Behind Her Empire


Breaking Through Insecurities & Rising Above Rejection with Christina Stembel, Founder of Farmgirl Flowers

Season 2, Ep. 100

Christina Stembel is the Founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers, a national floral delivery that offers high-quality and beautiful arrangements.  

11 years ago, Christina set out to transform the way we shop for flowers by providing fewer, better options. Today, her beloved brand, which started out of her tiny apartment using $49,000 in savings, has scaled to tens of millions of dollars in revenue – without a single cent from investors. To this day, Farmgirl Flowers remains completely bootstrapped and is recognized for its signature whimsical and eco-conscious designs.

In our conversation, Christina shares what it was like growing up on a soybean farm in rural Indiana, how it shaped her perceptions of gender roles, and why she didn’t end up going to college. We also spend some time discussing the early days of Farmgirl Flowers, some of the biggest challenges she faced (like getting over 100 rejections from investors), and how she built her company into a multimillion-dollar business with no network, no support, and very little money.

Christina’s business journey has required a tremendous amount of resilience and growth. She also shares how she saved Farmgirl Flowers from almost going out of business in COVID, the steps she took to accelerate the growth shortly after & have the most profitable year in the business, and so much more.

In this episode, we'll talk to Christina about:

* Christina’s upbringing on a farm in Indiana and how their view of gender roles meant she could not pursue a college degree. [3:01]

* Christina’s move to San Francisco, why she’s grateful to have worked her way from the bottom to the top, and why college isn’t the right path for everyone. [5:16]

* Why we need to challenge the narrative that women are lucky to turn their hobbies into businesses, while men start businesses based on research. [7:39]

* Common biases among funders and how Christina’s pedigree posed an insurmountable barrier to attracting funding. [8:38]

* The years Christina spent researching different industries, and how she chose to start her company and disrupt the flower delivery industry. [13:59]

* Why Christina’s company needed to be bootstrapped. [16:03]

* How Christina decided to leave her stable job and use 49,000 dollars in savings to build her company. [16:57]

* An early instance where Christina almost had to close down her business, and how she built it back up. [19:49]

* How Christina gained traction and built momentum through word of mouth and very little money. [22:12]

* What sets Farmgirl Flowers apart from other flower delivery companies. [25:44]

* The highly perishable nature of flowers, and the stressful nature of Christina’s supply chain. [27:53]

* How Christina has built resilience and deals with the stress of running her business [29:57]

* Why learning to compartmentalize and create distance from your business takes practice [31:57]

* How COVID forced them to pivot in multiple ways and become a more profitable company. [35:14]

* Why funding doesn’t equal success and the freedom that comes from that. [43:24]

* Christina shares three pieces of top advice for women entrepreneurs. [50:05]

* Some of the exciting plans that Christina has for Farmgirl Flowers. [53:46]

* The importance of paying yourself as an owner and CEO. [55:15]

This episode is brought to you by beeya: 

* Learn more about beeya's seed cycling bundle at to find out how to tackle hormonal imbalances. 

* Get $10 off your order by using promo code BEHINDHEREMPIRE

Follow Christina:

* Instagram:

* Christina's Instagram:

* Website:

More Episodes


Leaving Your Job & Building an Empire on Your Terms with Suneera Madhani, Co-Founder of Stax

Season 2, Ep. 106
Suneera Madhani is the co-founder and CEO of Stax, an innovative tech company that radically simplifies the payment ecosystem.After graduating from college, Suneera decided to work at a consumer goods company and after three years she realized that the corporate world wasn’t for her. She was later recruited by a payment-processing company, and it was then she realized she wanted to do someone on her own.At age 26, without money, an MBA or any corporate leadership experience…and after being laughed out of her then boss’s office, Suneera began building her now billion-dollar company inside her parents’ Orlando home.In 8 years, Suneera raised $245M in venture capital and now leads a team of 300+ employees and is committed to helping fellow women and minorities achieve similar accomplishments in business. She also is also the founder of CEO School, which is a podcast and an 8-week program that helps women become entrepreneurs & CEOs – and is on the mission to change the fact that less than 2% of female founders hit $1 million in revenue… and less than 18% ever hit 6 figures. This needs to change!Suneera gives us the scoop on what it was like to take the leap from a stable corporate job into the uncertainties of entrepreneurship and shares how she manages the ever-looming imposter syndrome to show up as her best self every day.We explore time management and Suneera’s approach to finding work-life integration, rather than balance, and how she manages running her billion-dollar business while still spending quality time with her two young kids. We also talk about what is missing in the business world: practical advocacy for women’s success, and what she believes is required to change that. Join us to hear a wealth of practical advice and wisdom from Suneera’s story of unlikely success and breaking free of the expectations of others to find fulfillment in living a life that's true to you.In this episode, we'll talk to Suneera about:* Breaking free of the expectations of others and living according to who we are instead. [3:35]* How Suneera’s experience as the child of immigrants shaped her approach to business. [6:30]* What led her to use her analytical and creative skills to start Stax at the age of 24. [10:32]* How Stax grew from 5 million in payments the first year to 23 billion in payments per year. [17:08]* Dealing with imposter syndrome in the early days of launching a business. [21:52]* Working to keep your psyche in check and show up as your best self as a CEO. [25:05]* Building habits by repeating activities, and improving with experience. [27:01]* Combatting perfectionism with the philosophy that ‘done is better than perfect’. [30:05]* Suneera’s belief in work life integration when managing family life and her company. [36:40]* The three areas she spends her time on: what she loves, her family, and making an impact. [40:04]* How she manages her time, starting with what she calls Sunday Zoom Out. [41:50]* What sparked Suneera’s idea to start CEO School during the pandemic. [45:10]* The statistic that changed the game for Suneera: only 2% of female founders are breaking a million-dollar revenue. [47:17]* What is missing in the business world: action in advocating for women. [49:12]* Why you should subscribe to the CEO School podcast. [51:10]* Calling listeners to support the female business owners in their lives. [53:10]Follow Suneera:*Instagram:*Stax Website:*CEO School Website:

How to Free Yourself From Self-Doubt & Perfectionism with Jessica Rolph, Co-Founder of Lovevery

Season 2, Ep. 105
Jessica Rolph is the co-founder and CEO of Lovevery, a company that offers products and information which help create developmental experiences in the lives of new babies and families.Jessica is passionate about giving babies the best and healthiest beginning in life. She was a founding partner in her first business, Happy Family, which she helped grow into being one of the top organic baby food companies - which eventually sold to Group Danone. Although she was confident that she was giving her babies the best nutrition, she started to become curious about what each of her three children’s brains was craving.After reading a doctoral thesis on child development, and years of her learning with her own children, Jessica decided to start her second baby company - but this time focused on brain development. Today, Lovevery has over 220,000 active subscribers to their flagship Play Kits program and has shipped well over 1 million Play Kits in the past 12 months, and continues to grow more than 100% year over year.In our interview together, Jessica opens up about how she never thought of herself as an “idea person” when it came to starting a business nor did she think she’d ever be a founder. She shares her journey on how she found purpose in life and landed on creating mission-driven companies with no prior "entrepreneurial" experience. We also talk about her biggest mistakes & lessons she made from her first business and a step-by-step approach to how you should think about fundraising, bringing on co-founders, creating product-market-fit, and so much more.Follow Lovevery:* Website:* Instagram: episode is brought to you by beeya:* Learn more about beeya's seed cycling bundle at to find out how to tackle hormonal imbalances.* Get $10 off your order by using promo code BEHINDHEREMPIREFollow Yasmin:* Instagram:* Stay updated & subscribe to our newsletter:

Step by Step Advice for Anyone Who's Lost or Confused with Gail Federici, Founder of Color Wow

Season 2, Ep. 104
As an industry veteran, Gail Federici was the co-founder and CEO of the iconic brand John Frieda and has leveraged her experience to build her latest venture, Color Wow, a professional hair-care line geared towards color-treated hair.Gail has always put “absolute breakthrough” at the top of her product-creation To-Do list and while the beauty industry is notorious for knockoffs, she has literally zero interest in ever following a path paved by another creator.At John Frieda, Gail was truly the first to design products that were combating frizz, a word that wasn’t even discussed at the time. They eventually sold the business for over $450 million - long before beauty acquisitions were even a common thing.After a few years, bound by a non-compete, Gail eventually launched Color Wow. She another capsule collection of problem-solving products, but this time, specifically or colored hair.In our wide-ranging interview together, we talk about life before her incredible success as an entrepreneur and how she never thought, in a million years, that she’d launch a business on her own. As someone who was always jumping around different jobs and didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life, Gail shares how having twins in her late 30s was the biggest perspective shift for her and what drove a lot of her future success.For anyone lost or looking to find their path, this interview is for you - Gail is so inspiring and graciously shares so many gems for building a meaningful and successful business. We hope you enjoy this one!In this episode, we'll talk to Gail about:* Gail’s story of being a late bloomer and her advice to listeners not to put too much pressure on themselves. [3:11]* Growing up as the oldest, being an avid reader with a love of travel. [6:18]* How becoming a mother of twins in her late 30s changed her perspective on life. [7:33]* The story of how Gail got involved with John Frieda at a hair show. [13:01]* What motivated Yasmin to start her business facilitating a wholefoods approach to period management. [15:23]* How Gail’s search for products for her own hair motivated her to start Frizz-Ease. [18:59]* Why entrepreneurship came as a surprise to Gail. [18:59]* Gail’s experience, never having felt that being a woman was a deterrent to success. [27:36]* The importance of being firm, but not mean, and not to take things personally. [32:04]* Her belief that when you work to make a difference, you end up making money. [37:58]* Collaborating with celebrity stylist Chris Appleton. [44:34]* The big break that happened when Hoda talked about the products on her show. [45:26]* Why her content has fared so well: you can really demonstrate the change it makes. [54:13]* Why it is beneficial to run your company like a small business even if it is a big corporation. [56:02]* Being flexible with your ideas and open to necessary feedback and change. [1:01:12]* Product testing, methods of feedback, and making mistakes in order to progress. [1:06:35]Follow Gail:* Instagram:* Website: episode is brought to you by beeya:* Learn more about beeya's seed cycling bundle at to find out how to tackle hormonal imbalances.* Get $10 off your order by using promo code BEHINDHEREMPIREFollow Yasmin:* Instagram:* Stay updated & subscribe to our newsletter: