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EE Interview: Rene Rodriguez of Speaking Roses

rene-rodriguez-of-speaking-rosesRene Rodriguez, President and CEO of Speaking Roses International, recently spoke with me about his company and experience as an entrepreneur. His product of printing images, text and just about anything else on rose petals is quite unique.

Tell me about your company, Rene.

Speaking Roses International is located in Utah; We have been printing images and messages on flower petals for the past 9 years.

So what exactly is your product?

We have a process for transferring images and messages onto the petals of fresh-cut flowers without harming or shortening the life of the flowers. And now we are giving the opportunity to businesses and individuals to take care of their local markets.

snoopy-flowerInteresting. What is the value proposition of your product?

Combining the sentiment of a personalized message with the emotion of flowers creates a new standard of expression and a unique, personalized, one-of-a-kind look. Most importantly, our product is capable of cornering several major markets, i.e. the floral industry, the greeting card industry, the promotional industry, and the gift industry, which together represents an $80 billion dollar value.

What motivated you to launch your company?

Launching a product that would forever change a world-wide industry was the driving force for me.  A background in the promotional industry and a passion for the international business arena enabled me to develop the vision of Speaking Roses.

What’s the mission and vision for Speaking Roses?

We want to provide a way for customers world wide to express their emotions through flowers with the click of a button and then expand this concept to other items like candy or fruit. Virtually any gift (e.g. golf balls, candies, frames) could be embossed with a message. We also intend to form alliances with iconic companies (e.g. Disney, Harley Davidson) that could license us to sell their copyrighted images on our flowers and products. We also intend to offer customers gift cards and to show customers how to set up affiliate programs on their Speaking Roses website. Finally, Speaking Roses will monopolize the popularity of social networks by leveraging the principles of viral marketing. We will provide members of social networks with the ability to send virtual flower messages to friends and family.

In your opinion, what is an entrepreneurs most valuable resource?

Confidence in himself to first  have a vision and then to believe that the world around him can give him all the information he needs to make that vision a reality. If his confidence is great enough he will have the persistence to fill all the details needed to succeed. To achieve that level of confidence, one must realize that the only difference between success and one who wishes to succeed is simply the decision to do so.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced (as an entrepreneur) and how have you overcome it?

I was faced with the decision when launching to either bootstrap or call on equity investors for the financial backing needed to support growth. The catch with using investors was that I would give up equity. This was the route I took initially, but (after much disappointment) I decided to break away and start over small so that control was back in my hands.

So what did you learned from the process of raising funds?

I learned that my greatest asset in this process was myself. Since I always strive to be my best in everything I do, my own network had enough faith in me to invest. That made the process of raising angel funds much easier.

Managing investor expectations can certainly be challenging. So then what keeps you motivated and inspired?

My inspiration comes from being aware of what goes on in the world. I believe that information is the secret to success; if you watch, listen and learn you will be able to exercise your thinking and ideas will come to you. I’m passionate about attaining knowledge and achieving goals in the international business arena, so any challenges that I encounter are actually motivating for me. I have the personal belief that the answers to every challenge are there if one is willing to look for them.

What role has innovation played in your business?

Without an innovative product,  you are no different than any one else. The appeal of our product is that it IS extremely innovative, and our dream has always been to use an innovative product to have a huge effect on a worldwide industry.

What do you wish you had known before launching Speaking Roses?

I wish I had had more confidence in myself. It took me a while to realize that there is not a big difference between the founder of a successful company and someone who dreams to do so but has not yet. I saw people who had already succeeded and believed they must have been genius in order to accomplish what they had accomplished, but later realized that they were no different than I was. Once I applied myself, studied the world around me and began learning from other people’s mistakes, I knew I could do what other successful entrepreneurs had done.

What advice do you have for rookie entrepreneurs?

Study the world until your vision comes to you. Collect all the information you can that is pertinent to your vision. Ask the people around you if they are willing to give you feedback. Ask questions. Be ready and willing to receive inspiration. Once you have the information you need, create a plan to make your dream happen and be persistent in following through with that plan. If you can dream it, you can do it.

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2 Responses

  1. Very inspirational, good interview!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Michael. Good to hear from you.

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