Customer success story: Verdaflore
After more than a decade of sustained success, boutique Sydney florist Verdaflore was facing a crossroads. Owner Julie Wallace needed capital to keep her business blooming and the future bright.
Julie and an ex-business partner opened Verdaflore in 2006, in the southern Sydney suburb of Oatley West. But, the two had different ideas about the business’s direction. So, half a decade later, Julie bought out the shop, and has since operated the business as the sole proprietor, offering boutique blooms to customers for big and small events.
“Our philosophy is to provide high-quality, creative, unique flowers to people for whatever occasion, within whatever budget they need,” Julie says.
“We try to be a little bit different from other flower shops, a little bit earthy, a little bit more creative.”
Hear more about Verdaflore’s story:
Keeping the business fresh
As well as that additional element of creativity, Julie says the Verdaflore difference stems from a dedication to freshness.
“All florists – in terms of markets and produce – fish from the same pond,” Julie says. “We need a point of difference.”
And for Verdaflore, that point of difference comes in the form of freshness.
Very frequent trips are made to the market to ensure customers are getting the most recently picked flowers, rather than flowers that have been sitting elsewhere for a number of days.
But running a small florist business takes more than a dedication to the market. It takes financial flexibility.
Ready to grow
Verdaflore started without borrowing any capital, and in the 13 years since, Julie’s seen her small business grow steadily. But over the past four years she’s struggled to get her hands on the capital needed to be able to inject growth into the business.
“I knew I wanted to do a little bit more and increase staff because we were getting busier and it was getting harder to do that without the extra money,” Julie says.
Julie had turned to the banks for a business credit card years ago, six years after Verdaflore’s birth. But it didn’t go well. She says she wasn’t organised, and lacked a business plan and the paperwork and evidence that the bank required.
“Getting a credit card was really hard because you had to have a certain number of years, certain business activity, all sorts of things they wanted me to provide,” she says.
“I just felt like the bank wasn’t for me.”
Planting the seeds with Prospa
After hearing about Prospa on the radio, Julie did some digging online and filled out an enquiry form. She didn’t have to wait long for an answer.
“They pretty much rang immediately, and we had a conversation. They said they could help, and we went from there,” she says.
Julie says quick accessibility to funds and customer service staff makes Prospa a helpful small business partner.
“When you get an idea and you want to jump on it, you can jump on it. Prospa is very responsive,” she says.
“They were very keen to help straight away, rather than having to wait weeks for paperwork and that sort of thing.”
The financial flexibility enabled by a Prospa Small Business Loan eased the stress of growing a small business. Julie was able to hire a new employee, maintain her staff and repair storm-damaged signage.
It helped keep her and Verdaflore afloat.
“Prospa has been really good for me,” Julie says. “They’ve probably kept me in business, as opposed to maybe finding it too hard and deciding I was going to give it up or sell.”
What’s next for Verdaflore?
Julie recently took out a second small business loan from Prospa and wants to continue Verdaflore’s string of year-on-year growth, potentially adding more real estate along the way.
“I had looked at expanding at one point. That is still something I would consider,” she says.
A Prospa Small Business Loan helped Verdaflore:
- Bring on a new staff member.
- Repair storm-damaged signage.
- Purchase quality stock up-front.
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