Sending others fresh flowers is always a nice gesture, regardless of the occasion. And what we’d normally do as givers of flowers is to search for a florist, then head down to check out what flowers are available. We then purchase the bouquet and give it to our better halves.
Most of us might be okay with going through this process, but for Singapore-based ex-Googler Steve Feiner, that is so 2000.
“I wanted to send flowers to my girlfriend, but after browsing countless identical looking bouquets, wrestling with a lengthy checkout process and spending twice as much only to receive the flowers one day late and barely lasting through the weekend”, Steve knew: “This business is ripe for a disruption. The flower industry has not changed in 30 years. Nobody has created a customer experience that makes ordering flowers effortless,” Steve told Vulcan Post.
Armed with an analytical background having been the Analytical Lead at Google Singapore, Steve founded A Better Florist, an online, instant flower delivery service that brings Singaporeans beautiful bouquets at competitive prices. Here’s how the website looks:
How A Better Florist works is that you head to the website and place your order, and Steve — with his team of five — will deliver the flowers to the recipient. What’s so special about it, you ask? Well, according to Steve, their flowers last twice as long as those from other florists because they source straight from their farm in Cameron Highlands. This means that when they arrive in Singapore, they are only 2 – 3 days old — as compared to those from other florists, which are usually at least 10+ days old. Their prices are also supposedly lower because they source their flowers directly from the farm without going through middlemen.
“Compared to the average bouquet at $85 with any Singapore online florists we are 30% cheaper at least,” Steve added.
If you are looking for a platform with various bouquet choices, A Better Florist is probably not for you: at any point, it only features 3 – 4 types of flowers which you can pick and choose from. Steve said this is a deliberate decision, one that’s based on data which has shown that “customers do not want to feel overwhelmed by choice”. The inventory also changes according to the freshest blooms available, ensuring that those available are of top quality. Roses from A Better Florist are also dethorned, while bouquets are hand arranged and guaranteed to be delivered on the same day.
Prior to starting A Better Florist, Steve had studied supply chain management and marketing at the University of Maryland. At 22, he was offered a US$250,000 job at a private equity firm, which he turned down and settled for one that paid only a quarter of that.
“I learned early on it’s not about the money. It’s about the passion. If you love what you do good things happen.”
That stint didn’t last long, and Steve soon moved and joined Google for three years, first in Global Business Strategy based out of San Francisco, and then as an Analytical Lead in Singapore.
“While the salary at Google was competitive, for me life is all about making a dent in the universe. In general it’s my philosophy to surround myself with people who believe in taking risk for things we are passionate about. Life is short. We have to make the best of it,” Steve said.
So will A Better Florist work? Perhaps, as I can definitely see its draw: A Better Florist hits the right notes for me, as by limiting its choices to only the best, it saves me the hassle of having to decide which bouquet to go for. There is also clearly a market for this – A Better Florist was inspired by its counterparts in the United States, which deliver up to 500 bouquets a day in the hottest metropolitan cities.
Setting up A Better Florist took just five months, from setting up direct value chains from flower suppliers in Malaysia, to working out the logistics of providing instant delivery through local couriers. The platform also uses data to optimise inventory management, creating an online experience that makes ordering flowers easy. Even before the site went live, A Better Florist was already taking orders on Facebook and Instagram.
When asked how many orders is A Better Florist fulfilling now, Steve cheekily told us that business is blooming, pun fully intended.