Alice’s Table is empowering women, one flower at a time.
By Courtney Runn, Photos courtesy of Alice Lewis
Alice Lewis wants to bring your favorite D.I.Y. blog to life. Her company, Alice’s Table, offers flower-arranging classes that not only provide all the tools to create Instagram-worthy bouquets, but that also give women a place to gather offline. The classes are currently available in 36 states, including Texas, and after Lewis’ recent appearance on Shark Tank, the company has grown exponentially.
Lewis first came up with the name Alice’s Table and her current logo while in college and having aspirations of turning it into a blog. But feeling like the blogging scene was becoming increasingly crowded, she set the idea aside. With degrees in visual studies and consumer psychology, she entered the world of entrepreneurship instead. After working for two startups in the fine-arts industry, she decided to come back to her college dream.
Lewis saw a gap in the market when it came to women seeking flexibility in their careers. For stay-at-home moms wanting part-time work or women just looking for a side hustle, there weren’t many options. With some reinvention, Alice’s Table went from a potential lifestyle blog to an empowering lifestyle business for women throughout the country.
“If you feel like you have an idea that’s good enough to start, you have to go for it,” Lewis says, or else you lose momentum.
She speaks from experience, after spending only a few months researching and planning before launching her company in 2015. The concept is simple but powerful: Train event executives to sell and teach flower-arranging classes, offer business experience to the women running the classes and create a time of community and fun for the women attending.
While Lewis is very much the heart behind Alice’s Table, she relies on her ever-growing team to bring her vision to life every week. Women can apply to become event executives, and once they’re accepted, they receive training, access to an event-management platform and reusable materials for classes. They are then responsible for booking venues throughout town, from coffee shops to private homes, for public and private classes. It costs $699 to become an executive but Lewis estimates the opportunity pays for itself after a few events, with executives making as much as $1,300 per event. Additionally, becoming an Alice’s Table executive gives women access to a community of women on a similar path. Lewis says she is most proud of this aspect of her company.
“Community is everything,” she says. “We’re building that online community for our execs. You’ve got 250 lifelines here.”
Austinite Monica Paull first heard about Alice’s Table in 2016 and became one of the company’s first executives. With a full-time job in education, she was looking for a side job, but most of the popular business models aimed at women involved selling products online, which didn’t appeal to her. When she got an email about Alice’s Table, it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
“For someone who has no idea how to run a business, there’s so many people to guide you,” Paull says. “It’s made me see that I can do things I may not have thought about. It’s definitely an empowering experience.”
Paull says she loves partnering with local restaurants to host her classes because Austin is all about building community. This sense of community, both the support system Alice’s Table offers its executives and the friendship fostered during the classes, is a common refrain. From the very beginning, this was Lewis’ goal and continues to be the inspiration behind the name.
“The conversation is open at the table,” Lewis says. “I think of my kitchen table. Growing up as a kid, that was the heart of the house. It was the place where we had dinner, where we did homework, the place where my parents had serious conversations. That was the place. To me, that was really important. … I’ll meet you at the table.”
Alice Lewis’ Best Tips for Budding Entrepreneurs
Consistently build community. Lewis says she relies on two support systems: offline support and online support. Offline support consists of family and friends, while online support includes her business community. She encourages new entrepreneurs to always look for ways to grow their online community through networking events and local organizations, and urges women to find mentors and be specific with their questions.
Stay focused. Lewis says the key to a wide demographic is focusing on one offering that has a wide reach. She started with flowers because they’re universally loved, whereas classes focused on more niche topics like knitting or watercolors might attract fewer women.
Break down your accomplishments. Take time to make achievable goals and celebrate when you reach them. Every day, prioritize the three most important things you can get done for your business. Lewis says working toward short-term goals lets you “consistently move the needle every day.”
Get used to the pit in your stomach. “If you can’t handle the pit in your stomach that’s preventing you from quitting your job,” Lewis says, “being an entrepreneur might not be for you.” While you gain experience and confidence, she says that feeling never quite goes away.