Kellie Brown, founder of startup flower delivery service Fig & Bloom, shows her peers how to turn a childhood passion into a blooming business model.
Melbourne-based startup Fig & Bloom has blossomed into the fresh flower market with its online subscription-based flower delivery service that allows customers to sign up for weekly, fortnightly or monthly deliveries of fresh flowers.
The roots of the company lie with founder Kellie Brown, who after finding herself being made redundant, used her newfound freedom to develop a business around a childhood passion. Fig & Bloom is perfect for time-poor flower enthusiasts who want to be able to create their own arrangements and have them delivered quickly.
Since launching last month in Melbourne, Brown is finding flourishing uptake of the delivery service. However, delivery of perishable items can sometimes prove challenging, as seen with other startups like Field and Flower and HelloFresh.
Power Retail chatted to Brown about how the concept came into fruition, what tools have helped to bed down the model, and what lies ahead for this subscription-based business venture.
Launched: February 2015
Point of difference: Online flower delivery subscription service
Tell us a bit about Fig and Bloom’s beginnings. What attracted you to start Fig & Bloom? Why a subscription model?
The concept of Fig and Bloom started at a party while chatting to friends about successful business models. A subscription model was one of them. We were considering all the possibilities out there for subscription businesses. My friends and I love to buy flowers on a weekly basis for the home. It was then I realised the gap in the market for delivering interesting flowers by subscription.
Having said that, it’s not just about subscription – it’s also about choice. At Fig & Bloom, we offer our customers choice. There were so many other florists arranging pre-made bouquets but at Fig & Bloom you choose what goes into your bouquets and we arrange them accordingly.
How long did it take to bring the concept to market? When did it launch and what has the growth been like to date?
From concept to our first customer took two weeks. Our biggest sales market has been customers buying a bundle of flowers for their desks at work. For those arriving at the office early, skipping lunch breaks and working back late, it’s a perfect little treat. Our marketing growth has been relatively strong – we have a following of over 1,200 Instagram followers in just three weeks. We’ve found people just love the idea. I mean, who doesn’t love flowers?
What technical tools have helped you to cement the Fig & Bloom model?
The site was built using Squarespace because of the platform’s powerful visual content management system. It also comes with Stripe payments integration, making it easy to set up payments. We’ve also integrated Mailchimp as our email marketing solution, making email capture and lead generation simple.
Asana, a cloud-based project management tool, was used to keep track of everything that needed to be done to launch the business. The Asana plugin, Instagantt, enabled us to monitor due dates and set clear timelines for the most important tasks, prioritising the highest value and most important activities first.
Are you doing any specific marketing that’s working for you?
We use Instagram and to a smaller degree, Facebook. We’ve found people are more engaged with the visuals on Instagram. Our customers like, comment, tag their friends and regram. Facebook is now working on a different business model where you need to pay for promotion. We’re not interested in doing that at this stage, so we’re focusing more on Instagram as our primary social portal.
We use Crowdfire to grow followers by finding similar companies and engaging with their followers. Copy Followers shows which users are more active and therefore more likely to follow back if they find the service interesting and genuine. We also use Iconosquare to understand key metrics on Instagram and provide insights like most liked photos, average number of likes and comments, and growth follower charts.
Have you had any challenges around logistics?
Flowers are sourced from our local markets and delivered directly to subscribers. We have encountered a few challenges around logistics but we’re slowly learning the ropes and building a network of suppliers. We’ve been able to troubleshoot everything so far, and have met our customers’ expectations.
Coming from a background in the fashion industry, I’ve been able to leverage my contacts to help out and offer a range of options. Deliveries are made before 4.30pm and we offer our customers delivery windows and plan a route accordingly to ensure flowers aren’t waiting on doorsteps. We’re currently at a size where we can work with our customers to plan the best time for delivery, and most are workplace deliveries.
What’s the future hold for Fig & Bloom?
We see exciting things for Fig & Bloom’s future. Building and getting to know our customers and continuing to be a reliable service is something we’re focused on. We love enhancing space through interesting flowers.
We currently deliver to Melbourne metro areas but we’ll be extending into Sydney metro areas shortly and within the next six months hope to be in each of the capital cities. We’ll be sticking to our core product of beautiful, in-season, unusual flowers as the market is already saturated with run-of-the-mill products. We’d like to keep things clean and concise and offer something you can’t find everywhere else.
So far, it’s been a fun learning curve, different to the fashion industry and offers something that everyone seems to be really on board and supportive with.