Flower power

How a Tennessee entrepreneur built a business around vintage Volkswagen trucks

Around Nashville, Amelia’s Flower Truck is a sight begging for a social-media share: a trio of rare Volkswagen trucks in fashionable colors, sporting artfully arranged buckets of blooms in their fold-down beds. Owner Mattie Bush simply calls the trucks by their names: Amy, Rory and Melody.

It’s an auspicious start for a six-month-old business. Bush, 25, knew she wanted to set out on her own, but found herself at a crossroads, and wasn’t sure quite what direction to take.

Bush was considering opening a café and flower shop, until inspiration struck.

Mattie Bush and Amelia's Flowers
Photo by Leslee Mitchell

“I was out driving Klaus, my 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, and I saw a man selling produce from the back of his truck on the side of the road and thought, ‘what a simple, wonderful way to contribute,’” she said. “That’s when it clicked – boom, a flower truck! I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

As the idea for Amelia’s Flower Truck took shape, Bush knew she needed a truck with a big personality. Her dad sent her a photo of a Volkswagen Transporter pickup, a variant of the classic VW Bus and a rarity in the United States, given Volkswagen stopped importing them in the early 1970s.

Bush searched high and low online until she found what she was looking for – an Agave Green, beautifully restored 1962 Volkswagen Transporter from a seller in California – and immediately snapped it up. “It was love at first sight,” she said.

“I always loved the name Amelia, and did not want to put my own name on the business,” Bush said, adding that Amy is a nickname for Amelia. “Volkswagens have so much personality; they beg for names. Most people who see me on the street or online immediately ask me if I’ve given them names yet. I love that they just assume they’ll have names.”

Amelia’s Flower Truck parks in neighborhoods and in front of businesses across Nashville with the mission to make buying flowers beautiful, easy and enjoyable. Bush sources flowers from local farms and a local wholesaler, and has a growing social media following, keeping her community informed of her daily locations through social media. She receives feedback on her mobile flower shop from people all over the world, and also has a full schedule of wedding and event appearances.

She attributes her success to the support of her family and the Volkswagen Transporters.

Photo by Leslee Mitchell
Photo by Leslee Mitchell

“The greatest joy of what I do is the community that this creates,” she said. “That has a lot to do with Volkswagen. Young people and old alike are all attracted to the Volkswagen, and they want to share their stories with me. That’s all because of Volkswagen and how universal those cars are.”

To expand her reach, Bush has recently purchased two additional trucks, including Rory, a dove-blue 1962 Transporter that has some rust around the edges, and her newest purchase, a white 1965 Transporter that she named Melody.

As for the toughest challenge, she’s already overcome one of them. “When I first got Amy, I was so excited until I realized I had no clue how to drive stick. My dad came to the rescue and taught me to drive. Now, I love it, and love the response we get everywhere I go.”

Learn more and follow Amelia’s Flower Truck on her next adventures here.