Small-business

Little Flowers: The Online Florist That’s Changing The Industry

Who doesn’t love to be spoiled with a bouquet of flowers at work? Little Flowers is a local Sydney start-up offering a unique bunch of flowers for $30 each day – this includes free delivery to almost anywhere in Sydney.

RELATED: How To Choose Your Wedding Flowers

Australia’s fastest growing online florist operates from a garage in Marrickville and offers some of the most amazing floral combinations you’ve ever seen. Simply log onto the website, choose the flowers of the day and send a sweet note to a loved one! SHESAID chatted with Sarah and Chris about leaving their jobs and starting their own successful business.

How did the idea of Little Flowers come about?

Co-founders Ben Sampson, John Kane, Chris Berents and myself realised there was a huge gap in the market. From our own experiences we knew that while it was really awesome to get flowers, we didn’t send them as often as we’d like to because they were really quite expensive. They were also big. And awkward – and sometimes a huge bouquet wasn’t right for the occasion. My partner, Chris, would often send me “just because” flowers and while I felt incredibly lucky to get them, a part of me also felt quite guilty because I knew they would have cost him an arm and a leg and unfortunately, they were going to die in a few days.

The four of us met in advertising and were very good friends. So when we unearthed the idea of taking the ‘bigness’ out of the flower industry, we all got very excited about the possibilities and potential, and quickly began developing the concept.

We loved the thought of making flower delivery more accessible and something that people could do for any reason, big or small, serious or ridiculous, and knew we could have a lot of fun with it. For me personally, the whole concept was also really exciting because it appealed to my emotional side. I loved that I would be helping to spread smiles across the city by delivering these messages and beautiful little bunches of flowers.

Interview with Little Flowers Sydney

What was it like quitting your job and starting in another industry?

It was nerve-wracking, on one hand. I’d been in advertising for over ten years and I felt I was really going against the grain to throw it all in. In retrospect, I’m sure my friends and family must have been quietly questioning my decision to jump ship, as it was quite out of character. But it was time. I felt ready to try something new and to explore other possibilities.

I told myself I could always go back to it later and that I could just think of this as a ‘sabbatical year.’ Not that I intended to, but the idea of turning my back on the familiar and going into the complete unknown was, in some ways, quite terrifying! But I was so utterly passionate about this idea and really, really excited about the possibility of running my own business. It felt audacious, but the possibility of making it a reality was exceptionally enticing. I couldn’t die wondering. None of us could.

What is the most rewarding part about starting your own business?

Well, I find this hard to describe, but I think overall the best thing is this sense of ‘wow.’ It’s a combined feeling of satisfaction, relief, excitement and possibility. I think it’s human nature to sometimes doubt what we are capable of, so to see your dreams come to fruition is immensely rewarding – and what’s more, it makes you excited about what else you could be capable of in the future.

If you had to do it over again, what are some dos and don’ts you would suggest to others in your position?

Do:

  • Dare to dream.
  • Back yourself.
  • Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your idea.
  • Hire people who can do what you can’t.
  • Look after yourself and look after the people who work with you.
  • Stop to celebrate all the victories of your business, big and small.
  • Be true to yourself and your brand.

Don’t

  • Be scared to ask for help. Starting your own business is a steep learning curve and a huge workload. You can’t do everything yourself.
  • Be too hard on yourself. Most small business owners at some point get overwhelmed with the enormity of what they are trying to achieve. Break the big tasks down and just keep chipping away.
  • Be scared of making mistakes. You learn more through your mistakes than anything else.

LF_Bunch1 Interview with Little Flowers Sydney

How important is social media in spreading the word about your business?

Really important. We don’t have a shop front, so it’s our way of meeting, connecting and conversing with our customers and our beloved Little Flowers community. Ever since we launched, we have posted the day’s flowers to social media channels to announce what’s available and it’s a lovely way to keep our customers up-to-date with the fun things that are happening behind the scenes.

What’s next for Little Flowers – spill!

We’ve just opened our delivery zone to Chatswood and we’re planning to keep extending to new suburbs in Sydney over the course of 2015 – and then, hopefully a little further afield in 2016… Watch this space!

www.littleflowers.com.au

July 12, 2015

Q&A with Celebrity Chef Kylie Kwong

Owning a small business is not easy, so we’re getting behind the Shop Small – a Big Month for Small Business campaign. The campaign runs throughout November and encourages everyone to shop local and support the country’s small retailers.

Celebrity chef Kylie Kwong has been supporting local businesses and producers since she opened her Sydney restaurant Billy Kwong 13 years ago, and chats to SHESAID about why shopping small is so important for our communities, and shares her favourite local haunts and tips for small business operators.

What does Shop Small mean to you?
Shop Small to me is all about ‘the spirit of community’ – it is about looking after each other; it is about frequenting our precious local small businesses – supporting those who bring colour, character, personality and that wonderful person touch to our day-to-day live –  so we can in turn create a dynamic, nurturing and vibrant community together!

What are some of your favourite local haunts in Surry Hills?
Reuben Hill Cafe
121BC Enoteca
Crown Street Grocer
Barberia Hair Salon

Who are some of your favourite local producers that supply the restaurant?
Patrice Newell’s Biodynamic Garlic – Hunter Valley
Melanda Park NSW – Certified-Free Range Pork
Burrawong, South Coast – Free Range Ducks
Rod + Laurie Marr’s – Biodynamic Eggs – Oberon
Rainforest Foods – Davidson’s Plums + Macadamia Nuts – Northern NSW Riverland

It is these small, artisanal producers who give Billy Kwong its colour, versatility, character and unique flavour!

As a small business owner, what are your best tips for growing a small business?
Before you even consider opening the doors on your small business, you absolutely MUST do a business plan guided by an accountant or experienced business person; the commercial viability or lack of;  of the proposed business, will soon sort out where your passion sits!  It is not enough to have the creative vision and ideas for the business plan, you have to always work very closely with an accountant or business person so that your idea and vision is also commercially viable. Take good care of yourself so that you as the business owner can continue to grow your business based on steady and sound decision making.

What are you looking forward to cooking this summer?
I am really looking forward to going fishing with my brother and his family in the stunning waters around Akuna Bay and simply grilling our daily catch on the back of his boat! Simple, fresh, locally sourced, delicious.

 What are your favourite small businesses? Tell us in the comments!

November 24, 2013

The Pros and Cons of Starting Your Own Business

Formerly a publisher with a corporate lifestyle, Claire Preen went from being a self-confessed workaholic to following her dream of becoming a chocolatier.

Following the sudden loss of her father in 2003, Claire took stock and made the life-changing business decision.

“After the initial shock and grief, I had time to reflect and what slowly dawned on me that I was always working hard to be rewarded later, whenever later may be. It made me question every aspect of my life,” says Claire. “I realised that although life is a journey, the worst thing that you can do is focus on the destination and miss the trip.”

Claire’s father had always had a sweet tooth and had taught his daughter how to make chocolate from a very early age. She had always had a passion for blending chocolate and creating new recipes, so Claire decided to focus this creativity into a career as a full-time chocolatier.

“I put away my business suits, put on my chef’s whites and opened my first boutique chocolate cafe in Katoomba,” says Claire, of the award-winning Blue Mountains Chocolate Company. The business then expanded to include The Hunter Barn in the Hunter Valley, where Claire works as Head Recipe Developer creating gourmet handmade treats on a daily basis.

Claire shares the pros and cons of starting your own business with SheSaid:

1. Question your passion

If you are doing ‘it’ for 20-30 (to 40) hours per week, week in week out, will it still be a passion? Could it destroy a passion? Or will it remain a passion and possibly grow?

2. Be objective about your passion

Understand that not every passion is commercially viable. For instance, if you love to breed rats, ensure there is a large enough market that can sustain a business in rats. Don’t base it on ‘Well I love rats, so everyone will probably want to buy one’.

3. Look at other similar businesses

A bit of business espionage is not only informative but can also be extremely satisfying! Work out why they are successful (or not), look at the number of staff they have, the sales price, the size of premises. Talk to the staff or owners – glean as much information as possible.

4. Do your numbers

Keep your objectivity in mind when projecting sales and research as much as you can for all your costs. Don’t forget hidden costs such as credit card interest and bank costs.

5. Think longterm

If the numbers add up and you know your passion will stay strong but you are wavering between making that jump – ask yourself how you will feel when you are 60 (70? 80?) if you’ve not given yourself a go.

6. One of the biggest problems can be staff

They are unlikely to have your passion therefore driving and motivating them can be exhausting. Also understanding and staying on the right side of Australian employment laws can be tricky.

7. Understand a balance sheet and a profit and loss

Even if you don’t plan on being your own bookkeeper it is imperative you understand your own accounts to be able to make good business decisions. You will also need to understand cash flow. Therefore I would recommend an evening course in accounts before you start.

8. Financing the venture

Most small businesses are self financed so it’s your money you are risking. Some people put everything into a venture – but nothing ventured, nothing gained! And nothing guaranteed, so make sure you have done your research and numbers properly.

9. Staying motivated

It hurts when you’ve worked your butt off day in and day out only to find out you’ve lost money that month and it’s cost you money for the pleasure to go into work. Don’t let it dishearten you. Look at your numbers, look at your business and adjust accordingly.

10. Switching off

It’s easy to bring your work home with you (especially if you work from home!!) but if you have kids and/or a partner remember it’s probably not their passion as well!

Check out Claire’s new cookbookwww.50ShadesOfChocolate.com.au, RRP $14.95.

July 12, 2013