The multimillion-dollar flower upstart that doesn’t really f*ck with roses.
Pretty bouquets and potted plants did roughly $34.8 billion in retail sales last year. It’s a surprisingly massive industry dominated by a single publicly-traded company…
However, as successful as 1–800-flowers.com is, they still only control a small $1.24 billion sliver of the pie, leaving the remaining $33 billion chunk completely up for grabs.
The companies that will have a shot at bagging the rest of this ooey-gooey fruit-filled decadence will be those that actually have a brand.
(Fortunately for the upstarts I’m about to name drop down below, “1–800-Flowers” hasn’t set the bar too high in this department.)
Let’s start with The Sill.
In the world of potted plants, The Sill has done a lovely job of crafting just an absolutely brilliant brand. They sport an Instagram that would make any influencer drool and a horticulture blog that teaches folks everything they need to know about being good plant parents.
But, The Sill operates entirely in the “potted plant” space…
Which, by the way, if anyone from The Sill is reading this right now, you should start a sister bouquet business called “The Trim”.
(If you want to hear my thoughts, you know where to find me.)
Currently, there are two players I’m digging in the bouquet space. The first goes by the name of Farm Girl Flowers. I like their founder, Christina Stembel, and her chutzpah.
In an interview she did with Yahoo Finance she made a surprising comment…
“Young people don’t want red roses and baby’s breath.”
(To be honest, I’m not sure why anyone would want a flower called baby’s breath, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Stembel and her bouquet slingers have managed to build a multi-million dollar online flower business by massively eliminating waste and selling the flowers “nobody wants”.
While most companies operate at 40%, Stembel’s operates at just 2%. They also do a lot of Instagram-worthy shit like housing their flowers in signature burlap bags, which might partially attest to their 400,000 person following.
Now, besides Farm Girl Flowers, another rising star is The Bouqs, who appeared on Shark Tank and later went on to raise $74 million in capital.
While their brand feels a bit cluttered to me, they’re doing something interesting in playing in the space between The Sill and Farm Girl Flowers.
They also offer subscriptions on their cut flowers. Something I can’t decide is genius or just too much.
I imagine if a girl got roses on the first Monday of every month from her beloved, sooner or later she’d realize something fishy was going on.
But, who the fuck knows.
Now, all that said, here’s where I’m at with this industry and the marketing taking place in it…
I like The Sill and Farm Girl Flowers because they’re mostly bootstrapped.
Steve Schlafman — one hell of a last name, Steve — had the following to say about his wife, the founder and CEO of The Sill.
(Which, I agree with wholeheartedly.)
I think that’s where I want to leave this article.
The Davids that will beat the shit out of the Goliaths in the years to come will be the ones that craft brilliant brands, focus on the customer and stay frugal; the ones that have the tenacity to cut back their waste from 40% to 2%.
But, as always, I digress.
By Cole Schafer
P.S. This article I wrote on Dollar Shave Club is worth a read if you enjoyed the above.
Originally published at https://www.honeycopy.com on May 20, 2020.