In crises-weary Lebanon, people can now gift bouquets of cash instead of flowers

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Three years into Lebanon’s financial meltdown, entrepreneur Tamara Hariri started a new online business selling bouquets made out of money bills.

The 30-year-old said she started her cash bouquet concept a little more than a month ago, in an attempt to offer an alternative for highly-priced flowers in the cash-strapped country. It also gives those who want to help friends and relatives with cash a gift idea that is more acceptable to receive, Hariri said.

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“I believe this is very important in Lebanon, maybe that’s where the idea came from, to help each other, start having gifts, money that can help people. People may sometimes get hurt when taking money, they don’t like it. But when it is presented in this beautiful way, they will like it,” she added.

Hariri and those who help her have made about fifty bouquets a month, usually around two a day.

A small bouquet can take them between thirty minutes and an hour to complete – with more complicated themed ones needing more time.

Their bouquets are made out of Lebanese pounds or US dollar bills – but more caution is paid when dealing with the hard currency. They request clients to send their own US dollar bills as they fear counterfeits and gently deal with those bills as their value increase compared to the Lebanese pound.

Hariri said their prices depending on the size of the bouquet and amount of cash used in it - but they usually make between four and $10 in profit.

Lebanon has been rocked by what the World Bank has described as one of the worst economic crises recorded.

The meltdown has marked Lebanon's most destabilising crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, sinking the currency by more than 90 percent, plunging about three-quarters of the population into poverty, and freezing savers out of their bank deposits.

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