We talk the perks of being a wallflower seller with founder Lana Elie.
Distinct seasons, always trying to anticipate the current climate, some more prickly than others: it's little wonder fashion and flowers have pressed their tulips together on so many occasions. From the Ancient Greek penchant for acanthus leaves to the Victorian fancy for William Morris wallpaper (very Marc by Marc Jacobs autumn/winter 15), Raf Simons' debut runway for Dior in 2012 to the 70s San Fran inspired Rodarte show just the other week, fashion has always loved it when a plant comes together. Which is why when former i-D family member Lana Elie decided to pursue an idea she had for a place where you could find bouquets you were actually proud to send - a sort of Farfetch for independent florists - we were beyond glad. No longer a seedling, Floom (the beginning of flower, the end of bloom) is fast-establishing itself as the fashionista's flower fount of choice and Lana, drawing on past experience at Burberry, Gucci, Marc Jacobs and, of course, i-D, is the female tech founder making a name for herself among an extremely male dominated field. We caught up with the Paris-born, Bali-raised mastermind to find out what the idea stemmed from, where its roots lie and how it's all growing.
Hello Lana. What's the thinking behind Floom?
I wanted to create a go-to place where you could not only find bouquets you would actually be proud to send, but somewhere that inspired a love and connection to nature that is so easily lost in the daily grind. I wanted to educate and remind people of the intricate stories behind flowers and the happiness they can bring to someone's day.
Where did the idea for it come from?
I guess the obvious inspiration was my own personal love of plants and flowers, and how frustrating/disappointing it was to browse the other big online flower-sellers out there. They all seemed so clinical, and far from capturing the natural beauty of the best bouquets; it's always about the cheap common flowers, stripping what should be a really personal gift of any personality. This tied with the fact that the websites felt so dated.
So, what makes Floom different?
Aside from our offerings, we put a huge emphasis on our florists and their personality. We take the time to find florists who are real masters of their trade, and we don't hide that or try to take all the credit. Transparency isn't only at the forefront of this, but really the fact that they have such inspiring original stories that we wanted to share and support.
Was there anything you learnt during your time in fashion that you've now brought over to Floom?
Luckily my time at Burberry was already a coming together of tech and fashion, so the transition made sense. Fashion has definitely defined my aesthetic and my love for the seasons. I think in terms of what would I want and I think that especially translates for an audience who identify with the worlds of fashion, art or creativity in general. There's a lot of cliches we try to stay away from, like red roses on Valentines Day and glittered acorns during Christmas. Like fashion, seasons are important to our offerings, because of their colours. Fashion doesn't make wool coats in summer, and we promote the poppy bright colours and flowers of spring instead of red roses all year round.
What's your favourite ever use of flowers in fashion?
There's so many! Azuma Makoto, the artist who works primarily with flowers, did an amazing window display for Colette recently. We actually interviewed him about it for Floom.
And what is it about flowers, in general, that you love so much?
The uniqueness and amount of varieties in each type, and how affected they are by their surroundings. Their colours, sizes, smells are so inherent with the soil they grew from, the level of sunshine they received. I find it so interesting. People already seem to appreciate these sort of qualities in, for example, their favourite pair of leather shoes or favourite vintage bottle of wine - it's exactly the same with flowers.
What event or holiday do we currently not give flowers for, that you think we should?
I don't think you should need a holiday to make someone feel special. I also think people should buy flowers for themselves. Everyone loves receiving flowers, yet flower-buying is so loaded with misconceptions - that they are primarily for women and need to be bought by a boyfriend or whatever. I say screw this, buy them for yourself because you deserve them! Buy them for your boyfriend because even men can like flowers!
So, what's next for Floom?
I'm truly excited by the opportunities to scale the business internationally and the plan all along has been to expand beyond our launch city of London relatively quickly. If all goes to plan you should be able to order our partners beautiful bouquets in a fair few major European cities by the end of the year… We also have a number of exciting partnerships in the works which I'll stay quiet about for now. At the end of the day though, if someone can type in their mum's postcode on our site and order a genuinely thoughtful gift that is then prepared by a skilled, local florist who doesn't just rely on the same old cliched stems then I'll be very happy indeed.
Finally, if i-D were a flower, what would it be?
A daffodil, it's one of the first flowers to bloom in spring, like i-D, always ahead of everyone else...
Text Matthew Whitehouse
Images via Floom