We talked to Giden Lim of BloomThis about designer flowers & gifts for every occasion and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Giden Lim: We are doing fine. I am very grateful to God that my family and I have been safe and well throughout these very uncertain and challenging times. We are taking it step by step as our country goes back and forth with lockdowns and economic activities.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded BloomThis.
Giden Lim: I have always been in the floristry business from my experience in helping out my mother’s flower business. With that experience, my wife and I co-founded BloomThis in 2015. Back then the idea was around subscription flowers where people can get a box of fresh flowers delivered weekly. Very soon we pivoted into an On-Demand flower delivery service after listening to the demands of our customers. My past experience in the family floristry business has been very helpful to understand the gaps and pain points within the floristry industry and we set ourselves to solve and fill in some of these gaps to make the customer experience better.
How does BloomThis innovate?
Giden Lim: Fast forward 6 years later from when BloomThis was founded, today we have expanded our products and services beyond flowers. We see ourselves as an E-Commerce for on-demand gifting. Our products and services now include artisanal fresh flowers, handcrafted designer gifts, gourmet food like cakes, ice creams, and desserts, personalization of balloons, photos and card messages, plants, plush toys, hampers, and many more. The challenge is to continue to give our customers the best experience by delivering these customizable gifts on-demand within 4 hours from the moment they place their order with us. Our strength is in our ability to execute well at scale by leveraging technology.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Giden Lim: At first it hit us hard and our revenues were down to zero. We went into lockdown and we couldn’t operate our business as normal. However, during pre-Covid, we have already planned our product diversification into the food categories like cakes, pastries, and desserts. We continued our efforts to launch these products and the business slowly came back for us. We’ve continued our product category expansion and by the end of last year, we recorded 160% over the previous year. Credit to everyone in the team who did not give up despite the circumstances but instead we continue to innovate and execute efficiently. That has led us to our recovery and eventually our growth despite the pandemic situation.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Giden Lim: When the crisis first hit us and our revenues were down to zero and we couldn’t operate as normal, I had to cut down our expenses as lean as we could. Things like software and subscriptions had to go first. Later I had to speak with our vendors, partners, and landlords to help us with our cash flow. Thankfully they were very kind to us and did help us soften the blow. It was a very humbling experience for me personally. I was holding back from implementing pay cuts and retrenchments as much as possible. However, there came a time where we announced pay cuts across the board but thankfully by the end of that month, we managed to recover slightly and I decided to not proceed with the pay cuts. We also did not retrench anyone. The biggest lesson I learnt from that experience is to be bold, believe in ourselves, and remember our mission. 2 of our company values are teamwork and embracing change. I’m very encouraged to see everyone in the team living out those 2 values which helped us get through those very difficult moments.
Your final thoughts?
Giden Lim: The pandemic is not over yet and the fight is still on. We might be successful in some battles and might lose some. Whatever it is, we must believe that there is strength in good teamwork and we are able to overcome any crisis or any challenge if we work together as one. Always remember the reason why we started this journey in the first place and never lose sight of our purpose and pursue our passion that goes along with that purpose.
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