To Joost Bongaerts, choosing to go into the flower business shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“I like to joke that once you’re in the flower business, you never leave,” he said. That’s been the case for Bongaerts, who has been selling flowers in one form or another for 40 years. Since 2002, he has been a wholesaler via Florabundance, a Carpinteria, Calif., company that supplies florists and designers with flowers and greenery from 300 growers. Bongaerts started as a partner in the business and became the sole owner in 2008.
Florabundance was founded in 1994 as a grower-owned vehicle to sell to retailers. It aimed to reduce the amount of time from when a flower was cut to when it was in a retailer’s hands. Over the years, the company has grown through its strong internet presence, marketing efforts, and acquisitions.
Florabundance’s customers are professionals who can choose from a vast offering of flowers and greens, which can often be packaged in the same box and shipped nationwide.
“If you’re a flower expert, which I consider myself, it’s nice to get the best of the best from growers,” Bongaerts said. “We are not a wholesaler that fills up the cooler and hopes for people to come by and pick stuff up or push it out the door. That’s not our model. Our model is we buy premium quality flowers, sell them, pack them up, and ship them to customers.”
Florabundance also has a related website, Fabulousflorals.com, where consumers can buy flowers and greens.