Coming Up Roses
Real Men Buy Flowers’ Kenan Hillon her blooming business
STORY: Jennifer Bradley Franklin
PHOTO: Sara Hanna
Like many women, Kenan Hill loves receiving flowers, and, like many guys, her husband isn’t a fan of picking up unimpressive grocery store blooms or sending pricey florist arrangements that can feel like a gamble for the cost.
The scenario isn’t unique to the Morningside-based couple, and it helped inspire the August 2018 launch of Real Men Buy Flowers, of which Hill is a co-founder and curator of flowers. The ultra-simple online platform is geared toward busy men who need only to select the occasion and amount they want to spend (arrangements start at $59), and then input the recipient’s address. The whole process takes as little as 90 seconds and even includes suggested text for a heartfelt note. The gift arrives the next day via FedEx in a custom black box tied with a satin ribbon.
The founders, including Atlanta-based Peach Dish’s Hadi Irvani, saw an opportunity, since U.S. consumers spend approximately $10.5 billion on flowers annually, with only 35 percent purchased by men. For Hill, the project is about more than just business. “I love getting flowers, so there’s something really special about knowing that we’re helping make people happy,” she says. Here, she gives us a behind the scenes peek at her growing venture, just in time for one of the biggest bouquet-giving days of the year.
With so many online flower buying opportunities, what makes Real Men Buy Flowers unique?
Making it a really simple user experience has been a big focus. It really does take 90 seconds or less to order one bouquet. Within our target market of busy professionals, decision fatigue is such a big thing, so we really wanted to reduce the number of decisions someone was making from about 10 on a lot of websites to maybe three [on ours]. Plus, part of my job is trying to make the delivery feel special. We select good-looking, highend flowers you’ll be excited to get.
Tell us about the subscription service.
If you order a minimum of three bouquets, you get free shipping [normally $10 per order]. You could choose your wife’s birthday, your anniversary, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day or another random day. Then it’s all automated for the year, so that’s a big value proposition.
Is there a seasonal component to the flowers that are available?
Since we keep our prices the same year-round, we adjust the flowers as needed. In general, we’ll change our flowers quarterly and have special bouquets for Valentine’s and Mother’s Day. Plus, because of the subscription component, if people are ordering year after year, we don’t want them to keep getting the same bouquet every time.
What’s a typical day like for you?
We’re a startup, so I do a bit of everything. We’ve learned a lot, so we’re trying to plan ahead now. I’m looking for inspiration, so that might mean going to a local wholesaler and seeing what they’re offering now and maybe spending time on Pinterest. We’re also working on marketing plans, which is not totally my job, but I have a hand in it. I help edit our blog and social media posts, and just kind of help make sure we have a consistent tone and aesthetic.
The team of founders includes both men and women. Has that made it more interesting?
It’s been nice to have that balance because Gillian [Harper, the company’s CEO] and I can really push through things such as “No women would want to get this” or “This is how we’d want to receive it.” Then there are other things that the guys are able to say such as “We wouldn’t understand that” or “This is how we’d want to interface with the website.”