Kelly Baker-Jamieson's Edible Blooms opened for business in 2005 and has since spread to every Australian state, New Zealand and - soon - the UK. Along the way the company has won several awards and amassed a customer database of 700,000 people!
In this exclusive piece for My Business, Kelly shares some of her most important thoughts about business.
If you have the vision, determination and dedication to drive your business, then you’re already half way there.
Starting a business, no matter what size, can be one of the most frightening and exhilarating adventures to undertake. Since opening Edible Blooms in 2005, we’ve grown from a single store in Brisbane to a team of 25 employees, five stores and a loyal customer database of over 70,000. My sister Abbey and I launched the business of edible gift bouquets with just nine fruit designs, and have now over 120 unique designs with chocolates and other decadent ingredients. Since opening our doors six years ago, there have been many ups and down, but we’re always staying positive and looking towards the next step.
Supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs is something that we highly value.
Starting a business in any industry can be an insanely intimidating world when you’re still finding your feet. I started out with no retail experience or accounting expertise, so I know how important it is to have strong mentors and guidance, and how valuable this can be to young entrepreneurs. Edible Blooms recently partnered with Lenovo in a campaign that travelled to Australian airports to inspire the next generation of business owners. It was a fantastic opportunity that allowed us to discuss the challenges we faced when starting up a business, the lessons we’ve learnt along the way and our advice for getting a business off the ground. The concept was largely inspired by ‘people who “Do”’ which is an essential mindset for every entrepreneur. The “Do” mentality is something that resonates closely with Abbey and I. This attitude is what will take you from talking about a great business idea to actually investing your time and money into making it a reality.
You never stop learning and growing, so it was hard to narrow down the top lessons.
One of the most important parts of the Edible Blooms culture is our willingness to give new things a go. This sets us apart from other businesses, constantly inspiring new ideas which we strive to put into place. We are always revitalising our brand – from utilising the latest technology, to discussing new options for our bouquets, to fresh ways to engage with customers. We measure the success of the initiatives and if something isn’t quite working, we learn from that experience and move forward.
You need to be authentic to who you are.
This is true for both yourself and your brand. Abbey and I grew up in rural South Australia, inspired by the hard work of the farming industry, and we’ve stayed authentic to the family culture that we began the business with. I think you need to be very aware of what your business represents and constantly communicate through your brand why you do what you do. At Edible Blooms we share the same values of innovation and family, so we attract similar values in our customers.
It’s perfectly savvy to build your brand and conquer a larger market, but you need to remember why you started, as it’s often the thing that will keep you at the top of your game.
Young entrepreneurs have a tremendous curiosity about mistakes. Why? Because it’s the fastest way to learn.
The truth is that mistakes and rejection can either be demoralising or inspiring. When I first approached the bank to finance the concept of Edible Blooms, I was turned away. There’s no doubt that this made me stronger. Abbey and I come from a very entrepreneurial family, so we built resilience and invested all of our savings to grow what is now a five store company across Australia and New Zealand.
It’s also important to differentiate between what is holding you back and knowing how this can be fixed. This is where it comes back to the mindset of ‘Do’. I knew my lack of experience in accounting would be detrimental to my success in business, so I enrolled in a complete training course and purchased MYOB. We’ve also taken on a financial advisor and our business has been able to grow debt free. Knowing your limits and knowing when to seek expert advice is one of your greatest assets.