It was 5.30am. There we were, ready for another day at the office. In our case, the office consisted of a workbench, a wooden table piled with flowers, foam blocks, cellophane paper, glue guns, wire, secateurs, all the components necessary to ply our creativity.
I was inspired. I love being a florist. The smell of fresh flowers, the open canvas that is a bowl, a basket, your imagination.. the best tool at your disposal.
It was St. Valentine’s Day. We had orders coming from all directions and today was going to be one hell of a ride. Four of us set about completing as many orders as was humanly possible before the first courier arrived at 9.00am to collect the first batch of arrangements for delivery to loved-up recipients.
By the time we had stripped the stems of 20 dozen rose stems, 30 minutes had gone by and we hadn’t even started yet. Note to self: There must be a better way.
The pressure rose quickly, we hurried along. Injured hands, broken stems, damaged stems, frustration. Our tools were clearly inadequate but we had used these same utensils for so long that it never occurred to us to investigate any alternatives.
To clean a rose stem, for example, most florists use a tool like this, or a derivative based around a similar principle. While this particular tool is useful and has a long pedigree within the profession, it also has some minor downsides, namely:
- You need both hands to operate it
- You will lose the line / shape of your work while cleaning more stems
- You can easily misplace / lose it in the clippings
- You will waste precious time looking for a missing tool
- You risk injuring yourself with each use
- You will likely break or damage several stems, especially if you are pressed for time
- You will incur extra expense buying more tools and flowers.
We had been through many a busy day before and we all took it for granted that this was the only way in our profession… Just one of those things, so suck it up.
I searched the internet for alternative implements, other ideas, anything that might bring some relief to this otherwise annoying but necessary part of floristry. Yes, there were different tools out there, slight improvements on the same theme, prettier tools, well-marketed innovations, yet all still had very similar shortcomings to the existing item, not least of which the fact that all required both hands to operate.
Right… Time for action. I fancy myself as the slightly creative type after all, so what can I do ?
The challenge was to design a floristry tool that would eliminate most, if not all of the above. My brother Jose, a talented engineer, agreed to be the technical referee and we set about to come up with the mother of all flower stem cleaners.
..and so D-Thorn was born.
Wow !! What a difference ! We were now able to put a floral arrangement together, add flowers to it as your imagination would allow, strip flower stems without having to put your work down, this was magic.
..But we were biased. This was our baby. What would another florist think of it ?
We put some funds together and had just over 2000 D-Thorn flower stem cleaners manufactured locally, which was rather an expensive exercise, however it gave us an insight into the potential of this very useful tool. Everywhere we went, without exception, people would buy at least one, sometimes four or five at a time, such was their delight once they saw the value with their own eyes.
Would the wider flower community have a similar reaction to D-Thorn ? We wanted to find out, so we took a stand at the Melbourne Flower Show, armed with the rest of our stock, a short demo video and ample supplies of roses and carnations to showcase the product.
We ran out of stock !!!! In one weekend we sold more than 1000 D-Thorn flower stem cleaners.. Now there’s a marketing statistic to be happy with..
Trouble was.. What to do next. Our experience in marketing was limited to put it politely, we had a business to run, little time to spare and our funds were depleted after our foray into manufacture and the Melbourne Flower Show.
…and so we comforted one another with the knowledge of having produced a product we all use to this day and forgot about going any further. That is, until we discovered crowd funding. Wow ! Now here was the perfect vehicle we had been searching for to put this marvellous tool on the world stage. I spent every waking moment studying how it all works, learned how to use video editing software, made a short movie, built a website, set up a page on Facebook, Twitter and other social network sites, and submitted a campaign for D-Thorn on Kickstarter.
..and here we are, thumbs twitching, breath baited, waiting for our miracle.
Now comes the reality. Kickstarter, like other crowd funding sites, list hundreds of new projects for funding on a daily basis. How would we make our product stand out ? Our lack of marketing know-how was once again proving the obstacle. We were immediately inundated, of course, by the many brilliant third-party marketing agencies out there who, for a small fee, would magically achieve fantastic results on our behalf. We tried several.
We firmly and unconditionally believe in our patented product. For a closer look, please head to www.d-thorn.com and see for yourself.
As the great Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, you may have the greatest product or service in the world, but if you don’t market it properly, you have nothing.
Well, we think we have the best tool for the job, and one that will be extremely popular, given the exposure. All we need is some assistance in achieving that exposure.
Would you kindly help ?
Thank you for taking the time to read our story.