Local company sends cheer a flocking
A winged migration is bringing some unusual birds to yards throughout the Portland metro area; someone is stealthily delivering 'flocks' of plastic pink flamingos to commemorate birthdays, graduations and more.
Think Pink Flamingo Flocking will celebrate its two-year anniversary in March, having flocked more than 500 homes throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Co-founders Robin Posen and Wendy Ettelson said they would like to reach their goal of 1,000 flockings by the end of 2012.
And no two flockings of flamingo yard ornaments are alike, they said.
Think Pink's home base is the Portland-Hillsboro area, and they have three more flockers based around St. Paul and Woodburn; Keizer and Salem; and Ridgefield and Vancouver, Wash. The company covers a large area in between - including West Linn and Lake Oswego.
The price of flocking varies per occasion, and the company can accommodate a range of budgets. It also offers an adoption program, in which you can 'adopt' a flamingo for $10, and $2 will be donated to breast cancer research.
Posen and Ettelson said their original stockpile of two flocks has grown to 15 - 375 flamingos in all.
'We take good care of our flamingos, and they are like an extension of our family, as they are housed in our garages and thus take one car space,' they wrote.
With children still in school, flocking is not their full-time job - Posen is a full-time mom and volunteer and Ettelson is a substitute teacher through the Hillsboro School District.
'Basically our days just got busier and our nights a little longer,' they wrote, 'but (they are) always fun and (there is) never a dull moment.'
We asked Posen and Ettelson a few questions about their fly-by-night business; here are their responses:
Claire Oliver: How did you come up with the idea for your company?
Think Pink: It was first used many years ago as a fundraiser for schools or churches. We were two busy moms (who have) had kids at the same school since kindergarten and had put in many hours of carnival setup and our share of school fundraising. We now needed to raise money for our growing kids for various sports, and we wanted to do something fun.
We were at a beach house in Lincoln City and tossed ideas around (about a) party planner- catering service and then, (thought) 'Yeah! Why not flamingo flocking?'
At first we were just laughing so hard and coming up with all kinds of funny verbiage about being 'Flocked' or 'Flamingo'd.' The next thing we knew, within two weeks we had created and printed our brochure, researched and received our first flocks of flamingos and already had a couple of orders placed. We were up and running.
Who would have thought that this would make so many people happy?
CO: Why flamingos?
Think Pink: They are fun, cheerful and easy to store and the more the merrier.
CO: What occasions typically call for flockings?
Think Pink: The most popular requests we get are (for) birthday flockings, and by far the most booked holiday is Mother's Day. We are busy all year long, figuring that it has to be because we have come up with the cutest outfits or hats for most occasions.
Valentine's Day we have hearts and roses to adorn our flocks. (For) graduations we have grad hats with tassels; (for) Christmas there are reindeer antlers, red bows and 'Santa-mingos.' We've done many (flocks for) weddings, anniversaries, Halloween, Easter, St. Patrick's Day … Fourth of July, and random act of kindness - and yes, we have hats or costumes for each of these.
We also offer small businesses the service of keeping track of their employees' birthday(s). … (And) we now offer flocking service for inside businesses and apartments. For this, we flock with some small flamingos in flowerpots, along with some large flamingos.
CO: How does the flocking process work?
Think Pink: You call or email us. Email is sometimes a little faster. We need the recipients name, address, the occasion of the flocking, the date, (and whether to flock) day or night. We also laminate a greeting for each flockee such as, 'Melody, Happy Birthday from the whole flock that loves you!' We do attach a small flamingo memento to the sign, and the recipient keeps the sign. We leave the flock for two sleeps (nights) then go back and sneak them away as quietly as they arrived.
CO: Have you ever flocked the wrong address?
Think Pink: Yes. Once all the way across Portland toward the Troutdale area, we flocked and came home to a message that we had flocked the wrong yard. The person who had ordered this figured out that she gave us the wrong address, and they went and moved the birds two streets over. She and her friends had a blast re-flocking and all was great! At least we knew where to pick them up.
Another time, a sister flocking her sister and forgot she had moved. Yeah, you got it, we flocked the old address the people living there called and said thanks for the super cute flocking; however the person doesn't live there. Luckily, the new address was only a few blocks away, and the flock quietly migrated to the new location.
CO: What is your most memorable flocking to date?
Think Pink: We flocked a 94-year-old women - of course with 94 birds. This was to be an early morning flocking, as she was known to sleep in.
Well, needless to say when we arrived, she was awake and sitting in her front room. She was on oxygen and we didn't want to startle her, so we did knock on her door and told her we heard that it was her 94th birthday and that we had a delivery for her and asked her to try not to watch what we were doing. …
Her neighbors had come out to take pictures of us flocking and said that this was the funniest thing they have ever seen. They had told us that they keep an eye on the lady and were just wondering what we were doing. When we went back a couple of days later, our birthday lady was sad to see them go and she mentioned that she took one as a memory. …. I looked at my partner and we both just said 'Happy birthday.' When we left, we almost said at the same time, bless her heart, if she made it to 94 then she can keep the bird as a memory. …
We have shed many tears of happiness. We have flocked many cancer survivors, and we will often get an email, card or a call thanking us for making their day and cheering them up.
Homes Editor Nicole DeCosta contributed to this report.