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Entrepreneur Profile: Franziska v. Hardenberg, BLOOMY DAYS

EntrepreneurCountry Global Monday, 08 September 2014.

German entrepreneur, Franziska v. Hardenberg, had always dreamed of being an entrepreneur and in 2012 she did just that. Hardenberg founded the first online subscription flower service, BLOOMY DAYS in Berlin, a company that has seen 1000% since it began. In July, BLOOMY DAYS raised and amazing €100,000 from 175 investors in under two hours on German crowd-investing platform Seedmatch. I spoke to Franziska about where her inspiration came from and how she re-engineered the supply chain of the flower industry in Europe.

bloomy daysDescribe BLOOMY DAYS in three words
Online. Flower. Subscription.

Tell me a bit about your background and how you became an entrepreneur?
It was always clear to me that I was going to be an entrepreneur. When I was 4 years old I was on vacation with my family. While my siblings where playing at the beach, I was collecting seashells. I took them home, painted them and the next day I picked up a basket and the shells then sold them at the beach. That is the first entrepreneurial experience I can remember. When I was twelve I decided I wanted to start my own company but I had no idea what kind of company it would be. I was certain I had to follow my dream, but first I wanted to have the best education and some work experience. After school I studied marketing in Berlin and did my masters in the US and Hungary. I then worked two years in PR and marketing for a fashion retailer in Berlin, followed by three years at Rocket Internet. I founded BLOOMY DAYS in 2012.

Where did you get your inspiration for Bloomy Days?
I always knew my company would have to have something to do with flowers because I have always loved them. I bought a lot of flowers every week for my home and also for work. At one point I didn't had time to do that anymore. I wondered why there wasn't an online service for fresh cut flowers, only places to purchase bound bouquets. From a customers perspective that is a huge difference. Bound bouquets are occasion based gifts but most of the customers want to enjoy fresh cut flowers on a regular basis, easy and convenient. After I spotted this, the idea for BLOOMY DAYS was born.

What has been your biggest challenge?
I am very hands on. I love to get things done. Changing from a very operational role in the beginning into a management role was a personal challenge. But I also think it is great to have the time now to work on more strategic tasks and to develop the business.

What has been your biggest achievement?
Building up a fast growing company, with happy customers, motivated employees and loyal investors. Everyone likes to go to work in the morning, we are all sitting in the same boat and want to conquer the worldwide flower market. That feeling is awesome.

e-commerce has been disrupting the retail industry for a while now, do you think online shopping will become the norm?
I think in some areas e-commerce can offer a service that would have not possible been in classic retail. In particular I have the feeling, that e-commerce will increase enormously and offers a huge potential especially when people are living in the country side or in countries where the infrastructure is not that developed. But in general I am not seeing that classic retail will die. If you have a great idea, perfect customer service and the right employees you can always be successful. You truly have to ask what the customers needs and that question can be answered online and offline.

Where do you hope to see BLOOMY DAYS in five years?
BLOOMY DAYS has conquered the European flower market and permanently changed customers buying behaviour. It is self-evident to order flower subscriptions online and it is well known to use our service in every country. BLOOMY DAYS is market leader in the area of flower subscription services and a profitable business with a motivated, strong team and happy customers.

What is the entrepreneurial ecosystem like in Berlin?
It is great! We love to be here. Lots of entrepreneurs, great talent, business angels and investors are here and the atmosphere is very founder friendly. It is a perfect environment to start your business.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs/startups seeking funding?
It will take longer then you think. It is going to be harder then you think. It will be a really exhausting time. The pressure will be massive. But at the end you are going to make it if you have the right idea and the right team. And this feeling, when somebody believes in you and your idea, is just awesome.

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Watch Franziska on the Future of Retail Panel and this years Follow the Entrepreneur event. 

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