FLOWERBX Founder Whitney Bromberg Hawkings: “Flowers Are Currency”

Sit with Whitney Bromberg Hawkings for just a few minutes and you will quickly discover that this visionary and talented CEO of the world’s first luxury flower brand is truly a reflection of the seasonal florals that she delivers. Whitney is vivaciously refined, classically modern, delicate yet with a robust sense of purpose and drive. But what inspired this former Senior Vice President of Communications for Tom Ford to leave a 19-year career with one of fashion’s most iconic designers and leap into a world of roses and ranunculus? And how has FLOWERBX elevated everyday flower consumption to luxury flower connoisseurship on a global scale?

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, founder of FLOWERBX

Seven years after its founding in London, FLOWERBX has become the go-to floral source for an international audience of designers, entrepreneurs, and tastemakers alike in more than 20 countries in Europe and since 2020 on both coasts of the United States. Despite a client list that resembles a veritable Who’s Who of fashion including Jimmy Choo, Vogue, and Louis Vuitton, FLOWERBX isn’t just for influencers and C-Suite executives. Its convenient and streamlined online shopping platform has proven itself a viable, everyday alternative to traditional florist offerings for birthdays, anniversaries or home decoration needs.

From its discrete packaging, sophisticated floral selections, sleek web design, and unique product collaborations, FLOWERBX embodies more than just luxury flower delivery and convenience. It is a brand that has been purpose-built to service the needs of discerning clients with the same finesse and client-centric values of a chic fashion house. And whilst the world of luxury paints in a palette of cashmere and silk, FLOWERBX enchants its faithful clientele through the medium of fresh, single varietal bouquets of some of the world’s most lush and inspiring flowers. FLOWERBX is about personal indulgence and generosity, but with a contemporary elegance that is in harmony with both nature and the personal values of its founder.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury recently had the opportunity to speak with Whitney about her inspiration for FLOWERBX and the social values that are now fuelling its evolution from a niche European delivery service to an international purveyor of flowers and accessories.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury FLOWERBX has a beautiful aesthetic that makes it feel more like a fashion brand than an online florist. How did your professional experience with Tom Ford influence your vision when launching the brand in 2015?

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings What I saw as the real opportunity when I started FLOWERBX was to create an international flower BRAND, with the consistency of product, quality and image that have become synonymous with luxury fashion but never before applied to the floral industry. I couldn’t have learned from a better teacher than Tom how to build a successful, recognizable and powerful brand, but also about the art of creating desire and I have applied all of these learnings to FLOWERBX.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Though FLOWERBX was born in London, your flowers are now available for delivery on both coasts of the USA. Do your international clients have specific needs, such as regionally-specific customs or etiquette?

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings One thing I have come to notice – with a particular focus on social media – is that the world is a lot smaller these days. Having a global community that is bought together online means that rather than regional or transatlantic differences in tastes when it comes to varieties, shades, or styles, the FLOWERBX customer across the world is primarily interested in high-quality, single variety bunches of seasonal flowers, with sustainable practices and infinite beauty at their core. Much like luxury fashion, our shoppers are excited by what is in store with each new season, waiting in anticipation for frilled tulips in spring, or peonies in high summer. Seasonality and sustainability are paramount to our customers, wherever they are.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Single variety bouquets are one of your signatures. Can you tell us more about what led you to that approach?

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings After 19 years in the high-end fashion industry, I was constantly asking the florists to send single stem bunches and would incessantly repeat – no filler, no mixed bunches, no baby’s breath, just SINGLE STEM BUNCHES. In the fashion world, flowers are currency, and sending the “right” flowers is seen as an extension of the brand’s image. Especially with the emergence of Instagram and social media, the bunch of flowers that you send WILL get seen by potentially thousands and WILL be a reflection of you and your brand. I noticed that everyone who was sending flowers to the office, from Karl and Anna to Calvin and Miuccia, were sending single stem bunches….and the seeds of FLOWERBX were planted.

For me, single-stem bunches are the most beautiful way to consume flowers, and, if offering only the freshest flowers, this makes it impossible to go wrong when buying for yourself or for someone else. It always has been – and always will be – central to our aesthetic, and something that sets us apart in the market.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Fashion and florals are very similar due to their seasonal nature, with the world waiting for new collections each year. Can you give us a peek into some of the floral trends that we can look forward to both for interiors and when gifting?

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings Seasonality is imperative to both fashion and flowers; the sense of anticipation for what is just around the corner and awaiting the beauty, excitement, and new discoveries that come with every change. Much like fashion, the best thing about flowers is that there is no leading season, as every month of the year has so much to offer. At FLOWERBX, we are about timeless floral styling rather than trends, but I do get butterflies when we select a new variety, shade, or style, and wait with excitement to see how it becomes part of our yearly collection.

Throughout the year, flowers play such an important role in setting a tone for our interiors; and this could be anything from a showstopper arrangement in your hallway, to a couple of bunches dotted in bud vases at your next dinner party. Flowers are for an environment what accessories are for an outfit. The same way shoes and sunglasses can transform a little black dress from vixen to prim to retro to classic, flowers can completely transform a room. They are such a powerful tool to convey romanticism, modernity, abundance or minimalism. The flowers and vases that one chooses can send a very powerful message.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Flowers, much like perfume, can often evoke powerful emotions either through their color, scent, or how they anchor particular memories. May we know what are your favorite flower varieties and what emotions they evoke within you?

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings I am someone who adores what each and every season has to offer, so my answer changes each month. I eagerly await the first seasonal tulips to appear in the early months of the year, knowing that they bring with them a sense of new hope and brighter days ahead, next distracted by the exquisite beauty of layered ranunculus in rich hues, but before long I am pining for the ruffled romance of fluffy pink peonies. That is the thing about flowers; each variety holds its own space and evokes countless memories, which is what makes it such a wonderful world within which to work. No true lover of flowers has one single favorite. It is far too difficult to choose.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Brands often reflect the values of their clientele through their products and services. What are some of the initiatives that FLOWERBX champions, particularly now that you are expanding globally?

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings From the very start of my FLOWERBX journey, the values of our customers have always been truly reflected in everything we do. This ranges from working seasonally to lower our global footprint – with a cut-to-order model that eliminates waste – to a shared ethos with the suppliers, brands, and materials we choose to work alongside. We are 100% carbon neutral as a brand, with plans to keep building upon this as we move forward into new markets. Now more than ever, sustainability is at the forefront of innovation, and we have big plans to continue our journey towards being the world’s leading sustainable florist.

Right now, we use electric vehicles to deliver our flowers in core locations and work with the most sustainable delivery partners on orders nationwide. Our paper and cardboard packaging are already 100% recyclable, with all aspects of our gifting bouquets now fully compostable, too. At our London HQ, we work with a waste management partner, collaborating to convert waste into energy through composting, meaning that nothing from our warehouse site is sent to landfills. We know sustainability for a brand is an ever-evolving journey, and it is a huge continued focus for us as we grow.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Your candle collection now has an almost cult following. In addition to expanding the brand’s availability, do you have aspirations to develop its products and services? Will there be any new fashion collaborations such as your now iconic Emilia Wickstead gold cylinder vase?

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings We will absolutely look to expand our product range as we continue to grow the brand with products that are adjacent to flowers. We just launched hand-carved gardening set alongside our spring potted bulbs as well as flower food to accompany our floral subscriptions. We will continue to explore our relationship with fashion, art, theatre and music and celebrate exciting collaborations in each practice.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Whitney, over the years you have evolved not only into an inspiring female entrepreneur who seems to effortlessly balance family and business life but also a well-respected style influencer. What are three style essentials for the home that you can’t live without?

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings Firstly, balance is elusive, and nothing is ever effortless! I have always chosen to make my family a huge part of what we do as a business, taking them on this wild journey with me so that they have an understanding that they are central to every aspect of my world.

When it comes to my three style essentials, they have to be timeless; my vintage coromandel screen that my husband and I bought in the Puces in Paris 20 years ago (the same as Coco Chanel’s), our collection of Gunnar Nylund pottery, FLOWERBX tuberose room spray – and, of course, several seasonal bunches of beautiful flowers, always!


Written by David De La Marca

 

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