One City, Two Flower Delivery Startups

I’ve always thought that flower delivery service such as 1-800-flowers was a marketing trick. Why should i pay so much more money for something i can grow in my backyard? Occasionally (once a year maybe?) I will buy a bouquet of sun flowers from the farmer’s market or trader joe’s for $5.99. Sometimes on Mother’s Day, ZM would buy me roses from those lone latino vendors wondering the Mission street a couple of blocks from our house.

All these changed when i got this little bundle from my co-workers last month while i was home recovering from a nasty pneumonia.


There were roses (white, pink, and champagne), peony, ranunculus, anemone, snapdragons, and freesia. The container is a paint can wrapped in burlap strings. The arrangement was so beautiful that I couldn’t stop myself from snapping photos of it left and right. Further more, I could take some of the flowers from the bouquet and make my own single or double rose arrangement for other places in my house.

It was from a San Francisco based startup company called bloomthat. Their specialty was any day of the week between 8-7, your flowers can be delivered within 90 minutes of your on-line order submission.

I fell in love with their specialty arrangement in the paint can (bloomthat calls this style “the shortie”).

After the flowers wilted, i reused the paint can and made a little herb arrangement using what i have from my backyard.
While browsing yelp, i found out their actual claim to fame is actually normal bouquet of flowers wrapped in burlap (donated by a local coffee roaster). “Cute presentation!” not sure how many happy customers said that in their review.

So i got one burlap wrapped bouquet for myself today. It was $20 cheaper than the bouquet shortie my co-worker got me earlier. But it still has roses, tulips and ranunculus. I definitely like it better than the traditional dozen roses. How could i not? not only it was wrapped in recycled coffee burlap, but also came with a kale!

Today I saw someone posted a bouquet that was even more pretty, also wrapped in burlap, but it came from a different company. I thought, “what the heck. Everyone is wrapping flowers in burlaps now? I thought bloomthat was original!”

So i looked up the new company “farmgirlflowers“. It was also SF based! So i wanted to find out the difference between the two.

1. Variety
bloomthat has a limited design (three long flower bouquets in burlaps, and two shortie arrangements), they refresh them every month.
Farm Girl had a very different approach. Their flowers arrangement changes everyday depends on the flower supply from their local farmers. But they will only have one design a day, and customer won’t know what it is beforehand. They sell them in different sizes (S, M, L). They also has flowers come with vases instead of burlaps (also three sizes, S, M, L). They guarantee the number of flowers included into each size and they guarantee they look great. Customer can browse their sites for arrangements from the past. For special occasions such as V Day, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, they will design one special arrangement.

Here are some of Farm Girls’ past arrangements.
For large, impressive arrangement or creativity of each day’s creation Farm Girl wins hands down. For personal small token of joy and predicability bloomthat.

2. Delivery
bloomthat focus on speed, they deliver everyday of the week, and guarantee 90 minutes delivery within order. But bloomthat is expanding city by city. Right now they have San Francisco, quite a few cities on the peninsula, and LA.
farmgirl currently delivery to the entire state of California. But only same day delivery in SF (provided the order is received before noon), next day delivery for the rest of California including bay area outside of the City. SF delivery was done by bicycle messengers.

bloomthat is definitely faster.

3. Price
bloomthat flowers starts at $48 and no delivery fee.
Farm Girl starts at $30 but charge a $15 delivery (for SF at least, not sure for the other areas)
So for SF residence, the price is about the same.

4. Burlap wrapping
bloomthat’s burlap was donated by a Marine Coffee roaster.
Farm Girl got their burlap from four different coffee houses in SF. As an exchange, Farm Girl provided free flower arrangement to the coffee houses each week.
This was the most interesting part. Who started the burlap trend? Apparently Farm Girl. Since they were ~ two years ahead of bloomthat in existence. After bloomthat came along and stole their wrapping idea, Farm Girl was mad. So mad that they first applied for “burlap-wrapped bouquet” as a trademark in 2013 (same year when bloomthat came into existence). And filed a lawsuit against bloomthat end of year 2014, shortly after their trademark was approved.

In the lawsuit, Farm Girl claimed that bloomthat having burlap wrapped flowers confused many customers who thought bloomthat and Farm Girl were from the same company. And that bloomthat’s lower quality damaged Farm Girl’s brand. Some of the comments i saw on line also claimed Farm Girls’ flowers were more fresh and lasted longer than Bloomthat. That piqued my interest since the two deliveries i got from bloomthat were gorgeous, but i did notice some flowers were damaged in both instances. and they barely lasted a week.

I would definitely try Farm Girl when i want flowers the next time, and see for myself whether there is a difference in quality.

Meanwhile, i’m super interested in the outcome of the lawsuit. I wonder how each of the two startups will fair in the long run. They each has their own specialty: bloomthat’s speed of delivery, Farm Girl’s brand new design every day with local sourced flowers. Will both of them survive? Will they be able to disrupt the big guys in the industry?

When I first fell in love with the bloomthat bouquet a month ago, i definitely didn’t expect finding out about a lawsuit behind those gorgeous flowers. What a fascinating time to be a San Franciscan!