Bridal Flower Rental E-Commerce Business to Grow 90% in 2021

Budget constraints due to inflation, supply chain shortages and rising fuel costs have some brides considering renting reusable silk wedding flowers instead of buying fresh.

Something Borrowed Blooms e-commerce business sells silk floral rental bouquets for the occasion. Customers use the flowers and send them back. And the company is busier than ever, says Lauren Bercier, co-founder and CEO.

Costs are rising regardless of industry. The wedding sector is no different. The average wedding cost $27,063 in 2021 and is on track to reach $27,805 in 2022, according to trade group Wedding Report.

According to a study by Digital Commerce 360, the Top 2,000 retailers grew total web sales by 15.7% in 2021. In comparison, retailers that sell only or primarily wedding merchandise grew by 32.9%.

Something Borrowed Blooms has more than 20,000 unique items in its inventory ready for hire. This includes bouquets, garlands, lanterns, candle holders, boutonnieres, corsages and other products, says Bercier. The flowers are made from silk produced overseas, with other raw materials sourced from US-based wholesalers, says Bercier. Most of the products are manufactured abroad.

Something Borrowed Blooms grew 90% in 2021 on a year-over-year basis.

“This year, we’re on track to grow 120% year over year,” says Bercier.

Something Borrowed Blooms expands online business

After six and a half years, Bercier says the company has been able to grow even during the pandemic.

“During the height of the pandemic, we were able to grow our overall business by 35%, which is not our usual growth rate,” she says. “Most of our business is online.”

Bercier did not specify how much of his business is online, but noted that the company provides wedding retailers with bouquet samples to carry in stores.

“It’s used as a closure tool after the bride has chosen a dress,” says Bercier. Each bouquet has a QR code that takes the buyer to the website.

“All our transactions are online,” she says. “But sometimes a bride finds us through a physical retailer.”

Blended and unblended average order values ​​(AOV) are different. Blended includes preview packs. Brides can order a sample bouquet, and samples with shipping are $40. The website offers photos of each design. Currently the AOV for mixed orders is around $350. Orders without a preview package included are about $600, Bercier says.

“But we’ve seen that $600 increase over the last 18 months,” says Bercier. “Our AOV is up about 20% compared to 2021.”

The conversion rate of Something Borrowed Blooms is around 1%. Its $600 AOV is lower than the average cost of wedding flowers in the U.S., which is roughly $1,500, according to WeddingWire.com. WeddingWire is a marketplace that provides matchmaking options for local wedding professionals and vendors.

Technology helps improve the customer experience

As the company grew in popularity, Bercier says it became a priority to invest in an easy customer portal with login and access to orders. Something Borrowed Blooms updated their website in the summer of 2021. Since then, customers can log in to the website to view their orders. Over the course of several months, Something Borrowed Blooms’ IT department developed customer-friendly website capabilities and ongoing bug fixes and upgrades.

“We don’t have an IT development budget of $15,000 to $20,000 a month,” says Bercier. “We combined our efforts with other website upgrades and bug fixes.”

The retailer recommends couples spend 8% to 10% of their budget on flowers. Something Borrowed Blooms charges a 50% deposit to hold customer orders. Customers can also adjust their order and edit when plans change, which is especially helpful when COVID-19 continues and plans change.

“We know that brides tend to change their minds, and we want to give them that flexibility to do it online,” she says. “When you compare to traditional providers where you have to call or email or there might be a fee, it’s convenient.”

There are no blackout dates or other restrictions on changing an existing order, she says. On average, customers place orders three to four months in advance.

“Some can go as long as 12 to 18 months,” says Bercier.

Flowers with sustainability in mind

Sustainability is attractive to buyers, says Bercier. Additionally, data from The Knot shows that one in five couples hosting a personalized affair includes sustainable elements. 70% of couples say they have/will make some or significant effort to incorporate sustainable or eco-friendly options into their wedding. Using second-hand decor/upcycled items, minimizing food waste and avoiding single-use products were the most popular solutions, according to the survey, which included more than 15,000 couples who tied the knot in 2021.

“Fresh flowers, used once, end up in the landfill. Our bouquets are used about 26 times a year on average,” says Bercier. “But we have some products on the shelf that have been in rotation for several years.

“When you compare it to fresh flowers shipped from all over the world and shipped via refrigerated containers, it’s an energy-intensive method of transportation,” Bercier continues.

About 85% of the world’s sources of fresh cut flowers come from the Netherlands, Ecuador, Kenya, Ethiopia and Colombia, according to research by Worlds Top Exports. In the US, 75% of flowers are imported. Flowers can be shipped up to 6,000 miles in refrigerated airplane holds. Emissions are problematic, but so is the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, which can contaminate groundwater and poison pollinators.

Consider the packaging

Something Borrowed Blooms also stocks its silk flowers in Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) packaging. Retailers must adhere to certification standards and be able to track the source of raw materials, including inventory control, employee training, reporting and invoicing, according to SFI. The foam cushions the flowers during transport. The company reuses the foam “forever unless it really breaks down,” she says. “We never throw away the foam inserts.”

“It’s important for us to continue to look at how to expand the ways in which we can be more sustainable,” she says. “We understand that we have to be honest. We make sure our customers can see the SFI seal on our boxes so people know and feel good about making that choice.”

That choice is more expensive, says Bercier.

“It’s about 30% more expensive than a regular non-certified box,” she says. “The SFI certified box is beautifully designed. It adds to the customer experience when they open it at home.”

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