A Melbourne woman who started running her business from the trunk of her car after losing her job now sells more than 90,000 items a year.
When Kellie Brown was fired from her job as a fashion designer, she had no idea that a business she had launched in just two weeks from her Melbourne garage would turn into a $ 14 million empire.
Working in fashion was a dream career for Ms Brown, but once she got the ‘best job’ she discovered a ‘toxic workplace’ and so wasn’t too upset when she went. ‘was withdrawn in 2015.
It was then that her friends urged her to give up 9 to 5 and tap into her entrepreneurial spirit.
The Melbourne woman had been an avid con artist since she was a young girl – moving into the playground or her bedroom to sell old toys and clothes to a “captive audience”, including her friends and sisters, at a high price.
So she decided to combine her love of fashion with flowers and create Fig & Bloom.
âI thought flowers as an industry were so stylish and never changed, whether in 2015 or 1999. You could have $ 100 in your pocket and no matter where you went it would still be the same. aspect. It was always wrapped in pink cellophane or, if you were lucky, brown paper with a nice ribbon, âshe told news.com.au.
âThen subscription businesses were all the rage back then and I thought it was a perishable commodity that people needed on a regular basis. “
She took a bet and used about $ 10,000 in savings that was to be used for a house deposit to start the business.
In the first year, Ms Brown operated largely from the trunk of her car, going to the flower market, packing the flowers, and then delivering around 4,000 flower arrangements to Melbourne residents.
Instagram helped fuel demand as Ms Brown used her fashion background to create designer bouquets, while also rolling out the subscription model.
Part of her strategy was to allow customers to have the full bud-to-bloom experience, adding that she loved the âfleeting beautyâ of flowers.
âI love this concept of the bud to bloom – it has always been something that has always been important to me as a flower buyer. I didn’t want the flowers to stay there, I wanted people to see them bloom and develop their color and scent, âshe explained.
âEven though they’ve slowly started to reach their expiration date, they’re so beautiful in all of these phases, whereas if you went to a flower shop, you could buy two-week flowers.
âLike (recently) I was at a friend’s house and he said we had our collection done and they just gave us these flowers. I said they were already four weeks old. So I like being able to overtake customer expectations with longevity.
The coral peony lover can also boast of having trained with Queen Elizabeth II’s senior florist in New York City, which she says was an incredible experience.
This helped her develop Fig & Bloom’s offering based on designs in four different themes.
There is the pretty and the pink, the rustic, the contemporary white and the bright and colorful.
âIf people don’t know what to buy, we ask them to tell us about a recipient. If they’re feminine, girly, and love Alannah Hill’s aesthetic, then pretty and pink is for them, âshe explained. âContemporary white is like clean whites, bolder whites and green shapes and its more structured and architecturally designed bouquet, rather than being piecemeal.
âRustic is for Country Road shoppers or shoppers who shop on Etsy and love those little handmade things, while bright and colorful is if they love brands like Gorman.â
One of the biggest sellers is the Osaka design. Inspired by the annual cherry blossom festival in Japan, it features soft pink colors paired with delicate puffs of white. Subject to seasonal and market availability, design includes roses, chrysanthemum buds, and baby’s breath.
Since she started, Ms Brown has said the entire flower industry has gone from “very old fashioned, disguised and unsophisticated” to a more contemporary and fashionable way of giving and sending. a message of love and connection.
This is a trend that has been seen over the past 18 months with the rise of Fig & Bloom during the pandemic, quadrupling overnight in March 2020, as the country was on lockdown and people searched. to connect with family and friends through giveaways.
It now operates with a team of 48 people, with two physical stores in Melbourne and Sydney and has just launched in Brisbane, delivering to over 900 locations on the east coast.
The team now sells up to 93,000 bouquets each year and works with brands such as Ferrari, Lexus, L’OrÃ©al and figures such as Elton John, where they decorated his green room with flowers for his stadium tour. Australian.
The company is now on track to achieve $ 14 million in revenue for the year.
“By the end of next year, we want to be a national brand and we will be guided by our own ambition and the ambitions of our team,” she said.
âI have a junior assistant, who does an after school job, and she wants to open in Londonâ¦ I said if that’s what you want you can aim to be our CFO in London and she is really like that? She is happy. I’m happy to give the team opportunities and see how far they can go.
When it comes to floral trends, Ms Brown predicted that dried arrangements would continue to be very popular among consumers, while also mixing textures with flowers, such as different materials or fabrics.