While millions of Americans scrambled to find the perfect Mother’s Day gift by Sunday, online floral retailer The Bouqs Company was taking orders and preparing for the industry’s biggest sales event of the year.
American shoppers are expected to spend more than $23 billion on Mother’s Day presents this year, including $2.6 billion on flowers alone, according to the National Retail Federation. The Bouqs, an e-commerce retailer founded in 2012 by former Notre Dame classmates John Tabis and Juan Pablo Montufar, has seized a growing portion of that haul.
Based in California, the company emphasizes eco-friendly practices across its farm network of about 140 partners, cutting out the traditional supply chain of exporters, importers and florists to sell bouquets directly from farmers to customers. While the concept, streamlined by The Bouq’s proprietary inventory system, has produced 150% sales growth year-over-year, according to company figures, it also requires a ton of advance planning to manage the influx of demand before Mother’s Day and other flower-focused occasions.
“Mother’s Day, for the industry and for us, is the largest holiday of the year for sure,” Tabis told FOX Business. “It can be really crazy and really busy, but also really exciting to have so many eyeballs on the industry and so much focus on our product at that time of year.”
While The Bouqs, which is privately held, declined to discuss specific revenue figures, Tabis said the company regularly earns $1 million per day in the period before Mother’s Day. The company got its start when Montufar, a biochemist by trade, contacted Tabis, a former Disney brand strategy executive, about his vision for a new farming model that rewarded farmers for adhering to good environmental and workplace policies. The duo pooled $13,000 to launch the company’s initial platform.
Tabis said farmers within The Bouqs network earn 20% to 25% more per stem than the industry average. By streamlining the supply chain, customers receive fresher flowers with less waste, while farmers get paid faster than they would under traditional conditions.
“In a traditional supply chain, chasing down the cash is hard, because every single one of those layers needs to get paid by the previous layer and everybody has terms,” Tabis said. “The farmer ends up being at the end of that very long set of terms.”
Tabis said a high-volume occasion like Mother’s Day requires months of planning, which is aided by The Bouqs’ inventory platform. The technology identifies which flowers are available, where they are being grown and how much they cost, allowing the company’s team of roughly 70 employees to meet the massive demand.
“Valentine’s Day ends February 14th and on February 15th, we’re talking about Mother’s Day,” Tabis said. “We can drive a really large volume without all that many people in our company. Right now, we’re about 70 people, so we’re not a very large company, but we can do a large amount of revenue because our technology really covers a lot of the heavy lifting for us.”
The Bouqs’ innovative business model merited an appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2014. While the company did not receive an offer at the time, investor Robert Herjavec later contributed to a funding round that raised more than $24 million for The Bouqs in 2017. The company has raised more than $43 million from outside investors to date.
Tabis said he and Montufar have “no specific plans” to take the company public or raise additional funds in the near future and remains committed to its eco-friendly, farmer-focused approach.
“As long as we execute on that and as long as we evangelize that story, everything else will fall into line,” he said.