NetFlorist: Changing Lives One Cake at a Time

On Wednesday afternoon, the 9th of November, NetFlorist hosted a very special birthday party at The Sands in Sandton. This party was not to celebrate NetFlorist’s birthday, but rather the birthday of all the children at The Johannesburg Children’s Home.

JHB Childrens Home

NetFlorist and The JCH’s relationship started on none other than Mandela Day this year, bringing even more meaning to what bloomed into the most extraordinary bond. On Mandela Day 2016, NetFlorist set out to make 670 sandwiches in their 67 minutes. These sandwiches were then dropped off at various children’s homes, 200 of which were delivered to The JCH. Meeting Annette Brokensha, the Managing Director of the Home, resulted in the creation of a connection that neither organisation wanted to let go of and Mandela, the man who taught the world how to give, would have encouraged for more to be done.

During the holiday season, one custom that is shared across many religious and cultural traditions ranging from Christmas to Chanukkah, is the act of giving to others.

The phrase that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” is heard and quoted a lot during this time of year. Although holiday gift giving has often become associated with shopping aggravations, long queues (if you don’t use NetFlorist) and an empty wallet or purse, everyone can surely agree that giving truly is a gift.

With this in mind, NetFlorist asked for the Home’s birthday list, and since August 2016 every child at Johannesburg Children’s Home has received a personalised gift on their birthday delivered by one of NetFlorist’s dedicated drivers. This gift is not a typical hamper that you would find on www.netflorist.co.za among the thousands listed there, but rather a package filled with stationery, deodorant, socks, books, crayons, toys, an item of clothing and sometimes a special something that that child would specifically love.

You know that feeling of anticipation you get when your recipient is opening their present? If you’ve ever felt that, then you know it’s true: it really is better to give than to receive.

Many can agree that one of the most important parts of your birthday is the cake. Obviously opening presents is a highlight too, but there’s just nothing like the blushing red cheeks on a child’s face as their friends sing happy birthday tunelessly, the wishes that fly through the air when they blow out their candles, the loud and excitable screeches when that knife gets to the bottom of the first slice, and of course the arguments over who gets a candle!

Celebrations jhb

Unfortunately, most of the children at Johannesburg Children’s Home have never experienced this feeling. They have never had their birthdays celebrated. They have never received gifts. And they have never had the privilege of blowing out the candles on a birthday cake made especially for them. These are all these things that we take for granted, knowing that our loved ones will always ensure that each birthday is one to remember forever.

Just like a birthday boy or girl give their candles to only their closest of friends, the guests at NetFlorist’s event were all chosen to be the inner circle of these children. Everyone was given the opportunity to sponsor a birthday cake from NetFlorist’s Bakery for each child at JCH to receive on their special day, along with their gift. They have also been given the option to go along to deliver the cake and sing Happy Birthday to their chosen child! Although taking photos of or with the children is not permitted, it is guaranteed that this will be a moment that will be documented in the giver’s heart forever.

24 cakes were sponsored at the event, and many generous party-goers still need to sign up and have also offered to distribute the list, ensuring that every single child will receive a birthday cake on their special day.

Thank you to everyone who attended our top trending #LifeChangingParty and for helping NetFlorist to continue changing lives, one birthday cake at a time.

 

Spook-tacular Halloween Gifts from NetFlorist

As you are most probably aware, Halloween 2016 is just around the corner, and that means it’s time for spooky costumes, haunted houses, and trick-or-treaters knocking at the door. With all the Halloween hype, there is also the exciting aspect of Halloween gifts. Who says Halloween treats need to be for the kids only? Us older folk also want in on the action, which is why NetFlorist is her to take care of all your Halloween gifting needs!

halloween-gifts

Bakery goodies for Halloween

Halloween is all about the sweet stuff, right? Well we suggest you check out some of our yummy baked goodies and chocolate gifts. Why not surprise a loved one with a delicious and spooky Halloween cake? It can be enjoyed by all, and can even be personalised for the occasion! Our Halloween cookie tins and cupcake bouquets are also perfect gifts for Halloween, and will really fit into the festivities.

Halloween Flowers

Who says flowers don’t go with Halloween? When you see what we have to offer, you will realise that they make for perfect Halloween gift ideas. We have a selection of orange flowers for Halloween, in a variety of awesome arrangements. If you are going to a Halloween party, why not bring an orange Halloween bouquet along and set the tone for an awesome night? The floral arrangements are both beautiful and haunting!

Trick or Treat?

Whether you choose trick or treat, gifts or flowers, or black or orange, we can guarantee that your Halloween will be made extra spook-tacular with our awesome Halloween gifts. We are more than just an online florist, so simply log on, choose the gift of your choice and we can have it delivered to the lucky recipient in time for the big night!

Halloween is coming soon, so be prepared!

Smooches,

The NetFlorist Bunch

SA Marriage week – Focusing on the wellbeing of your marriage

GIFTS TO SPOIL YOur BETTER HALF THIS MARRIAGE WEEK

One of the most beautiful quotes about marriage is something we came across in the book turned movie, The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks: “Marriage is [about] becoming a team. You’re going to spend the rest of your life learning about each other, and every now and then, things blow up. But the beauty of marriage is that if you picked the right person and you both love each other, you’ll always figure out a way to get through it”.

Since we’re at the start of SA Marriage week, which will be 1 – 7 September 2016, we decided to join in on the theme of “Do something, give something”. This is not just in terms of buying gifts for your significant other, this is also about the smaller things in life, such as making a sandwich and sharing it while sitting on the couch and watching a movie. With this in mind, we thought of a few ideas in which you can incorporate romantic gifts from NetFlorist to show your better half how much they mean to you.

Love and marriage

A happy marriage is about spending quality time together.

  1. Show your romantic side when you buy a dozen blood red roses and hide them from her all around the house. Start off with a little note at the door, leading her to the first rose and take her through the house until she finds the last rose which will be in your hand, as you smile like a silly loon!
  2. Escape the everyday life by packing a picnic basket filled with snacks and bubbly and take your significant other away to a beautiful place where you can enjoy the treats and each other’s company. In the end, that is what love and marriage is about – spending quality time together.
  3. The key to a successful marriage is doing things for one another. If you know that your significant other has had a rough day, fill up a bath with bath oil, a fizz ball and have a glass of wine handy for when she comes home. Little gestures like this can go a long way!
  4. Celebrating your six-month anniversary? Order a box of six doughnuts to celebrate the half dozen months together and make a toast to the next six months in a happy marriage.
  5. In married life, one sometimes has to stop amidst the hustle and bustle and make time for each other. Buy a couple’s moonlight spa voucher and enjoy the night getting a few treatments, dinner and just enjoying each other’s company.
  6. SA Marriage Week is about creating harmony in the home, and this includes sharing. Why not kick back and relax in the comfort of your love nest, and share a delcious dinner, complete with snacks and wine? We have a wide variety of snack and booze hampers for you to set the mood and give you a real chance to reflect.

All in all, we want you to make sure that you use this week to reflect on your marriage, focusing on its wellbeing and creating harmony in the home. A successful marriage takes work, which is why doing small things for each other really goes a long way. No matter what you decide to do during SA Marriage Week, NetFlorist is here to help you make it beneficial!

Happy marriages is about the small things in life

SA Marriage week – Celebrate your love with presents

Mandela Day at NetFlorist

This year, NetFlorist decided to celebrate Mandela Day (18th of July) in a different way. Instead of giving away cake, we decided to #FeedAFriend by making yummy sandwiches.

Mandela Day celebrations

Here is a video of our #FeedAFriend for Mandela Day. All our employees  had so much fun to spoil 4 lucky children’s homes with delicious sandwiches!

The 4 lucky Children’s homes were:

Impilo Child Protection & Adoption Services

Impilo

Johannesburg Children’s Home

*Image from their website

*Image from their website

Princess Alice Adoption Home

Princess Alice

and last, but not least: TAG.

It was so much fun to make childrens’ day and see the smiles on their faces.

Here is a video of NetFlorist employees doing their 67 minutes for Tata

and some photos of the fun:

#FeedAFriend1

What did you do for 67 minutes to make a difference?

NetFlorist’s Story: How it all began

At a recent forum at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) the NetFlorist’s Story was relayed by Ryan Bacher, MD and co-founder of NetFlorist. He also explained how they went from being ignorant about all things flowers (except for roses) to being the leading online florist retailer in South Africa.

Here is the YouTube video of Ryan Bacher’s speech on how NetFlorist began:

Nowadays, starting an e-commerce company is difficult – there is a reluctance to compete with established and successful websites, said Bacher.

However, Bacher said any online business would have to resolve a challenge for their customers in order to become successful:

“If you can create a niche and solve a problem using online in South Africa, you will fly.” – Ryan Bacher

That is just what they did, they created a niche and solved a problem.

NeTFLORIST’S STORY AND GROWTH

NetFlorist was launched in 1999 as a test case for an e-commerce company in South Africa, when online retail was still in the early stages of development. Bacher said they knew nothing about flowers and here there was very little initial focus on fulfilment, strategy, industry, market research, and marketing, HR, technology or the product.

The team built a basic website, with very little data and relied heavily on e-mail markerting, which was still a novel form of communication at the time. Only when the site generated R30 000 in turnover in its first month, slightly more than an average established florist would make, did the team realise there was a market for the business.

TRANSITION TO RETAILER

NetFlorist had to change their mindset in order to transition from e-commerce company to retailer. View this video to learn how Bacher and team managed to get it right:

As NetFlorist matured, the company made the important transition from internet start-up to retailer, and had to consequently learn key retailing theories such as margin and mark up: “Retail is about the product that you sell. The technology is not all that important.”

The business expanded from 11 to 150 employees in 2007 as it brought its suppliers, drivers and florists in-house. “Selling the product online is only one part of the journey. The logistics of delivery are difficult and you can very easily become over reliant on suppliers,” Bacher said. Today almost all successful e-commerce retailers in South Africa have their own warehouses to control distribution.

The company now sources 70% of its flowers in South Africa and the other 30% from the rest of Africa.

THE WAY FORWARD – EXPLOIT OR EXPLORE

As NetFlorist’s story unrolled and the business expanded, we had to reach a decision as whether to continue to exploit its current revenue streams or explore new ones, Bacher explained.

“As there is very little customer loyalty online, the only differentiator in our industry is product and service. We have to innovate,” he said.

Since expanding our offering into gifting, confectionary and bakery products and sameday personalisation of gifts, 60% of sales are from flowers and 40% from non-flowers, with an average order amount of R400.

Future product extensions include an exploratory foray into fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to homes and international deliveries with local offerings set to launch in Singapore, Malaysia and India.

“We have to do things that are slightly different and difficult to copy as a way to build a moat around the business, or we will immediately attract imitators,” Bacher said. “The key is to focus on the core, while at the same time be good at exploring new things.”

A few photos of then and now:

The old logo vs the new

The old logo vs the new

 

The vehicles then and now

The vehicles then and now

Today, Bacher is known as the ‘Grandfather of the internet’ in South Africa for his innovation and for leading the way with e-commerce. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for NetFlorist!