This Singapore Start-up Wants to Deliver the Freshest Flowers at Your Doorstep

Plus a lesson on how to handle a PR disaster

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 14 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

A few years ago, entrepreneur Steve Feiner had a girlfriend who lived overseas and he wanted to surprise her on her birthday.

He did what any love-struck guy would do—went to a flower shop and got her a bouquet of her favorite flowers, lilies, only to have it arrive a day after her birthday. After speaking to friends and hearing about their own unfortunate experiences, Feiner decided to set up his own flower delivery business.

In October 2015, Feiner and Jun Wen Lee founded Singapore-based A Better Florist to give customers the freshest flowers at a cheaper price.

Typically, the flowers available at regular flower shops are between 10-14 days old, Feiner explains, and they have gone through around 4-6 middlemen. “A Better Florist fixes all that by cutting out all the middlemen and going directly to the farm, allowing the customer to have a fresher, less expensive product,” he says.

The company sources its flowers from farms in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. They offer same-day delivery service for free in all parts of Singapore. If an anniversary suddenly slips your mind, the company also offers a 90-minute express delivery.

The company had its fair share of mishaps, including one on none other than Valentine’s Day. Just last February, disgruntled customers took to the company’s Facebook page to complain about orders that were late or never delivered. Some orders even arrived in a dismal state. The team had not anticipated the volume of the orders for that day, leaving them overwhelmed.

“It was an utter disaster. We were short-handed, overworked, and unfortunately without sleep,” says Feiner. But he adds that there was not much to be done except to be honest and transparent. The team tried to contact and apologize to each customer affected.

“We just owned up to our mistake and focused all our efforts not on the media, but on our customers and ensuring that we are doing everything we possibly can for them,” he says.

Though the company has investors, Feiner says they try to rely on profit to grow the business. As for future plans, he says they are focusing on good customer experience because that will lead them in the direction they need to go.