Aron Gelbard, Founder of Bloom & Wild

It’s the flower company that’s shaken up the market, delivering bouquets in boxes small enough to fit through the letterbox. Founder Aron Gelbard readily admits that he’s not green fingered, nor did he have a passion for flowers when he started Bloom & Wild back in 2013. Rather he was driven by the desire to bring the process of sending flowers up-to-date, making it easy and accessible for as many customers as possible. Now with tens of thousands of customers in London alone, we catch up with the tech guru about what makes him tick:

Where’s home? 

I live in Putney with my wife and our young daughter. We love it – we’re very close to the river which is great for walks (with our daughter) and runs (without her) along the tow path.

When did you get the idea for letterbox flowers? 

I’d always found sending flowers difficult to do, especially on my smartphone, and then found the end product was often a disappointment (not what I ordered, couldn’t be delivered, didn’t look great or last long…) A friend of mine runs Graze, the snacks-through-the-letterbox company, and I wondered if letterbox packaging might help improve the flower gifting experience too.

Your business grew very quickly, although at first you were boxing up the flowers yourself. How did you adjust from having a corporate job to founding a start-up?

We used to rent space by the hour from a wedding florist at New Covent Garden flower market (it was winter so they weren’t too busy) and pack boxes ourselves… We learned a huge amount from doing that, including the value of netting flowers in transit to keep them protected and compressed en route to the customer. It was a big adjustment going from leading a team to doing everything ourselves (my co-founder and I) but we were also both generalists and used to being organised and working hard, which definitely helped!

Which flower reminds you most of your childhood?

Lavender. I was born in France and lived there until I was 5. In fact we’re using it in our Meadow collection this summer that’s inspired by Provence – nothing is more “provencal” than lavender.

How important is sourcing to you?

Sourcing is really central to what we do. We are trying to balance breadth of our range, vase life, environmental impact and keeping our flowers affordable. We source from Britain where we’re able to meet these criteria – e.g. our peonies and gladioli in summer are British grown. For other stems, many of our flowers come from further afield. We’re proud to support farms in Kenya – a country with up to 40% unemployment – which make up close to half of our sourcing volume, especially in winter (heating a greenhouse in the European winter can generate up to 7 times as much CO2 as flying flowers over from Kenya, where there’s a natural all year-round climate for flower growing).

What’s London’s most popular flower? 

Our most popular bouquet among London customers is The Harper, which is one of our long-running classics – the soft La Belle roses and wispy green bell are really popular.

What’s your favourite London restaurant or cafe?

I love Home SW15 which is local to me in Putney for neighbourhood meals and cocktails in the sun.

Which apps do you rely on?

Pocket for reading things when I’m travelling, Dark Sky for the unpredictable weather, Slack for keeping up with work on the go, Flightradar24 (a bit nerdy, I know!) for seeing what’s making a noise above my head, and of course Bloom & Wild for sending gifts.

What’s exciting you about the future?

We’ve started doing deliveries ourselves in London (rather than via Royal Mail) and are seeing really high on-time delivery and customer satisfaction rates, plus people love our Bloom & Wild vans, so we’re hoping to introduce those in more places. And I’m excited to be growing our range of letterbox and non-letterbox plants too.

— Daisy Allsup
25th July 2018