Bloom & Wild is a UK start-up ready to take its online flower delivery service international. First step: Ireland.
“Bloom & Wild is using technology to re-imagine flowers,” said co-founder and CEO Aron Gelbard with a bold opening statement. Whoever thought technology could take on the world of floristry, after all?
“Our ambition is to make sending and receiving flowers the joy that it should be and, in doing so, to become Europe’s most-loved flower brand,” Gelbard elaborated.
How Bloom & Wild hopes to achieve all this is through its online service, accessible by app (iOS and Android) or by website. Using this platform, Gelbard said customers can order flowers in well under a minute, but the real USP is in how the floral gift is received.
Across the UK and now in Ireland, Bloom & Wild delivers bouquets through the letterbox, making receiving flowers as easy as getting a letter. Every flat-packed flower package is sent in-bud, which preserves freshness and allows customers to enjoy each bouquet to its fullest potential.
‘Our ambition is to make sending and receiving flowers the joy that it should be and, in doing so, to become Europe’s most-loved flower brand’
– ARON GELBARD, BLOOM & WILD
“Our bouquets are trend-led, being the first florist to create a constantly changing range at scale as ‘fast fashion for flowers’,” said Gelbard.
If you were wondering, the key trends for this summer were brights, tropics and – according to Gelbard – “fashion’s favourite flower, peonies”.
Before blossoming as an entrepreneur, Gelbard worked as a management consultant, advising technology, retail and consumer products companies at Bain & Company, having previously worked at Google and OC&C.
“I always wanted to start my own company and make the most of having had the chance to learn from some of the leading companies in these fields,” he said.
An Oxford and Harvard graduate, Gelbard has good reason for entering the European flower market, which he said is worth €20bn and suffering from fragmentation.
“A good 30pc of that market is flower gifting, and that’s our focus. We think there needs to be a modern brand with technology at its core that delivers a great gifting experience for both flower buyers and recipients.”
‘We think there needs to be a modern brand with technology at its core that delivers a great gifting experience for both flower buyers and recipients’
– ARON GELBARD, BLOOM & WILD
Gelbard assures that there’s plenty of technology behind Bloom & Wild, yet the service experience harks back to a bygone era.
“One thing we’re really excited about is making the shopping experience as simple and relevant as possible for each of our customers. We’ve built our proprietary engine that looks at the data we have on each customer and presents an appropriate set of products in the right order for the customer in question,” he said.
“50 years ago, if you visited a shop, the shopkeeper would know you, understand why you’d come into their shop, and want to offer you something that’s just right for you. We want to bring this to the mobile age.”
The strength of this classic customer experience lies in the combination of complex curation in the back and a simplified user-facing experience.
“We are really committed to having a simple range of flowers that makes it really easy for our customers to explore and shop on their mobiles. This means that every bouquet we offer needs to have something special about it and really appeal to our customers,” said Gelbard.
“We’re trying to get even better at interpreting trends and designing the right bouquets that our customers will love. We look to seasonal flowers for this, but also to popular culture. Our range this summer has been inspired by brights and tropics, which we’ve seen cascade down from runways to high streets – from Chanel’s cruise collection happening in Cuba to Mac’s summer collection flaunting neon flamingos.”
Founded in 2013, Bloom & Wild was quick to raise seed funding, followed by a £2.5m Series A round in 2015. “We’re well capitalised for now, but always thinking through how we can take the company to the next level,” said Gelbard.
The ultimate goal for the company is to become the go-to gift service on a mobile device across Europe and beyond.
“We experience emotional triggers every day on our mobiles – Facebook birthday reminders, WhatsApp notifications, and such like. If it’s easy to tap on the Bloom & Wild app and act on that emotional trigger in seconds, and know that you’ll be presented with a small selection of relevant gifts for you and your recipient that you can order in just a couple of taps, then we think we’ll make people’s lives more joyous and more connected to those they care about.”
The demand is there and Gelbard is really excited about his company’s progress. “We’ve been going for three years in the UK and have hundreds of thousands of customers. We’re the top-rated online florist in the UK across every major review platform,” he said.
‘We’ve been going for three years in the UK and have hundreds of thousands of customers. We’re the top-rated online florist in the UK across every major review platform’
– ARON GELBARD, BLOOM & WILD
Happy with the UK market’s growth, the next step brings Bloom & Wild to Ireland – its first international play. “[We] are hopeful that we’ll be able to offer a similarly positive experience to our Irish customers.”
Gelbard sees Ireland as a standard-bearing ‘tech nation’. “There’s a huge amount of technical talent as a result of education, a pan-European workforce and the draw of lots of large tech companies,” he said. “It’s great to see this ecosystem starting to translate into an exciting start-up scene.”
Of course, Ireland is now seen as a land of opportunity to UK entrepreneurs for other reasons. “Concerns in the UK over Brexit will make Ireland an even more attractive place than it already is to start up an English-speaking business with strong talent and no risks surrounding access to the European single market,” said Gelbard.
“Now’s the time to make the most of these attractive conditions and start something!”
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