POMP is a family-owned & operated flower delivery business. From start to finish, POMP oversees every step of the process to ensure each flower arrangement is cultivated and delivered with the utmost royal care. That means no thorny middlemen and no wilted buds. POMP flowers are given variety-specific attention to meet their every need and are hand-selected, ensuring only the finest of buds makes it to your tabletop.
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Under The Hood: Ivette from POMP

A peek inside the wild world of selling flowers on the internet 🌹

Welcome Ivette! How did POMP start?

It actually started a while back with my uncle, who set up a successful flower business that mostly sold via retail. He famously sold roses that were featured on all the biggest stages: Miss America pageant etc. 

And my uncle’s son, my cousin, Steven - got caught up with the idea of selling similar premium flowers, but online. We spoke about it at length during college about it, but we didn’t have the chops to execute. So we both separately entered the workforce to get real life experience.

And a few years later, COVID happened. That’s when Steven decided it was now or never. I bought in and joined him as COO; we hired two of the best agencies out there (Red Antler & Underwater Pistol) & we decided to go for it. That was in 2020, and we later officially launched in May of 2021: About 14 months ago. 

For clarity’s sake, my Uncle’s business is the parent company. We leverage their farms in Bogota, Colombia and Ecuador for product, as well as their distribution centers & supply chain across the US. We operate under a different brand, and service a different consumer via D2C. 

Congrats on launching! What’s the growth been like so far?

We're very fortunate that it has been “hockey stick” like. We’re a tiny player so far, but offering a great product - so we’ve been able to pick things up quite quickly as the floral market generally struggles to ever have enough supply for all the existing demand. In fact, most D2C flower websites are sold out for flowers. 

Naturally, there are peaks around Valentine’s Day & Mother’s Day, but the business is growing quite consistently between those peaks. We have a core team of 5, with another 10-15 people that we absolutely cannot live without. 

Tell me about the competition: Who’s out there?

The market is divided in two:

“Wire Service” players: These players don't actually own the flowers. Rather, if you place an order, they’ll reach out to a local florist associated with them, and pass on the order. 

And then you have the true D2C players like “Urban Stems", “Bouqs” and “FarmGirlFlowers”. They are buying their flowers in Colombia, Ecuador, and other places and selling them in the states. 

What are some of the biggest channels for you?  

Corporate partnerships have been big. Being available to sell via Doordash has also been huge. 

What are the most important things to get right at POMP in order for you to be successful? 

Quality of product, quality of the online experience and then the quality of Customer Support. 

And what have you been implementing to ensure a fantastic online experience? 

One of the big decisions was to offer a much smaller, curated range, vs. a catalogue of 300+ flowers. We simplify the experience with only 7 types of roses on offers, and 6 mixed bouquets. The difference in the flowers is usually based on the color: “Red Rose” vs. “Orange Rose” vs. “White Rose”.

Because we’ve typically already convinced the consumer that we offer sensationally fresh flowers, now all they have to do is pick a color. We’ve removed the need to show 150 different varieties. 

Let’s chat about the operations side of the business. What are the steps in your supply chain? 

Step 1: Picking the rose: 

At the farm, there are many different varieties of red roses. We’ve found our desired rose type with set parameters that make up a “POMP standard rose”. Once a flower meets the height, width, length, petal type parameters of ours - it can be cut. 

Step 2: Preparing & packing

Once cut, it’s processed and goes into a cold room where the quality of the flower is not gonna be jeopardized (still in Colombia, or Ecuador). From there, it goes in a refrigerator truck & onto a plane - headed for Miami or California. 

Step 3: The plane journey

Interestingly, there’s not much work to do to maintain the right temperature on the plane. Because of the altitude, the rose enters a dormant state at that cold temperature. That ensures the flower doesn’t age or blossom. 

Step 4: The delivery to consumer 

Once landed in Miami. Each rose goes through a strict check. When approved, the flowers are placed in a wet diaper type of package which keeps the flowers hydrated. We make sure the labels are placed properly, the flowers are tied down as they should & we close the box. Then, the flowers are stored in a cold warehouse until the UPS driver arrives. They back into the warehouse, we place the flowers on the truck, and off they go to the consumer!

Fascinating. How does the forecasting work? 

I receive flowers once or twice a week in Miami or California. The flowers can be kept inside our cooled warehouse for up to 2 weeks, though POMP flowers are typically inside the warehouse for no more than 1 week.

My job is to look back on the little historical data that I have and upcoming B2B orders in the pipeline to make the right assessments on flowers needed. This is an art just as much as a science.

I will say that I’d rather sell out than to sell flowers which aren’t fresh. So that does happen at times. 

Tell me about your stack: What are you leveraging?  

We're on Shopify plus. We use Klaviyo for email; Attentive for SMS, and Gorgias for customer support. We’ve also just launched subscription with Prive. A lot of people are asking for it, so we’ve made a 2-week & a monthly subscription offering available.  

Looking back at the last 14 months: What’s made you successful?

None of this would be possible without the foundation laid by my co-founder & our parent company. The farms they've built, the distribution centers they’ve perfected & the operational systems they’ve designed over 30 years has been the backbone of their business & now ours. We’re so fortunate to be able to leverage their operation as well as their human knowledge. 

And in addition to that, we've successfully built an incredible team around POMP. From creative help, all the way to operational support - the team’s been outstanding and we wouldn’t be having this discussion without them. 

Thank you for sharing Ivette! Such a fascinating business. Go go POMP!!!