Itty Bitty Bunch: The $33 bunch of love
Every morning, Simon and Olivia Molloy make their way towards Adelaide’s wholesale markets to purchase fresh flowers. On getting back, joined by their third partner Jodie, they divide the flowers into Itty Bitty bunches, prepping them for delivery across the city. The Itty Bitty Bunch - one of Adelaide’s unique flower delivery service - allows people to send flowers to their loved ones anywhere in the city for a relatively affordable price of $33. The service is a hark back to a time when the gesture of giving handpicked flowers was celebrated. And, their beautiful flower bunches are a far cry from the neon-covered, overcrowded, mechanical looking, expensive bouquets.
Also, the flower bunches that are not sold are donated to charities and hospitals as a flowery thank you note!
TAL caught up with the lovely Olivia, the Head Florist and Simon's wife to speak about the factors that make Itty Bitty Bunch so unique and decidedly Adelaidean.
Please tell us about Itty Bitty Bunch and what prompted you to start it?
Itty Bitty Bunch was founded in November 2015 by three members Simon (36), Priscilla Wildy (30) and me (27). Priscilla has since moved onto her new project, and we were joined by Simon's sister Jodie (38). We also have an employee, 28-year-old Skye Gillies. We are all intensely proud Adelaideans.
Simon and Priscilla originally formed an award-winning marketing team in financial services but were looking for a project that would satisfy their creative and philanthropic urges. They wanted to create a community-oriented service that will be both beneficially to the society and be financially viable. They had become jaded with the corporate rat race.
On the other hand, I was working in disability services but had a passion for Floristry and knew how convoluted and expensive the florist world has become. I wanted to change that experience. Jodie shared our passion to make a difference and helped us immensely with her accounting expertise.
Together, we wanted to create a business that had 'giving' built into its business model, to prove to ourselves that generosity was still a valuable commodity. We wanted to create an enterprise that would marry a robust online presence with the traditional brick and mortar type shopping experience. We didn’t want the detachment that is embedded in online shopping culture to colour our selling experience. We wanted to add a personal touch; a reminiscent of a time when your local shopkeeper remembered your name.
Thus, keeping all this in mind, we started the Itty Bitty Bunch.
How do go about picking and delivering the flowers? And, which areas in Adelaide do you deliver?
We make only one style of flowers each day, using only the freshest handpicked flowers. Simon and I head over to the wholesale markets early every morning to hand-pick the most beautiful flowers, paying attention to colour and texture combinations. We purchase enough flowers based on a rough estimate of what we think we can sell on the day.
On getting back, we begin arranging the bunches. We take photos of one of the bunches and post it on our social media channels, our website, and email it those on our subscriber list. Then we load the bunches into our three vehicles - named Hans Von Bunchen, Fergus McFlowers and Jeffrey Bloomington- for delivery.
We deliver throughout Adelaide - as West as the ocean, as East as the foothills, as north as Lyall McEwin Hospital and as south as Happy Valley. We do same day delivery for orders received up to 1 pm or till we sell out of all of our bunches.
What about the bunches that you don’t sell?
The bunches that we don’t sell are often donated to charities, hospitals, nursing homes, or other people nominated through our 'Wildcard Nomination' system. The wildcard nomination system is a way for our customers to choose a person or a place they think deserves anonymous, free flowers. We file all the nominations and refer to them when we have leftover bunches.
We will then deliver those bunches at the end of our day. It is one of our greatest joys – to see the look on someone’s face when they receive surprise flowers. It makes them think that someone out there is hoping that they are doing well. It is always heart-warming and makes our stressful days worthwhile.
How do you manage to sell every bunch for $ 33?
We keep our price down at $33 by buying our flowers in bulk each day and by making smart choices like completing all of the deliveries ourselves so that we can control the quality of service, and by arranging the shipments in very efficient delivery routes, using the least time and running costs. All these factors combine to help us keep the price at $ 33.
What were/are the challenges of carrying out an endeavour like this?
The most significant challenge with our business is and was always going to be profit margins. With a built-in system of ‘charitable giving,’ our profit margins are lower than a regular florist, so we must always look for ways to maximise our efficiency, while not sacrificing our service.
We do not have the excess capital to compete with the big florists around Adelaide regarding advertising, both print and social media, so we rely heavily on word-of-mouth promotion.
What has the reception been like?
The reception to our business has exceeded our expectations. We truly feel that some of our customers have become our friends. We are overwhelmed by the support of our loyal itty bitty bunchers, who spread the word of our business diligently.
We are blown away by the number of 5-star reviews we have received both on Google and Facebook. We are humbled by the fact that we are probably the only florist in Australia to have so many (234) 5-star reviews on our Facebook page! We are thankful to those who took the time out to give these reviews. We will be eternally grateful to them!
Given the charitable factor, and the sentimentality accompanying the act of giving flowers, have you come across notable moments that make your work even more rewarding?
Regarding emotional moments, we have had too many to count. We were recently involved in a proposal by a same-sex couple the day after the announcement to legalise same-sex marriage was made. That was a special moment because we were able to witness the importance of inclusivity in Australian society.
In another occasion, we had donated some flowers to a nursing home staff for the great work they were doing. We were immediately greeted with tears of joy by the nurse who received the flowers. It was her mother’s death anniversary, and she noticed that the bunch carried yellow roses which happened to be her mother’s favourite. It was such a wonderful moment for all of us and reminded us how rewarding simple acts of giving could be.
What are your future plans like?
We have some very exciting plans we are hatching over winter, but we don't want to give away too much. All we can say is watch this space!
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Head over to their website.