Photo credit: Photo of Tiffany Pratt by Tara McMullen Photography
Becky De Oliveira is the dynamic Founder and Creative Director for Toronto-based BlushandBloom.ca. After spending years working in flower shops on Canada’s east coast, she made the big move to Toronto in hopes of pursuing her dream of owning her own studio.
Three and a half years ago, she started working on her own projects from her garage. Today, her dream is a reality and she has expanded into a studio with 6 staff, 3 full-timers, and a handful of designers.
Her specialty is creating floral arrangements for special events, particularly weddings.
Establishing an online presence with BlushandBloom.ca
De Oliveira wanted to have her site in place and business cards printed before she pitched her first client.
I was pretty adamant, I wouldn’t do anything without the perfect website! I didn’t think I could get a client to invest in me by just saying pretty things.
Once her website launched and she opened her doors for business, De Oliveira launched an Instagram account to showcase her portfolio on an additional platform. Her website and Instagram are key ingredients for promoting Blush & Bloom’s online brand.
“It’s a great way to show our clients that we’re real people,” she says.
Her approach to a digital strategy is right in line with showing potential clients what they’re looking for.
The findings in our 2016 Internet Factbook, The State of E-commerce in Canada, suggest that many shoppers are embracing “hybrid” retail experiences that blend both online and offline shopping. In a poll by CIRA and The Strategic Counsel, 47 percent of respondents indicated that they often do product research online, but buy items in store. 76 percent of respondents said that they look online for product pricing information.
In the case of Blush and Bloom, having a strong digital presence is a great way for potential clients to find and discover more about the Toronto-based flower studio. By landing on their .CA website or one of their social media platforms, potential clients are able to see beautiful examples of previous work and find out more about the services that the company offers.
On choosing .CA
Having a .CA site has had a positive impact on De Oliveira’s business.
It’s important to me that our business is a Canadian business, so choosing .CA seemed like a logical decision. Recently, I was considering changing it, because you have this feeling that .COM is international, I thought maybe that would make us look better. I asked my husband if I should switch to a .COM to appear like a bigger site. I don’t know why I even thought that. He said, ‘No, that’s silly! Why change a good thing?'
When asked about her choice to take the business online, De Oliveira says,
I don’t take anyone seriously who doesn’t have a website. It’s inexcusable to not have a website in 2016. And I think if your business is Canadian-based, you should go for .CA.
Collaborating with a network of friends, family, and coworkers
De Oliveira credits her friends and family for helping her reach the level of success she’s at now.
“My friend, Tiffany Pratt, who is a designer, has really taught me a lot. She’s a big deal in this city, a jack-of-all-trades. She has taught me things from a different perspective.”
De Oliveira’s partner was able to lend a helping hand to her business. His background being software engineering, he was able to help design and launch the website. He would write Search Engine Optimization (SEO) copy and manage her Pay Per Click ads, while De Oliveira worked on sourcing top-notch photos and partnerships with industry vendors.
De Oliveira also credits her hardworking team and partners for their role in taking her business to new heights.
“Working with photographers is teaching me how to make weddings as photographable as possible.”
Final piece of entrepreneurial advice
Her top piece of advice to fellow entrepreneurs?
“If you want someone to trust and invest in you, you need some kind of reference material online. You need that small investment in order to market and try to sell yourself. It’s a mandatory thing.”
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