For Kelly Jamieson, starting her own business was a combination of fulfilling a life-long dream and a distinct gap in the market.
With friends and family abroad and interstate, she wanted to send flowers as gifts but found the delivered products often differed from the picture she had seen online.
“I spent the early parts of my 20s looking at lots of different things with the dream of one day having my own business,” Kelly says.
“When I came up with the concept of having an edible bouquet, to me it solved the problem of guaranteeing consistency and what people saw online would be exactly what we were delivering.”
Edible Blooms was born in 2005, and started out as bouquets of fresh fruit before evolving into what it is today: fully customisable edible bouquets of fruit, chocolates, lollies, and optional tailoring to dietary needs.
With a background in marketing Kelly says she had some knowledge of what it would take to start her own business, but it was a steep learning curve.
“I’d never worked in retail, I’d never worked in a food business and I had no idea about finance and accounts. But now I’d certainly consider myself a bit of an expert in those key areas,” she says.
“So we started with fresh fruit bouquets and had nine products. Then my sister came and joined me in the business soon after I opened the first store up in Brisbane. She helped me open the Adelaide store, and we added chocolate bouquets to the range, and it snowballed.”
Edible Blooms now has retail locations across Australia and in Auckland, New Zealand – as well as an online store.
“So it started with a very small, niche product, and it’s expanded to become quite a large product range with a large distribution network I guess.”
Kelly believes it’s the practical element of the gifts which appeal to customers.
“They don’t just have to throw it away, they actually get to eat it. Most importantly, the feedback we get it is that it is different, it says wow and you can choose something really unique and bespoke,” she says.
Edible Blooms is now a truly national business, fulfilling Kelly’s early goal of wanting to ensure deliveries were available Australia-wide.
With the advent of cloud computing (Kelly favours Neto), apps (like ‘Deputy‘ – for online rostering) and the NBN – she now runs the business from her farm an hour outside of Adelaide, with trips to the city when she needs to. As a working Mum, she says that while she’s busy – she can at least work from home.
“When I started Edible Blooms I thought I’d grow the business, and five years in I’d sell it – but I fell in with the business, and I’m still really enjoying it.”
For other aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners, Kelly believes the number one thing she has learned is not be rigid with the direction of the business idea.
“It’s one of those things where you have to jump in feet first and see where it takes you. It’s amazing how things evolve over time,” she says.
For that reason, three years ago Kelly decided to start another business based around a more traditional gift idea – that being, living plants.
Green thumb gifts is also run from her Port Elliot farm, and caters to a slightly different section of the gift-market.
“So if people want something more traditional, we do offer that but we do it in our own way in that we look at plants as something that lasts a lot longer that cut flowers,” Kelly says.