BY AMY REDING
Valentine’s Day only comes once a year, and for those with a flair for the dramatic, Dirty Rotten Flowers might be the perfect alternative to the classic teddy bear and roses.
Dirty Rotten Flowers (DRF) is a Los Angeles based company that ships rotten, broken flower bouquets anonymously.
“How many times can you send red roses to someone on Valentine’s Day before it becomes the same old thing?” says co-owner John Ferraro.
Roman Sacke, a flower shop owner and Czech Republican with a self-proclaimed “offbeat” sense of humor, dreamed up and founded DRF in January 2009 after seeing his flower store’s leftover inventory die and rot.
“There are people that think it’s funny, and people that take it seriously,” muses Ferraro.
DRF has had its share of complaints, been called everything from “distasteful” to “mean-spirited” and even had requests to reveal the anonymity of who sent which flowers.
“It’s not like they were sending you a dead animal in a box or something. They’re sending it because obviously they have hard feelings over something,” responds Ferraro.
For a while, DRF offered a fresh flower arrangement of beautiful red or yellow roses catering towards anyone looking to make up with someone, but found it vastly unpopular.
“I know some people use the rotten flowers as a form of therapy,” says Ferraro.
“Maybe they broke up with somebody and they didn’t get to have the last word, this is an opportunity to do it.”
The two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day are DRF’s busiest time, and the ‘I Love You Not’ bouquet has proved to be a Valentines favorite.
It features a deconstructed white teddy bear holding a heart-shaped pillow reading ‘I love you’ surrounded by broken red carnations; a twisted take on a V-Day classic.
The second most popular bouquet is the Morticia, a bouquet of long stem roses with no flower heads, and a reference to Morticia Addams from the Addams Family.
“She’d be cutting these roses and making a flower arrangement, but she’d cut off the flowers because they were too pretty,” chuckles Ferraro, who devised the name.
DRF has received cards from thankful customers saying things such as, “I hope you know how many people you help with this business.”
Sacke and Ferraro find that hard to believe, as the company was founded more with the intention for humor than therapy.
“I guess however it works for someone, that’s what’s important,” says Ferraro.
Catherine Steele, 65, sent a future daughter-in-law Dirty Rotten Flowers after being passed up for an invite to her son’s birthday event.
“She’s not speaking to me, exactly what I hoped for. Thank you Dirty Rotten Flowers,” said Steele.
Both founders have experienced the urge to stop people from sending a notecard with an arrangement.
“You’re just thinking, ‘I don’t think you should say that.’ They send it anyways because it’s what they want to do,” says Ferraro.
At one point, Ferraro called a customer back and double checked that she wanted to send her order, a bouquet and notecard to her mother. This customer ended up admitting she was about to call back to re-think it herself.
“We’re just the middle man. We’re not here to repair people’s relationships, we’re not here to destroy people,” says Ferraro.
“This is really something that if people want to use it, they use it,” he adds.
To begin gearing up for next year’s big Valentine’s Day, send a bouquet to a scorned lover, or to find out more about Dirty Rotten Flowers visit the website www.dirtyrottenflowers.com