It's Not All Rosy (Part 2): Impact of COVID-19 on Happy Bunch & How You Make It Better

*Happy Bunch’s Notes: This article is written with the aim of sharing information based on what we—Happy Bunch—know and have experienced till now. As such, it might not apply—or apply to different extents—to other businesses who are in the flower trade.

Kindly note that this article is a continuation of Part 1: Impact of COVID-19 on the Flower Industry & Happy Bunch.

On a more micro lens, how has the COVID-19 outbreak affected Happy Bunch?

It has not been an easy journey for us since Chinese New Year up till now. At the moment, we are still navigating this not-so-rosy phase with as much openness and positivity as we can while remaining an affordable choice.

Flower supply has gotten more uncertain

Before the COVID-19 outbreak started, the majority of our flowers were from Malaysia, China, and Holland. Right after we came back from Chinese New Year break, news broke from our flower supplier that the lockdown in China led to a halt in China flower shipments until further notice.

Immediately, we started to diversify our flower supply by taking in flowers from different countries. However, by mid of March, as more countries started implementing lockdowns and flights were cancelled more often, the list of available importing countries became shorter, the shipment frequency became increasingly irregular, and it got more difficult to get the same types of flowers as planned.

Everyday we hustled to source for flowers. From getting early-morning updates on what was available and unavailable, to quickly evaluating other suitable alternatives from a design point of view while keeping in mind that we had to balance our cost.

Because of the situation, by mid March, we had to make adjustments to components of the pre-curated flower designs more often, and thus, we decided to put up a detailed explanation on our website so you can make an informed decision before placing an order.

Flowers have become more costly over time

You might wonder—why are flower prices increasing when there is a wastage of flowers globally. We’ve asked the same question to our supplier as well. The main reason being the logistics costs involved to get the flowers from one country to another. With more flights cancelled, and more work to be done in clearance processes, flower costs are driven up despite the oversupply situation in exporting countries.

With our commitment to provide affordable flower & gift delivery services, the increase in cost came as a big challenge for us (fortunately, this might not be relevant for more premium flower services). It became very challenging for us to run our business sustainably, while offering the price point of $30 for our Signature Bunch. It also became incredibly difficult for us to curate creative, uplifting, and seasonal flowers in our bunch designs. Thus, in mid March, we made the decision to announce a price increase for our Signature Weekly Bunch to $40 with effect from early April.

We hope to have your trust and understanding that the price increase was made after a lot of consideration, and it has been, and will always be our priority to provide thoughtful and affordable experiences for you.

Other challenges

As the majority of our orders have always been delivery-based, there have been more challenges faced along the way since the start of Feb. Some of them might have been commonly experienced by other businesses who offer delivery services, some of them might have been more unique to flower delivery businesses like us:

  • More last-minute requests for delivery address changes as more companies started implementing WFH and Team-A/Team-B.
  • Delays in delivery processes might happen more often as there were more safety measures implemented at buildings, which in turn increased the time spent to complete each delivery.
  • There was a higher chance that a delivery couldn’t be completed on first try as offices and buildings got stricter with receiving an item on someone’s behalf, and recipients were usually unaware of the surprise deliveries.
  • The demand for our products have been affected negatively right after Valentine’s Day, which was unexpected since past trends indicated strong and growing demand during this time of the year.

While it got tougher every day, on the bright side, we got more creative, adapted faster to changes and even bonded stronger as a team. We’ve also been receiving tremendous support from our delivery partners and suppliers as they work closely with us to tackle the challenges in the best way possible. We can’t be more thankful!

You make it better

Above all, your support has always been our strength, keeping us hopeful and positive during these tough times, and encouraging us to strive harder and better.

Since announcing on Friday 3 April that we would temporarily suspend operations, we have received an overwhelming amount of support from everyone. Many supportive messages landed in our mailbox and DMs, orders came in one after another, and our website traffic went up as high as what we experienced during Valentine’s Day. In just a matter of a few hours, our flowers were sold out!

We felt very grateful for being able to leave the office on 6 April without having to dispose of any flowers. It would have been a significant loss to us if that happened. For that, we would love to say a million thank-yous to you!

Thank you for being so supportive and encouraging. Thank you for placing orders, for dropping us messages, for even informing us that you wanted to help but there was no stock left. Thank you for being there for us through thick and thin, and for treating us more than just a service provider!

If you’d like to continue supporting us

As we are still trying to weather through this tough period, we would be very grateful if you’d like to continue to support us through this Circuit Breaker.
  • If you would like to get flowers or gift boxes for your loved ones, please consider doing so via our online store or on our GrabMart store. Click here for more information on how to place an order via GrabMart. 
  • Otherwise, we would absolutely love it as well if you simply drop us a ‘hello’ message from time to time in our Instagram DMs or comments, or share with us your favourites among our list of suggested calming activities 🙂 We always love to hear from you!
As of 16 April 2020, we are happy to announce that we will be able to remain open during this period, and we are accepting orders on our website and GrabMart store, with some changes in place!
 
The safety of our team, partners, you, and your loved ones are of utmost importance to us. Thus, we have put in place necessary health and safety measures to play our part in keeping everyone healthy and safe. If you would like more information, visit our FAQs.
 
However, the situation is constantly evolving, and possibilities of sudden operational changes may arise. During these cases, rest assured we will keep you updated via this space, or through our newsletter, Instagram & Facebook!

Extend your love & support to other local businesses

If you’ve made it up till here, firstly, thank you once again! 💪🏻💪🏻

Secondly, we know that there are also many other businesses in other industries that are going through this tough phase trying to stay afloat. So if you can and want to get something more than flowers and gift boxes, do try to support these SME businesses as well.

Below is a list of our beloved partners we’ve worked with who are still open for delivery throughout the Circuit Breaker. We hope you can extend your support wherever and whenever possible.

Lastly, we hope you enjoy and find new meaning in the little things we only get to experience during this Circuit Breaker. Stay home, stay safe and don’t forget to let positivity bloom!

#SGUnited

Useful links if you want to read up more:

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/valentine-day-flower-trade-wilts-083924549.html

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/beijing-flower-business-suffers-due-230036449.html

https://www.straitstimes.com/multimedia/photos/dutch-floral-sector-wilts-due-to-virus

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/kenyas-flower-exports-wither-demand-121309956.html

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/not-rosy-kenyas-flowers-rot-amid-virus-slowdown-101515558.html

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-70-80-dutch-flower-191038097.html

https://www.ibtimes.sg/millions-flowers-dumped-floral-demand-takes-hit-due-coronavirus-outbreak-41474

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/03/297dcdada376-feature-florists-promoting-flower-power-as-virus-sees-celebrations-canceled.html

https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/home-design/british-dutch-horticulture-sectors-withering

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190507-why-are-flowers-so-expensive

http://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/made-on-earth/the-new-roots-of-the-flower-trade/

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