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Budding Industry

The selection in this East Berlin florist may not be huge, but at least it’s there

Author Boyd Farrow Illustration Luci Gutiérrez

dispatches3BERLIN – Iris Schuttken, proprietor of Blumenjäger, moves tentatively around a supersized spray of long-stemmed yellow roses, which have utterly overwhelmed her tiny basement store. The flowers, she says, are not for sale—they were specially ordered as a gift for someone’s 84th birthday. Walk-ins have a choice of either red gladioli or white lilies.

A former advertising executive, Schuttken quit her job and opened Blumenjäger (or Flower Hunter) earlier this year, aware that she was not tapping into a rich market. “Berliners live for the outdoors,” she says, “but when it comes to bringing nature indoors, most homes don’t even have a vase.”

The only way to get people into the habit of buying flowers, Schuttken quickly realized, is by making them ridiculously cheap. “Berliners are schnäppchenjägers—bargain hunters. My pitch is that they can buy flowers individually or have an armful of them for a handful of coins.”

While launching her business hasn’t been easy, the would-be florist has an idea on how to double revenues: selling vases.

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