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Interview with Lana Elie, founder of Floom

This week we spoke with Lana who is the founder of Floom, an online marketplace for flowers. She started out in the digital production side of things, working at notable brands such as Burberry and Quentissentially. Before leaving the world of media, Lana worked as head of brand solutions at i-D. Using her knowledge of commercial brands, Lana founded Floom in 2016, marrying the flower and tech markets in order to create a B2C flower marketplace, which champions independent florists.

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Lana Elie


Floom 01

You’re the founder of Floom, an online flower marketplace in the uk and us, where did the idea come from?

Floom was born out of the many wasted hours spent looking for florists when I sent flowers, in the past (both personally and professionally). My frustration is that many of the great ones are still unknown to most. I wanted to build something that simplified this discovery and purchasing process, but without just building an online floristry website where I controlled the supply, I specifically wanted it to be built around supporting independents and their unique skills.

And before floom, you worked in the media right? What influenced you to make the switch to the floristry & tech industry?

I’ve pretty much always been involved in the tech side of things, even when I was in media or working for big luxury and fashion brands. I started out at Burberry, just at the point where they decided to be the first luxury brand to really take the online world seriously. I then worked agency-side product managing e-commerce and app builds for the likes of Gucci and Diesel. Until October 2015, when I left to concentrate on Floom full time, I was head of brand solutions emea at i-d at the time. You can see the roots of Floom in that work, all that remained to be added was my life-long love of flowers and frustrations that the floral industry didn’t have a beautifully curated, easy to use service that brought together all the amazing florists operating under the radar.

Floom was a culmination of all these experiences, tech-first, but considerate of design, brand and customer experience.

Floom 02

People have really got into plants and flowers over lockdown, how has this changed things for you?

As we watched and waited for lockdown announcements in each of the countries, we've worked so hard to launch over the last few years, we saw our florists temporarily shut down one by one. The most frustrating fact was that demand hadn’t disappeared, in fact people wanted to send love and flowers more than ever before. We rapidly came together as a team and found ways to support our partner florists by making our software work for them from home, so whilst they had to shut down their shops, Floom could help their online offerings soar. We even started offering direct-delivery of their wholesale flowers so they could have one solution for all their needs irregardless of where they were working from. Being able to support our florists during this time was super important to us, and the cherry on the top was seeing how grateful customers were when they were still able to send bouquets to their distant loved ones.

And being in such an aesthetic industry, does social media play a big part?

Social media (particularly instagram) has always been, and always will be, one of our primary marketing strategies. It’s an excellent way to promote your brand, reach the right people, and engage with customers and florists alike. instagram, the seasonality and heritage of flowers is in our core as a business.

When I started Floom, it was actually just an instagram account (without the Floom name for the first six months). I would showcase a particular flower (through a picture taken in my living room at the time!) because it was in season, and the whole concept was always bringing attention to the seasonality of flowers and not just buying roses or lilies all year round.

Floom 03

We were inspired by Floom’s adapting to change in lockdown, to selling groceries, how did you manage that?

As we made the necessary changes to support our own local floral providers, I was being inundated with messages from friends/social/the news about the many local food suppliers who had also seen their businesses turned upside down almost overnight. So it was a no brainer for us to open up our platform in order to help our much-loved local artisans sell their delicious produce to our customers as well. Since going live we’ve seen an incredible amount of demand and couldn’t be more grateful to see how much everyone is supporting small businesses right now.

What would a normal day look like for you? and how do you find time for yourself?

When you’re a founder you hardly ever switch off or let go. Having proper time off from work has been something I’ve struggled with since starting Floom, but the importance of a break, cannot be ignored - especially if, like me, you’re in work mode 24/7, even more so in times of a pandemic.

There is no typical work day really - I still get really involved on every level, big or small, though I'm learning to step away more as we grow. Thinking about the future and making sure my team understands what it looks like, and making sure they feel supported to get there, is my main priority.

What 3 books or podcasts would you recommend for aspiring entrepreneurs?

  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things - Ben Horrowitz

  • The One Minute Manager - Kenneth Blanchard

  • How I Built This - is one of the greatest podcast of all times in my opinion.

What’s your most treasured piece of jewelry?

My thin delicate bracelets which I never take off and have been a part of my identity for nearly 10 years.

Do you have a mantra? If you could get something engraved on a piece of jewelry, what would it be?

Ha not really, I do remind myself not to give up a lot though, It would probably be the Floom logo - my first love.

Thanks so much for talking with Kimai!!