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Here's why fresh floral subscriptions are the next big thing in Singapore

Every Monday for the past year, Ms Lei Hsien-Hsien has received a bouquet of flowers at her office in Mapletree Business City.

"They are a great way to customise and add colour to the office and have become quite a conversation starter," says the vice-president of communications at a medical technology company.

The 45-year-old spends $390 a month on flowers from floral studio With Every, which opened three years ago offering fuss-free flower deliveries to customers on a subscription basis. Each bouquet, Ms Lei says, typically lasts a week or more. They are expensive, but worth it for the pleasure they bring, she says, adding: "Sometimes, when you're having a difficult day or have been staring at white walls or a screen for too long, the flowers provide a nice distraction.

"They're beautiful, calming and relaxing to look at."

Ms Lei is among a growing group of people signing up for floral subscriptions in Singapore. At least eight florists provide the service here, delivering fresh floral arrangements weekly or monthly to customers' homes and offices for $60 to $150 a bouquet, including delivery charges. For these florists, such subscriptions account for anywhere from 10 to 60 per cent of their business and this is a growing segment.

With Every, co-founded by Ms Kristle Kwok (left) and Ms Natalie Seng, specialises in bespoke flower arrangements and subscription flowers. ST PHOTO: Timothy David

The composition of the bouquets is dictated by what flowers are in season, though several florists - such as Charlotte Puxley, Bloomeys and Fleuriste - do take customer's preferences into account. Others allow clients to choose their bouquet style - modern, romantic or classic. While customers sometimes request delicate flowers such as hydrangeas and peonies, florists say these do not do well in Singapore's tropical weather.

So, many florists prefer to fill subscriptions with hardier varieties, such as Dutch carnations, Kenyan roses and proteas mixed with sprays and fillers, for a longer-lasting bouquet. Advance orders mean that florists can plan ahead, place orders for unique flowers and stock only what they know they will need, cutting down on wastage. Briton Charlotte Puxley, who opened Charlotte Puxley Flowers in Tiong Bahru when she moved to Singapore three years ago, has offered subscriptions on an ad-hoc basis to private clients, but will launch a formal subscription programme next month. She says floral subscriptions are popular now because they are part of the wave of online shopping.

"Subscriptions are much more convenient for the customer and a great way of ensuring we can provide the freshest and most unique flowers possible."

Beverly's Blooms in The Central in Clarke Quay, which started offering a subscription service 18 months ago, and The Floral Atelier in Tiong Bahru, which launched its service in July 2015, also accept pre-orders of bouquets for occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine's Day. The founder of The Floral Atelier, Ms Lelian Chew, says it launched its Forget Me Not service when it opened after she noticed customers, mostly husbands, coming into the store looking frantic because they had forgotten an important date.

The service allows subscribers to choose up to five dates a year on which floral arragements will automatically be sent to their loved ones. Prices of such subscriptions vary depending on the size of the bouquets and the number of dates selected. Ms Chew declined to provide exact figures, but says subscriptions now account for almost half of the business. Ms Sarah Ching, co-founder of Fleuriste, says that subscribers now account for 10 per cent of its annual revenue, up from 5 per cent last year. She puts the growth down to a greater appreciation of how flowers can beautify a space, adding that Instagram accounts of interior stylists have fuelled demand.

"Customers often ask for arrangements in cool, calming colours such as pastels, blue, or white and green to enjoy at home," she says.

"Once they bring flowers into the home, customers realise how the arrangements can change the look and feel of a space by adding colour and visual interest."

Beverly’s Blooms’ Ms Min Yong includes handwritten notes in the bouquets if they are gifts. PHOTO: Dios Vincoy Jr For The Straits Times

American Marc Whedbee, 36, signed up for Beverly's Blooms' Set It & Forget It Package 11/2 years ago after the birth of his third child. He spends about $200 on three bouquets to be delivered on three important dates - his wife's birthday, their anniversary and Thanksgiving - each year. His wife knows about the package and does not think the flowers are any less special because of it.

"We have three kids and she understands how busy we are," he says. "It is something she looks forward to."

For Ms Merissa Lim, 30, who started her subscription with Fleuriste at Chinese New Year this year, the service allows for hassle-free gifting. Ms Lim, who works in sales, has a subscription of four arrangements for $60 each, which can be delivered any time in a six-month period. The customised bouquets are typically delivered to her home and she has been so pleased with the service that she now also sends the arrangements as gifts to family members and clients.

"I need not worry about the quality of the flowers. I get a large arrangement worth more than the $60 I pay," she says.

This story first appeared on www.straitstimes.com

 

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