Back in 2015 Dallas born Whitney Bromberg-Hawkings quit her job as head of global communications for Tom Ford where she had been for 19 years and started the online floristry company FLOWERBX which sources flowers direct from the growers and delivers their incredibly stylish arrangements straight to your door. She tells us what life’s been like as an entrepreneur throughout this year’s pandemic and how she, and the company have coped.
Tell us about your work…
“I am the founder and CEO of FLOWERBX, a global online delivery floral service. I love building something that didn’t exist before with a highly motivated, passionate, smart team of overachievers that are helping me deliver the impossible, daily. The UK team is based in a very unglamorous warehouse in Park Royal, but any environment is beautiful when it’s filled with flowers.”
What’s your context outside of work?
“I live in South Kensington in London with my amazing, superhero husband, Peter, who is the Senior Vice President of Menswear for TOM FORD. We have three wonderful children, Barron (12), Snowdon (10), and Wallis (4) and an elegant blue whippet, Ursula.”
What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?
“My normal day pre-Covid was in a constant state of motion. I literally was always running and – between work, my family and a tireless social life that I found important for building our business – I literally never stopped.”
What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?
“While I am running less, I am working ALL. THE. TIME. The acceleration to digital has provided a huge opportunity for our business as an e-commerce platform that sells flowers, and I feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to seize the opportunity and make the most of an unfortunate situation. That said, the one silver lining is spending more time with my family, and this will be a gift that I will treasure forever.”
How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?
“Like almost everyone, the Corona crisis has dramatically impacted every single aspect of my life. As a naturally optimistic and positive person, I am constantly trying to find the silver linings, but even with a very positive outlook, it is hard to ignore the sadness and destruction this is reaping on so many.”
What are you now finding challenging right now?
“Focus has been a challenge for me since the onset of the virus. I am a very structured and organized person, and the lack of certainty makes it hard for me to focus and plan for the future.
I am also very preoccupied with the general, pervasive global sadness right now, what with the political and civil unrest in the US (as a native American), the global climate crisis and the Covid pandemic – it is a very unsettling time.”
What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?
“Exercise has been key for me as has wine! I think it is also key to take one day at a time, as thinking about the future right now sends me into a tailspin.”
Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?
“I think lockdown has taught all of us how little we really need. It has also taught us true gratitude for all of the gifts we had previously taken for granted. I am so grateful for life’s simple pleasures, a delicious peach, a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers (from FLOWERBX, obvs), and time with my family – none of which I appreciated as wholeheartedly as I do now.
Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown as well as that of your family?
“I am so preoccupied with keeping the kids’ spirits up at home and being a cheerleader for my team (of almost 40 people at FLOWERBX) at work and trying to keep everyone motivated and feeling positive about the future that I don’t have much time to think about my own wellbeing. I am also lucky that I have a wonderful husband and partner who shares all of my burdens, so nothing gets too heavy. Being with my family at our cottage in the Cotswolds on the weekend is the greatest therapy and the best way to reset for another week.”
What are your thoughts on travel right now?
“We had an amazing, last minute 3 week trip to Puglia over the summer and it was magical. As Italy was so hard hit, restaurants and outdoor spaces seemed very cautious and considered, and it did a WORLD of good to change scenery, air, food and everything after 6 months indoors.”
What are your current handbag essentials?
“A mask, sanitiser, floral scissors, a notebook and my phone.”
What gets you through Working From Home?
“I think it’s vital to exercise in the morning, and this enables me to start the day with a positive mindset. I also think it’s important to have the camera on whilst on endless Zoom calls – it helps me and the team stay engaged and connected. I have been going to the warehouse often since lockdown has eased as connecting with my team makes me SO happy. I am so lucky to love my team and love what I do.
What are your 5 essential items of clothing?
“`As I am in and out of a warehouse every day, I’m constantly in my REDONE jeans, a white ATM t-shirt, Gucci loafers and a Saint Laurent navy, pinstripe blazer. This uniform can take me seamlessly from warehouse to school gates to a Zoom meeting.”
What is your vision for the future of your business?
Covid has accelerated the shift to online consumption, and we have seen our D2C sales quadruple during the crisis, a shift which we see as permanent. We hope to continue our expansion across the USA (we have launched the East and West Coast during the pandemic) and replace the traditional florist as THE way to consume flowers.
If you have enjoyed this article you may also like to read an interview with style entrepreneur Rae Feather here