Farbod Shoraka drives BloomNation’s vision, strategy and growth. Rebuilding the concept of sending flowers online from the ground up, Farbod aims to disrupt the industry with ideas that change the ways flowers are sent online. An economics graduate from University of California, Berkeley, Farbod has always had a passion for understanding models and creating solutions for the greater good. Prior to BloomNation, Farbod was an analyst in Mergers & Acquisitions and corporate strategy. Farbod’s favorite flower is the Casablanca Lily.
BloomNation was founded by 3 friends who were tired of finding the same uninspiring flowers across the internet, BloomNation allows local artisan florists to list their own designs for sale in an online marketplace, so consumers can discover and send unique handcrafted arrangements available from nearby florists. Whether you are looking for a traditional dozen red roses or a one-of-a-kind design, BloomNation lets you discover and send your perfect gift, at any price point, in more than 3,000 cities across the country.
BusinessInterviews.com: How is BloomNation disrupting the traditional floral industry?
Farbod: BloomNation is the first floral website that allows top floral designers across the country to list their designs for sale directly on BloomNation.com so consumers can discover amazing designs that are hand crafted and delivered locally. You see real images that are taken by the designers themselves, giving consumers a connection to the artist and bringing artistry back to flowers. With a single search, you are able to compare all the designs, prices and reviews of all the artisan florists available in the recipient’s area. We are recreating the concept of walking into a flower shop, but online.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the difference between shopping locally for floral bouquets and arrangements compared to shopping with a site such as 1800Flowers.com? Why does supporting your local florists get you better bouquets in the future?
Farbod: Traditional online flower delivery sites are actually brokers that buy consumer orders and sell them to a random florist to fulfill. They show generic, cookie-cutter designs that have no reflection to the florists’ inventory or talent. You have no control over which florist sends your gift. The florist receives half the money and has no connection to the purchaser, which is no surprise that the flowers ordered through those sites NEVER look like what the person ordered. By ordering straight from the florist, you are no longer just an order, but a customer that they want to earn repeat business from. Because the florists list the designs that they have created, you are able to find unique, one-of-a-kind designs and know that what you see, is what you get.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s one marketing strategy that’s worked well for you so far?
Farbod: Wowing the customers to create word of mouth – instead of spending lots of money on paid ads, we put our efforts on making the experience of using BloomNation so delightful that the customers will be spreading the word for us. We also give florists tools like a website builder, email marketing and social media management so they have the power to market their businesses and help the platform grow. They become the marketers for the community.
BusinessInterviews.com: Could you tell our readers about the investors of BloomNation and how they help influence the direction and vision of the company?
Farbod: We are pleased to have some of the most respected and successful venture capital firms backing BloomNation and its vision. We are currently backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Spark Capital and CrunchFund. These firms have helped companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest grow to become some of the biggest companies in the world and we are pleased to have an amazing group of investors that allow us to control the vision of the company. They provide the advice and resources to help us but allow us to retain the structure and direction of the company.
BusinessInterviews.com: How has BloomNation evolved since first launching in 2011?
Farbod: When we first started in 2011, we had no idea what we were getting into. We had a very basic website that simply allowed florists to sign up and create a profile. Today, we have a full suite of enterprise level software for florists to use and a marketplace with thousands of florists and over 32,000 designs listed for sale. We have come a long way.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for BloomNation in the coming year?
Farbod: One of the most exciting things for us is allowing the growers and suppliers (i.e. Vase manufactures) to integrate within the platform, giving the florists an easy way to access and purchase inventory/supplies they never could get before. We want to be part of the entire value-chain for the floral industry.
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