Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Meagan and I am the original founder of Eco Flower. Before I tell you what happened to Eco Flower, let me give you a quick re-cap of my involvement in the business.
I started the business out of my home. I took on a business partner name Alex Ledoux. Shortly after that, we took on more business partners. The partnership was intended to be a silent partnership with a local investment firm called JW Capital. The partnership didn't go as planned and it is my opinion that their involvement was the demise of Eco Flower. The decision to hire a CEO named John Allard was the moment I wish I could take back. At first, I agreed he would be great for the business, but as time went on, I realized we had made a monumental error. I was not able to voice my concerns with my investors because they were convinced John was the answer to the businesses growth and I was standing in the way with my rocky marriage and emotional outbursts.
When I started the business, it was my goal to be on the TV show called Shark Tank. After four tries, I finally succeeded. Unfortunately, during the filming process, the relationship between myself and all the investors was crumbling.
My original business partner, Alex Ledoux, left a few weeks before it aired due to personal reasons. He was my rock and the person who guaranteed that the investment firm (which held 50%) wouldn't be able to gain control of the business. In his absence, my shares went from 25% to 33%. Sounds great right? No. The other 66% belonged to the investment firm making them majority share holder. These shares belonged to the owners of JW Capital. Their names are Ryan Westwood and Travis Johnson.
In an effort to keep up with the growing business, they convinced me it was time to hire a CEO. They did not trust me with this job. It was the running joke that I was a crazy woman who needed to be babysat at work because of my emotional out bursts and temper. Ok. I will say that I did act crazy at work due to the fact I had no control. Employees were allowed to do drugs with my husband, I was the topic of all gossip on the warehouse floor, and the employees were allowed to run rabid with my personal life because in my opinion, the general manager and CEO fed off drama. There were the constant private meetings which I was forbidden from attending and employees were allowed to hang out in the general managers office to do nothing more than talk about me. I was an owner of this business. Why was this behavior allowed? Can you imagine a male business owner allowing this? I believe it was allowed because I was a female and I was not respected. Instead of trying to protect the owner, I was called crazy, delusional, and bipolar by employees, management, and my business partners.
One morning, my addict husband confessed that he did drugs with one of my employees (again). I was fed up and so I demanded that she be drug tested (even though I would have preferred she be fired on the spot). The general manager, who was her friend, refused to do the drug test. It was that moment that I realized I would never be respected or have any authority in the business I started. I walked out that day with my pet snake and my personal assistant.
I left behind 120 employees, $7.2 million in sales, and a monthly salary of $2,000. Yes, I realize the salary is laughable and at the time, I didn't realize how unfair it was. Before Eco Flower, I was a single Mom living on welfare. $2,000/month with the occasional bonus seemed fair at the time.
I miss Eco Flower and it's heart breaking that it never reached it's full potential. Shortly after my departure, the business was in trouble and it struggled for the next 12 months to stay in business. It went from a company that employed over 100 people to less than a dozen. The general manager and CEO kept pushing sales for inventory they didn't have and some wonder if it was ever going to come. Even after the company closed it's doors in April 2018, the website remained active and they continued to leave the website active and run promotions despite the fact that nobody worked there.
Former management will tell you the company failed because Shark Tank brought too much exposure. Nobody will ever know exactly why it closed, but in my opinion, when they lost the founder, the business was doomed. It is also my opinion that financial crimes were being committed and I was a threat to those who were trying to take advantage of the massive amounts of revenue this business generated.
In the end, the only people who cared for the business were the employees. Their love for Eco Flower could not save her.
Since it's closing, Eco Flower has been tied up in court with the Utah Consumer Protection Agency and there is even a rumor that the CEO is wanted for questioning by the FBI.
Do you want the good news? I was able to start over. Shortly after I left Eco Flower in 2016, I started a new company called www.solawoodflowers.com. I am 100% owner. I have now been in business for two years. Every single order is fulfilled, no debt, and the business is thriving under the direction of a female CEO. Weird huh?
I don't know if the owners of JW Capital were friend or foe. I will give them the benefit of the doubt, especially Ryan Westwood. In my opinion, he's a good dude and his role in this was minimal at best. Travis Johnson never liked me, but I don't think he would have ever done anything to intentionally bring harm to Eco Flower. My blame lies in the CEO John Allard and the General Manager Jasen Dowdy. In my experience, they thrived off drama and had a hard time staying focused on the business.
If you were affected by the poor business practices of the management of Eco Flower, there is still hope. There has been a Facebook group started called Eco Flower Screwed Me Over. You can also contact the Utah Consumer Protection Agency.
If you are still interested in wood flowers, check out my new business Sola Wood Flowers.
Here are a few photos of my journey with Eco Flower. After I left Eco, they deleted any photos of me on their social media, so I lost most of my memories, but I still have these.