Kelly Jamieson of Edible Blooms Shares Her Gifts with AIB
Kelly Jamieson is the dynamic founder and managing director of the Edible Blooms Group. Named SA Business Woman of the Year in 2011, she’s the new face of Telstra’s Business Technology Marketing Campaign, and widely lauded for her contributions to Australian entrepreneurship. We’re delighted to announce that she’ll be bringing that vision and drive to AIB as an Industry Guest Lecturer in Entrepreneurship.
Kelly first founded Edible Blooms along with her sister Abbey in 2005. At the time, Kelly had little to no experience in either floristry or retail. Her background was in marketing and business development, including stints in real estate and working for London’s Time Out magazine. At 27, she decided to look around for a business opportunity. “I describe myself as a deliberate entrepreneur,” she says. “I always wanted to have my own business.”
The task was approached with a wide open mind: Kelly looked at existing franchise opportunities, at purchasing a business, and even considered writing a book before coming up with the idea for Edible Blooms. But it was the last idea that excited her, and from there she knew she was onto something.
It was just three months between that original concept and bringing the business to market, thanks to all the meticulous preparation that Kelly had done prior. She begun work on her business plan, and conducted a tried-and-true SWOT analysis to determine how to take the idea to market. Where there were gaps in her knowledge, she set out to fill them, including a one-on-one course with a trained florist and a crash course in accounting software.
Using the savings she’d amassed with an eye to a first home deposit, Kelly funded the business herself. Everything was riding on the business.
Then, the night before she was due to open the doors to her first store, Kelly realised something. Amongst all of her meticulous preparation, she had forgotten one crucial step. “I suddenly realised I had done no marketing – and I’m a marketer,” she laughs. With the clock ticking, she sent out 50 emails to the people she knew in Brisbane, telling them about the business and offering a half-price special for the first week. She remembers, “Back then, people forwarded emails, so people who I didn’t even know started forwarding them. By the time I opened the doors the next morning, I had my first paying customer.”
Even now, as a thriving online business, Edible Blooms has a strong word of mouth following. Kelly is a proponent of social media now, but back in the mid-2000s, all she could see was a resource strain rather than a revenue generator. With greater uptake over the years, the company has poured some considerable time and thought into their buyer personas, and social media content is carefully curated to appeal to that customer base. “It tends to be a viral brand,” Kelly says of the company.
On entrepreneurship, Kelly is unequivocally enthusiastic. She recently spent a week on Necker Island, Richard Branson’s famous island retreat for entrepreneurs, where she met Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph. Quoting him on risk, she said, “If you know too much about risk, you will never try something new,” adding that her own naivety was one of her best assets in starting out. Learning is important, but doing is everything, no matter the scale. “It doesn’t have to be the latest app or something really high tech that requires a huge amount of investment to get an idea off the ground – just start.”
An entrepreneur, after all, is someone who doesn’t just have ideas, but can bring them to life too. But that’s not all, Kelly says, “There has to be a lot of creativity and maybe a little bit of zaniness in every successful entrepreneur.” She is also quick to point out that the same skills are valuable even if you’re working for someone else. “You can be an intrapreneur,” she says, “which has the same principles of taking that idea and making something new happen in any business environment. You don’t have to do it in your own business.”
Certainly, Edible Blooms is a business that’s made its mark by harnessing its founder’s creativity. But that’s not the only thing Kelly considers vital to being a successful entrepreneur. In the start-up phase, she points out, you’re personally doing everything from finance to marketing, and often the physical production of the product too, so you have to be able to juggle a lot of balls.
As a mother of two, Kelly’s days are rarely relaxed. But with the aid of technology, she runs the business from the farm on which the family lives an hour out of Adelaide, with trips into the city only as needed. Like so many modern entrepreneurs, Kelly champions the flexibility that running her own business affords.
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