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BloomNation heads for New York as it expands to become the Etsy for flowers

Imag­ine you’re an ecom­merce man­ag­er by day but a pok­er whizz-kid by night; the chances are that if you won an event at the World Series of Pok­er, flow­ers wouldn’t be the first thing on your mind. But they were on pok­er afi­ciona­do David Daneshgar’s mind when he won a WSP even in 2008. Maybe our day­dream­ing e‑commerce man­ag­er might wish to think again: Danesh­gar and his two bud­dies, Far­bod Shora­ka and Gregg Weis­stein, used the $27,000 win­nings to launch a new online florist marketplace.

A blos­som­ing mar­ket­place 

Born in 2011, Bloom­Na­tion is on course to grow into the Etsy of the flower indus­try and is embark­ing this month on an ambi­tious new expan­sion. New York City is amongst the new loca­tions the LA-based com­pa­ny is recruit­ing local arti­san florists, while oth­ers include Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Boston and Philadel­phia (it’s already had suc­cess­ful launch­es in Las Vegas and Chicago).

Per­spic­u­ous e‑commerce ana­lysts will be aware that local arti­sans have ener­gized online food and craft mar­kets recent­ly. Danesh­gar, Shora­ka and Weis­stein (who met at col­lege) are tap­ping their tal­ents for the flower-send­ing mar­ket. And they’re suc­ceed­ing: Bloom­Na­tion won the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go School of Busi­ness’ New Ven­ture Chal­lenge in 2012 and it raised $1.65 mil­lion in ven­ture cap­i­tal last fall in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz.

The mar­ket­place now deliv­ers to 3,000 cities and hosts 2,500 florists – and count­ing, with the new expan­sion ini­tia­tive. It broke the $1 mil­lion bar­ri­er in sales ear­li­er this year and has been grow­ing at a rate of 20 to 30 per­cent every month.

Tap­ping arti­san tal­ent and keep­ing it happy

When the trio of founders began intro­duc­ing their idea to local florists in 2011, they found an unhap­py bunch of peo­ple pay­ing painful mem­ber­ship fees to ven­dor net­works of nation­al wire ser­vices, which took cuts as high as 50 per­cent from each order. And they didn’t like hav­ing their nat­ur­al cre­ativ­i­ty rigid­ly sub­or­di­nat­ed to pro­duc­ing stock cat­a­logue bouquets.

BloomNation’s alter­na­tive? Arti­sans have the free­dom to pro­duce what they love pro­duc­ing and they can adver­tise and sell their hand-craft­ed cre­ations – with their own per­son­al online store­front on the easy-to-use plat­form. And they don’t get wal­loped with mem­ber­ship fees and sting­ing ven­dor charges: Bloom­Na­tion takes just 10 per­cent from each sale. Par­tic­i­pat­ing Arti­sans love it.


This start­up is going places. Literally.

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