In The Silicon Tropic

By South Florida entrepreneurs, for South Florida entrepreneurs. All things tech in the sunny Silicon Tropic.

Meet: Juan Palacio of Bloomsy

JP

Who are you and where you from?Juan Palacio. I’m from Bogota, Colombia but I’ve been living in Miami for 15+ years.”

Tell us about Bloomsy.  We are a monthly subscription service that sends our subscribers fresh local flowers every month. A crate box of flowers. We are B2C and B2B. We have three types of subscriptions. The size depends on the number of stems, and it goes also by the type of flowers that you get. On the Medium and the Large, you might get for example orchids, tulips and novelty flowers, on the small you might receive roses, hydrangeas, gerberas etc.  The Small is $34.99/month, the Medium is $38.99/month, and the Large is $48.99/month for your house. For your office, we have weekly services and three sizes. You get the vase with the first shipment, the sizes are: Original, which is $199 per month for 4 bouquets (1 per week), $279 for 8 bouquets (2 per week), and grand which is $500 per month and you get three large bouquets. We ship nationwide, and part of the soft launch was to test the delivery locally. The process is very simple.We import the flowers from farms all over the world, inspect them and prepare them at our main facility in Miami and ship them nationwide using a priority overnight service like FedEx or UPS. Our second direction is to ship the flowers to some of our distribution facilities in the northeast and the west coast to then deliver them locally.”

What is your job?CEO and Founder. I’m in charge of customer acquisition and online marketing -mainly. I also oversee all the customer service, the process of shipping from the farms and product development.”

When did it launch? “We actually announced a soft launch/beta this summer, and officially launched by the end of September.”

How many people are on your team?Four. We have 1 person that helps us with social media. We have one person in charge of logistics, 1 person responsible for customer service/admin and myself. Also the people that work on our production facility which varies from 2-4 per week depending on how busy we are.”

What were you doing before this current venture?I had a flower e-commerce from 2001 to 2009, that year I sold the company. After that, I consulted  6 years in the travel industry.”

Where is your office located?Building and we have a shipping facility in Doral.”

Why did you choose to work from there?The owners are so connected to the startup community.”

Who is your target market?  I always like to say that we appeal to the chic and discerning person that is excited to try new things and learn through discovery. That’s the concept of a subscription box. Then people who prefer different types of flowers and the person that wants to give a subscription.”

How did you validate this?Through market research.  Also, I got a lot of inspiration dealing with hotels. I worked on the boutique sector leading the development of BoutiqueHotels.com and  had the opportunity to visit many boutique hotels around the world. That made me realize that chic people prefer one type of flowers as opposed to the typical mixed bunches.”

Who are your biggest competitors?Local flower shops of course. And there are two online, TheBouqs.com from Cali and HBloom.com based out of DC. HBloom caters more B2B and TheBouqs focuses a lot on one time/non-subscription purchases.”

How do you differentiate yourself?We only do single variety bouquets , no plastic on our flowers only an eco-friendly paper wrap. Plus we’re the only true subscription commerce for flowers.”

What are the biggest challenges your startup faces?Distribution is #1, it’s a big challenge. We have to keep the price and levels where we they are, which is very competitive. We need to be creative with distribution to be as fresh as possible and as fast as possible. Then of course, customer acquisition. We are a new brand and customers haven’t heard of us.”

How did you acquire your first 5-100 users? “Through influencers. We have spent a lot of time researching blogs (blogs and influencers). We did it all in-house. We have sent a lot of samples nationwide and it has worked very well. We had a great Christmas season and it was mainly from them. We are sending samples every week for bloggers to review. We are also running some specific online marketing campaigns, adwords and SEO.”

What has been your biggest challenge for your startup in Miami? Customer acquisition. Miami has always been a hard market for flowers because 90% of flowers in the US come through Miami. I have now been targeting local businesses. Most of our customers are in the Northeast; DC, Connecticut, Boston, Chicago, Ohio and California.

How can the Miami startup community help you?Sign up for the subscription.”

What would you do differently if you could go back to the day you thought of starting Bloomsy? “I would further develop the subscription-as-a-gift concept . It kind of caught us off guard during the holiday season. We thought people would be subscribing for their own use, but we have been getting a lot of gift orders. We have had more prepaid subscriptions instead of month to month. 40% of our subscriber base is prepaid. 70% of those prepaid customers purchased a 12-month option.”

Best Happy Hour in Miami:Rusty Pelican.”

Best place for a business lunch:Spaghettino.”

Finish this sentence: I wish a Miami startup would create an app thathelps users find other people to play soccer with. I always have a hard time finding teammates.”

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This entry was posted on January 26, 2016 by in People, Uncategorized and tagged , , , .

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