Online flower firm takes off

20:37, Feb 07 2011

A Hamilton couple are using the internet to transform the traditional floristry industry, although their inquisitive young daughter causes the occasional stock loss.

Ryan and Amy Henwood started Amy's Flowers, an online floristry business, in October and without the cost of a lease, large utility bills and staffing costs, the couple are passing on savings to clients.

In a small cottage behind their Hamilton villa, their burgeoning business is literally blooming, although a few petals are lost as their 2 1/2-year-old daughter wanders among the bouquets.

The couple decided in the modern world, a florist did not need retail space because most received 80 per cent of their bookings by phone or the internet.

They promptly expanded the small wedding flower business Mrs Henwood had established on maternity leave from her previous position as a post-surgery nurse.

She did a floristry apprenticeship and worked for an Auckland florist before embarking on her nursing training. The 29-year-old admits the two careers have always pulled her in different directions.

Advertisement

"I love the colours and the creativity of the flowers and sometimes it's hard to go back to working for anyone else when you have worked for yourself," she said.

"But I also like making people happy."

For now, flowers are her primary focus and three days a week she sources them from a Hamilton wholesaler. "Because we don't have to display stock we can keep smaller amounts of stock which are much fresher and I don't need to have a large chiller."

With a newborn and a toddler, the couple have employed a German nanny to avoid taking on an additional florist while the business is established.

With a background in managing supermarkets and running his own Hydraulink franchise, Mr Henwood came on board in April when the business kept growing.

From targeting enamoured couples on Facebook to door-knocking local businesses, Mr Henwood is driven by seeing the business expand.

"A key difference we offer is sending a photo of the product to the buyer before sending it," he said. "That's been well received, especially with our overseas clients, and has given us a lot of repeat business."

Within three months the company has established numerous North Island clients and expanded to funeral and corporate flowers.

Mr Henwood said: "I have a business background but not in the university way. It's incredible the amount of skills I learnt from managing supermarkets. But there is alway so much more to learn."

Waikato Times