Elisa Freilich, our NJ Mompreneur of the Week, is a born creative. After dabbling in interior design, writing a YA novel, and designing hair accessories, Elisa never dreamed she’d launch a business from a box of preserved flowers her husband gave her. But when she realized that she could come up with a better and more affordable product herself, that’s when Rosepops, her fully customizable preserved flower box business, first became a possibility. She tapped her creative insight and tinkered with her version—a unique patented ribbon pulley technology allowing the roses to pop up tall when opened (unlike others where you only see the top of the flower) and lay flat for lower shipping costs. Since then, Rosepops has gone from Elisa creating them on her kitchen table with a glue gun to a full-on business that’s exploded (one customer bought over 50 boxes from her) and caught Disney and Macy’s attention. We chatted with this Englewood mom of three adult kids to learn about what makes Rosepop preserved roses different, where she goes to instantly de-stress, and the local Greek restaurant she visits at least three times a week.
Elisa Freilich, founder and owner of Rosepops and our NJ Mompreneur of the Week.
Please tell us a bit about your background. I grew up in Rockland County, NY, in a modern Orthodox Jewish family and married young (only 23!) when my husband, David Freilich, was still in medical school. Because of his training, we moved around a lot, so when things were winding down, I told him I’d choose the next place we lived. I chose Englewood, which was the right choice—we’ve been here about 20 years and couldn’t be happier. It immediately felt very welcoming, it’s close to the city, and the gorgeous architecture cinched the deal. I’ve always been obsessed with everything Victorian, and we moved into a home built in 1890. When I’ve been out of town and driving back, I get an immediate sense of calm when I’m back at my home base. It’s been a great place to live and raise our three children, Abigail, 26, Charlie, 22, and Juju, 20.
What did you do career-wise before surrounding yourself with beautiful blooms every day? I’ve always been very creative-minded and have dabbled in many different things because I’ve always felt that if I’m not involved in some creative pursuit, my world feels off kilter–staying busy and pushing myself in creative ways is just who I am. When I first graduated from Boston University, I worked at my dad’s graphic design business, which taught me that I didn’t love the corporate world at that level—it just wasn’t the right fit for me. Then I went back to school and got my associate’s degree in interior design, which I did for private customers for a few years, but when I became pregnant with my son, I put the brakes on that. While wrapped up in my kid’s lives, I also made and sold handmade hair accessories for a while, immersed myself in cooking, which I love to do, had fun decorating my home, and continued to make art whenever I saw things that would inspire me. I also wrote a YA fantasy fiction book, Silent Echo, which was published and is available on Amazon. And then, when I started Rosepops, I realized that everything I’d done prior to it came together perfectly. Decorating taught me about swatching and coming up with my box concepts, and the hair accessories helped me when I worked on beautiful charm pins for my boxes. And l also apply my word skills to naming and describing my products.
The patented technology that “pops” your roses up certainly helps you stand out. Are there other ways your biz differs from other preserved flower businesses? Along with our exciting pop-up factor, we source our roses from a farm in Ecuador, a country well known for producing the finest roses in the world due to their proximity to the equator and their mineral-rich soil. Most of our competitors source theirs from China, and it boggles my mind that they charge such exorbitant prices for them.
Rosepops has worked with Disney and had a specialty shop at Macy’s Herald Square. How did these come about? We were approached by the Disney Theatrical Company, which wanted to do a Beauty and the Beast Rose Pop for their UK tour. They liked that our product looked special and was sturdier to stock than other preserved flowers out there. They sold them as souvenirs for the musical and sold out so quickly that they had to reorder more. I’m proud to say it was their best-selling souvenir for the show. And Macy’s happened because a friend of my husband works with them and helped put us in touch. Before this point, we’d only been in e-commerce. It was great to get a taste of what a brick and mortar would be like, plus the Macy’s customer is aligned with my customer base, so I got to speak to the consumer, which was priceless, mainly to educate them on preserved flowers. It was also helpful for us because our products take up a decent amount of space, and it made me realize that a brick and mortar doesn’t necessarily make the most sense for us because there’s only so much product we’d be able to stock.
The Rosepop warehouse has a humidity-controlled rose room where Elisa goes to find calm during a stressful day.
You’ve only been open for 3 years. How has the business changed since you first launched it? When we first launched, it was just me with my glue gun, and I had no idea what to expect. Then, we went through our first Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, and the orders exploded. The business took over the entire first floor of my home, and my husband, David, and the kids had to step in to help me get the job done. We were only about 8 months in when I knew I needed to find a commercial space and found an old giant loft with an office for me that overlooks the warehouse floor. In it, we have a humidity-controlled rose room—it’s where I go when I’m stressed out. All I have to do is walk into that room and I feel centered again.
What are some of your favorite NJ businesses and spots that you and your family enjoy? In Englewood, at the end of Palisade Avenue, you can walk down to the mouth of the GW Bridge, where the view is incredible. Many people cycle, but that’s not our thing, though we’re always up for that walk and do it with our dog often. Also, I like to support our local Englewood businesses as much as possible. I get food from It’s Greek to Me at least three times a week. Buckley’s Drug Store is another one of my go-to’s. It’s a mom-and-pop pharmacy-type business, and I’ll always choose them over a chain like CVS because I prefer the more personalized service.
Please share your best practical advice for a mompreneur just starting out. If it’s eating at your kishkas (another way of saying if you feel it in your gut), just run with it and don’t overthink it. And figure out your customer base early on—I tell my staff that everyone is a cherished customer, no matter what they’re buying—I want each of my customers to have a pleasant and exciting experience.