May 2nd, 2014 by Maria Minsker
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The BloomNation team.

As Mother’s Day draws near (don’t worry, procrastinators, you’ve still got another week!), flower shops are gearing up for one of their busiest days of the year, working to fill orders from customers they’ll likely never actually meet. With well-established flower delivery services like 1-800-Flowers and Teleflora expediting the process of buying that beautiful basket or last minute bouquet, consumers have been able to skip the hassle to trekking to their local flower shop, but the convenience comes at a price.

Though companies like 1-800-Flowers distribute the flower orders to local florists, customers don’t always know where their bouquets are coming from or how they’re going to look. The images displayed on the Web sites are stock images, and even once each specific order is completed by a local florist, senders still have no way of knowing how the finished product appears. Enter BloomNation, a small, Los Angeles-based company founded in 2011, that’s growing quickly and creating a new breed of online flower marketplace.

“Our company was born out of frustration. When you order flowers through a Web like Flowers.com, for example, the images they display on their site don’t reflect the individuality and the style of the actual flower shop that will fill that order,” company CEO Farbod Shoraka says. “We wanted to create a space for florists to really show what they can do, and let consumers make an educated choice about the flowers they decide to order,” he adds.

At the intersection of Ebay, Etsy and Yelp, BloomNation invites users to enter their zip code, and browse the arrangements that nearby florists have to offer. Though the exact same arrangement isn’t guaranteed, the color scheme, style, and “personality” of the arrangement will be matched to ensure that what senders see is what recipients get. “The images we use show an infinitely more accurate representation of what each particular florist can do,” Shoraka says, “because they come from them directly.” To clarify, BloomNation sometimes actually goes in and does a photo shoot with its local partners to ensure professional looking photos, but also allows florists to upload their own images.

The company’s coolest offering? The BloomSnap feature, which definitely gets the “Why Isn’t Everyone Else Doing This?” award in my book. BloomSnap is a tool that allows florists to take a photo of an arrangement before it goes out to the recipient and share it with the sender for a last minute preview. “Flowers are such an emotional product, but the idea of never even knowing what the end results looks like just makes the process so much more detached and less personal,” Shoraka says. “BloomSnap is helping to eliminate that detachment,” he explains. And here’s another fun tidbit: they accept Bitcoin!

A welcome idea from the consumer perspective, BloomNation’s vision for what an online flower marketplace should be is a B2B initiative at its core. The company not only serves as a marketplace for local florists, but can also help develop and host their e-commerce site (for free!), launch an email marketing campaign and build a Facebook store. (yup, also free!) “Our priority has always been to help our customers do business better, and give consumers a better shopping experience,” Shoraka says.

 

Image courtesy of jewishjournal.com.

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