For most startups, when budget is tight creative thinking is key. For one Aussie business, technology offered the scope for establishing a crucial edge.
Taking the plunge from a corporate role to launching a startup requires creative thinking. For Adelaide-based Kelly Jamieson, it also required courage. Leaving a top-tier law firm in order to juggle a job as consultant and part-time entrepreneur, Kelly ran her new venture alongside her existing 30-hour working week.
A decade on, the business is in cities across Australia and New Zealand, with a view to a European presence in the near future.
Edible Blooms is a gift delivery service that specialises in bouquets made entirely from fresh fruit and chocolate. When Kelly started the venture in 2005, getting noticed meant more than a social media presence – she needed creative ways of getting Edible Blooms’ message out to the public.
In a quiet period after the opening of her Sydney store, Kelly took matters into her own hands, donned a strawberry suit and strolled up and down Oxford Street handing out flyers.
It worked. The business grew fast and by the end of the full financial year had topped $1 million in sales.
“Innovating is an essential,” says Kelly.
“In the early days, competitors would bother me. But now I see that competitors help increase awareness for our category. We actually have about 60 per cent of the traffic for our category.”
Since her first foray into direct marketing, Kelly’s approach has taken a digital turn. The company established itself on an eCommerce platform and Edible Blooms also became an early adopter of cloud technology.
“The type of product we sell are products people tend to order last minute,” says Kelly.
“Seventy per cent, possibly more, are usually purchased for the same day or next day. So eCommerce is the best platform for us.”
Using the Neto Online Store to run her business, Kelly can manage all aspects– from inventory to sales to shipping – with one dashboard. And for her, it’s an efficient solution.
“We have had a saving in overhead costs, but also an increase in sales with the online platform – it essentially delivered to the bottom line in two places.”
Connecting With Tech
The ability to gather consensual data on customers through its website, newsletter and social media analytics means Edible Blooms can utilise creative approaches for talking to its customers.
With over 125,000 people on its mailing list, email communications have a big impact. By using customer data, Edible Blooms can develop email campaigns to focus on important dates such as birthdays and special occasions. Targeting and activating customers in a tailored and personalised way means there’s limited wastage when it comes to marketing spend, and a better customer experience.
“We are really working on our customer database and are trying to create a customer experience,” she explains.
The company’s expansive customer database also allows it to forecast how the business will behave, and therefore what to prepare for.
“We can predict our daily sales based on trends. We compare the calendar week from this year to last year and I can track how much growth we’re expecting to have. This means we can predict staffing and stock levels much more accurately.”
“In the early days, opening a new store was quick and easy. But as the business has grown, it’s more complex,” explains Kelly.
“We have bigger stock lines, we have more stakeholders and suppliers. While expanding the business gets easier in some respects, it also gets more multifaceted.”
But with the growing business comes even bigger opportunities. And Edible Blooms fully intends to continue taking advantage of techology in order to fulfil its creative approach.
“We are strong believers in reinvesting in the business,” says Kelly.
“By streamlining our business functions and saving costs, it frees up cash to focus on new ventures and product innovations.”