BloomNation – Disrupting the Flower Industry
Businesses that accept Bitcoin are blooming up everywhere. Sometimes it can irk me that some businesses accept Bitcoin but do nothing to promote it; however, this is not the case for the co-founders of the budding flower marketplace, BloomNation.com.
I spoke with two of the co-founders, Farbod Shoraka & David Daneshgar; unfortunately their other co-founder, Gregg Weisstein, was unable to join, but Farbod and David shared their inspiring mission to help small florists with me.
Farbod, David and Gregg met freshman year in college over ten years ago. Farbod and David went to Berkeley together and Gregg was at UC Santa Barbara. After college, they all went their separate ways. Farbod went into Mergers & Acquisitions, David traveled playing professional poker, and Gregg went into consulting.
Years later they came back together and out of the frustration of sending their girlfriends and mothers flowers that weren’t the quality they pictured, the idea of BloomNation was born.
Farbod then asked his Aunt, a florist, about why this happens, and there are two main reasons. One: the local florist doesn’t develop a connection with the consumer since they never meet. Two: a lot of the time florists don’t make any money on the deal since the brokers take such a large cut.
The three then went around Chicago and noticed that the local florists were also experiencing the same problem. So, they created a platform for local florists to sell their flowers, BloomNation.
Florists were happy to join BloomNation’s platform, because they would receive 90% of the sale, get paid the same day and they got to develop relationships within the community.
You may think 10% is a large cut but about 30% of that goes to credit card and processing fees, the rest goes towards marketing the platform, maintaining it and other overhead costs.
Now in comes Bitcoin, the cost saver. David told me the decision was easy. David, being the former World Series of Poker champion, gave me a great analogy for the decision. David said that “business is about making quick decisions and out-thinking your opponents” just like poker. The “old school poker players fold if they don’t have a decent hand, but if you want to win, you have to be innovative.”
BloomNation was willing to challenge the traditional business model and payment system. Startups are more willing to take risks in changing the game, they are quicker to adapt, while the large “old players” usually become complacent and fall to the plight of their past success.
BloomNation isn’t just accepting Bitcoin, they are also doing their part in promoting it, going above the standard blog and Reddit post. “Now accepting Bitcoin” is one of the first things you see on the site and Farbod went on Fox News and Bloomberg to share the business’ decision to accept it.
Farbod mentioned the lower risk profile of bitcoin transactions and that bitcoin transactions were significantly more secure compared to fraudulent credit card purchases across the web; it wasn’t a hard choice. Not only that, but since accepting bitcoin, BloomNation’s business has increased steadily and everyday bitcoin transactions relative to all purchases is growing faster.
You may think, like I did, that the decision to accept Bitcoin may have stemmed with BloomNation’s notable venture capital investors from Andreesson Horowitz, but it came a lot earlier than that. The three were introduced to Bitcoin when they were in the business incubation stage. They had spoken to someone from a Bitcoin startup in the incubator and became fascinated with the technology.
Since accepting bitcoin in January, the decision has proven successful. Not only are purchases in bitcoin on the rise, but customers using bitcoin spend on average 50% more than credit card users. As you would guess men tend to buy more flowers, but women spend more on their purchases because they view flowers as a reflection of themselves. Accepting bitcoin, which is mostly held by men, has helped even out the disparity.
For the florists to accept Bitcoin individually it would take a lot of effort, but because of BloomNation, these florists can join the tech-savvy. All this has helped the nearly 2,000 local florists on the platform, some of which were on the verge of closing doors and are now hiring more people. The co-founders told me this is what makes them the happiest.
The company has also introduced BloomSnap to make sure your beloved doesn’t receive wilted flowers. BloomSnap lets the florist send the purchaser a picture of the flowers and/or card to make sure everything is how you pictured. The photos open up a dialogue between the florist and the buyer that wasn’t there before BloomSnap and eliminates the wilted flower problem.
Bitcoin can’t buy love, but it certainly can buy your love flowers and help small businesses in the process, thanks to BloomNation.com.