Fresh bouquets sent to home with weekly subscription

Floral subscription services, in which florists deliver bouquets regularly, are becoming a growing business

Every Monday for the past year, Ms Lei Hsien-Hsien has received a bouquet of flowers at her office in Mapletree Business City.

"They are a great way to customise and add colour to the office and have become quite a conversation starter," says the vice-president of communications at a medical technology company.

The 45-year-old spends $390 a month on flowers from floral studio With Every, which opened three years ago offering fuss-free flower deliveries to customers on a subscription basis.

Each bouquet, Ms Lei says, typically lasts a week or more.

They are expensive, but worth it for the pleasure they bring, she says, adding: "Sometimes, when you're having a difficult day or have been staring at white walls or a screen for too long, the flowers provide a nice distraction.

"They're beautiful, calming and relaxing to look at."

Ms Lei is among a growing group of people signing up for floral subscriptions in Singapore.

  • Tips

  • Help your bouquets last longer with these tips:

    • If your flowers arrive wrapped in paper, remove them from the wrapping as soon as possible and wash the stems. Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle about 1cm from the end, or a little higher if they are dry. Flower stems seal themselves within a minute of being cut if they are left out to dry and will not be able to absorb water. Cutting them will allow water to be absorbed again. Immediately place the cut flowers in water. If the flowers arrive in water, you can skip this step.

    • Change the water at least every other day. Flowers need fresh, clean water.

    • If one flower is dying, take it out. This will help the others last longer.

    • Keep the bouquet out of direct sunlight and in a less humid room, if possible.

    • Mist the tops of the flowers and add plant food (which can be bought at a florist or nursery for about 50 cents a sachet) to the vase.

    Compiled with advice provided by Ms Charlotte Puxley, founder of Charlotte Puxley Flowers, and Ms Min Yong, founder of Beverly's Blooms.

At least eight florists provide the service here, delivering fresh floral arrangements weekly or monthly to customers' homes and offices for $60 to $150 a bouquet, including delivery charges.

For these florists, such subscriptions account for anywhere from 10 to 60 per cent of their business and this is a growing segment.

The composition of the bouquets is dictated by what flowers are in season, though several florists - such as Charlotte Puxley, Bloomeys and Fleuriste - do take customer's preferences into account.

Others allow clients to choose their bouquet style - modern, romantic or classic.

While customers sometimes request delicate flowers such as hydrangeas and peonies, florists say these do not do well in Singapore's tropical weather.

So, many florists prefer to fill subscriptions with hardier varieties, such as Dutch carnations, Kenyan roses and proteas mixed with sprays and fillers, for a longer-lasting bouquet.

Advance orders mean that florists can plan ahead, place orders for unique flowers and stock only what they know they will need, cutting down on wastage.

Briton Charlotte Puxley, who opened Charlotte Puxley Flowers in Tiong Bahru when she moved to Singapore three years ago, has offered subscriptions on an ad-hoc basis to private clients, but will launch a formal subscription programme next month.

She says floral subscriptions are popular now because they are part of the wave of online shopping.

"Subscriptions are much more convenient for the customer and a great way of ensuring we can provide the freshest and most unique flowers possible."

Beverly's Blooms in The Central in Clarke Quay, which started offering a subscription service 18 months ago, and The Floral Atelier in Tiong Bahru, which launched its service in July 2015, also accept pre-orders of bouquets for occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine's Day.

The founder of The Floral Atelier, Ms Lelian Chew, says it launched its Forget Me Not service when it opened after she noticed customers, mostly husbands, coming into the store looking frantic because they had forgotten an important date.

The service allows subscribers to choose up to five dates a year on which floral arragements will automatically be sent to their loved ones. Prices of such subscriptions vary depending on the size of the bouquets and the number of dates selected.

Ms Chew declined to provide exact figures, but says subscriptions now account for almost half of the business.

Ms Sarah Ching, co-founder of Fleuriste, says that subscribers now account for 10 per cent of its annual revenue, up from 5 per cent last year.

She puts the growth down to a greater appreciation of how flowers can beautify a space, adding that Instagram accounts of interior stylists have fuelled demand.

"Customers often ask for arrangements in cool, calming colours such as pastels, blue, or white and green to enjoy at home," she says.

"Once they bring flowers into the home, customers realise how the arrangements can change the look and feel of a space by adding colour and visual interest."

American Marc Whedbee, 36, signed up for Beverly's Blooms' Set It & Forget It Package 11/2 years ago after the birth of his third child.

He spends about $200 on three bouquets to be delivered on three important dates - his wife's birthday, their anniversary and Thanksgiving - each year.

His wife knows about the package and does not think the flowers are any less special because of it.

"We have three kids and she understands how busy we are," he says. "It is something she looks forward to."

For Ms Merissa Lim, 30, who started her subscription with Fleuriste at Chinese New Year this year, the service allows for hassle-free gifting.

Ms Lim, who works in sales, has a subscription of four arrangements for $60 each, which can be delivered any time in a six-month period.

The customised bouquets are typically delivered to her home and she has been so pleased with the service that she now also sends the arrangements as gifts to family members and clients.

"I need not worry about the quality of the flowers. I get a large arrangement worth more than the $60 I pay," she says.


Personalised approach to bouquets

When Australian Min Yong, 35, started Beverly's Blooms 18 months ago, she knew subscriptions would be central to her business.

"I love the idea of bringing beauty, love and calm and ultimately creating happy environments in people's homes and businesses," says Ms Yong, who named the company after her five-year-old daughter.

Currently a monthly service with a minimum subscription of three months, Ms Yong plans to expand to include a weekly subscription option next year.

Bouquets start at $75 and can be customised. They are accompanied by a handwritten note if they are a gift.

Restaurant owner Erika Masiero, 39, who got to know about Beverly's Blooms through Instagram, has been a subscriber for more than a year and looks forward to her flowers every month.

Ms Yong knows Ms Masiero loves hydrangeas and the colour yellow and tries to incorporate this hue whenever possible.

"The flowers brighten up the house and they make me smile. My kids love to smell the flowers, too.

"She arranges the flowers in beautiful ways."

Ms Masiero has also called on Beverly's Blooms for floral arrangements when friends have lost family members or for special events.

Subscriptions account for 60 per cent of Ms Yong's business and have a 75 per cent renewal rate.

Her customers are evenly split between expatriates and Singaporeans, roughly half of whom are men who have purchased the subscriptions as a gift for their partners. The other half are men or women who want beautiful flowers for themselves or their homes.

"After having flowers in their home for half a year, people become used to seeing their beauty and feeling the positive effects on their moods, so they renew their subscriptions," Ms Yong says.

Her personalised approach is another incentive for customers to return.

The florist learns each client's preferences in colour, style and flowers and records the bouquets sent so there are no repetitions.

She also provides a Set It & Forget It service where customers can pre-book bouquets for special events and occasions.

It is a favourite not only of husbands and boyfriends, but also of women who use it to remember their good friends' birthdays, parents' anniversaries or important milestones.

Subscribers will be contacted about a week before the special day and given a few days to think of a note, which will be handwritten on a card and delivered with the flowers.

"I want to make sure the sense of love and appreciation is there, that the recipient feels good because time and effort have been put into the flowers," she says.

She has handwritten notes for customers in German, French and Chinese.

"The notes are just two sentences, but they can change everything."


Floral subscriptions

WITH EVERY

With Every's subscription service offers weekly delivery of romantic seasonal arrangements for a monthly fee.

Every Monday, the bouquets arrive in jars, which are returned with every incoming bouquet. They come in two sizes: Baby Bloom jars for $260 a month, and larger Posey Bloom jars for $390 a month, including delivery.

Info: witheverybloom.com

CHARLOTTE PUXLEY FLOWERS

Known for its lush, organic bouquets, this boutique florist will launch its official subscription service next month. The subscriptions will start at $65 to more than $400 a week.

Info: www.charlottepuxley flowers.com

BLOOMEYS

Each pre-paid subscription includes four bouquets of flowers. Customers choose from three sizes, themes and frequency of delivery, starting at $160 ($40 a week) for a weekly delivery; $180 for a fortnightly delivery; and $192 for a monthly delivery of a small bouquet. Prices exclude delivery.

Info: www.bloomeys.com.sg

THE FLORAL ATELIER

The minimum six-month subscriptions are available in monthly, fortnightly and weekly packages. Customers choose the style, size and frequency of the subscription, which starts at $75 a bouquet, including delivery. Deliveries are made on Fridays.

There is a Forget Me Not package, where customers will be able to pre-purchase bouquets for up to five dates every year. The customisable bouquets come in three sizes and styles, starting at $75 a bouquet.

Info: www.thefloralatelier.co

FLEURISTE

Customers of this flexible subscription package pre-pay and choose the floral theme, size and delivery schedule for four bouquets, ranging from $60 to $150 for a premium bouquet, which can be delivered any time within a six-month period.

Info: fleuriste.sg

BEVERLY'S BLOOMS

Currently offering a monthly home subscription service from $75 to $125 a bouquet, the florist plans to add a weekly service next month.

The Set It & Forget It Package allows customers to pre-book bouquets for special dates. The customisable bouquets start at $90 and will come with a handwritten note.

Info: www.beverlysblooms.sg

YI LIAN NG FLORAL ATELIER

Available in weekly, bi-weekly or monthly subscriptions, with three sizes and four colour palettes to choose from. Prices start at about $100 for a small bouquet. There is a minimum three-month subscription.

Info: yilianng.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2017, with the headline 'Bloom boom'. Print Edition | Subscribe