This week we speak to Philomena Kwok, founder of Bloombox Co. Philomena’s floral subscription service delivers farm-fresh Aussie flowers direct to consumers’ doors across Melbourne and Sydney. With minimal waste and a low environmental footprint, blooms are delivered in compostable cardboard boxes with the stems freshly picked and hand packed.
ISB: How did the idea for what would become Bloombox Co. come about?
PK: The idea for Bloombox Co came about seven years ago after seeing a Facebook post written by an old friend. She’d tagged her husband and bemoaned the fact that she couldn’t justify buying herself flowers. Which of course, she could! But the industry wasn’t, and still isn’t, geared that way. It sparked an urge to figure out how to deliver that uplifting feeling of being around and getting beautiful blooms, without them needing to be a gift or about external validation. Particularly for women!
While of course we make a great gift, we are, first and foremost, zeroed in on making spaces and people feel great. The lion’s share of our customers are buying for themselves, which makes us so incredibly happy.
ISB: What was the biggest challenge you faced getting the enterprise off the ground and how did you overcome it?
PK: One of the biggest challenges is related to the above response. Because flowers are primarily seen as a gift product, it’s taken a lot of customer education to teach them about how flowers fit into your self-care routine and lifestyle. It’s taken years of messaging, a dedication to content and, frankly, timing for the idea to really resonate. There are no shortcuts, but we know that respite, self care and scheduling in those feel-good experiences like brightening your home with flowers is more important than ever.
ISB: How do you ensure a good working relationship with the flower growers you work with?
PK: We ensure we pay growers fairly for amazing product and stay in sync with what’s going on at their ends, too. For instance, last year we worked with one grower to move hundreds of bunches of storm damaged stock after a freak storm ripped through their farm. The flowers themselves were perfect, but too short for the commercial market. It’s one way we were able to help support one of our growers and avoid thousands of flowers from going to waste.
ISB: I understand environmental sustainability is very important to you – how does that manifest itself in your day-to-day operations?
PK: Sustainability is baked right into our business model. We are dedicated to generating low-to-no-waste and source for every single order, rather than holding inventory. Our focus is on local, seasonal flowers that make a space feel great rather than offering specific flower varieties on demand. Offering endless selection means that you’re often generating enormous amounts of waste. We also only use Australian grown blooms and proudly use 100 per cent recyclable and compostable packaging.
ISB: What is your vision for the development of Bloombox Co. in the next couple of years?
PK: We’re focused on innovation and creating the best flower experience possible, for both our customers and the industry. We’ll be servicing new markets with fresh, on trend flowers – without the guilt of adding to your carbon footprint – around Australia and beyond. We’ll be known as the flower brand focused on making spaces (and the people in them) feel great with fresh flowers.
ISB: And, finally, what is the #1 lesson you’ve learnt on your journey you’d share with others looking to start their own business?
PK: It’s a total cliche, but remember that you can’t do it on your own. Seek and take all the help you can get in bringing your vision to life. The journey is faster, more exciting and fulfilling when you’re not doing it on your own.