Start-up

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

5 Things to Remember When Starting a Business

If you’ve been thinking of starting a business, maybe you just need a little motivation. Alexandra Tselios, co-founder and publisher of TheBigSmoke.com.au, a new opinion site (similar to The Huffington Post), knows what it’s like to go out on your own.

Aged just 31, Alexandra has a diverse background in corporate, public and creative fields, and is also a business start-up consultant and provides strategic advice to young Australians start-ups and entrepreneurs. Her mantra is simple: Don’t hate Mondays. Life is better when coloured and varied.

A true entrepreneur, Alexandra loves all facets of business, from the most boring and banal aspects, to the high energy creative parts. She shares her top five tips to turn your dream into a reality.

1. Prepare your frameworks
Fantastic ideas are just fantastic, but turning it into a profitable business that is viable is a totally different type of fantastic. I often get shocked at how many people just register their ABN before doing a business plan. Before I even get to any of that I would ensure all the so-called boring parts are attended to at the foundation level. This means the business plans, market research, your point of difference, knowing how you will execute this – all these things really need to be understood by yourself.

I hate to be a cliché, but if you fail to plan you plan to fail – I feel dirty even saying that, but it’s true. Before you start talking about it to everyone or making a Facebook page, get the frameworks right and ensure you have the working resources, both in terms of capital, time and ability, to move forward with the idea.

2. Learn from people even if you don’t like them
I don’t care if you loved your grandmother who was a fabulous lemon butter maker and made 5 cents on the $2 jar she sold at the church fete, or that you hated the guy next door who started a successful vitamin franchise. Watch and learn from the people who have had tangible success, and also the people who couldn’t ‘quite get the concept off the ground’.

I am also a huge proponent of being mentored. I have been fortunate enough to sit down over cups of tea with some really strong men and women in business. These industry leaders have provided me with solid advice, sharing their mistakes and giving me feedback. You don’t have to take everything on board, but it’s important to be open and to learn – regardless of your personal feelings about the individual. It is a constant invaluable tool for me.

3. You are the creative one
So many people I know in business don’t give themselves enough creative credit. To me, artists and musicians simply do not have the monopoly on creativity – entrepreneurs are the ones creating something from nothing all the time. I think that is actually an amazingly courageous and exciting thing to do. You are looking at nothing and finding a way to put it people’s hands, and make money for it. It takes research, analysis, creative thinking and finally gumption.

I may not be able to use a paint brush to paint a portrait, but I create concepts and businesses and I think that is equally creative and valuable. I know a guy who writes ridiculous songs while living with his mother at 35 because he refuses to get a proper job – because he is creative. Come on.

4. Focus on sustainability
A lot of people get really excited about their start-up in the first 12 months and then run out of steam. There is nothing wrong with changing course, but there is something to be said for watching your energy and managing your emotions so you can continue to drive the business as far as you need to. PR and media personality Prue Macsween once told me that all this energy is fantastic, but if you don’t manage yourself it can come at a huge cost both physically and financially.

Sure, I love hearing that you answered 250 emails and stayed up all night working on your marketing plan. But if that means you have a breakdown in a fortnight and can’t work for six weeks and need to go to India to find yourself again, we’ve got a problem. Everyone has different capacities and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, you have to focus on your own sustainability.

5. Let it go
It is really easy to become so attached to your concept, idea or brand that it distorts any feedback and decisions. It then becomes based on how you feel in the moment rather than what is best strategically for the business. Try to detach from that and aim to see the business simply as an entity that needs to succeed, independent of fluctuating feelings or personality conflicts. If you can do that you’ll be able to hopefully make better quality decisions based on actual data. And if you make a mistake – who cares – it’s all part of the scary ride.

What are your best tips for starting a business? 

January 28, 2014