Launch date: 2018
Category: A start-up committed to offering customers farm fresh flowers to avoid waste and support the local industry.
Here’s what you need to know:
Co-founders Stefan Muff and Alec Ramsey launched Floraly three years ago to challenge the traditional flower supply chain and create a more sustainable way of selling to customers.
The Floraly team collects online orders overnight and sources flowers directly from local growers and wholesalers every morning to match demand specifications. This is in contrast to typical florists, where they stock flowers in advance, waiting to be ordered.
“This means that wonderful bouquets are more affordable and arrive in bud so that they last longer. There are no flowers that are discarded before being enjoyed,” Ramsey told Inside Retail.
“We’re always looking for ways to be more and more sustainable. Thirty per cent of all flowers go directly to landfill, rather than being enjoyed in homes and workplaces across the country. The method of getting only the exact amount of flowers ordered helps avoid waste.”
Floraly’s bouquets are delivered flat-packed, making them both sustainable and easy to transport. Unlike typical bouquets, they are not pre-arranged, there are no plastic wraps or elastic ties holding the flowers in place.
According to Muff, overall, the flower industry really struggled with the downgrading and cancellation of events at the peak of the pandemic, so the positive growth in Floraly’s sales last year blew them away.
“There were quite a number of orders from overseas — people who had hoped to be visiting relatives in the first eight months of 2020,” he said. “During the second wave in Melbourne, there was an increase in sunflower deliveries across the state. It is wonderful to think that those beautiful, smiling flowers were helping people get through what was a tough time.”
He added that in the leadup to Christmas, site visits increased. Sales were up 650 per cent in 2020.
According to Ramsey, 2020 also reminded them how important it is to support local growers.
“We’re expanding our connections with flower farmers and looking forward to a bigger year next year,” he said.
This year, Ramsey said they plan to open a fulfillment centre in Melbourne and later, they might expand in international markets like Asia.
“Beyond Covid, we recognise that working from home will continue to be a reality for many,” he said. “We’re hoping that we can encourage people to have beautiful flowers in their homes, to keep these domestic workplaces joyful.”
Founders: Sergi Bastardas, Andrés Cester and Marc Olmedillo
Launch date: 2017
Category: An online florist that offers a wide range of bouquets at accessible prices.
Colvin Co. is an online flower marketplace where consumers can buy flowers straight from the growers, taking out the middlemen and leaving Colvin as the only intermediary.
“Our commitment to working directly and without intermediaries with our trusted farmers means that they give us the best flowers to make each Colvin that leaves our workshops special,” Cester said.
Last year, Colvin announced it saw an increase in year-over-year sales last year and delivery volumes worth $1 million in a single day.
According to co-founder Andrés Cester, their farmers are the origin of everything in the business and he is proud to work with producers who don’t use harmful chemicals and care about the environment.
“For this reason, we are committed to working directly with them so that they can continue to care for their fields in which they plant,” he said.
While Colvin currently sells direct-to-consumer in order to help them build the supply from growers, in the future, the plan is to also build out their sales to flower wholesalers, who in turn, will sell to retailers.
“We’re envisioning the B2B part of the business is going to drive most of the returns and valuation,” Bastardas said.
Colvin recently raised $15 million in Series B funding to digitise its processes and optimise its operations from the producer to any purchaser, rethink its flower supply chain, and strengthen its presence in Italy, Germany and Spain. The company also plans to expand its plants category in the future.
Founder: Whitney Bromberg Hawkings
Launch date: 2016
Category: Online marketplace that sells flowers direct from farmers and growers to customers in Europe.
According to Flowerbx founder, Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, there were times during 2020 that she was considering shutting up shop.
“We lost an insane amount of business and I was like, ‘We are done’. It was the most terrifying moment I’ve ever known. I was planning how I was going to close the company,” she said in an interview with Tempus.
However, while B2B deals may have dried up during the pandemic, there was a surge in the direct-to-consumer side of the business and flower sales went up.
“There were very few pleasures people could enjoy [during lockdown] and, mercifully, flowers were one of them,” Hawkings said. “They give such joy and are symbolic of hope and renewal. I’ve never appreciated them more.”
While Flowerbx customers usually place pick-up orders for special occasions like birthdays and graduations, these events could no longer be celebrated during lockdown.
Sadly, due to the rise of coronavirus-related deaths in the UK, Hawkings witnessed distressed families attending funerals without flowers as a result of physical store closures, so she developed a sympathy, condolence and funeral range. Flowerbx offers complimentary standard delivery on all orders from the collection, which can be sent to funeral homes, churches or family homes.
In the later part of the year, business began returning to normal at Flowerbx and orders from hotels and restaurants resumed.
One of the boldest moves Hawkings did at the height of the pandemic was launching Flowerbx on the US East Coast and she now has plans to take her brand internationally as quickly as possible.
“Every single florist was closed and I was like, ‘We have to do this’,” she shared.
“I feel more confident than I’ve ever been that our offering is right but the challenge is not over yet. It was key [for our concept to be] a chic alternative to Interflora, and [it] differentiates us from being a florist, knowing you could send flowers anywhere in the world and they would be beautiful. A lot of us are international; we don’t want to be constantly on the phone looking for the best florist in Tunbridge Wells or Paris.”