About LORA Bloom

Lora Bloom About Page

My small business journey began in 2014. Halfway through earning a Professional Marketing Certification at the University of Washington, I decided to take a tiny dream of owning a flower business and turn it into reality.

My son was a toddler, and I wanted to apply my new-found business knowledge with something real without having to go back into the corporate world. A year prior, I had walked away from a career in online travel and media. I went from managing multi-million-dollar accounts to organizing playdates between naptime and dinner. Little did I know that opening First & Bloom would lead to a decade long career in flowers!

Life as an entrepreneur can be really lonely. However; looking back, I often felt even more alone in my corporate career. Here in my business space, I have the control to pursue whatever I want. Often feeling like my goals weren’t really mine, someone else determined my path for the most part. Now, after 10 years, I’ve been able to achieve so much! It may not have always felt that way in my pocketbook, but I’ve always believed my skills could be transferable if I ever wanted to go back.

Like many in the floral industry, I started out gaining as much business as I could. From local deliveries to weddings, business accounts and corporate events, I even hosted risky pop-ups and talked to anyone I could about selling flowers. I’d attend small business networking groups, participate in large wedding shows, and even the occasional floral workshop. It was all to press my brand and local awareness. Let me tell you, it was a roller coaster ride. The hardest times were the holidays, like Valentine’s and Mother’s Day. People think it’s guaranteed profit. It’s not. For the first several years, I barely broken even, if I did at all.

 Lora Bloom About page

Owning a flower business isn’t all roses either. It’s actually some of the most manual labor a person can do. It looks beautiful and glamorous, but most of the time I was wearing sweatpants, cleaning dirty buckets in the cold and developing green-stained calluses all over my hands. My back often went out from heavy-lifting and I was always stressing about selling a perishable product to turn a profit.

I basically ran a local floral business out of my house from 2014 to 2018.

It was hard work for not a lot of pay, but it enabled me to be there for my son as he started school. Never having a retail location, as much as I often daydreamed of one, the commercial leasing rates were just too high in the area I live in. It just never made business sense unless I wanted to really go into debt. Like many florists, I worked out of my home and kept business expenses to a minimum.

With lots of great and some not-so-great memories of my previous professional career, I am incredibly grateful to walk away with a strong understanding of ecommerce. Working at Expedia, Inc. for 5 years, I managed the hotel relationships and was responsible for $22M+ in sales.  Spending my final year in online media was another very eye-opening experience into marketing and advertising as a campaign manager. Both roles were high pressure and even higher expectations.

 Lora Bloom About page

Ultimately, these roles were a gift. They gave me leverage as a business owner. With a strong background in online conversion, merchandising, branding, sales, managing accounts, working long hours, and so so much more, I focused on my website. The very first site I built was on GoDaddy; it was hideous! The second, I paid someone to build on Weebly. Thereafter, I always built and managed my own sites. To this day, the most superior platform is Shopify. It's hands down the best and what I use now.

In 2019, I decided to build a new brand, Lora Bloom. Originally created to be an online floral marketplace and launching just before Covid-19, I started selling local flower delivery for area florists. I’m a firm believer in utilizing third-party platforms and tried creating a local and eco-friendly option for floral consumers. By the end of 2021, I was exhausted from the difficulties of running a small business in Covid times, but my proof of concept wasn’t a failure. I generated about 100k in sales over roughly 18 months.

This brings us to a more current time, post Covid.

Until the end of 2023, I was running First & Bloom and strictly focused on local delivery. Over the years, I learned to operate profitably by limiting my offerings. Turning a true, "pay-myself" profit in the last few years has been amazing!

Last year (2023), was a very hard one. I experienced a personal tragedy that changed my life forever. Mentally I was struggling. Not only because of my experience but also because I knew I wanted to evolve again as a business owner. With help, I was able to make some very difficult but necessary decisions by the end of Q3. I decided to permanently close First & Bloom as a local flower delivery business.

This brings us to today. Again, I decided to pivot my business.

Over the years, I’ve learned several things about myself. I actually love helping fellow business owners and many times customers have commented on how much they love my website. I’ve learned things painfully, at times. But there have also been amazing collaborations and relationships along the way. I have truly built a strong network of my very own and want to share that knowledge. I want to help someone else with a dream to start up a business and perhaps be influential in effective and profitable decisions made on their small business journey.

If you made it this far, thank you! Each business owner has a story, and I think it’s important to share and understand everyone’s journey.

To learn more about how I can better help you on your journey to business ownership, send me an email. Let’s connect!


Photography by Missy Palacol Photography