Little Bud meets the EYEDEA Female Millenials Network

 

 

We had tonnes of fun doing this interview with the Eyedea Female Millenials Network. Read all about our journey with Little Bud thus far.

Georgina is the co-founder of the ‘small yet beautiful’ online flower service, Little Bud.

Their limited edition Valentine’s bunches are currently for order at www.littlebudflowers.com. Watch this space also for their International Women’s Day bunches to put a smile on the faces of the ladies in your life.

Having started her career in public policy in Westminster, Georgina has spent most of the last 4 years working as an economic development consultant in some of the world’s most beautiful yet undeveloped countries; Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania amongst them. It was through her work in international development that she met fellow flower-preneur and the other half of Little Bud, Laura Brummer.

Establishing Little Bud has brought her back to her London home turf, (and reduced her carbon footprint!), enabling her to apply some of the learning from working with small businesses looking to grow.

Since starting up last year, Little Bud has found its feet delivering limited edition and bespoke bunches to a loyal and growing following of flower lovers and commercial clients. With their first few large-scale events successfully delivered and a workshop series soon to launch, in 2017 Georgina and Laura are full of ideas to bring more flowers into your homes.

We had the chance to sit down with Georgina and ask her about their new venture, Little Bud.

Georgina outside Little Bud HQ

Tell us about Little Bud?

Little Bud has a simple ethos – small is beautiful.  We’re working to grow a company that offers simple yet stylish arrangements. With our bunches starting at £12 we hope to democratise flower giving for all the times you’d just like to make a sincere and personal gesture to someone. For everyday gifting this means bunches to say the usual sorry, thank you, and I love you, but also the get well soon, congratulations on the new job, or simply have a great day. Similarly, for businesses and events we curate striking arrangements but ones that let the flowers speak for themselves.

We saw a gap in the market for online flowers that we’d like to give as gifts – beautiful flowers with a modern natural style for a reasonable price. We also talked to loads of friends (mostly male) who all seemed intimidated by the amount of choice there is of flowers, and frankly felt a bit embarrassed buying flowers. We will only have one or two styles to choose from on our site, and want our customers to feel safe that we’ve picked out the best that’s currently in season for them.

Beyond making the flowers the most beautiful stems we can source, we’re also committed to making this beauty more than skin deep. We’re working to establish ethical supply chains for our flowers, using English grown where possible and sustainably sourced when from further afield.

How did the idea for Little Bud come about? What inspired you to take the leap?

Laura out for delivery

For both Laura and I, creating Little Bud has been a coming together of two areas of our lives – one being as long-time flower lovers and givers, the second from us previously working together in strategy consulting for international development, in-part advising small businesses on adaptive business models.

A big trigger was seeing a ground-spring of emergent flower models in other countries – these made us wonder how to adapt and apply these in our own home city. This definitely got our cogs working as we started to scribble down ideas on how a flower service could up-end conventional ideas about flower gifting – strip it back to what makes flowers so personal and delighting.

Beyond this brain-teaser, the journey into flowers has been a very personal one for both of us. We are daughters of our mother’s gardens – raised by green fingered, flower loving women. Green-blooded, we have grown up with an appreciation of plants, nature and environmentally sustainable living. Our English and Swedish backgrounds have perhaps also made us inclined to gravitate to any signs of spring in an otherwise wintery existence…!

How would you describe the importance of social media to drive a venture like Little Bud ?

Social media, primarily Instagram, is central to how we communicate with our customers, clients & collaborators. For us it’s also an amazing space to circulate and source ideas,  come up with inspiration or test ideas of our own.

That said, there has been no substitute for face to face interaction with current and potential customers. Through various different forums we have spoken with many ‘Little Buds’, understanding more and more about what flowers mean to them and how we can iterate a company that provides exactly the service that people want. This has meant letting go of some of our own assumptions but also open-sourcing our thinking on how Little Bud can grow.

Watch this space for some of these ideas for user-generated content coming soon. We want to share the sentiment our recipients feel, and will be focusing on bringing that to our customers.

Where do you get your inspiration for your collection/harvest?

Laura has a real passion for interiors and design, for instance she loves Scandinavian interior designers like Eero Saarinen and Arne Jacobsen and has a current infatuation with Gucci’s floral patterns and bohemian style. Similarly, I’ve always loved bold floral patterns, coveting some vintage Carleton Varney ‘Brazilliance’ Banana Leaf Wallpaper or a more modern take by House of Hackney. I also love watercolours, and some of the beautiful illustrations on some of the fun stationary brands that are popping up like Papier and Rifle. We are both also avid onlookers of the work of other florists we admire, such as Lewis Miller and Tage Andersen.

Aesthetically, I think this ends up in a stylistic melting pot of Scandinavian frosty greens, English country garden, and a slightly mad dash of exotic botanicals.

As the co-founder of Little Bud , what does your typical day look like?

Typical desk set-up at Little Bud HQ

Taking today as an illustrative example, we kicked off the morning working with our web developer on the next iteration of our site. We then had a creative break for a few hours to do a photoshoot for our Valentine’s bunches. In the afternoon we had meetings with our courier partners and packaging providers. We finished up the day heading back to the venue of our last event, the UNICEF Next Generation annual fundraiser, for UNICEF’s work in Syria,  we debriefed with the organisers and packed up our wares ready for the next one.

Whilst we have a degree of structure to our working week, we end up spending a lot of time away from our desks meeting with suppliers, flower designers we collaborate with and other creative partners. We also try to leave the studio and work from one mood-lifting place a week – Tate Modern, the Google campus, or a treat-day cake shop.

Another way we break up our working routine is to do ad hoc deliveries of our own bunches. These have taken us into some pretty bizarre circumstances, such as once being welcomed into the middle of a Christmas party at a gin distillery while passing on flowers for a client.

What do you enjoy most about doing your own thing?

We did not come to the business as florists and have been on a steep (if exhilarating) learning curve on the intricacies of the floristry business – sourcing, designing, pricing, etc. We’ve also learned that the logistics of retailing a perishable on-demand product is no small feat!

Finally, we’ve had to work hard carving a niche and being able to strongly articulate what the business is and what we seek to do.

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What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced in creating your business?

We did not come to the business as florists and have been on a steep (if exhilarating) learning curve on the intricacies of the floristry business – sourcing, designing, pricing, etc. We’ve also learned that the logistics of retailing a perishable on-demand product is no small feat!

Finally, we’ve had to work hard carving a niche and being able to strongly articulate what the business is and what we seek to do.

Here at Eyedea have been honored to host some of the world’s leading women in business across different sectors. Who would you say are the women who inspire you?

We look a lot to women that have managed to build ethical businesses and break the mould for traditional sectors or industries.

A personal inspiration for me has been an Ethiopian-born entrepreneur called Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu. She founded the brilliant Sole Rebels, an eco-friendly and ethical work-place trailblazer that sell shoes and sandals across the world made my artisans in Ethiopia. She is a small burning sun of passion and principle who has had remarkable success through sheer talent and force of will.

Closer to home, Laura had an incredible grandmother. Marjatta Korvenkontio was a Finnish architect who fought in the Finnish winter war, took refuge in Sweden and became one of the first leading female architects in the country, where she grew her own business. She had a strong infatuation with flowers and butterflies and, inspired by her love, wore only bright pink from the day she was 18 until she passed away at 90. A woman of true conviction, style and integrity.

 

What would be your top 3 words of advice for anyone thinking of branching out in this direction?

Find a co-creator/partner whose intellect you admire, and whose resilience you have faith in.

It’s not all roses (literally). The big perk of our job is being surrounded by a product we love and (cheese alert) seeing lovely messages and expressions of sentiment conveyed by our customers. That said, we don’t spend our time frolicking in rose petals, it is the same nitty gritty of running any small business. Whilst you’ll need to love what you sell, the vision of your working life should be one of late nights, tough decisions, financial compromises, and personal sacrifices.

Find time to celebrate the small successes along the way – they make the hard work seem worth it.

Little Bud has already been a big hit since day 1, how do you see it taking shape over the next few years?

It has been thrilling to have the groundswell of support from Little Bud customers, current and potential collaborators – we feel really energised by the possibilities out there.

We are incredibly excited to launch our workshops with the wonderful ladies at Social Pantry – sign up to be first in line when we release the dates. We’re designing a Mother’s Day one that should be lots of fun.