.

This well-designed platform provides our customers with an easy process for ordering from all 14 of our farms in one place and allows the customer to know what farms are providing their items - setting us apart from other wholesalers. This platform provides beautifully displayed farm-captured photos and a cart hold time of one hour (another huge game-changer for us!).  

Another valuable aspect of working with Rooted are the connections we’ve made with other cooperatives and collectives across the country. I've spoken with and had the opportunity to meet other collective leaders at the Root:ED 2023 Workshop. Now, we support and share best practices with one another.


How has our platform improved or streamlined your workflow?

In just about every way possible! The method of publishing product to our shop, handling billing, maintaining customer history, and the ability of both customers and farms to pull their analytics - all examples of the many ways Rooted streamlines our workflow! All of the streamlining on the back end allows us all more time to focus on the customer and less time on administrative tasks.

What would you say to a group considering joining Rooted as a new or existing collective?

DON’T WAIT! Whether you’re an established co-op or just starting, I would 1,000% encourage you to join Rooted! I don't believe there is a better platform out there for our line of business. 

A big thank you to Julia for sharing her thoughts with us, we can't wait to see what's in store for PWF this season! For those in the Durham, NC area you can check out their shop page here.