Bouqs will overtake 800-Flowers and FTD

If you think that headline is an exaggeration, you should know The Bouqs Company is already doing 10s of millions in annual sales.

John Tabis, the flower company’s founder, says his advantage is shipping directly from flower farms to customers. Meanwhile, the established companies are married to local shops whose flowers often look as cheesy as the mylar balloons they try to upsell their customers.

Still not convinced? Listen to the interview.

John Tabis

John Tabis

The Bouqs

John Tabis is the founder of The Bouqs Company, which is an ecommerce floral delivery service.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey, everyone. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. I try to go as deep as possible. I think today’s guest told our producer that he doesn’t like to go deep. So, we’ll talk about that in this interview, why not?

Here’s the thing. Here’s what drew me to today’s interview. I really thought that the flower business was pretty much done. It was wrapped up. We had our leaders in the flower space. People knew where to buy their flowers and that was it. It’s kind of like trying to come up with a new soda, cola brand. We’ve got Coca Cola. We’ve got Pepsi. We’ve got Dr. Pepper, which I’m drinking right here. I thought it was done. Then I found out about today’s company.

Today’s entrepreneur built a company that, well, it’s doing well. It’s thriving, got outside funding, gets a lot of attention. I want to find out how he did it. His name is John Tabis. He is the founder of The Bouqs Company, which is an ecommerce floral delivery service. I want to find out what it was about his business that allowed him to grow in a market that I thought was done, was saturated.

This interview is sponsored by two great companies. The first one will allow you to schedule calls with people who bought from you or who want to buy from you. It’s called Acuity Scheduling. I’ll tell you more about them later. And the second is the company that will host your website right. It’s called HostGator. Like I said, I’ll tell you more about those later. But first, John, good to have you on here.

John: Thanks so much for having me, Andrew. Appreciate it.

Andrew: How do you feel about me saying that I thought this whole industry was wrapped up? Does it feel like I’m being dismissive of your idea?

John: No, not at all. I think a lot of people felt that way. What’s more, a lot of people felt frustrated that was the case and that’s actually sort of what opened the door for us. There’s been a lot of dissatisfaction with the status quo in this industry in particular.

Andrew: Because the flowers that we’ve gotten over the years are hard to predict because we order them online, we see a photo and then it’s some local florist who delivers it. So, the local florist doesn’t always make it look exactly like what we see online. Often what we end up with are options that have weird looking flower arrangements with Mylar balloons that are included a teddy bear that’s been cheesy since you were four years old. That’s what you’re talking about.

John: Yeah. That and the bait and switch pricing, which was the thing that really drove me nuts.

Andrew: What’s the bait and switch pricing?

John: So, if you go online and you type in a big competitor’s name–I’m not going to name names–and you look at the Google ads, you’re going to see $19.99, $24.99, these types of very low prices. And then you’re going to go through the checkout funnel and they’re going to ask you for your credit card information and when you put in your credit card information, they’re going to reveal to you your cart, which is going to have a very different price than the price you thought you were paying. You thought it was $19.99, but somehow when you got the checkout, it was $64.50.

Andrew: What do they do that makes it so much more expensive?

John: They do a couple things. One is fees, fees, fees. So, they have carry and handling fees that are typically $4 to $7. That’s my favorite one because what if you don’t pay that? Does that mean they don’t care about your order or they refuse to handle it?

Andrew: That’s called care and handling? Okay.

John: Care and handling. That’s my favorite. Delivery is a big one, anywhere from $15 to $25 for delivery. All the upsells you talked about, you might be thinking that they’re already included. They’re like, “Oh, you want the number of flowers you saw in this picture. That’s another $10.”

Andrew: One second, my wife is expecting. We’re expecting. I want to make sure that she’s not calling me because she’s delivering. Olivia, are you going into labor?

John: That would be amazing.

Andrew: I am in an interview. I don’t have my phone on do not disturb now because you’re due any day now. Bye. I’m recording a bunch of interviews before she gives birth so that I can take some time off and be with the new baby.

John: That’s awesome.

Andrew: Any minute she could go into labor.

John: Congratulations. It’s a great journey.

Andrew: I know what you’re talking about. It looks like a whole bunch of flowers in the photo and you end up on the site and it’s do you want the lot of flowers or the price that we just offered you for four flowers. I get all that. So, that’s where the opportunity came from. Let’s talk about that.

John: It’s that, but you talked about going in deep. It’s much deeper than that. So, that’s the symptom of the problem. The symptom is you as a user buying the flowers, don’t pay the price you expected to pay. The flowers that arrive are not the flowers you expected to receive because the local florist didn’t have those in stock and then whenever that happens, they don’t service you very well. They don’t make it right.

The reason comes down to a very simple thing that a lot of people don’t know, which is that these big brands do not make money by selling flowers to consumers. They actually break even to lose money on selling you flowers. Where they make money is by selling stuff to the florists who deliver it to you. So, they make money by selling software and membership fees and dues and per order fees and all these other fees.

Andrew: They don’t get a cut of the–so, the way I understand it–I’m going to use one of your competitor’s names. Actually, you know what, once I do that, then people start to shy away. So, there’s a major competitor with a phone number in their name, right? When I call up the phone number and buy flowers from them, they don’t process the order. It’s a company that then sends the order to a local florist. I understood that. Don’t they take a cut of that?

John: They do, but in that business unit, they actually lose money.

Andrew: Because of the time that–

John: If you look up those public financials and you look at the operating margin for that business that gets orders, it’s negative. Now, you’d say, “Why would they do it? It doesn’t make sense to lose money in a business.” Well, what it does is it produces more volume for those florists so they can charge the florists more to make money on those fees.

Andrew: And the stuff that they charge the florists for is the stuff that accepts the orders, but do they sell them the Mylar balloons?

John: Yeah. They sell them all those balloons, annual membership fees and per order fees and all this stuff.

Andrew: Why do they lose money on it? If I go to their website, what’s the cost there? It’s practically nothing?

John: It’s mostly in sort of acquiring the order the first time. So, they’re spending a bunch of money on marketing. You’re coming in and buying from them. They’re sharing that with the florists. They have all the other costs associated running that business. What they care about is driving volume through the florists so the florists will keep paying them fees.

The problem with this math and this chemistry here is that they don’t make money on the consumer and neither does the florist. So, this business model is actually terrible for the local florist too. They make pennies to dollars on these orders. So, the florist is not motivated to give you a great experience either. They look at this and they go, “I’m making $1. Maybe I’m losing $0.50 here. I’m not going to give this customer an amazing experience. Why didn’t they call me directly?”

Andrew: I see. They can’t get any brand loyalty to the local store because the local store isn’t allowed to brand it. Actually, are they allowed to brand it?

John: I don’t know. I don’t work with them directly. So, I don’t know exactly what their rules are. But what I do know is that the florist feels stuck because they don’t know where else to get their business. It used to be people walked in the door all the time. Now there are flowers at Trader Joes and Whole Foods and every other grocery store. So, the foot traffic went away.

So, then they relied more on these wire services, but they don’t make any margin on those orders. The sad reality is that florists is a declining industry. It’s a negative 10% CAGR. There used to be 50,000 florists in the U.S. Today there’s somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 left.

Andrew: This is the opportunity that you capitalized on. You’re also, beyond understanding that this is a problem that customers have, you’re good at promoting it. I told you before you and I got on a call, I was looking you up on YouTube to see what came up and I saw you on “The Today Show,” “Shark Tank,” “Access Hollywood,” CNBC, just a bunch of different places and I want to talk to you about all of that and how you got your customers, how you grew. Since we counted everyone else’s money, let’s count yours. How much money is Bouqs.com making?

John: So, we don’t disclose revenue or bottom line publicly. We’re a private company. What I can say is that we’re growing very quickly. We’ve averaged 200% year-over-year growth since we started.

Andrew: But that’s pretty meaningless because if you earn $1 the first year and $3 the second and $6 the second, that’s not what–

John: Fair.

Andrew: Let me see what I’ve got here from my notes. Fair to say that you’re doing tens of millions in revenue?

John: Yes.

Andrew: It is? More than $50 million in revenue?

John: I can’t talk about specifics.

Andrew: All right. Are you profitable?

John: I can’t talk about that either.

Andrew: You can’t even say if you’re profitable?

John: We cannot.

Andrew: I see. But you can say how much money you raised, right?

John: Yes.

Andrew: What is it, $1.7 million, I think?

John: $1.7 million was our seed round in 2013. We closed a $6 million A-round in 2014 and a $12 million B-round last year. So, when you roll it all up, we’re just a little bit under $20 million in total venture capital raised.

Andrew: I see. So, they don’t want you making money, do they?

John: They do at some point want us to be making money.

Andrew: I see. That’s the other thing. You’re raising like a tech entrepreneur too. Are you a tech company at all?

John: We’re a tech-enabled company. So, the things that we do with technology are on one side very standard and on the other very not. So, running an ecommerce business on the front end, lots of people do that, right? You have a website. It has a shopping cart. We’ve build some really cool experiences on Bouqs.com that if you check them out are interesting and different. But the selling on a website is something lots of people do.

What we do that is tech intensive and is very hard is we have farms in Colombia, in Ecuador, in Chile, across the U.S. and Canada. Our tech platform connects you, the end user, to that farm and optimizes where those flowers should be coming from in real time. So, it’s looking essentially at the world, which our world of farms produces about $1.6 billion stems of flowers per year. It says, “Okay, you want red roses. How fast do you need them? What’s the price you’re paying? Where’s the best source for that?” It pushes it to the right place for fulfillment.

Andrew: Look at you, how far you’ve come. I first heard that you started out working at Disney, but I’m looking at my notes here on you. You didn’t just start out at Disney. When I hear someone started out at Disney, I imagine them giving tours. I think Mike Ovitz might have been a tour guide at one point and then he became the most powerful man at Hollywood. I kind of figured that. But that’s not your background. You worked at Bain & Company to start as an associate consultant, right? Did you pick up this stuff at all by working at Bain?

John: So, Bain was an amazing training ground, right? That was where I one, learned anything about anything about business. But two, I figured out what I liked. What I loved was consumer businesses. At Bain you have various cases you get assigned to. The ones where I really sort of latched onto and enjoyed was when it was consumer focused, growth focused and so that set me on a path towards what was my next step was, advertising, where Gerber Baby was my client and I got my branding chops. So, it definitely set me in a direction towards consumer. I always loved storytelling, always loved content.

Andrew: I want to get to the storytelling from Disney. But what I mean is when I ask entrepreneurs where they came up with their idea, they have an interesting origin story sometimes or they have nothing at all because it just kind of comes to you. You have a really clear understanding of your space.

You analyzed it the way that a Harvard professor would want his students to analyze it, right? You were talking about the cost of taking a phone call for the major brands, what happens at the local store level, where they actually make their money, what the pain is, where the industry is going. Where did that type of analysis come from?

John: Yeah. The whole thing started with my cofounder, who is a good buddy of mine from undergrad at Notre Dame. His name is Juan Pablo Montufar. He grew up on a rose farm in Ecuador. He’s just in love with flowers. He after a career here for about 15 years, moved back and was running a floral farm and it all started with his frustration with the way the industry is built.

About 90% of flowers sold in the U.S. come out of either Colombia or Ecuador. Then they’re sold via this really old school, I would call it ancient supply chain, which has multiple layers where the flowers move and their sold and held and rehandled and that’s wildly inefficient and very old school. There’s almost no technology in that supply chain. About 50% of the flowers die without ever being monetized. So the huge economic and environmental…

Andrew: Literally 50% or so die before they get to the stores?

John: Without ever being sold, monetized in any way. And then by the time they do get to a place where you can buy them, they’re two and a half weeks old and flowers only last about three weeks. So, he was frustrated that he was growing this amazing product, he was shipping it out, making very little margin and it was essentially being ruined between him and the end consumer. He started doing this with direct shipping to florists. That’s really where the business began.

He taught me about that part. So, he reached out to me because he was doing sales and marketing and didn’t know how to do that. He’s like, “I’m a biochemist. I don’t know about this stuff.” And what hooked me was my own personal experience with hat bait and switch pricing. I went out to buy flowers, $19.99, $64.50. I tried it on multiple websites. They were all the same. That was the moment I said, “Hey, man, as a producer of the product you’re frustrated. As a buyer of the product, I’m frustrated.” Let’s dig into what’s happening between us and figure out how we make it better. That was really the reason we decided to start the company.

Andrew: I see. And the way that you’re able to sell it, you said, comes back to your experience learning to tell stories from previous jobs. Can you give me an example of that? When you worked at Disney, you told our producer that’s where you loved storytelling. That’s where you got to see it. Give me an example of how you saw storytelling when you worked at Disney. You worked at Disney as a corporate brand development.

John: Yeah. So, I was there for about six years. The greatest thing about Disney is that storytelling is the product. There’s storytelling happening in movies and TV shows and on websites and in games. It’s also just part of the DNA of the company and they hire people who are great at it and it becomes part of the way you do your work.

So, in my job, which was program development, we focused on where is the consumer headed? Where is technology hitting that? How does that intersect with our brands and what do we need to change to optimize for that experience for the customer? So, we would spend so much time talking to customers, let them tell their stories about the way they interact with our brands, the way they interact with technology.

Andrew: Can you give me an example of that, of some time that you talked to a customer and were surprised by what the customer responded with?

John: So, we had a really great project in China for a number of years, where we were digging into what does the brand mean over there. When you look at the business units and how they interact, the first Disney park launched in Shanghai within the last couple years. The business grew up very differently. So, my expectation was that the Chinese consumer would embrace it and react to it extremely differently.

What was most surprising about that was it’s actually the exact same here. As a child, you experience some piece of content–it could be Mickey, Minnie, one of the “Finding Nemo” or any of these Pixar movies–that’s what ropes you into the universe. You fall in love with a character and then you discover the others in that world. So, consumers would tell us about hat journey and it was fascinating how universal that brand is.

That’s really what I took away from Disney was it wasn’t something that was a technical skill. It was part of the DNA and the way the company ran and that’s why it has had the success it has and that’s why they had groups like mine, which was charged with making sure that it continued to have that kind of brand development. That is a huge part of what we do here, which is we tell stories in a category where there are no stories told.

When you shop these other sites, you don’t know where the flowers come from. You don’t know the price. You don’t know what those flowers mean or how they can impact somebody’s life. What we try to do through the shopping experience, the content we build, you don’t know how to care for flowers, we teach you how to do that via YouTube content. We’re trying to tell stories about this product and category that helps people understand there is a different way of buying in this industry.

Andrew: I see. I’m looking at a bouquet right now. I don’t just see the bouquet in different shots. I also see a farmer, farmer Eric. He’s the guy who–Eric named a special rose variety out of his daughter, Ashlan. As a third-generation farmer, Eric has been running his family farm since 1999, an expert in growing hydroponic flowers, his greenhouses recycle 100% of the water the farm uses for production. There’s a little video that goes along with that. That’s what you’re talking about.

John: Exactly right. So, there are two things there. One is we actually know where the flowers come from because we source them direct from the farm. So, we have people who go to these farms all around the world and say, “You’re operating the way that we believe in, which is responsible in terms of labor and responsible in terms of the way they treat the environment. We want to buy flowers from you, but we don’t want to buy them. We just want to put you in touch with the consumer who wants to buy them from you.”

So, we have boots on the ground making sure we know where these flowers come from, which in the traditional supply chain is virtually impossible. Flowers come into this long, convoluted supply chain and all get mixed together–the good flowers, the bad flowers, the high quality, the low quality.

Andrew: But John, what do I care? As long as it looks good, do I really care about farmer Eric? I care about wife Olivia who’s going into labor, I want to send her flowers. What do I care about farmer Eric?

John: Increasingly the world is looking for transparency in the way that they shop. It is still relatively new, but if you think about it, 10-15 years ago, organic was not something anybody talked about. The way that product got from the original source to you wasn’t something that was on people’s mind. Increasingly with the next generation of shoppers, it’s not just asked for. It’s being demanded.

So, the other part is you may not care, but I care. I want to make sure our business has some positive impact in the world and if I can do that for you at better quality with a lower price, it sort of doesn’t matter if you care, although I hope you do. So, it’s a benefit for folks that really do care and even if the shopper doesn’t, they’re still getting a great quality product at a great price and we’re supporting the mission at the same time.

Andrew: When you and Juan Pablo Montufar got together–that’s a big name. Is it Juan Pablo, is that what you usually call them or do you just call him Juan?

John: He goes by JP.

Andrew: JP. Wow. Okay. So, when you and JP got together, was it a 50-50 business arrangement at that point?

John: Yeah. We were sort of straight partners on this company and the reality of it was he had a very unique skill set, right? He could get access to flowers in South America. He could ship them to an end consumer in the U.S., going on average 3,500 miles through customs and it arrives in amazing shape and lasts a really long time. I had a unique skill set in that I understood the pain that he was going through as a farmer, but also as a consumer. So, you sort of put my storytelling background with his operational and understanding of flowers and it’s been a great partnership.

So the other part is we launched a business on two different continents, multiple time zones away. Everything was via email, Slack, WhatsApp, social media. So it had to be an inherently trustful relationship. Him being one of my best friends from college made that possible as well.

Andrew: Okay. Let me quickly talk about my sponsor. The sponsor is a company called Acuity Scheduling. Have you ever heard of them?

John: I have not, but I’m curious.

Andrew: Here’s what Acuity did for me. I had such a hard time getting interviewees to do an interview with me. I thought that it was just because nobody knew my name, that nobody wanted to respond to it. I thought it was all these different things. It turns out I just made it too hard for people to say yes. I’d say, “Can I do an interview with you, John?” And you might want to say yes, but then what’s involved in it? What goes on afterwards?

Anyway, it was very complicated. Then a friend of mine discovered Acuity Scheduling. He said, “Go check it out.” When I checked it out, it makes it so easy. The reason that it makes it so easy to book with people is because instead of saying to you, John, “Can I do an interview with you?” I was able to say, “Can I do an interview with you? Here’s a link to go book the time. You pick the time that works best for you.” You click the link. You saw my availability. You knew I’m not going to be available next week because I might be on paternity leave.

I could do all that. You don’t have to even know about that. All I have to do is give you the link and you get to see the available times, pick the ones you want, you answer a few questions that would help me get on a call with you, like what’s your Skype name, etc. and then boom, it’s on my calendar. It’s on your calendar. Did you get a reminder before the interview?

John: Absolutely. Yeah.

Andrew: I never used to even send reminders, but then I’d find people didn’t show up. It’s not because they didn’t want to do the interview. It’s because they forgot. So, I said, “Wait. I have a system. I have software.” I go back into the software and I say, “The day before, send out a reminder.” That’s what it does for me.

Now, the way that a lot of people use Acuity Scheduling is they use it to grow sales. By that I mean if somebody tries out their software, one of the first emails they send out is a link to their calendar or one of their sales people’s calendars so the potential customer can book a real conversation and understand the software. Other people do it after a customer buys from them. “Thanks for buying. Here’s a link. Talk to one of our people so we can walk you through the software, make sure you’re happy with it.” Incredibly powerful.

We use it even when people cancel Mixergy. I want to understand when you’re stopping to pay us, “What happened?” So, I send people a link to an Acuity Scheduling calendar. If you’re listening to me right now and you don’t know them, you’ve got to try them out.

AcuityScheduling was created by a Mixergy fan. The business is doing really well. So, he’s giving us a big discount. Here’s the link to get your big discount on Acuity Scheduling. It’s AcuityScheduling.com/Mixergy. You’ll get 45 days free when you sign up, cancel any time.

Speaking of customers, your first customer, you actually know the person. You know his name, huh?

John: Yes.

Andrew: Who was the first customer?

John: His name is Josh Glass. He’s a buddy of mine here in Santa Monica. He’s a teacher with my wife for a number of years.

Andrew: And how did you get him as a customer?

John: I asked him to buy.

Andrew: You just called him up and said, “Hey, I started this new thing. Can you buy from me?”

John: Yeah. That’s actually how we got all of our first customers, me literally just contacting people. I was speaking yesterday at Startup UCLA, a sort of pre-cellerator here at UCLA. People asked, “How do you get your first customers?”

I tell this story about how I meet a lot of entrepreneurs and they talk about how they need funding for marketing because the sales aren’t growing. I always challenge them with, “So, has your mom bought from you?” And if the answer is no, then I say, “You don’t deserve any funding because you have no even gotten your mom to buy. Your mom should buy just because she loves you.”

Andrew: What about this–if you’re selling to a friend, you don’t really get an indication of whether your product is good or not. You just have an indication of whether your friend will give you money. A good friend of yours will just give you $20 or $40 if you asked for it, right? What are you proving by selling to your friend?”

John: So, what I did was I asked people to buy and then I asked them to give me honest feedback. We actually got a ton of great feedback in those first couple of months.

Andrew: For example?

John: We got feedback on the packaging, the way you open the box, the communication on the box. We got feedback on what it was like to unbox the flowers.

Andrew: What’s one piece of feedback that stood out that helped shape the way you evolved the product?

John: The biggest thing was around the packaging and the way that–my cofounder, it was early days, we were one month in, he was packaging the flowers as if he was shipping to a florist. It was like Fort Knox. You had to cut this and untie this and there were thorns on the roses still because my cofounder thinks about it the way that–a florist doesn’t want it dethorned. That is a lower quality flower for a florist. A consumer doesn’t want to touch any thorns.

It revealed for him some things that I already told him, but it made it real for him that real people were saying, “This isn’t the type of experience I want. So we drastically changed the way he prepared and then wrapped and packaged the flowers in the box based on that feedback just from friends and family. The other thing that happened to was people would have genuinely good experiences and then they would share it.

So even though they were friends, one, we would get good feedback, but there wasn’t a downside. They weren’t going to bad mouth us on social media if we screwed something up. It was a safe place to experiment in those early days. Then they would have great experiences and they’d start talking about it. So, it became the beginnings of what became a pretty organically growing company in those first few years.

Andrew: And when you say that you contacted your friends, you were really systematic about it. You know how many friends you contacted, right?

John: Yeah. It was 2,700 and some friends.

Andrew: Did you spam them all, email them all in bulk?

John: No. I emailed every single one individually with specific questions about their lives and what was going on. I’d say see the kids on Facebook, they’re looking great. By the way, this is what I’m doing with my life. If you send the bulk mass email, everybody just assumes somebody else is going to buy. It’s a diffusion responsibility issue.

Andrew: Right.

John: So, I made it very personal, very one to one. It took me a long time.

Andrew: How long are we talking about here to send that many?

John: I did it in about a week.

Andrew: A week.

John: About a week and then I moved from there to still one to one but through other channels where the relationships might not be as close via Facebook, via LinkedIn. For the first month or so, that was our entire marketing plan was John asks people that he kind of knows or knows very well to buy flowers.

Andrew: So, if you and I were connected on LinkedIn, I would have gotten an email from you or a LinkedIn InMail message, which unfortunately I would not have even noticed because I don’t get any of those emails.

John: Exactly. Yeah.

Andrew: But I would on Facebook today. I get it. I see. That is a really intense thing. Did you have any plans for selling beyond your friends? Did you say, “Once we pass our friends or John’s friends, then the next step is to go buy ads,” or did you even know what you’re going to do?

John: We were pretty bootstrapped. So, we launched the company with $13,000 in the bank. That was the total invested capital. So, we couldn’t really go spend media. We had burned through any kind of experimentation in a week. So, what we did was we thought about what are the assets we have and how can we use them?

The assets we had was a really good story. We’re drop shipping flowers from an active volcano in Ecuador for $40 flat to your loved one wherever they live. That was a compelling story that people wanted to hear more about. And then we had hustle. All of my time in those first couple of months was literally hustling to people to buy. At first, it was people who I knew directly. Then it was people who were maybe slightly further out from that.

Then the next step was let’s get some other people who could influence others to talk about it as well. That was PR, not me hiring a PR agency because I didn’t have any capital for that. It was me literally reaching out to editors and knocking on doors and sending emails and badgering and trolling and stalking via email and social media until I got someone to pay attention.

Andrew: I’m looking at a Daily Candy post about you with a beautiful bouquet on a wood background that looks really nice. How did you get that?

John: That was the first one. So, what I did was I just networked my way through. So, we had Daily Candy and we had Thrillist right after it. They were sort of at the time the publications to get into. So, Daily Candy was friend of a friend type thing. So, I had an ex-colleague who used to work at Daily Candy. He was friends with like a junior editor, who was friends with a more senior editor.

I worked that daisy chain through, got a phone call, did the pitch. Daily Candy was always very focused on being the first one to tell a story. Since no one had known about us, we had a local blog here in Venice write about us, but that was all the press we had at that point. They jumped at the story and were all over it.

Thrillist was really interesting because I had been contacted by a friend of a friend when I was back post-Bain, still in Chicago about being an editor for their Chicago depot because it was brand new. I was like, “I’m not the best guy,” but I saved the email. The email was one of the founders.

So, whenever we launched this, I reached out and said, “Hey, couldn’t help you back in the Chicago days and you’ve done amazing, by the way, but I have a new product and I think it would be great for your audience.” He connected me with a writer and off we were on Thrillist.

Andrew: Which founder?

John: I can’t remember now. It’s been so long.

Andrew: It wasn’t Ben Lerer, was it?

John: I don’t think it was Ben. I’d have to go back and check. I’ve met Ben since then as a potential investor. I pitched him a couple years back.

Andrew: I bet.

John: I don’t think it was Ben. I think it was one of the other guys.

Andrew: The article on Thrillist has a headline “Sending Flowers Has Never Been Easier.” But strangely, when I look at the Google title for that same article, it says, “The Bouqs: Sex + Dating.”

John: I think they put it in the dating section.

Andrew: I wonder if at one point they had a different headline on there. As a result of getting on Daily Candy by just constantly working your network, you ended up on “The Price is Right.”

John: Yeah.

Andrew: The TV show?

John: Yeah. What was great about press and that storytelling focus is that once people see the story one place, they want to tell it again. They have a different spin on it, different take on it. But press begets press begets press. In this case, it led to “The Price is Right,” which was amazing because I was a huge fan growing up. That was like the household show that we watched. So, it was super exciting to be a prize. The contestant actually won us. So, she won a year’s worth of flowers, which was pretty exciting.

Andrew: How did they express it in a way that led people understand why they should even go and buy you?

John: It was pretty quick. It’s not like you get a ton of editorial time on “The Price is Right.” They talked about flowers straight from the farm, sustainable farming and you get a year of flowers to beautify your home and that was in and out. It was really quick.

Andrew: And as a result of that, did you get any sales?

John: It’s tough to measure. Back then, we had very little in terms of data analytics. Sales were higher than they were the day before, but that could have been pure randomness. What we do know is that and many other things like it, when we published it out via email, via social media, that generated a response. When people got an email saying, “We were on The Price is Right,” and our email list was maybe 10,000 people. I don’t know what it was. It was very early. People clicked on that because it was interesting. It was the evolution of the company. It was “big news.”

So, those types of proof points, while being on “The Price is Right” is not being in The Wall Street Journal, it was something that people found compelling and interesting and again, it helped us tell the story to the customer about this is an evolving company. This is a company that’s exciting and new and different and you should be excited about it to.

Andrew: I get it. How did you end up with a mailing list? Was your mailing list nothing but customers? Did you end up with a mailing list because–oh, I see, I’m looking at an old version of your site. When someone came on the site, you’d say, “Get 10% off your first order if you enter your email address now,” and that’s how you got people on the mailing list.

John: Yeah. We didn’t actually have that for the first few months, mostly because I wanted people to get right to the flowers. But it’s like the most effective ecommerce tactic, make sure you get the email address so you can stay in touch. Even if a customer doesn’t buy today, you can resell to them via email. While there’s been lots of talk about the death of email, we find it’s still the single most important point of contact for the customer base.

Andrew: I’m looking at a version of your site from 2014. On the bottom I see Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, O–that’s the Oprah magazine, right? I don’t recognize the logo, but I see an O, so I can assume that’s what it is. Today Show, Daily Candy, Maxim, E!, Popsugar–what else did you do that got you all this freaking press?

John: Most of it was the storytelling that we did in the other outlets. So, very specifically we ended up in Facebook Gifts, which is now gone. But Facebook Gifts at the time was a big deal for us. We ended up in Facebook Gifts because of the Thrillist article, the person who’s working there read that article, said, “This is a brand that represents out user. We want to be in there.”

Popsugar, one of the editors became a client. She bought and sent flowers to a couple folks and said, “I love this business. I want to talk about it,” off we went. So, as the story was told by these other outlets, by these other brands, it attracted other folks who wanted to talk about it as well.

Andrew: Did you do anything else to get things going for yourself?

John: In terms of marketing?

Andrew: Yeah, or PR.

John: Yeah.

Andrew: I see that for example The Wall Street Journal doesn’t usually cover funding rounds. But when you raise $1.1 million, I see an article here from June 25th on their site about it. That doesn’t seem like something they would stop and talk about. What did you do that got them to talk about it?

John: Yeah. So, that was working the network further. So, my now creative director who’s been with us full-time for about a year and a half at the time was a freelance consultant, was at the advertising agency Deutsch LA. Within that company, he was telling the story of the company and he got some bigwigs behind us that got excited about us. They wanted to help us out. So, we had like a mini project within Deutsch where they were working on some branding and some content for us.

Andrew: Just as a favor?

John: As a favor and–

Andrew: Because you’re asking for this.

John: Yeah. We asked. They said that would be really cool.

Andrew: I don’t know that I would have the nerve to keep going back to my friends and asking them for this and that. I like that you feel comfortable doing that.

John: Well, it was also my friend that worked there had equity in the company.

Andrew: In your company?

John: In this company.

Andrew: I see. So, he had an incentive to do it.

John: Yeah.

Andrew: By the way, The Wall Street Journal says the company is called 30 Bouqs.

John: Yeah.

Andrew: You changed it. What was 30 Bouqs about?

John: Our original name was going to be 30 Bouqs. The idea was we were going to have 30 Bouqs and everything was going to be $30. That was our corporate entity name, but we never launched with that business model for two main reasons, one was we knew eventually we wanted to have more than 30 and we’d sort of be tying ourselves to that number. The other thing was the $30 price point actually didn’t make sense. It was bad economically for the business.

Andrew: It’s bad to lock yourself into any price point for the rest of your life. Ask all the dollar stores.

John: Shipping fees and–we would have never done care and handling, but we would have been in the fee game and we really wanted to be upfront and honest with the customer. So, we started with a $40 price point and moved away from the 30 Bouqs name after about eight months into the business and renamed the company to Bouqs Company.

Andrew: I just said Bouqs by accident. I know it’s Bouqs, Bouqs as in bouquet right?

John: They’re both accurate. Some people say bouquet.

Andrew: Talk to me about this name. I know that Barbara Corcoran, a Mixergy interviewee, said she didn’t like your name at all.

John: She slammed it.

Andrew: Slammed it. Hated it. It is kind of tough, frankly, isn’t it? I imagine that when I started this interview, I should have said Bouq as in bouquet, which is what one of the shows you were on said, “Access Hollywood.” I should have done that. I wonder how many people would have thought it was Boke. I don’t know what they would have thought. Any issue with the name? Do you regret it a little bit?

John: I don’t regret it at all. But we definitely had a lot of heated debates early. I was always on the side of keep Bouqs and other people were on the other side. There were a couple of main reasons. One was the vast majority of our marketing was always going to be a clickable link. It didn’t matter if you could say it correctly or not. That was sort of the first part.

The second part was every other company in this space has either the word flowers or bloom in their name. So, when you get into the SEO game and you try to rank somewhere in Google, it’s really hard. It’s tough to get even on the first page. But Bouqs because we invented the word and we trademarked it, we could now own all SEO around this term. Now the challenge becomes we have to make that term mean something. But telling the story and building the brand around that world, we’ve done that. If you type in the word Bouqs, we’re not the first link, we’re every link. So, the power in that from an SEO and branding perspective becomes very strong.

Then the last part was this debate around if you say it, what’s it mean or how do you spell it? My point of view there was once you get into a place where there’s conversation, the name is going to elicit a lean forward, “Wait, let’s talk about it,” instead of an, “Oh yeah, I get it.” If my name was BloomFlowers.com, you go like, “Oh yeah, you sell flowers.”

Andrew: I see.

John: If we’re Bouqs, people say like, “What’s that mean? How did you get to that name? Tell me there’s more story about it.” It becomes lean in and it engages people in a conversation that is much more memorable than if the name was BloomFlowers.com.

Andrew: So, you said that you’d get most of your orders, that they’d all be one click away. I’m trying to figure out where you do get your orders. I go into SimilarWeb a lot to check on sites. It looks like LivingSocial and Groupon send you orders, right? You’re still working with those guys. It looks like also some of the wedding sites like WeddingWire send you traffic.

John: Yeah. So, we have a lot of relationships with publications, lifestyle folks, blogs, etc. and a lot of our orders are still purely organic as well. So, folks are just typing in the word Bouqs into Google or coming directly to Bouqs.com. Affiliate relationships are huge for us, especially early on when we didn’t have budgets, right? When we hadn’t raised any capital, the only way we could really get in front of people was essentially a trade on margins.

So, we’d say to Google Offers, which was no longer around or Gilt City or Groupon or LivingSocial, “Hey, we’ll give you a chunk of margin on this order. Let’s work together.” That has worked as amazingly well for us and continues to be a pretty important tactic today. We also do a lot of more traditional advertising. We buy TV. We buy radio. We buy podcasts.

A lot of things where we can tell the story because what we find is two things work really well–when somebody else has a chance to tell our story, it works really well. When we have an editorial medium and we have a chance to tell our story, it works really well.

When it doesn’t work great is when we put a link next to a competitive link and it has the price because we tell the true price, which is $40 and they say the made up price, which is $19.99. So, who clicks on which link? We don’t typically win in that space. So, we have to be more creative in the way that we do our marketing.

Andrew: Okay. Second and final sponsor and then I’ll come back and dig a little bit more into where you’re getting your customers today because I do see more interesting things in SimilarWeb that give me an indication of where your business is going, like Slack, for example, is in your referrals and I think that’s there for a reason.

All right. The second sponsor is a company called HostGator. Do you know HostGator?

John: I’m learning about them now.

Andrew: It’s interesting. I bring them up in interviews. They’re the one company my guests say not only do they–more than any other company, they know the name HostGator, but also that they use HostGator currently or in the past and it’s because HostGator is just hosting that actually works in a world where most hosting will go down way too much because it’s unreliable and it’s inexpensive. Frankly, hosting is a solved problem. It shouldn’t cost you too much. People seem to pile on all kinds of prices on hosting when in reality, it should work and it should be one of the least expensive parts of your income statement.

So, if anyone out there hates their hosting company or maybe if you even like your hosting company but you know you’ve been paying money to them on a regular basis, at least check out the price on HostGator because frankly, for a phone call or some time to register with HostGator, they could switch you right over and for that little bit of time and effort, you will end up with a much lower price for hosting than you’ve ever paid before. I know it because HostGator now is giving me their best, absolute lowest price they’re giving anyone, 50% off of their prices. We’re talking about $3.48 a month for what they call the hatchling plan. That’s their recommended plan.

If you want to grow with them, they have tons of other plans. They have something called the baby plan, the business plan. They have plans that are designed for WordPress. They have plans that are designed for web apps, whatever you need, they’ve got it. Go to HostGator.com/Mixergy to get that 50% discount. It’s incredible. It’s for a limited time. They’re working with us to test something out to see how effective Mixergy is. All right. HostGator.com/Mixergy.

So, here’s what I’m seeing when I go, John, into your SimilarWeb stats. I see some business-related links, like AnyPerk. AnyPerk is not for an individual. By the way, I love that freaking company. I interviewed the founder. They give discounts to employees of companies. You’re working with these companies. Tell me how. I also somewhere in the notes here that you’ve got big business clients. Talk to me about the business clients. So far we’ve talked only about consumers.

John: Yeah. So, it’s actually a very similar story to how we get those relationships and it’s the same outcome. A lot of companies, whether it’s a marketing partnership or sending flowers to their clients or sending flowers to their employees haven’t found a brand that resonates with them in this space.

So, we’ve worked with I mentioned earlier Gilt City as a marketing partner. They’ve also been a client that sends flowers to employees or to their clients. We work with the Honest Company, who sends flowers to their users in a surprise and delight way to say thank you for being a great customer.

Andrew: So, how do you get the Honest Company, for example, or any one of these companies? Do you do anything proactive or are they just looking online and discovering you?

John: It’s definitely both. We have a lot of inbound interest from folks saying, “I’m looking for a partner.” Barbara Corcoran’s old company, The Corcoran Group, is actually a client as well.

Andrew: So, just looking around to seeing what’s available when we need to send flowers.

John: Yeah. Hey, we want to do some gifting as a company. An employee used us or they used us themselves and they reach out saying, “Hey, is there any way that we can work with you and get a discount, get a little love?” And we say, “Absolutely. Sign up and here we go.” And then some of it is outbound.

So, the Honest Company is a relationship of mine. So Brian Lee was my ultimate boss when I worked at Shoedazzle for all of eight months. So, I got to know Brian very well. He’s a mentor of mine. So, I had a good in at the top and a way to get into their customer service team to try to make a sale.

Other ones, I have a team here that works on those relationships, whether it’s a bride who’s looking for flowers or a corporation. We have a business development sales team. So, we’re always trying to find ways to reach people because the great thing about our product is if a company like AnyPerks offers it up and you get exposed to it there, then you might use it yourself somewhere else or you might receive it and say, “I really love those flowers. I’m going to buy again.” It has a broader impact than just the individual relationship with that one company.

Andrew: When you do outbound or when you have your team develop these corporate clients, what’s the process for doing that?

John: So it depends. It varies a lot. I would say that we’re relatively new at that game and I wouldn’t say that we have the sales process nailed yet. It’s a lot of experimentation. The team is split into what I call bulk accounts, which is any bulk order, so an event, a wedding, that kind of stuff, and then folks who are focused more on corporate initiatives.

On the corporate side, a lot of it’s leveraging our networks. My network, my CMO’s network, the other executive networks, our investors’ networks to find our way into a warm introduction where we can get in front of somebody who can make a decision.

Andrew: Do you start with a company that you’re targeting or do you sit down with one of your investors and say, “Tell me all the companies you’re related to?”

John: Both.

Andrew: So, if I was an investor of yours, someone on your team, maybe even you would sit down with me over lunch, is that how it happens?

John: Typically it’s over email.

Andrew: Tell me all the companies you know that you’re associated with that might be customers, that’s what you guys do?

John: Yeah.

Andrew: Impressive. Okay. So then you get all those company names and then you ask for warm introductions and your sales person will then call up and then look for the right buyer and then continue from there.

John: Yeah.

Andrew: Interesting. Do you know about this Slack? Why is Slack listed over here as one of the referrals?

John: So I don’t have particular knowledge around it other than my guess is that our brand resonates with Slack users.

Andrew: Okay. I thought maybe you guys had a bot for Slack for ordering flowers. You don’t?

John: We do not. I know there are bots being built every day that will do referrals and it could be. I’m not particularly aware that we have deal somewhere. But I’m not aware that there’s a promotional partnership there.

Andrew: I see that you guys are using Slack because one of the referral links here is Bouqs.Slack.com. So it’s you guys also linking out to your own stuff from there.

John: Yeah.

Andrew: By the way, isn’t Brian Lee one of the best freaking entrepreneurs ever? Look at this–LegalZoom, Shoedazzle, The Honest Company.

John: And like his tree is sort of sprouting off more. So, Brian is an advisor, a shareholder here at Bouqs. His team at The Honest Company spawned the company Holler, which is the online dollar store and he’s prolific in his involvement in the community.

Andrew: What makes him so good? What is it about him?

John: You know what I think it is? I think Brian is one, he has wins under his belt. So, LegalZoom was a great success. Shoedazzle was a great success. But he’s just the nicest guy in the world and he’s wicked smart. When you have that combination of here’s a person who knows how to build a company and I really like him, it ends up being a really investible business.

Andrew: When you say wicket smart, give me an example of a time that he was especially smart or what kind of smart does he have?

John: So, I think what Brian is best at–this is just from the outside because I only worked with him for eight months at Shoedazzle–but he knows who to put where and he knows how to get those people into those roles. So, Brian, he doesn’t have an operational background. He’s a visionary for an idea. So, he’s going to put people around him that are amazing operator. He knows the strengths and weaknesses and he can hire so well. The teams he assembles are literally the best people that you can find.

Andrew: I see.

John: That is such a huge part of building a company.

Andrew: Why do you think before he had all this success people who would work for him, someone who was one of the best ever? What do you think it was about him, beyond the fact that he has a track record today? What was it about him in the past that allowed him to get people to say, “Yes, I will work with you?”

John: Got it. I think it’s the very clear vision for this problem that needs solved and how he can solve it. Then it goes back to him just being personally–if you spend time with Brian Lee, you’re attracted to him in a very real way. You want to work with him. You want to be around him. He has this presence, this very calm and kind presence that I think just radiates from him and draws people in.

I was actually shocked. You sort of hear stories about entrepreneurs and he’s one of the more famous ones in LA. I went to interview at Shoedazzle and I expected a lot of bravado and a lot of ego and instead I got this quiet, very kind, very calm person who made me feel welcome and comfortable and I think it’s an amazing natural skill that he has.

Andrew: You know what? In the spirit of you being comfortable asking your friends to buy flowers, would you be comfortable making an introduction to him so that I can ask him to do an interview here?

John: I can certainly ask him on your behalf. I don’t know what funnels it will end up going through to the PR department and all that kind of stuff, but I’m certainly happy to–

Andrew: I’d love it. Do you think it would be useful for him to do an interview or would he be up for it, do you think?

John: I honestly couldn’t tell you. I don’t know. He’s a busy man, but I’d certainly be willing to ping him about it.

Andrew: I appreciate it. When you say funnels, what kind of funnels does he have?

John: His schedule is going to be managed between his company, the company he’s invested in, his PR team, so you’re going to have to go through layers of folks to get something scheduled. We have it her. I’ve hired a PR person three months ago, but compared to Brian who has multiple companies, very, very large companies, he’s at a stage that I aspire to someday, just an impressive individual.

Andrew: You went on “Shark Tank.” You already raised money before you went on “Shark Tank,” so, why’d you go?

John: So, I met a producer through my network here in LA. She ended up being a client of ours. So, we started having a conversation. I applied to the show. This was right after the seed round was closed. We closed the seed round June-ish and I think I started talking to them in July. We were very honest in the conversation. I said, “Hey, look, I just raised a bunch of money. That’s my price. I won’t be able to change it. How’s that going to work on the show?” I had concerns. I didn’t want them to think I was unwilling to negotiate, but it’s kind of like the price is the price. This is what I have.

Ultimately we did it for two reasons. One was I thought the partnership opportunities there with folks like Mark and Robert and Barbara and the team were great. Awesome people, but they also are awesome people with a platform. So, if I can get them into the company, they have an opportunity to be very loudly influential for us as a company.

Then the downside, the only real perceived downside was what if I go on there, I don’t get an investment and they make me look like a jerk or stupid or whatever it is they could make me look like. That was sort of the one part where I paused. But ultimately I said, “Look, how often does any company get the opportunity to get in front of 9 million, 10 million people with no cash outlay?” And that ROI forced me to take the choice. There’s literally no media buy I could have possibly done with that seed round to even come close to the people we got by being in front of people on “Shark Tank.”

So I hoped to get an investor, but I knew I would get eyeballs, for sure. It’s been one of the best things that we’ve ever done. I have lots of entrepreneurs ask me, “Should I go on?” And my answer is always 100% yes.

Andrew: Tech Cocktail said that you raised $600,000 soon after being on the show. Is that right?

John: So, that was already committed before the show.

Andrew: I see.

John: We actually kind of held that off in the hopes that we could make them part of that chunk. We had a $1.1 million seed close and another chunk outstanding. I was trying to make it a rounder number and make it an additional million with the sharks plus some others. Because they didn’t come in, we stayed at the–

Andrew: You were going to give them the same valuation as your other investors had, the same deal.

John: Exactly.

Andrew: And they didn’t want that deal. But as a result, you did get customers. I’ve actually been watching unboxing videos of people getting your bouquets to see what it’s like. Several people said they saw you on “Shark Tank” and because of that they ordered.

John: Yeah.

Andrew: You know what else I noticed in the unboxing videos? It’s still a little bit of work to open up your flowers.

John: It is.

Andrew: It is. And then they don’t, at least in one video I saw, they’re still closed when people get them.

John: In bud form. Lilies we typically ship in bud form.

Andrew: Which people don’t understand they need to wait for or they do but they’re impatient about it. Why do you do that? Why the packaging that they need scissors to open, for example? Why do you send flowers in bud form?

John: So, mostly for the quality of the flower. So, flowers are delicate, right? So, it’s a living organism that is relatively dainty. These flowers, some of them are traveling 3,500, 4,000 miles.

Andrew: 3,500 or 4,000 is from where to where?

John: From Ecuador to various points.

Andrew: So, they actually get boxed in Ecuador?

John: Correct.

Andrew: You don’t send the flowers somewhere to the U.S. in bulk and then–really? Okay.

John: No. We have no inventory warehouses, none of that stuff and that’s how we ensure that it’s the freshest flower possible, coming direct from that source. Along that travel, if we left it loose in there and we didn’t tie it down really securely, they’re going to bounce around in the box. What happens is bruising. If you ever see a rose that’s white and it’s got some brown on the edges, it’s because that flower was banged against something and in our case, against the box.

Andrew: I see.

John: The bud form is the safest time to ship it because it’s protected by its outer protective shell. It depends on the flower type, though. Roses, when they’re in bud form, still look really great, still look like a rose, even though they’re closed up, it still looks like a rose. A lily looks like a green thing.

So the experience really depends on the person. What we try to do and what we’ve gotten better and better over time is to educate people about the different flowers. Depending on what kind of experience you want, buy different things. What we find is there are different reactions. Some people say, “I love this. I got to work with the flowers. I really like arranging,” and they’re into the experience.

Some people say, “Hey, I don’t want to do any work. I just want to show up perfect and ready and in the vase.” For those folks, we launched a florist network competitive to the 1-800-Flowers and FTDs of the world, that is dissimilar in the type of florist and in the economics of that deal and in the way that they design, but it’s very similar in the sense that we get you something fully designed, ready to go and then delivered in one to three hours depending on where you are.

Andrew: So, you now have a floral network with local stores.

John: Yeah.

Andrew: Do you make money on the referrals?

John: We make money when we sell flowers to consumers. We don’t sell a single thing to the florist.

Andrew: You don’t sell a single thing to the florist.

John: Everything is based on the customer, the customer order.

Andrew: And then how do you know what flowers they’re going to be able to ship?

John: We give them free rein to design within a theme. So, rather than putting a photo up and we say, “Buy this photo,” which as we just said, we don’t even know what flowers they have in stock, so they might not fulfill with the right flowers. But it also really takes away from the florist what they got in the industry to do in the first place, which was to design.

What we do is we have a conversation with the customer. We say, “Who’s it for?” “It’s for my mom.” “What’s the occasion?” “It’s her birthday.” “What’s her style?” “She’s very traditional or she’s modern or rustic or whatever it might be.” And that’s what you’re checking out, which is a combination of input for the florist to do something completely custom and on demand for you so they can use their best flowers instead of the ones that happen to be yellow and really old in the shop.

Andrew: I see. All right. I think that makes sense. You told our producer, as I said earlier in the interview, here’s what you said, “I’m not a dig deep person. I like to be shallow on lots of stuff and being a founder requires a lot of that.” What do you mean by that?

John: Yeah. So, I am not a specialist.

Andrew: So, it’s not that you don’t like to go deep personally, it’s that you don’t want to specialize in any one thing.

John: Correct. Personally I love going deep. So, if you want to talk about politics or religion or the spirit of the universe, I’m down and I love those conversations, but the way my brain works is I like to be light touch on lots of things rather than going deep on one topic. So, think about like an Olympian. An Olympian downhill skier, they are great at skiing and they love to ski and that’s their focus. As a child, as a teenager, as an adult, I never really found joy in doing the same thing for a long time. After a little while I kind of burned out a little bit.

So, what I love about being a founder is I don’t work on marketing. I don’t work on this. I work on everything and I get bits and pieces of it, typically high level strategy stuff. Every once in a while I’m down into the details, but I really like that dynamic where it’s a constantly evolving workplace because that’s sort of what my brain creates.

Andrew: And the negative of being an entrepreneur you said to her was you never get to leave it behind you. In fact, you’ve got twins, right? One of the twins was wearing a flower t-shirt and what did you think at the time?

John: This is great social media opportunity for us. And it’s constant, it really is. This company and me are not separable in any way. It’s good in that I’m passionate about it. I’m excited about it. That helps fuel the company. But if somebody asks you, “What do you miss about your corporate life?” It was that when I went home at a certain–I worked hard at Disney. Disney people work hard, but I could shut it off. I could go for a weekend and not think once about what Mickey was going to do.

With this job, it’s really hard for me to just turn it off. So, moments where I’m with my children, which are really about us, it will creep in because there will be some kind of stimuli that’s like, “That reminds me of something at the company.” That’s the biggest down is I never really am 100% in any given moment because part of my brain is always with the company.

Andrew: Okay. Let me close it out with this question. Where is this going? This company, where is it going and where is the flower industry going?

John: Yeah. So, we’re aiming to be the largest brand in floral in the world. That means we will be in Europe. We will be in Asia, something that even the largest competitors have never really done successfully. The industry is going to a place that it doesn’t know it’s going because we’re taking it there.

So, this industry grew up 120 years ago, roughly, in the way that it is today and it hasn’t really changed, right? Instead of a phone call, it’s an email. Instead of a fax, it’s an email. But generally speaking, flowers are being cut, being sold three or four times and then being retailed by a third party.

What we’re doing is digitizing that entire supply chain. That is going to change the way that all of this works in a very good way for the consumer and a great way for the farmer and in not a great way for the folks in between because we’re just intervening in the way they work today, but I think the world of flowers is going into real time, just in time, tech enabled sourcing and that’s really what we’re at the forefront of.

Andrew: So, ten years from now, we’re going to see that you are a bigger brand meaning way, more revenue or more mind share and at the same time that–

John: All of the above–larger public valuation, more revenues, more top line, more bottom line, more employees. We will be the single largest retailer of flowers in the world.

Andrew: I see, kind of like farm to table but for flowers.

John: Exactly right.

Andrew: Really, actually literally.

John: Literally.

Andrew: Thank you so much for being on here. Anyone who wants to check you out should go to Bouqs.com. My two sponsors, of course, for this interview are the company that’s going to host your website right. If you don’t like your hosting company or do like it but want to lower your price, go check out HostGator.com/Mixergy. And if you want to actually get people on the phone with you or schedule meetings the way I do here, use Acuity Scheduling. Their special URL for us AcuityScheduling.com/Mixergy.

Man, I’m going to love it, John, when you become the biggest flower brand in the world because then I will have this interview with you that people are going to go back and study forever, kind of like the study the interviews with the founder of Airbnb or the founder of Lynda.com for a long time people came back to study because I had one of the first interviews with her. So, this is exciting to have you on here. Thanks so much.

John: We’re working hard. Thanks so much for having me, Andrew. I really appreciate it

Andrew: Thanks. Bye. Bye, everyone.


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