January 10, 2020
The countdown is ON!!! LORA Bloom is finally live and about to roll out a soft launch of floral products in and around the Seattle area! To kick off this launch, a year in the making, LORA has a small collection of specialized florists who will be selling their custom floral designs and offering local delivery. By Valentine’s Day 2020, all nine area florists will have a variety of floral options for consumers to order!
I am so unbelievably proud to introduce the first collection of LORA Bloom Florist Partners currently available in Washington State!!
Bellingham | Annika McIntosh of Hazel Landscapes + Design
Maple Valley | Kristal Hancock of Sublime Stems
Mt. Vernon | Sarah Wagstaff of Suot Farms
Sammamish | Gillian Lamont of Sugar Flora
Seattle | Jean Louise Paquin Allen of Juniper Flowers
Seattle | Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral
Seattle | Melissa Mercado-Denke of Campanula Design Studio
Seattle | Sophie Strongman of The Old Soul Flower Co.
Woodinville | Lori Poliski of Flori Flowers
Hello! My name is Tammy Myers. I’m the creator of LORA Bloom. It’s taken over a year to reach this moment. It’s been extremely difficult and different than I initially envisioned. The truth is, it’s so much more!
Before LORA Bloom was even a thought, I was a local florist working in and around Seattle, WA. I started designing flowers out of my kitchen in 2014 and eventually worked my way into the garage! Though I always wanted a brick and mortar location, I kept the concept virtual with a small ecommerce website and developed relationships with local businesses and community members.
Soon enough, First & Bloom was a full time, at-home business. It was hard work, but I loved it. It allowed me to grow as an entrepreneur and also balance the role of a mother.
Like all new business owners, we begin to understand our industry more and more the more entrenched we become. The floral industry is amazingly beautiful and inspirational. But, it also holds many dark secrets. Shocked by disturbing realities in the industry, I became known for my advocacy in sourcing American grown blooms and eco-conscious floral techniques.
Though I would take all sorts of floral jobs like weddings and events, it was the daily celebrations I loved the best. Serving my community, I often learned the reason behind why someone would receive flowers. There were lots of birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. However, the loss of loved ones and health related orders captured my heart the most. These were deeply personal experiences in people’s lives. Through the language of flowers, I could help in some small way by designing a pretty vase of flowers. I found this line of work to be an honor and deeply rewarding.
Running my business took a lot of funding, which meant time and money. After five years I came to a crossroads. It was always busy, but I was killing myself as the sole person in my company. I had to make a decision, grow or pivot.
As it would turn out, I am fortunate to have a background in ecommerce from a previous career. Over the years, I had taken note of gaps in the industry and thought about beneficial opportunities. One opportunity; in particular, kept surfacing. From here I decided to take a leap of faith and pivot.
Over the last decade, consumers have shown a growing support for locally sourced products within many industries and are questioning how commodities are impacting our livelihood and environment. Specifically, we’ve seen a strong demand in the food and beverage industries. This holds true in the floral industry as well. Most consumers of flowers don’t realize that 80% of all flowers sold in the United States are imported. Prior to the early 90’s, almost all flowers sold in the States were grown on domestic soil. Yet, since 1992, nearly half of all flower farms across the country have gone out of business due to the rising demand of low-cost imports.
For the last few decades, our online floral retail market has been driven by a few highly influential players. Demand for low cost imports, budget-conscious pricing, next day turnaround, and cookie cutter designs, has given consumers the impression that this is the norm in the flower industry. I took note when customers called me. They loved my unique designs and commitment to locally sourced flowers and sustainability. Customers had no idea so many flower varieties existed! I also learned I wasn’t alone in the feedback received from customers. Florist friends shared the same stories. Customers loved the flowers, but how would florists spread the word in a sea of paid optimizations and sort order on search engines?
I soon realized a disconnect in the industry existed. From here, LORA Bloom became a thought.
Independent florists who intentionally were not affiliated with wire services and order-taking companies, needed a platform to sell their floral products and serve the growing volume of consumers who want to support locally sourced products and businesses.
Putting the skills of my previous career to good use, I developed a new ecommerce business platform. For the first 6-8 months of 2019, I pressed hard to design and develop a mobile app. After several hiccups along the way, I realized mobile was a beast and would take far more time and funding. However, I didn’t give up. Taking a step back from what I learned during that time, allowed me to regroup.
Stepping into the world of mobile apps, I was way out of my comfort zone. Yet, I began one valuable tool early on. I started to develop a brand and following within my floral community. Through all the struggle in those first months, I was talking about it. I wanted to hear the struggles of other floral members and consumers. As a florist myself, I had a pretty good understanding of what was lacking in the industry. And so I used this as my strength and built a brand to help solve problems florists and consumers alike have been frustrated with for decades.
Over the years as a small business owner, I have faced a lot of skepticism along the way. Stepping back from a lucrative career and discovering my true passions in life has not always been easy. There has been serious sacrifice and even insecurity of my own self. But with each lesson learned, develops an even greater strength. When you believe in something wholeheartedly and to the core, nothing can stop you.
Now, let’s get going!
(All photography provided by Missy Palacol Photography.)
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