A Look Behind the Scenes of Don’t Buy Her Flowers

don't buy her flowers gift baskets

An ‘Inspiring Indies’ Interview with Don’t Buy Her Flowers.

Indie business Don’t Buy Her Flowers specialise in creating thoughtful gift boxes for new mums. Challenging the status quo of gift-giving, this indie company hand-picks a unique set of goodies for each of their gift boxes. Super sweet gifts that mums will adore. We caught up with company founder Steph Douglas to find out more about this inspiring independent.

What inspired you to start Don’t Buy Her Flowers? When did you begin?

I was given lots of flowers after I had my first baby and I can remember sitting on the sofa looking at them all and feeling a bit weepy as I didn’t haven’t the energy (or the vases) to do anything with them. I’ve since found out that 96% of new mums receive flowers, and most of those get 3 or more bunches. Having babies is awesome, but it’s also a physical and emotional rollercoaster. I felt that there could be better gifts that would actually offer some TLC to a new mum. I wrote a business plan and looked at what existed already and felt I could do it. I left my job in Brand and Communications in May 2014 and started the business in November 2014.

What can you tell us about your indie business? What sets you apart from your corporate contemporaries?

Don’t Buy Her Flowers sells thoughtful gift packages for new mums. We’ve teamed up with COOK food so you can also add their vouchers to our packages and give new parents food delivered to their doorstep. I think the key thing that makes Don’t Buy Her Flowers different is that the packages are ALL about mum; the products are either practical (like food, dry shampoo and eye cream!) or encourage her to take 10 minutes to herself with hot tea, flapjack and a magazine, or with her partner with the ‘Date Night In’ package.

What’s your role in Don’t Buy Her Flowers? What’s your favourite things about your job & running an indie business?

I do everything! From managing stock to promotion to packing to customer enquiries. My favourite thing is probably when I get the ‘ping’ of an order coming in; it’s really exciting to think someone has seen the idea and liked it enough to choose to buy their gift with us. The feedback has been awesome too, with recipients crying (in a good way) when they open their packages. It’s easy to get caught up in the running-a-business stress, but I’m trying to allow myself to stop and enjoy those bits as it’s pretty exhausting otherwise and I’ve only just begun!

Are there other people in your business? What can you tell us about the rest of the team?

My brother-in-law runs freshpage.co.uk building websites for small businesses, so he’s done an awesome job on my website. Doug, my husband, works in finance so likes to build complicated spreadsheets, which is actually pretty useful!

Here at Piccadilly Lane, we believe that independents offer an amazing combination of unique design and high quality. Do you agree? How do you ensure this happens at Don’t Buy Her Flowers?

I think independents can definitely offer those things. I suppose it’s up to us to ensure we do so that we can show ourselves as a viable option next to big retailers. I pack each box by hand and also see every order through from start to finish so I know it’s all to the highest standard.

Your teaming up with the Count the Kicks charity this Mother’s Day. What can you tell us about why you picked this charity. 

I’d heard about Count the Kicks over the last few years through their marketing – their key aim is to reduce the UK’s current stillbirth rates by educating pregnant women on the importance of monitoring their baby’s movements and giving them the confidence to trust their instincts and contact their midwife if they notice a change in the pattern of movement. Then someone mentioned them to me again recently as they pick a small business to promote on a Sunday and they chose Don’t Buy Her Flowers. Through that I engaged more with what they do and I saw they’re always looking for fund-raisers. It made sense to me that I could support their charity and it was very liberating not to have to go through a board of people to make the decision – I contacted them and offered to give £1 from every Mother’s Day Package sold, they were up for it and here we are. With two young children of my own, I can only begin to imagine the pain and devastation losing a baby would bring to a family so I think it’s an important charity.

You currently specialise in bespoke gift packages? What inspires you about this area of gift giving? Do you plan to continue in this area or do you have plans to extend your collection? 

Quite often when you buy a ‘set’ for a new mum it contains products all from the same brand, but ours are hand-picked and all with mum in mind. We also have options, so people can select a scarf design or choose the magazine they want to send. I think it makes them better gifts and more likely that the recipient will love it. I’m already seeing people buy our gifts for birthdays or get well so it’s expanding in that way without us really planning it, which is great. I have lots and lots of ideas, but every business owner I’ve spoken to has said to stay focused – it’s only been four months so I think this is really important. 

Your gift boxes feature a wide variety of products. What can you tell us about the process of choosing what items you include?

The number one criteria is that it’s a product that I believe a mother would actually want to receive! They’re all from British suppliers and there are quite a number of things on the checklist; quality, shelf life, cost are all important. When I was looking for the products obviously I looked at and spoke to a lot of companies to get the right combination.

Your collection is all beautifully gift-wrapped on delivery. What can you tell us about how the gift boxes are presented?

We have branded tissue, ribbon and lovely tags for the handwritten message. I use shredded paper for packing. I wanted to avoid anything that makes a mess, like those little foam balls, as that’s the last thing a new mum needs! I looked at using glossy boxes when I was researching packaging. A friend popped in with her newborn when I’d just had some samples delivered and said ‘oh god – I’m not thinking about whether I could save a nice pretty box for storing lego – just give me the goods!’. It was perfect timing; those would have been a nightmare to store, have required a second outer box for posting and have added a couple of quid to each gift, but not actually added anything to the experience so we use a simple kraft coloured box. All the packaging can be reused or recycled.

Why should people shop with Don’t Buy Her Flowers? What makes you different?

We’ve had a couple of pieces of press coverage recently saying our packages are ‘what women want’. I genuinely believe we’ve got that right and that has to be my focus for everything we do going forward. There are lots of lovely gift ideas, but specifically I want something that offers TLC to a new mum, not just something that is a nice gift.

We LOVE independents and think more people should be supporting them. Why do you think people should shop with independent businesses like yours?

I think sometimes people like to know where something is coming from, and probably when it comes to gift buying an independent feels more personal, so even when you’re buying it online you know some sort of back story. I write a blog called Sisterhood (and all that) about motherhood and relationships, so if any customers want to know more about me it’s there – warts and all!

Last but not least, what’s your favourite independent business and why?

There is a boutique in St Margarets where I live called Dolly Rock that has a lovely selection of clothes from high-end Chloe stuff to more high street brands like Selected. The interior of the shop and the branding is all lovely and before I started Don’t Buy Her Flowers I chatted to the owner a bit about starting a business and she was just really lovely and helpful and has worked really hard to build her business. There are so many exciting new businesses coming from women at the moment. I recently joined Mother’s Meetings business club that runs in London and it is full of exciting women with exciting ideas that I just know are going to do fantastically well.

Visit Don’t Buy Her Flowers.

Posted by Charlotte 16:15 9/03/15
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