Galway girls put a new twist on saying it with flowers

With Bloom in a Box, this florist is reinventing an age-old tradition of gift-giving

Aveline O’Sullivan of Bloom in a Box: “We thought about how we could create a ‘moment’ flower rather than an ‘occasion’ bouquet, and that’s how the idea was born.”

Aveline O’Sullivan of Bloom in a Box: “We thought about how we could create a ‘moment’ flower rather than an ‘occasion’ bouquet, and that’s how the idea was born.”

 

Most floral gifts are variations on the perennial theme of bouquets, baskets and arrangements, but since January this year there’s been a new option. It’s called Bloom in a Box and it’s the creation of Galway-based florist Aveline O’Sullivan and her twin sisters, Sinéad and Sorcha.

It looks exactly as it sounds: a single bloom in a pretty box that’s designed to make a big impact when it’s opened. The bloom sits securely in a vial of water and the elaborate patent-pending box ensures it gets to the recipient in one piece and lasts. It requires no cutting, arranging, feeding or care of any sort. The box is compact so it moves easily and takes up very little space. 

The idea of the single bloom is to maximise the wow factor, so the company is focusing on flowers that pack a punch: brightly coloured gerberas, roses and sunflowers. The blooms are suitable for any occasion, they come with a gift card for a personalised message and cost €25 plus delivery of €3.99.

“Bloom in a Box is the reinvention of the gifting of flowers,” says O’Sullivan, who has been working in the retail flower industry for more than 10 years. “Flower offerings are very traditional and we felt there was something missing between supermarket flowers and florist flowers. We thought about how we could create a ‘moment’ flower rather than an ‘occasion’ bouquet, and that’s how the idea was born. Our customers wanted something affordable yet luxurious to mark special moments, but not necessarily traditional bouquets with the associated delivery costs. Our product can be shipped nationwide by An Post and delivered within 24 hours to convey whatever message or sentiment the person wants with the power of a single bloom.

Greek times

“Flowers have been given as gifts since the Greek times yet there has been no real innovation since,” O’Sullivan adds. “Our innovation is designed for the fast-paced modern times we live in. It can be ordered quickly online and there is a mobile app version coming later in the year.” 

O’Sullivan points out that scaling a flower business is difficult, and also demanding, as flowers damage easily and require temperature control and careful handling if they are to be delivered looking fresh as a daisy, as it were.

We knew the flower had to be able to withstand being turned upside down multiples times before being delivered

“Our box sustains and protects the flower and is easily transported in a bag if you’re bringing it as a gift to a friend or to someone in a nursing home. It’s also very handy if it’s being delivered to an office and the person wants to bring it home,” she says. “We are passionate about celebrating ‘moments’, and our experience from owning flower shops is that everyone wants to be recognised and remembered.”

Biggest buyers

Women in the 25-65 age group are likely to be the biggest buyers of Bloom in a Box products, and the company will be focusing on Ireland in year one followed by the UK in year two. The sisters have been working on their idea since 2015, and by far the trickiest part was getting the packaging right. “We knew the flower had to be able to withstand being turned upside down multiples times before being delivered. We also had to ensure there would be no leaks or air locks in the vial and that the water couldn’t become contaminated. The testing of all the potential environmental factors that could affect the product took a long time, as did designing the box,” O’Sullivan says.  

The cost of getting Bloom in a Box to its launch point has been about €50,000. Most of that was self-funded, with some support also coming from Údarás na Gaeltachta. The company’s launch range comprises six cut-flower options, but O’Sullivan is already working on phase two which will see the addition of new box colours, more flower choices, and other botanically-inspired options.

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