SA florist startup Petal&Post plans nationwide expansion

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South African online florist Petal&Post is planning expansion across the country after its offering met with significant success in Cape Town and Durbanville.

Founded in 2016, Petal&Post puts a unique spin on the traditional online flower delivery and gifting service, making ordering flowers quick, easy and affordable by offering one style of bunch of flowers each day – “Today’s Posy” – for a flat price that includes delivery.

Posys can be upsized to double or triple, and pre-ordered in advance. Petal&Post also offers a weekly flower subscription service, as well as numerous add-on products for sale on the site.  

Founder Kim du Plessis conceived of the idea for the platform while working in Australia, where she attended a floristry night course.

“I had seen the single posy style concept in Perth and I loved the business idea,” she told Disrupt Africa.

Upon returning to Cape Town in July 2016, she decided to test the concept back home. She launched the business and ran it for two years while still working as a town planner.

“I have built the business incrementally, I started in 2016 with only two days per week and I did all the deliveries myself. Now are we open from Tuesday to Friday and we have two delivery routes – Cape Town and Durbanville,” du Plessis said.

“Currently sales are growing by about 20 per cent per month. We have had a lot of traction on social media platforms, which has translated directly into sales.”

Such was the growth that du Plessis quit her job to focus on the business full time last month.

“Soon after going full time on Petal&Post I was offered a spot in the MTN Solution Space, an incubation programme at the UCT Graduate School of Business, which is a wonderful opportunity, and I’m really enjoying the opportunity to grow the business with such inspiring mentors at the business school,” du Plessis said.

Petal&Post sources its flowers from its supplier at 6am each morning, makes the posy of the day, and posts it on its website and on Instagram by 9am. Orders for “Today’s Posy” are open until 12:30pm, after which deliveries are made by its in-house delivery team formed of part-time UCT students.

“We make money by taking around 40 percent of our revenue from the posy sales as profit,” said du Plessis. “Most of our profit is going to web development currently, as we scale.”

She attributes Petal&Post’s initial success to the market’s experience of other, similar services.

“Flower delivery services are expensive in South Africa; and the service of the bigger companies did not seem very good. We have made flower delivery affordable, very convenient and, most of all, uncomplicated,” du Plessis said.

“We have eliminated the element of choice, thereby streamlining the order process, and allowing us to buy in bulk, which reduces the flower cost and eliminates waste. We also have a large free delivery zone, which keeps the price down for our customers, and created a desirable brand that is on-trend.”

Initially funded from du Plessis’ savings from her stint in Australia, the startup’s Cape Town and Durbanville branches have been paid for by the business’ own revenues. However, Petal&Post will need funding to be able to scale, with Johannesburg and Durban targets for 2019.

“We are hoping to find an investor while part of the Solution Space programme, so that we can open a branch in Johannesburg once the programme ends,” du Plessis said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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