BloomNation is known as “the Etsy for flowers.” It is the world’s largest online flower marketplace that allows you to shop directly with top artisan florists and their original creations in over 3,000 cities nationwide. All photos on BloomNation are of the florists’ actual work; stock images aren’t permitted. In addition, consumers receive a BloomSnap, which is a photo of the bouquet before it’s been delivered to ensure what was ordered is what will be received.
Today, Farbod Shoraka, Cofounder and CEO of BloomNation introduces us to a business that has been progressively proving out their business model to one day be a brand name in the $34B flower market.
How is it different?
- The arrangements on BloomNation are of artisan florists’ original and one-of-a-kind designs.
- Stock photos aren’t allowed on the site.
- You’ll receive a BloomSnap, which is a photo of your completed order before anything’s hand delivered to ensure that “what you see is what you’ll get.”
- You can call the florist directly with any questions or changes (i.e. changing the delivery date if something comes up) so there’s 100% transparency between you and the florist.
- BloomNation offers same day hand delivery (i.e. no bouquet is stuffed into a tiny box and left on the doorstep).
- Your arrangement is already cut and uniquely designed upon arrival.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
As a $34 billion industry and with an outdated business model, the flower sector is ripe for disruption. BloomNation is fixing the issues that have hurt both the consumer and the florist.
What is the business model?
Consumers go to BloomNation, type in the zip code they’re looking to send flowers to, and they’ll find the local florists and their original designs that are available. Consumers will only see images of the florists’ actual work so they will not be misled by stock images. In addition, BloomNation provides BloomSnaps, which are photos of the completed order before anything’s hand delivered (no more flowers in a box!) just to ensure that “what you see is what you’ll get.” There’s 100% transparency between you and the florist where you’re able to compare local florists’ reviews, styles and prices all in one place.
BloomNation is also B2B focused and provides local florists with customized websites, 90% of each sale made through BloomNation, e-marketing tools, various PR and marketing opportunities and a professional floral photo shoot to use for their website and their BloomNation page. There are no contracts, no monthly fees and local florists get to promote their original designs rather than display arrangements created by other flower sites.
Other sites in the flower industry are just wire services, meaning that when consumers order from those sites, the order gets wired to a local florist in the recipient’s area. In essence, they are “floral brokers”. The consumer has no idea where the order is getting wired to (meaning it could be a florist with a one star average on Yelp or a five star average). The images on said wire services are just stock images of very basic, cookie-cutter designs. Local florists are just following a recipe to create the arrangement without getting the opportunity to promote and sell their original creations as well as losing the ability promote their small business. These florists may not even have those flowers or the vase consumers fell in love with. There’s no way for the florist to contact the consumer to give them the heads up, which is why the 100% transparency through BloomNation is so valuable.
In addition, if consumers do want to shop directly with a local florist, order gatherers can easily trick them while searching various sites online. These are flower sites that look like they’re local florists, but they’re not. A consumer will order from the order gatherer, thinking it’s a local florist, and that order then gets sold at a discount to a real local florist — taking away business the local florist would be making if order gatherers were not swarming the Internet. This is why BloomNation’s marketplace exists – so there’s one site to find all real, artisan florists around the country.
What are the most popular types of flowers on the platform?
The most popular flowers on the platform are consistently roses. There are specific seasons, however, in which peonies become all the rage — mostly because their window of seasonality is very tight.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Our main milestones in the next six months are to hit a run rate of $45mm in annual revenue while adding more amazing floral designers and their unique floral arrangements from across the country.
How has your experience been with fund-raising?
Generally we have been lucky enough to have access to almost every investor we wanted to connect with, but If I had to pick one investor it would be Peter Thiel. I was always intrigued by his involvement in Facebook and think he would be a great guy to share a whiskey with and listen to some stories.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
I grew up in LA and so did my two co-founders, David Daneshgar and Gregg Weisstein, so LA is home for us. Starting our company anywhere else wasn’t even a thought; we love the fact that BloomNation is one of the big start-ups in Silicon Beach and that we are helping to push the LA tech scene forward. The LA tech community is very supportive and we love being part of that.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
The best way to promote LA tech startups is to help bring great engineering talent down to LA. In order to do that, we need great companies to be started here and have more Valley VCs investing in LA companies.
What’s your favorite after work activity in Los Angeles?
My favorite after work activity in LA would have to be walking right outside our office and watching the sunset at Santa Monica Beach. After a long day, nothing relaxes me more than seeing a magnificent view.