Polina Kainova

Polina Kainova

Interview with the flower fairy Polio Flowers about the realization of a dream, "easy business" and plans for development. Promo code and free coffee when ordering a bouquet for JoinPAY readers at the end.

Blitz survey. Black or white?

Black.

What do you love most: to give or accept gifts?

To give gifts.

Who should pay at the cafe if the guy came with a girl: a guy or fifty-fifty?

The guy has to pay.

What are your favorite flowers?

Lilies and Amaryllis.

Polina, why did you start the flower business? And what did you do before that?

I was 18 years old when I started collecting flowers for the holidays, it was in my small hometown. I am self-taught, but I constantly watch something, monitor it, and go to master classes in the capital. In short, I constantly improve my professional level.

Besides, I worked as a sales representative, a manager at Golden Apple, a credit expert, and a secretary. I got a lot done. And then I decided to do flowers again. I have always been drawn to them - this is my love and dream.

And even when I was doing my main job, on March 8 holiday, I always worked part-time in a flower shop.

About 4 years ago, I got a job in a fairly large flower company, began to develop professionally, take courses, seminars, and developed a client base. So I took up floristics seriously.

What do I need to know to become a florist?

It is important to have an idea of the color, grouping, and setting of the flower. You need to constantly improve your skills: attend masterclasses from famous florists, be inspired by the works of other masters, go to seminars. See what is currently in trend, what is in demand.

Basically, we listen to the client's wishes, and then we work in our own style. We have original bouquets. And those who know us, already call and ask to make "to your taste". This complete trust of the client is very important.

When you realized that you wanted to build a flower business, where did you start?

When I started working part-time at the age of 18, I thought, "why not make my own store?" When I worked for someone, I always thought about how great it was to have a business. And I visualized my own flower space.

I imagined my store in the shape of a hemisphere. Transparent so that it can be viewed from all sides.

Then I didn't take into account that I need a separate room for storing flowers and a workshop. Although to this day I have such thoughts-to make a flower shop in the shape of a hemisphere in the most passable location. As the years went by, I constantly imagined what my store should be like, what I wanted to see there: what bouquets, a display window, a florist's table should be like - everything down to the smallest detail.

The history of implementation began a year and a half ago. I'm not the only one who invested in the business, I have an investor. Because it is not so easy to build a flower shop on your own, which is located on the first line from the road, and make a meticulous repair that will be illustrative of the entire business.

In St. Petersburg, the market is full of flower shops. When we were looking for a room for a salon, we found at one stop as many as 5 flower points - the competition is very high.

I had a concept that the store should be beautiful and cozy. We want our clients to enjoy being inside, to enjoy the space, to have a cup of coffee and talk and find common interests. All this requires finances.

How did you come to open your store?

I worked for 2 years in a fairly well-known company, I was considered the best florist, even a bonus was paid on this occasion. I constantly offered some ideas, was inspired by works from Moscow and brought it to the salon.

Among my flower favorites - Lacy Bird (Moscow), Roots Moskov, Buy Wai Flowers.

The owner of the salon was my age, our age difference is just a couple of months. And I asked myself the question - "Why can't I do this?","Why am I worse?". I can also do something beautiful and manage people, even better.

Why did I decide? I realized that there was no development for me in that salon. And I'm a restless person, I want to do something new, be on the move. How do you do something new if you work for someone else?

You need to try to get out of your comfort zone when you have a stable salary when you are the best employee. Our business is only six months old, and there are still many difficulties and pitfalls. There will always be mistakes and you need to look at them as an experience. Your business is not easy, especially in a highly competitive environment: you have to be in the trend, you have to come up with something new and creative every time.

How to find an investor in your business? Can you advice aspiring entrepreneurs?

If there is potential, a good idea, and a huge desire, then the investor will find you himself.

For six months, I received 5 offers to invest in my business, and these people were unfamiliar to me. They offered completely different amounts - maybe I had "help me" written on my forehead (I'm kidding). A close person helped me and still does. It is important to understand who you are going into business with. It is important to negotiate, anticipate pitfalls, and understand what the partner wants to get. My investor has the usual requirements: to reach cost recovery as quickly as possible and make a good profit, more income, fewer expenses, and reporting. At the same time, I also have conditions: I can not give more than 30% of the profit.

We searched for the place for about 5 days. The room needed to be on the first line from the road, in the center of the city and with a large window. In the end, it was found by accident, through an ad. We made a complete renovation-from the designer's sketch to the ceilings, walls, and floor. It turned out very nice and cozy.

Did your ideas about the flower business coincide with reality at the start? Tell us about the errors.

At the initial stage, there will be errors, in any case, you need to be prepared for this. You have to understand that not everyone is as responsible as you are. For example, we were very badly let down with furniture. It is very important to sign contracts and work on prepayment. Know how much to buy, understand your target audience, and what they need.

In any case, you will lose money, it is inevitable.

The service is important so that people in the store are met by a friendly, well-groomed florist. Not everyone knows how to communicate with customers, what people want to get when they go to a flower shop.

I started everything from scratch, I had no experience at all. The former employer ordered flowers directly from Holland. We were looking for local suppliers. Although later we came to the fact that we order directly, it is faster and more pleasant for the cost. The repair took about a million, and the business itself took a million and a half: purchases, decor, and so on.

Fears are normal.

It is difficult to guess whether the business will go or not, whether someone will come or not. This is a common fear at the start of a business.

What was the first order?

The first order was made by a man, who ordered a bouquet of 11 white roses.

How are you progressing? What tools work?

We tried to advertise the store on the radio, with bloggers, through leaflets and target, and used word of mouth. We partnered with the nearest stores, beauty salons, and coffee shops. We were not placed on billboards or on TV. Word of mouth, corporate clients, and Instagram were the most effective. We haven't tried contextual advertising yet, and we'll launch it later.

Flowers or coffee-which is more important?

We specialize in flowers, but people also come for coffee, I think it's a great combination. Many people like this drink, including me. The grains come from Ethiopia, Brazil, and Kenya, and the coffee is very delicious. We add flower syrups: lavender, roses, and peonies.

What are the features of your bouquets?

Our bouquets are asymmetric, we group flowers in a special way. This is true in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and even in South Korea. We love inverted roses, even in Bush roses we turn out the petals. We make bouquets voluminous, add cones, and small details to the composition. Thanks to this, the composition becomes unique. And, of course, there is a soul in our bouquets - we make them with love, so that the person likes it and leaves us with a smile.

What was the most unusual order?

751 pink roses were ordered from us and asked to be delivered anonymously. It was an interesting story: the girl was not free, and it was impossible to say from whom the bouquet was. We even had to hire a сargo van to deliver so many roses.

Tell us about the tricks or machinations of competitors.

I can't say that someone is constantly trying to annoy, but even if this happens, I calmly react to it. Sometimes there are cases. For example, they write from an empty account and ask for the delivery without prepayment. And we always say that we do not work without prepayment. We must protect ourselves and the client needs to understand that the bouquet will be reserved for him.

Moreover, we provide various payment methods: bank transfer, cash, account for legal entities. If the person is abroad, we use PayPal, and you can pay through the site.

There is also a flower shop with a similar name nearby. And the owner said that we took its name and I repeat everything after her. But our product is different from others, we have a special style, we definitely do not copy anyone.

We know more than anyone about the importance of non-cash payments. Tell me, how did you get acquainted with the JoinPAY service?

I first heard about JoinPAY from my friends who are doing their own business like me. They were happy with the service and recommended it to me. Actually, I must say that in practice, it is quite simple to connect a non-cash payment. The registration itself took two days, and on the third day, I already had the terminal installed.

But why did you choose JoinPAY?

First of all, I liked the connection provisions. A small percentage of commission on non-cash payments, plus the possibility of gradual payment for equipment.

How do you develop your business?

For the holidays, we are preparing a large-scale photo shoot, we will shoot interesting videos about February 14 and March 8. Preparing a course of floristics-it takes a lot of effort and resources, but I really want to.

Making a batch of flyers with promotions. For example, there will be a campaign "25 roses for 2500 rubles". And "Buy a bouquet for 3000 and get 5 macarons as a gift". We always have promotions and loyalty programs - for example, the sixth coffee as a gift.

We want to introduce bouquets of dried flowers, stabilized roses, peonies, and other flowers to our product range. Stabilized flowers look like they are alive, but they will last longer.

To understand the scale of your business, tell us how many bouquets you sell?

Now we make 200-500 bouquets a month. This gives revenue of about 900 thousand. The investor takes 10% of the net profit.

They say that floristics is an easy business. Is this true?

Who says that this business is simple-let him stand in the refrigerator room and work with his hands in ice water when you need to process a sea of flowers and drag all the boxes.

From the outside, it always seems that business is easy, that you are like a butterfly fluttering over flowers. This is not true. You need to think about everything correctly, from the room to the assortment and promotions. Do not give in to the same competitors, keep your eyes open. Every business requires effort and full attention.

Wrong are those who think floristics is a seasonal business. Every day someone has a birthday, a wedding, other holidays.

What advice can you give to people who want to become entrepreneurs?

It's good to think about whether you really want to become an entrepreneur :) I'm kidding. When you become an entrepreneur - it's a big difference from working as a florist, where you could create, realize your fantasies. You need to learn to count numbers and understand that you will live at work. But if you love what you do, it won't be a problem. And you need to have a lot of patience because everything doesn't work out right away. Many who start a flower business quickly lose out. But it is important to believe in your dream and go ahead.

Let's make a special offer for JoinPay readers-when ordering a bouquet of coffee as a gift

Come on! When you buy any of the bouquets, get coffee as a gift. And a 15% discount on flowers with the joinpay promo code. The promotion is valid during February from Monday to Friday.