She's about to be a new mom, so why was now the right time for fashion veteran Whitney Port to launch a new career?
Port announced Thursday that she’s teaming up with friend and now business partner Laurenne Resnik to run the creative side of Bloom2Bloom, a two-year-old fashion-foward flower brand that takes a farm-to-table approach to sending beautiful bouquets. The two met last summer at a charity event for Wish Upon a Teen, a non-profit the brand now partners with, and they have big beautiful plans for growing the brand. "There’s something special about giving and receiving flowers for no reason at all," the co-founders share, noting that their favorite occasion to give flowers is "just because."
We talk to a lot of co-founders and always want to know how and why they chose each other. Laurenne, you’re a floral expert, so why was Whitney the right co-founder?
LR: When Whitney and I met last summer, we started doing some charity work together and immediately hit it off - it really seemed like the perfect fit, especially as Whitney was looking to transition to something outside of the fashion industry. I wanted to work with someone who understands how to build a brand that is timeless, and that seamlessly fits into consumers' everyday life. Whitney is just that person, and flowers were the answer! Whitney has a great eye for design and beautifully translates that talent to flowers and Bloom2Bloom as a lifestyle brand.
Whitney, why was now the right time to switch it up? You successfully navigated the fashion world… what about a bloom business appealed to you?
WP: As Laurenne said, I was looking to transition to something not directly related to the fashion industry and, after meeting and hitting it off with her at a charity event for Wish Upon a Teen last year, I knew it’d be a great fit.
How does a background in fashion lend itself to developing a flower brand?
WP: My favorite part of fashion is the creativity required to build a brand and make a visual statement. This is just as necessary for flowers as it is fashion.
We think a lot about local and sustainable as it relates to food. What kickstarted the curiosity of “where” flowers come from?
LR: When you go to the grocery store, you know where your milk or produce comes from. But how much do you know about your flowers? A significant amount of flowers purchased in the U.S. come from overseas, meaning that you are getting flowers that can be five to seven days old by the time you receive them. We are behind the American Grown flower movement. By working with local, U.S. flower farms, we’re able to turn that time into 24-48 hours max, meaning you’re getting the freshest flowers possible, straight from the farm. We also believe it’s our duty to take care of Planet Earth, and work with farmers who believe the same and take actions to be sustainable where they can.
What have you learned since starting?
LR: We measure success in impact. And in this flower business, we have tremendous opportunity for impact, which is really inspiring. We impact local farmers and everybody who works with them. We have a chance to improve the flower-buying experience for consumers, empowering them with knowledge and making flowers an everyday item, not just a luxury purchase. And we have a chance to impact our community through our give-back program with Wish Upon A Teen. If we are continuously challenging ourselves to make a positive impact wherever we can, then we are moving in the right direction and creating something that matters. We’ve grown a lot since developing this brand and we are learning new things every day!
So can you walk me through the order process? It’s basically a farm-to-table approach to flowers right? How are you choosing who you’re working with and how do you guarantee what’s getting delivered?
LR: Yes! When you order Bloom2Bloom flowers online, they are straight from the farm to your doorstep! I have been working with flower farmers for over five years now. We work closely with the farms to make sure our flowers live up to the Bloom2Bloom brand standard, and we constantly implement a variety of measures for quality control. Under Whitney's amazing creative direction, we create bouquet designs unique to Bloom2Bloom, and work directly with bouquet teams on the farms to hand arrange each arrangement of flowers that are picked, and ship them out to our customers. Because of these close and trusted relationships, we’re able to secure high-quality, beautiful flowers with every order.
I read on the FAQ page that if someone wants monthly blooms to contact you. Are you thinking of expanding into the subscription model at some point?
WP: We have already started a variety of subscription packages, many of which are customized based on customers' needs and who the customer is. Stay tuned for some really unique offerings, from individuals to our great corporate partners. We are here to make it easy for you to get beautiful flowers, whenever you want!
Whitney, you’re about to be a new mom (congrats!!). So how do you think you’ll juggle a new biz and a new baby?
WP: Thank you! I have a lot of strong and balanced women in my life that I’ll be getting advice from and probably leaning on throughout this process. It’s a new experience for me, but I know I’ve got the best support group possible and they will be a key part of balancing these two parts of my life.
I love the idea of partnership with Wish Upon a Teen— it makes a lot of sense. Hospital rooms are one place where people always bring flowers. But this goes beyond just flowers. So why was it important to you both? What about this non-profit spoke to you individually?
Flowers are not a necessity - they are not food or water. They are, though, no matter who you are, a reminder that you are thought of, that you matter, and that someone wants you to smile, right now. And that gesture is utterly human and so invaluable. These teens, they spend so much of their time receiving things they need to survive and to feel well. When we work with Wish Upon A Teen to design a hospital room, it's a chance to give these teens something that reminds them that they are thought of, and that we want them to smile. It's a way to keep that gesture going. When you give the gift of flowers, or treat yourself, it's extra meaningful to know that gift keeps on giving. We believe that bringing happiness to others helps spread happiness elsewhere and that’s what we’re about at Bloom2Bloom - we’re where happiness grows!
"It’s important to offer flowers that fit your sense of style, just like a dress or pair of shoes would."
Whitney, as an entrepreneur embarking on her next business venture, what business advice do you have for our readers who are looking to launch?
Find a good partner - You hear a lot of people say things like you need to find “the yin to your yang.” As cliché as it might sound, it's totally true! We each bring unique strengths and perspectives to this project. I wouldn’t have dared dive into flowers without Laurenne, who’s a flower industry veteran.
Have a clear vision - For us, ‘Fashion-forward flowers for your everyday life’ is our main focus right now. Having a clear vision is key to creating a cohesive, memorable brand and essential when re-launching in such a fast-paced environment.
Be part of your community - A value that’s extremely important to us at Bloom2Bloom is supporting the economy. All of our flowers are U.S. grown and farmed locally to ensure that not only does the customer receive their bloom freshly picked, but that it’s created with safe, ethical practices too!
Give back in any way you can - Build in social impact wherever possible. We’re so happy to have our partnership with Wish Upon a Teen for our brand. To take the meaning of your work to the next level, you should find an organization that you are passionate about, and come up with ways to collaborate.
Laurenne, what are you most excited about in terms of the building the brand?
LR: I am most excited about our focus on fashion-forward flowers. As a brand, we think it’s important to offer flowers that fit your sense of style, just like a dress or pair of shoes would. We want our flowers to fit into your space and make them uplift the style that already exists.
Favorite arrangement you’ve ever received:
WP: I didn’t use to like yellow flowers, but one day my husband Timmy showed up and surprised me with yellow flowers and I loved them ever since.
LR: Even though I’ve been working with flowers for years, my husband never misses a chance to surprise me with a bouquet! It’s always a good feeling when he does that. It never gets old.
Flower of the moment:
LR: I love Irises right now. They’re featured in “The Lovely” bouquet we have right now and I can’t get enough of them.
WP: I always love succulents!
A bloom that always makes you smile:
WP: Dahlias - it’s hard not to love their deep colors and lush petals.
LR: Daffodils always have that effect on me. They remind me of my father and my family so a smile is a guaranteed effect.
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