BloomThis creates moments of happiness by providing a subscription based service for the finest flowers in Malaysia. The first floral company to offer loose flowers rather than a prepared arrangement, co-founder Penny Choo took a risk by creating a unique business model. Built on a bootstrapping marketing campaign, BloomThis has lessons for every entrepreneur.
Name: Penny Choo
Company: Bloom This
Penny and her husband’s first foray into the floral business ended in failure.
Penny’s mother-in-law was a florist, and Penny offered to set up a website to help gain customers. Unfortunately, despite building a solid site, there wasn’t a drastic increase in sales like expected. Without a sales funnel or a marketing campaign to bring people to the website, it had a negligible effect on conversions.
But, Penny was an entrepreneur. A bit of failure did not stop her. She dusted herself off and researched the floral industry. She found that there were a number of subscription flower companies that were during well outside of Malaysia, which did not yet have its own service available.
Here was an opportunity. Especially if she could put her own twist on it.
In a day and age where it seems like everyone wants to launch the same type of business, Penny launched something that Malaysia hadn’t yet seen. Subscription flower companies existed outside of the country but hadn’t yet taken shape within Malaysia. And while there were numerous florists, the majority provided already arranged flowers.
Penny and her husband brought something completely new to the market. Flowers delivered every week to their subscribers. And, to make themselves especially unique, the flowers were loose rather than contained in a pre-arranged package. This way, their subscribers could arrange their flowers however they would wish.
BloomThis actually met a bit of resistance from the founders’ friends and family. They were told it was too different, and that no one would want to do the work to arrange flowers themselves.
But, when BloomThis launched, they found that people loved it. Customers loved being able to arrange the flowers however they wanted. They found it fun, like an art project, and also immensely satisfying. And for those who gave the flowers as a gift, it added a level of sentiment.
Being different, and paying attention to what customers love, paid off.
Marketing for Growth
Launching a unique business means that you’ll have to work hard to drum up customers. For BloomThis, Penny and her husband weren’t equipped with the huge marketing budget that many startups have. That meant ads and huge content marketing campaigns were off the table.
So, they would have to get a bit creative and bootstrap their way to success.
For their first wave of coverage, they focused on reaching out to influencers. People who had large followings on various social media outlets were their targets. Penny sent out free trials of BloomThis to these influencers to get their opinion. As thanks for the free trials, many of these influencers wrote good reviews about BloomThis and shared the company with their followers.
Penny even built the idea of marketing into their product design. The flowers from BloomThis came in an extremely elegant package, with the company’s logo largely printed on it. It drew the eyes of people and got them asking about what was inside the box. By design, BloomThis encouraged word of mouth marketing (something even the biggest brands struggle with).
BloomThis is a story that entrepreneurs should take inspiration from. Just because a friend says your idea is a little too out there, or it’s too different, doesn’t mean that others won’t love it. And you don’t need a big marketing budget to get off the ground either. Approach your product design with the intention of making others want to talk about it, whether that means making it look elegant, unique, or just plain stylish.
September 27 – 28, Bellesalle Shibuya Garden
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