By Prudence Minayo
Marion Wambui is the founder of Beautiful Bouquets. Having pursued a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and media studies at the University of Nairobi and worked in the field of digital marketing, taking a leap into entrepreneurship was not easy. She had to learn a lot of tough lessons including financial management on the job. During a 2023 feature on a local daily, she revealed that if there was something she could do differently, it would be taking courses in business before venturing out.
Here is her story as told by WoK:
She interned at Vivi Communications before securing a job as a media and communications coordinator at Events by Hazel. She then worked at Africa Infrastructure digest as a Public Relations Executive. From 2014, she worked at Spice VAS Africa as a community manager. Three years later, she started dabbing in business. Before settling on the flower business, she used to sell bags. In 2019, she ventured fully into entrepreneurship.
Marion’s entry into the flower business was developed after she went through a bad experience on Valentine’s Day in 2018. Her fiance had ordered a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to her.
“At 5pm, he called me as I was preparing to leave the office. He had to tell me about the flowers he had ordered and how they were running late. He requested me to wait up. They were finally delivered at around 6 pm,” she told Nation.
When she received the flowers she was elated and went on a date with her fiance carrying them. But her boyfriend was not impressed since the flowers were withered and didn’t come with the accompaniments he had paid for, such as chocolates. The businesswoman had not realized this as she was so excited about the flowers.
This got her researching about different available flowers and how to arrange them nicely. She even enrolled for a florist course at Accol Floral Design Training Center. Later, a friend saw her flower arrangement and asked if she could do something for his wife.
Beautiful Bouquets was founded with a capital of Sh5,000. With her skills in digital marketing, she started arranging flowers and posting them online. From an online store, the business grew to have a physical location and she hired staff. In a previous interview with the Daily Nation, she revealed that she was able to grow and pumped in a ksh 1.5 million investment.
Because patience is crucial for any startup, it took her two years to break even. She opened the physical store after one year of operations and used her savings to set it up. This opened them to a world of more opportunities. More people began trusting them despite having troubles getting walk-ins when they first opened.
She sells the floral arrangements at an affordable price and ensures they are tailored to the clients’ satisfaction.
The major challenge facing the business has been how the local floral market is organized. The market is still semi formal. There are also elements that are hard to control, such as fluctuating prices, lack of reliable supplies and some flower varieties are seasonal.
This means that they cannot be able to deliver some arrangements throughout the year. It is also hard to find permanent employees. At the beginning, she was not able to account for most of her finances. This was because most of the time she was unable to separate her personal finances from the business finances.
She then realized that a business needs proper financial records and she is also an employee who had to pay herself. Thus, she opened a separate account for the business and used available resources like Lipa na Mpesa to manage finances.