Laurenne Wallman wants to give flowers to everybody in the world. Bloom2Bloom, the self-funded online flower company she launched with co-founder David Resnik in March this year, is on its way to doing just that. The startup sells curated, seasonal bouquets shipped directly from West Coast farms to the recipient’s doorstep. A portion of each bouquet purchase contributes to the hand-delivered donations of floral arrangements every two months to community-based organizations in California such as Downtown Women’s Center and Los Angeles Jewish Home. Bloom2Bloom is on a mission to make doing good easy for consumers. Wallman’s passion for blooms and giving back to communities has spanned close to a decade. She recalls being inspired when she heard the co-founder of a company speak to her college business class about the importance of corporate social responsibility. Impressed by the company, Wallman began to think of how flowers could be used to give back.
Years later, with personal and professional experience in the non-profit industry under her belt, Wallman met fellow Los Angeles native Resnik, whose background included co-founding a performance-based digital ad agency focused on consumer finance products. They shared a belief that giving back to one’s community should be an inherent part of the consumer experience.
Weekly visits together to a farmers market – where Wallman would frequently purchase fresh flowers – became the drawing board for a community-based business idea. Resnik and Wallman saw a lack of quality, personality, and support of locally grown, affordable arrangements in the online flower market. At the same time, they wondered about the impact of sharing the gift of flowers with those in need.
One day, they decided to buy extra flowers to donate to women at a shelter who had birthdays that month. Wallman hand wrote cards and Resnik wrapped the bouquets. “We drove over and we had no idea what to expect,” recalls Wallman. “One woman had never received flowers in her life, so she started crying. And she was just so happy. I think driving over there, we knew we were about to do something that would make an impact and make somebody feel good, but there’s no way to grasp it until you see it.”
Touched by the response to their simple gesture, Resnik and Wallman knew they wanted to bring the same impact to individuals and communities on a bigger scale. They established Bloom2Bloom in order to disrupt the stale online floral market while offering consumers a unique experience, high quality products, as well as the opportunity to give back through their purchases.
Flower donations vary from bouquets for individuals to larger arrangements for partner organizations’ events. Volunteers help to hand write cards for recipients and deliver arrangements. The company has plans to start donating to organizations outside of California at the end of the year. Orders placed on the Bloom2Bloom site go directly to the team that consists of Resnik- CEO, Wallman- charity director, and Resnik’s brother, Eli- creative director. Each bouquet ordered is assembled at one of the company’s partner farms on the West Coast and wrapped in brown paper and twine. The company ships bouquets to any location in California as well as major metropolitan areas of the Western United States and has plans to ship to more states in the future.
A few lessons that the Bloom2Bloom co-founders have learned along the way: Prioritize customer feedback while staying true to your vision. Wallman talked about the challenge and importance of continually taking feedback into consideration. “It’s so hard when you’re doing something that you believe in so much and that you’re so passionate about. I think that that’s a very hard thing to do no matter who you are. You have to be able to do it with confidence in your product and the ability to balance that with how things need to change.” Resnik adds, “It is extremely important to treat your early adopters as if you are catering your product only to them. We believe we are only as good as the feedback and reviews we receive.” Immerse yourself in the entrepreneurial world. “It’s one of the most exciting times to be a startup in LA. Surround yourself with likeminded people as well as people doing something completely different that are daring to do it. Everybody out there is doing something great and everybody has great ideas and a lot of people will have an idea you haven’t thought of that you would never imagine would help you,” said Wallman.
Team unity is key. “You could have the greatest idea, but if you’re not a great team, people will see that and I think that’s probably one of those things that gets easily overlooked,” said Wallman.
Maintain focus. “It is important that there is a clear vision and that vision is shared by the entire team. Focus on that vision is essential. As we grow, and as any startup grows, it is crucial to outline the vision, even as it changes, and maintain focus on your goals, both big and small,” said Resnik. “We developed operating procedures from day one in order to efficiently scale the business with the resources we had.”
Do your homework. “Know what else is out there. Know who’s doing what you’re doing. Know how they’re doing it. Know why they’re doing it. If someone else is doing it, it means there’s a demand for it and people are thinking about it. Just figure out a way to do it better,” said Wallman.