Fig and Bloom founder Kellie Brown reveals how she built $14 million empire and floral trends for 2022
When Kellie Brown started her own flower shop just two weeks after being fired from her high-flying fashion job, she had no idea it would grow into a $14 million flower empire selling 93,000 bouquets a year.
Ms Brown was working as a designer in Melbourne when she realized that life at the top of the world’s most notoriously cutthroat industry was not what she expected.
“It was a toxic environment – it certainly wasn’t what it said on the can,” she told the Daily Mail Australia.
Ms. Brown was fired in 2015 and set out to combine her two greatest passions: fashion and flowers.
Kellie Brown (pictured) was fired from her fashion job, so she decided to start her own flower shop Fig and Bloom from her car booth
Mrs. Brown risked it all and took $10,000 she’d saved for a home deposit to start a roving flower business called Fig and Bloom.
She spent the first year mostly from the boot of her car driving to the flower market, packing bunches and hand-delivering about 4,000 of them to customers all over Melbourne.
Ms. Brown gained many of Fig and Bloom’s 17,300 Instagram followers in the first few months, as the companies’ launch took advantage of the rise of the social media platform.
She seduced fans with graceful arrangements in trendy shades that seemed to go against the trend.
“Back then, flowers were still very artless, you still got bright, primary colors wrapped in daggy pink cellophane,” said Mrs. Brown.
‘I kept thinking, why isn’t this industry evolving, why can’t I design them differently and bring flowers into the 21st century?’
Mrs. Brown risked it all and took $10,000 she’d saved for a home deposit to start the roving subscription-based flower business
Ms. Brown soon realized she would need more knowledge than she had if she wanted the business to grow.
She messaged leading floral design brands on Instagram and found one in Manhattan and another in Brooklyn offering her internships.
“I literally wiped the floors and asked questions,” she recalls.
Mrs. Brown even trained with Queen Elizabeth’s principal florist, Shane Connolly, and took a master class with him at the New York Flower School.
The experience led her to design Fig and Bloom’s arrangements around four main themes: pretty and pink, rustic, contemporary white, and bright and colorful.
Kellie Brown (front row, right) now employs a team of 48 staff across three Australian states and plans to expand
The four flower trends are going to be big in 2022
* Baby’s breath
* Dried and preserved arrangements
* Mixing fabric with fresh flowers
* Mixing obscure plants with flowers
One of the bestsellers is the design of Osaka – a lavish creation inspired by Japan’s annual Cherry Blossom festival with roses, chrysanthemum picks and baby’s breath. It comes in four sizes with prices ranging from $100 to $360.
Ms. Brown believes the design is popular because it is ambitious.
“People love it because a lot of people love Japan and what cherry blossoms represent,” she said.
“The land is still on people’s bucket list, which means it has a long life – it’s been in stock for years and it’s still one of our biggest sellers.”
While many businesses collapsed under the strain of the pandemic, Fig and Bloom – and indeed the flower industry as a whole – has boomed.
Business has boomed since the Covid-19 crisis began in March 2020, when Australia was plunged into lockdown and gifts became one of the few ways for people to connect with family and friends.
While many businesses collapsed under the pressure of the pandemic, Fig and Bloom – and indeed the flower industry as a whole – has flourished
“It’s still a scary time, but then it was a crazy time,” said Mrs. Brown.
“From receiving orders at a steady pace we were so inundated that we had to close the website.
“We had a full team, but we literally had to double the staff overnight.”
The company now employs a team of 48 people in a brick-and-mortar store in Melbourne, a second in Sydney and a third that has just opened in Brisbane, supplying more than 900 locations along the east coast.
Ms. Brown’s designs have captured the attention of some of the world’s biggest brands and have seen her work with leading names such as Ferrari and Lexus.
She also considers Elton John a fan, having set up his green room for both the Australian and New Zealand stages of his 2020 world tour.
The company is now on track to earn $14 million in revenue this fiscal year and Ms Brown is in the process of completing an expansion that will extend delivery areas to Adelaide, Canberra, Newcastle and the Gold Coast.