Ellie Cummins is the flower captain at Flower Haul, an online flower shop offering picked-to-order flowers direct from the markets. Flower Haul offers free same-day delivery for over 100 Brisbane suburbs, and free next-day delivery from Mackay all the way down to Sydney.
What are some of the most popular flowers of spring?
That’s an easy one: ranunculus and peonies!
Ranunculus are becoming increasingly popular – they’re charming, playful and whimsical. They have layers of delicate, paper-thin petals that look like crepe paper, and open up to a big ruffled bloom. The colours are also divine – hot pinks, soft pinks, bold yellows and oranges. They represent everything we love about spring.
Peonies speak for themselves! These beauties are possibly the most Instagrammed flower but are only in season for short bursts of time. The local peony season in Australia runs in late Spring, through October and November. We can’t wait.
What’s a combination of flowers you would put together in a bouquet to send to a friend to let them know you are thinking of them?
With any arrangements, I think a more natural, raw and rustic style is best. Natives are always lovely and appeal to all ages. They’re also long-lasting. I’d recommend pairing protea stems with some nice foliage. Or for a softer option, I’d pair sweet roses or lisianthus with eucalyptus gum and foliage. Less is always more!
Other than flowers, what do you think is a wonderful gift to let someone know you are thinking of them?
I think anything handmade or homemade is the most wonderful gift, as it comes straight from the heart. Something simple like dropping off a home-cooked meal to a friend who’s had a big week, will often mean so much more to them than anything you can buy them at the shop.
If you had to describe your personality with a flower, which one would it be?
Tough question! I’d say a tulip because they’re bright and happy, and I’m definitely a glass-half-full kind of gal.
If you weren’t a florist, what would you be doing?
A lot more sitting at a computer. My professional background is in communications. So I have been a journalist, editor, copywriter, and a digital/content marketer. Everything I know about the flower industry and floristry is self-taught and I continue to learn on the job every single day. It’s so exciting being on my feet everyday and getting my hands dirty, after staring at a computer screen for most of my career.
What app can you not live without?
Google Maps. I couldn’t function without it. I can’t imagine having to pull over and use a referdex every day.
What’s your favourite perfume scent?
Flowers by Kenzo. No surprises, there.
Offering free delivery on all bunches (within your delivery range) makes you more accessible to more people. How did you come to the decision to make this a cornerstone of your business?
Our flower shop is online-only, and we don’t have a physical shop. I think reducing as many barriers as possible for the customer is important when you’re an online business. Shipping costs are one of the biggest barriers so we knew from day one that we wouldn’t charge for shipping.
We’re lucky that courier partners make it possible for us to be able to send our flowers to an extra large delivery zone that spans Queensland and New South Wales.
Other than a beautiful bouquet of flowers, what is your favourite decorating or styling tips for homes?
Firstly, I’m a bit of a fan of Marie Kondo’s advice to let go of clutter and anything in your home that does not bring you joy. My personal style is quite minimalist so the less ‘stuff’ the better.
Secondly, I’d say that decorating a home requires patience. It takes time to find and acquire the pieces you love, whether they’re big or small. I dislike the idea of going out and buying everything from Kmart or Ikea or Freedom all at once. Otherwise, our homes just end up looking the same and like they’re straight from a catalogue. Style your home slowly and let it evolve over time.
Lastly, if you don’t have flowers in your home, greenery is important. It breathes life into a space. Plants, foliage, leaves, cactus, whatever greenery you like will help make your house a home.
What is most rewarding about the work you do?
Without sounding like a cliché, I’m so grateful that I get to play a part in making so many people smile each day. For some people, receiving flowers might be the best thing that happens to them all day, all week or all month! Regardless of the early starts and hard work, knowing that you’re making the day a bit better for someone makes it all worth it. Plus, I get to play with flowers all day and what could be better than that?
How has the experience been since starting your own business? Is there anything you wish you knew before you started?
Having your own business is so rewarding and challenging, all at the same time. It’s funny, as business owners, we work 100+ hours a week so we don’t have to work 9-5pm for someone else!
There are so many things I wish I knew beforehand. Having to make big, scary decisions (and guesses) about things that are not really reversible (and cost a lot of money) is tough. I can be indecisive and it would be nice to know in advance what the right decision to make is. Ultimately, I think we’re all just doing the best we can and learning along the way though.
The biggest challenge has been working with a product that is unpredictable and perishable. There are a number of factors that can really affect supply, availability and quality of the flowers available at the flower markets each week so each week is different. We’ve learned so much in the past 1.5 years so it’s good to be armed with that knowledge now.
Do you have any tips for someone thinking of starting their own business?
You will underestimate the level of hard work required! I underestimated the level of unrelenting hard work required to start the business, and keep up the momentum. It’s actually 24/7 and never stops – even when you’re sick or having a bad day or on holidays, there’s always work to do.
With this in mind, I’d recommend working in that field for a year or so before you commit to starting your own business. For example, a lot of people tell me they want to start their own flower business because it would be so much fun. While it is fun, there’s a lot of hard work, pressure and early starts involved. It’s not all just pretty flowers. So, whatever business you’re thinking of starting, just be sure you’re familiar with all aspects of it.
Other than that, I’d say just go for it! Start with what you have and start hustling!
What’s next for Flower Haul?
We have a big announcement that we’ll be sharing in Spring so stay tuned. All we can say now is that our flower offering will be even sweeter soon!