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You Can’t Smell Flowers Online: The Roses Only Story | #117

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The Roses Only Story
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Nathan Bush is a director at eCommerce talent agency, eSuite. He has led eCommerce for businesses with revenue $100m+ and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 50 People in eCommerce four years in a row. You can contact Nathan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.

Kelly Taggart is the CEO of the leading retailer in Australia for delivered flowers and gifts - The Roses Only Group. Kelly has managed to combine her love of business and retail customer experience into a career that started as an accountant and turned into running a national business of over 300 people. A business dedicated to delivering love.

In this episode Kelly shares the ups and downs at Roses Only including how they recovered from $30K in the bank with an upcoming $60K wage bill.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Kelly Taggart, CEO at Roses Only. Kelly has had an incredible journey as well, starting as an accountant in the business, moving into COO by the age of 30 and is now CEO of the Roses Only Group. The Roses Only Group includes of course Roses Only, but also Fruit Only, Hampers Only, Wine Only, and my original client, 1300 Flowers. They now have over 300 staff and 10 floral studios nationally.   In this episode Kelly shares the ups and downs at Roses Only including how they recovered from $30K in the bank with an upcoming $60K wage bill. She also shares how the national team pulls together to keep a same day delivery promise and gives her advice to others who are looking to gain more senior positions at a young age. 

As soon as I turned him down I had this like awful feeling in the pit of my stomach that I had made a huge mistake”

Kelly Taggart

Questions answered in this episode include
  • How has gift giving changed with Covid? 
  • What’s the secret to getting same day delivery right? 
  • You were COO by the time you were 30 years old.  What advice would you give to those seeking similar success?

Kelly’s journey to COO at 30 years old

“I started out in accounting. It’s the way that my brain works. I’m actually really creative, but I was also really good with business, with numbers. And so I guess, when I left school I thought being an accountant would probably set me up financially a bit better than following a creative side. And like I said, I love business, so I just thought that was a good pathway in. I always wanted to be one of the decision-makers. I wanted to be part of something new, something growing.

I found myself working as an accountant and with Anthony actually, at a previous business, and he was one of the founders of this business that we’re working for. And he came across me and said, “Hey, I need an accountant. I’ve started this business, come chat to me.” And so, he gave me the pitch and I actually turned him down. I was looking for a job at the time and I was really looking for management experience, even though I was pretty young. And then as soon as I turned him down, I had this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach that I’d made a huge mistake. And I was stressing going, “How am I going to turn this around without coming back to him, looking desperate?”

He sent me a text within the next couple of hours saying, “Is it the money?” And I was like, I’ll say yes, because that’s my in. So anyway, I started out and in my first week we had 30 grand in the bank and a 60 grand payroll bill the next week. And I was like, “Okay, this is going to be short-lived.” Obviously, we survived, but I was doing everything from the payroll functions to cash flow strategy. And we were in the midst of raising money, so we managed to raise enough money to get us through that and here we are now.

It’s been a ride. And from managing that accounting function it was a fairly natural step towards COO position, I guess. So, I managed a couple of teams and then became the chief operating officer when I turned 30.”

Underpromise, overdeliver

“We’re certainly a well-oiled machine, that’s for sure. There’s a lot of components that go into that and a lot of preparation. 

So, working with really good courier drivers, we have quite a few courier drivers that we work with, as well as other courier companies as well. And they’re all integrated into our system, so that we can make sure that everything’s going as smoothly as possible. 

But it’s also about, like I said, the preparation, so making sure that we have the stems in the studio that we need, we have the people to put those bouquets together. And monitoring all of those things to make sure that we can actually service those customers on that day and that we’re over-delivering and under-promising, rather than the other way around.”

Data feeds back into customer service

“The receiver data is given to us by the customer. So, we’re not using the receiver data for marketing and things like that. Our receivers do get something that says, “Please give us feedback.” Or, there’s an opportunity to enter a competition sometimes and things like that. We don’t like to intrude too much on that gift, at all, really. 

But from the customer’s perspective, things that are important to us would be things like the occasion, why are they sending that gift? Because that helps us to add value to that customer for the next time. If they sent anniversary flowers, for instance, we encourage them to set up a reminder system, so that they don’t forget next year.  Did a bloody good job this year, don’t forget it next year!”

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