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There are so many incredible business ideas floating around Australia, but with minimal funding, rarely do we see these business ideas come to life. So much so, that 424,144 small-business ABNs were deregistered just last year.
Now that’s a lot of dreamers out there, who, for whatever reason have yet to realise their ambition. That’s where CGU comes in - we’re determined to help boost Aussies’ business ambition so they can finally turn their dream into a reality. Our ambition is to rescue Australia’s ambition. And with Philomena Kwok of Bloombox Co, we did just that.
Founder of Bloombox Co, Philomena, is a rose in a field of sunflowers. After working in the corporate world for a number of years, Philomena would often reminisce her childhood fantasy of starting her own business, “I’ve always wanted to run a business and have loved everything about agriculture for a very long time. With Bloombox, I’ve managed to group the things I love together, things that I’m passionate about.” 
Her vision is strong with a digital-first, farm-to-vase, flower brand who wants to deliver fresher, and more locally produced flowers to customers throughout Sydney and Melbourne. But Philomena wasn’t always into flowers. Her background is in funds management, where she worked and studied for over a decade. Just before she made her escape from finance, she completed all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst program, leaving her with a solid foundation in understanding valuation and value creation. 
Philomena hopes to one day see Bloombox become a household name, “especially because we actually stand for something,” she says. “We’re not your regular florist who wraps flowers up in cellophane, with a teddy bear and loads of ribbons. We’re supporters of local growers - we want to fill the gap in the eco market and make a difference in the flower industry.”
Unlike many florists who deliver pre-arranged bouquets, Bloombox Co's core business is based on a flower subscription. Each week, fortnight or month, customers receive a curated delivery of locally sourced flowers making it easy for them to brighten their homes while enjoying a few moments arranging their flowers. Think of it as a therapeutic experience – arranging flowers can be the perfect downtime after a busy day.
With a strong foothold in all aspects of running the business from sourcing and operations, to marketing, finance and admin, Philomena is determined to make a zero waste, farm-to-vase flower service a reality. “Eventually we'd like to expand Bloombox Co nationwide and then to Asia Pacific,” the founder of Bloombox Co said. 
Flowers make people happy, ​yet​ most of the industry is geared towards gift giving. So, while Bloombox Co’s target customer comes from all walks of life, they are defined as proactive in managing their wellbeing, while appreciating a stylish home. “Our target audience is differentiated in that they purchase flowers for their home rather than just a gift. The purchase is a decision around convenience, lifestyle and wellbeing, and is usually a long-term repeat relationship, rather than a one-off purchase triggered by external sources like Valentine’s Day.”
You probably don’t know this, but the traditional floristry business sees stock wastage of up to 50% in an effort to keep displays looking full and to have endless choice on hand. What’s more, Australia's local flower industry is being severely impacted by a huge influx of imported flowers and foliage - often grown in dubious working conditions and carcinogenic chemical treatment. Bloombox Co’s model is radically different. Their zero-waste model is all about sourcing seasonal, ethical and locally grown fresh cut flowers, with the ambition to support Aussie farmers. 
Philomena feels overjoyed about winning the CGU Insurance Ambition Grant. She says it’s the validation she needed, “I’ve worked solo for a number of years now, so not only is having an outsider looking in giving me their seal of approval important to me but winning the grant will help me push the zero-waste model I care for so deeply,” she says.
The grant will also allow Philomena to launch a new business product, targeting commercial business in addition to their residential product offering. This new product will tailor to the needs and environments of commercial offices, from dental labs to creative agencies. “We’re really looking forward to replacing those nasty plastic flowers you see about and spread the joy of beautiful fresh flowers that are sustainably grown,” explains Philomena.
“I’ve used a lot of my savings to start Bloombox, so the grant money will help me play around with marketing, test different platforms out, place ads. I previously relied heavily on word of mouth, so this grant is a big help,” she says.
Winning the CGU Insurance Ambition Grant means that Philomena can see her dreams blossom, helping Bloombox Co meet the next stage of her business. “The $10k will be the fuel to really get the message out. Especially when it comes to our stance on reducing the carbon footprint in the industry. I’m also really looking forward to the mentoring that comes along with the prize – it will help with weeding out any flaws in my strategy, so to speak,” says Philomena.