July 6, 2015
No one goes into to the florist industry for the money. Florists are passionate about what they do. They should be seen as craftspeople and their work should be taken seriously. The big companies in the industry (think FTD, Teleflora, 1800Flowers) that dole out work to local florists are not only stifling their creativity, but killing their businesses. BloomNation is a flower marketplace that lets local florists showcase and sell their unique designs. Think of it as Etsy for flowers.
I chatted recently with BloomNation co-founder Farbod Shoraka. We touched upon their business model, long term vision for BloomNation, and specifically how his company is helping to empower small florists by offering them a platform to market their creations.
Shoraka started the company with two friends back in 2011. He claims that none of the founders had any knowledge of the flower industry, but they could clearly see the ways that it was broken. Rather than forcing florists to re-create stock designs like the big flower delivery companies do, they wanted to offer a platform where small florists could sell their own stuff. BloomNation acts as the middleman by providing these florists with a larger online presence, and by taking care of the order and delivery side.
Some of his proudest moments come from hearing the personal stories of the florists they’ve helped, Shoraka explains. He told me of several florists who were on the verge of going out of business, or unable to make their next rent payment, before partnering with BloomNation. To know that they are actively helping small business owners thrive, is part of what drives them.
Some would argue that the mom & pop shop is dying. I would argue that small businesses are growing. I mean, aren’t all startups technically small businesses? Entrepreneurship is more enticing than ever as more tools and resources become available. The sharing economy has also played a role in more people leaving miserable jobs and going into business for themselves. BloomNation is one of many companies trying to empower small businesses by offering them tools for success.
BloomNation has been constantly growing since 2011 and they currently have over 3000 florists on their platform. Last fall they raised $5.5M in a Series A Round.
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