I was living in Australia and working in my career as an Urban Planner. I wanted to deliver a ‘spur of the moment’ bunch of flowers to a friend who had had bit of a bad day. I was looking for a florist who wasn’t too expensive, and I stumbled upon a “posy delivery” company that I grew to love. The company delivered small beautiful bunches (which they call “posies”) to hundreds of girls all over the city. The bunches were more “wild” in look than the usual florists' bouquet. They were simply wrapped in kraft paper, and included a lot of greens and indigenous flowers, and they were affordable.
Soon I was checking the site from my computer at my office job every day to see what “Today’s Posy” was (even when I wasn’t planning to order), I just loved the surprise of seeing what they had created each day. Within a few months a seed had been planted. I felt that there was space for a similar service in my hometown, Cape Town, South Africa - a service that delivers slightly smaller, reasonably-priced posies that are not ‘overworked’, but rather have a clean and natural ‘straight-from- the-field’ feel. I was due to move back to Cape Town at the end of that year, and so Petal & Post came to life!
The idea behind Petal&Post is really simple: from Tuesday to Friday, the Petal&Post team is up early, finding the freshest seasonal blooms in Cape Town’s flower markets and wholesalers. We create a unique style of Posy, and post the picture of it at 8am (on delivery day) on Instagram, Facebook and on our website at a set price of R245 for a Single Posy, or R450 for a Double Posy — sort of like a ‘one-day- only’ for flowers. You can order the bunch before 12:30pm (or before the posies sell out), or if you like our general style, you can pre-order a posy, or subscribe to receive weekly blooms that are sent to your home or office.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Time management. I'm not usually a risk-taker, but I saw this gap in the market and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. So I started the business and I kept going with my career as an Urban Planner part time. Initially I only opened Petal&Post 2 days a week, but now it is open 4 days a week. Managing two jobs is a tricky feat (I still work a few days a week as an urban planner), but I means financial security while I am building the business. The business is now 18 months old and is growing quickly, which is very exciting.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
A lot of people warned that I didn't have the marketing expertise to launch a brand, and in hindsight this is definitely something that I've had to spend a lot of time teaching myself. Luckily with platforms such an Instagram, marketing is made a lot easier.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
We launched a new concept in our city - something that caught poeples' attention. It's also an e-commerce business, which keeps overheads low, and opens the market to many people online. We have relied heaving on Instagram for marketing/ sales, and we have had wonderful succeed form this platform. Lastly, but not least, I hired students from the local university to deliver the flowers. Our customers love receiving blooms from our great team of girls who deliver Posies all over Cape Town.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Owning a start up business is like having a child - you never escape the responsibility (ensuring that you have a quality product, managing staff, paying bills such as studio rental etc. the list goes on), so make sure that your business is something that you are super passionate about.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Work with people who are as passionate and excited about your new brand as you are. Stephanie from AVA-Online (Cape Town) designed my website and I could tell from the very first meeting with her that she just understood me and my concept. If your brand reflects who you are then its easy to be original. People are attracted to uniqueness, so just be yourself through the branding process and this originality will show through in your product.