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Start Up Spotlight: Kellogg Alumni Launch Bloominous

This article was originally sourced from “Start Me Up: Songhua Hu ’10 and Richard Lim ’10,” part of Kellogg’s “Start Me Up” series, which spotlights members of the Kellogg community who are putting their entrepreneurial visions into practice.

While working as General Manager for a large floral wire-service, Kellogg School of Management alum Richard Lim developed relationships with his flower distributors. These relations evolved into close friendships, so much so that one of Lim’s distributors offered to supply all of the flowers for Lim’s wedding for free. “But then we said, ‘Wait a minute,’” Lim recalls. “What are we going to do with all of these flowers? How are we going to arrange them? What type of flower should we use?’” So an overwhelmed Lim turned down the offer, and instead hired a florist for $2,500 to create all of the centerpieces and bouquets for him.

The decision served Lim well as it served as the inspiration of the company he co-founded that supplies the tools and materials to create do-it-yourself floral arrangements for weddings or other events. Lim partnered up with Dallas-based entrepreneur Songhua Hu to launch Bloominous in Lim’s hometown of Los Angeles.

Capitalizing on the current “DIY” trend while also loosely emulating the IKEA business model, brides and grooms visit the Bloominous website to choose from an assortment of design collections and indicate the number of centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnèires and corsages they need for the wedding. Bloominous preps, packages and airmails the flowers direct to the customer before the wedding, along with step-by-step instructions, pins, ribbons, vases and other supplies to assemble each piece in 15 minutes or less.

The kicker? The entire order costs about half of what a floral shop might charge.

Backed by angel investors, Bloominous is now regularly securing orders in the $500 to $800 range and posting “double-digit growth,” says Lim, though he doesn’t disclose actual figures. Since early July, the company has appeared in more than 150 blogs and the number of unique visitors to the website tripled between June and July.

“Every indication is telling us that we are on the right track,” he says. “Our customers have emailed us to say, ‘This is such a great concept. I was looking for something like this and I found you guys’ or ‘Where was this when I was getting married – At least I get to use you for my baby shower’. It’s very encouraging to see our customers be our biggest advocate.” 

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About the Author

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Max Pulcini

Max Pulcini is a Philadelphia-based writer and reporter. He has an affinity for Philly sports teams, Super Smash Bros. and cured meats and cheeses. Max has written for Philadelphia-based publications such as Spirit News, Philadelphia City Paper, and Billy Penn, as well as national news outlets like The Daily Beast.

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