A business in full bloom
One of the first florists in Auckland to embrace online shopping, Wild Poppies owner Kerry Bradburn recognised the opportunity the online marketplace presented before most.
“It was 25 years ago and commercial rent was already starting to go up,” says Kerry, who owned five retail shops at the time and has now been in business for 30 years.
“Internet hadn’t really taken off in New Zealand at that point, but I was confident it would and, given its uptake elsewhere in the world, I saw an opportunity to cater for Kiwis living overseas.”
For the first few years, Kerry says she had more orders from overseas than local customers.
“With more than 800,000 expats around the world, most of whom had better internet than New Zealand did at the time, my business model offered a great solution for connecting with loved ones back home.”
While her customer base has shifted back to New Zealand over time, the lessons she learnt from that experience are still present in her current offering.
“With so many Kiwis overseas trying to connect, I quickly learned that customers wanted more options than just flowers and we expanded our range to meet their needs.”
These days, Wild Poppies has customised options for every occasion, including a newborn baby range, food hampers, sweets and much more.
Down the line
Now an experienced online entrepreneur, Kerry has backed up her original foresight with ongoing investment to stay ahead of the game online.
“Five years ago, 60% of our business was done online, now it’s 90%,” says Kerry. “When we were retail-based, we had about 500 to 600 competitors in Auckland. As an online business, we have between 3,000 and 4,000 businesses to compete with, so it’s essential to invest heavily in online marketing and user experience.”
Kerry says staying at the forefront of dynamic online retailing has meant several platform upgrades over the years. An Open for Business loan from Heartland Bank enabled Kerry to complete her most recent upgrade earlier than she hoped
“I’ve had a few vehicle loans with Heartland over the years and they’ve always been good to deal with. So, when they contacted me about this opportunity, I decided to go for it.
“I am firm believer in tracking results and investing in business to grow business.”
“Wild Poppies continues to grow year on year and my goal is to grow by 100% over the next two to three years. This new platform will support that level of growth, while providing a high-quality user experience.”
She says the loan process was fairly simple, and she has a response very quickly.
“It’s not a massive amount, but it’s enough to make a difference and it’s nice that it isn’t secured against your home,” says Kerry.
“I would highly recommend the product to small business owners who need that extra capital to invest in their business’ success.”
Kerry now works three days a week in her one remaining retail store in Morningside and considers herself semi-retired, but she still loves spending time in the shop chatting to customers; many of whom she’s known for years.
“While most of our online orders are dispatched from our warehouse, we still have a lot of customers who order online and then come by to pick up, which offers the best of both worlds – convenient ordering and the ability to still do a personal delivery.”