Hiring and Growth

Not Your Grandma’s Flowers: How BloomThat Disrupts The Business Of Bouquets

Steffi Wu Former Communications Lead, Gusto 
Not Your Grandma's Flowers: How BloomThat Disrupts The Business Of Bouquets

Described as “Uber-for-flowers” by TechCrunch, BloomThat’s on a mission to deliver ridiculously fast and awesome curated bouquets of flowers — and occasionally bacon, which they had on offer for Father’s Day.

Giving gifts should be fun, but Matthew Schwab, David Bladow and Chad Powell found ordering flowers so not fun that they felt something needed to be done about it. The three launched BloomThat in the San Francisco Bay area last year.

“We found that most people send flowers only on special occasions, if even that often, which really wasn’t much of a surprise to us,” Schwab recently told me. “Not only is sending flowers expensive, with bouquets that are kind of boring, but you’re out of luck if you want to send them at the last minute — which happens. A lot.”

BloomThat aims to simplify everything — from the process, to the selection, to the look and feel of the blooms they deliver. It’s a philosophy that seems to work: “Our customers typically order two bouquets in their first 60 days,” Schwab said, and the reviews on their Yelp page prove their growing legion of petal-loving fans.

Because sending flowers should be fun

headshot-matt

BloomThat was inspired by the founder’s own relationships. Ordering flowers is often too expensive to be spontaneous, Schwab explained, and that’s before the fees and upcharges that show up during the ordering process.

Plus, he found that delivery was slow and the selection often wasn’t what he was looking for. “A lot of bouquets look like something my grandmother would have picked — which is perfect for her, but not what I’d want to send to my girlfriend,” Schwab said.

They decided that the industry was ready for a revolution. Looking at the process from the ground up, BloomThat aims to make it much simpler.

  • It’s easy and fast to order online or by app
  • Bouquet selection is curated (their site currently features six)
  • Prices start at $35
  • There’s free delivery within 90 minutes (in their delivery area)
  • The presentation is fresh and non-traditional

“We want to make flowers fun and break down the notion that flowers are only for holidays or special delivery,” said Schwab. “Because of our price point, aesthetic, and speed, we’ve found that people are finding new ways or reasons to send flowers through us.”

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Have your own startup? You need to find your “turning point”

BloomThat is growing, even looking toward expansion with their latest round of funding. But taking on the billion dollar flower industry is a lot of work, and Schwab says they quickly learned they needed to be prepared.

“As you grow, you have to start giving up control; as founders, we have to constantly bring on people who are better than us,” said Schwab. “Sometimes, that can be difficult; you want to do it all, but realistically you have to trust other people. Otherwise you can never scale.”

They currently have 15 full-time staff and contractors, with a bunch of part-time support to help with assembly and delivery. Each one of those people is changing the way people think about sending flowers — including potential investors.

“Interacting with our customers, it’s neat to see the shift — the turning point — when the idea clicks,” said Schwab. “We had one investor who was really skeptical. Then he had The Moment: I hopped on my phone, sent flowers via the app, and was done in 60 seconds. He looked at me and said, ‘I totally get it, I totally get it.'”

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Tools that help BloomThat keep it simple

“Simplicity drives everything we do, from how we run our business to the experience we want our customers to have,” Schwab said. While it’s a philosophy that obviously resonates with their customers, tools like Gusto keep the back end running smoothly.

Fall in love with modern payroll

“The less time I have to spend in the back office, the more time and energy I can put into the things that matter: our product and the experience,” Schwab said.

“We started with another payroll product, but realized as we grew that we need more insight into what was going on — especially with contractors,” Schwab recalled.

“We need to be able to onboard quickly, contractors in particular, and Gusto makes that process really easy. Paying our employees and contractors is really easy, too: I don’t have to do anything except set them up.”

In addition to Gusto, the BloomThat team is a fan of Asana, Twilio, Google Docs, Ring Central, Stripe and UberConference.

The quest for simplicity drives a lot of innovation today — including here at Gusto. A big shout-out to Matt and the team at BloomThat for sharing how it’s influenced them!

Updated: November 1, 2019

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