Whether you like it or not, there will always exist a finite number of things in life that have not changed in a while, and might not anytime soon.
For example, the suit and tie is always in style, coffee is a necessity (for many), and flowers are the go-to item for occasions.
One such business that’s banking on this steady trend is Flower Chimp, a flower delivery service based in Kuala Lumpur founded by Maximilian (or just Max) Lotz, formerly of hear.com, and Niklas Frassa, who previously worked with Zalora.
“Considering the e-commerce background of my co-founder and myself, we knew that we’d like to stay in that space,” Max said. “We also realised that with Lazada, Zalora, and the likes, the space was getting fairly crowded.”
“So we started looking into niches that we love, and with both of us spending a good share of our lives in Holland—the epicentre of floriculture—flowers were something that we’ve always fancied.”
So after doing a bit of research, Max and Niklas proceeded to give going into business a shot and founded their company in May 2016.
“From then on, everything just went super fast, from selling the first bouquet of pink gerberas to now shipping out hundreds of orders a day.”
A Blooming Industry
Currently, Flower Chimp are a lean team consisting of 17 individuals, with their business model employing a mix of both in-house fulfilment as well as partner florists.
A lion’s share of orders coming from the Klang Valley is fulfilled in-house while the rest are attended to by their partners.
But even with a model that incorporates numerous players, Max is adamant that quality trumps everything else when it comes to their end product.
“The quality standards when it comes to design and freshness are the same no matter if the order is fulfilled in-house or via one of our trusted partners,” he said. “Besides in Malaysia, we also operate in Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore all under the same principles.”
Like many other floral delivery services out there, Flower Chimp are finding themselves the beneficiaries of a strong growth in the floriculture industry.
“The space has indeed become more crowded, which is not necessarily bad,” Max said. “It proves that we’re in a quickly expanding market and healthy competition reminds us to constantly keep improving to stay ahead of the game.”
“For us, this means to work on improving customer experience, operations efficiency, and have an up-to-date assortment that features all-time classic designs as well as new trends.”
But despite the optimism surrounding the industry, Max and his team are well aware of the need for them to set themselves apart from the competition in Malaysia.
This why they’re adapting their service to suit the local populace while also providing a service that goes beyond the norms of traditional flower delivery—including same-day delivery, a wide coverage, and localised offerings.
“Malaysia is a great market considering the many festivities celebrated by people across the country,” he said. “To accommodate this, we’re offering a wide range of seasonal products such as gift hampers for Hari Raya or Chinese New Year.”
“What also sets us apart is our nationwide coverage—going even beyond Malaysian borders—that we offer free of charge for any order,” he said.
Although he declined to mention concrete figures, Max claims that Flower Chimp currently go through hundreds of orders a day and have grown five times in size within the past year alone.
All this is complemented by the fact that they’ve already managed to raise over US$1.5 million from investors all around the globe.
A Bigger Garden For A Bigger Market
Despite all this, however, Max thinks that the real achievement is found in the day-to-day running of Flower Chimp and dealing with the ups and downs associated with such a business.
“Indeed, it’s a very seasonal business with big peaks like Valentine’s and Mother’s Day,” he explained. “Coping with big days such as Mother’s Day this year with several thousand orders is clearly an achievement that required a lot of hard work upfront from everyone in the team such as florists, delivery riders, and customer service agents.”
“And to be frank, even a ‘low month’ is very welcome to us as it allows us to focus more on the year-round assortments and tweak operations to be ready for the next peak.”
But no matter peak or off-peak, Max says that Flower Chimp will always look towards growing bigger.
“We will continue to focus on increasing our footprint in Southeast Asia by adding one or two additional markets to our portfolio, but we’ll also dedicate a lot of time and resources to improving customer experience,” he said.
Feature Image Credit: Flower Chimp