Renowned Sydney florist Saskia Havekes of Grandiflora shares her small business tips – and how her tiny store has grown to reach international markets with the help of a Qantas Points-earning business Card.
When Saskia Havekes commenced her floristry career in 1995, she had a simple dream: to run a small store with "flowers picked from the garden".
In the 28 years that have passed, Grandiflora (named after the Magnolia grandiflora, Havekes’ favourite flower) has become an institution in the inner-Sydney suburb of Potts Points and a go-to for celebrities, socialites and local clientele.
“We’re no longer selling bouquets of baby’s breath; now we create huge, garden-like installations of flowers in homes and for events,” says Havekes.
This growth has seen Grandiflora bloom to a team of nine, fulfilling nearly 10,000 orders a month from its digital and physical storefronts. And then there’s the production of passion projects like Sandrine, a perfume that serves as an ode to the magnolia, among other offshoots.
“I used to produce a unique product as a promotion at the end of each year and that opened my eyes to the possibilities of new revenue lines – books, prints, fragrances, candles, hand creams – which is something we’re really trying to build out. While the shop and flowers will always be the heart of our business, I’m really excited by the new opportunities these avenues offer.”
Diving into new business streams comes with fresh challenges and costs, including buying supplies for fragrances from vendors, increased marketing spend and the opening of a dedicated fragrance store a few shops up from Grandiflora’s Macleay Street flagship.
“The American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card has been with me for as long as I can remember. There’s a comfort knowing I have it to buy supplies and pay for everyday business expenses. I also love that there’s no pre-set spending limit¹ so my access to funding has grown along with the business.”
Havekes earns up to 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday business expenses with the Card and 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on Qantas products and services.²
The Qantas Points have enabled Havekes to celebrate the wins of her business while seeking out new distribution opportunities for the fragrance arm of the business abroad.
“I used Qantas Points to book a trip to Miami to receive an award at the Art and Olfaction Awards – we won in the Independent Category, which was a huge honour for me. Then we extended my trip to meet with new distributors across the US.”
The American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card also gives Haveke’s peace of mind with complimentary travel insurance on return trips paid for with the Card.³ (T&Cs and exclusions apply, such as maximum age limits, pre-existing medical conditions and cover limits).
“The idea of breaking into the US market is tantalising so it was vital to be over there and meet people face to face. I’m hoping to focus my efforts in the next couple of years and really continue to grow the fragrance arm of the business. We’re excited about what lies ahead.”
Unlock the possibilities
Saskia Havekes shares her top business tips …
The key to … saving on business travel
“We have a beautiful concession store in Singapore and I fly there often. I always stop in to the Qantas Lounge – we get two complimentary domestic Qantas Club lounge passes with the Card each year.⁴ If I can't get to Singapore using Qantas Points, I'll make sure to book my Qantas flights with my American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card so the points I earn will be tripled on eligible flights.⁵ The points then help pay the way for the bigger trips to Italy or the US, which is super important because nothing beats a face-to-face meeting.”
The key to … planning for unexpected business costs
“We normally spend within our means and we have up to 51 days to pay for purchases on the Card⁶ but sometimes there are unexpected costs.” The Card also features a Flexible Payment Option⁷ that allows you to free up your cash flow by choosing to pay off a portion of your monthly balance over time. In other instances, businesses can access a dynamic line of unsecured funding with no pre-set spending limit¹ to pay your balance in full, this is based on a variety of factors including spending habits and payment history. “We recently completed a photoshoot for our next marketing campaign; it was good to be able to access funding to hire the space and a photographer and buy parts of the set – like a perspex aquarium-style box to put the flowers in.
The key to … keeping business thriving in the long term
There aren’t many small businesses that endure nearly 30 years of trading. During that time, Havekes has learned that consistency is key to long-term success. “We’ve been through all kinds of ups and downs and survived some really hard times and I think you always have to be on top of things, don’t let problems slip or build up and be honest enough to look at your business and its issues in the face. And if you have a problem you can’t fix on your own, don't be too proud to ask for help.”
The key to … simplifying your paperwork
“I’ve always considered myself more of a creative and I’ve struggled with the financial side of the business from time to time. But I’ve hired a very good team that I can learn from,” says Havekes. With automated reporting and integration with Quicken, Microsoft Excel and MYOB platforms⁸, the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card makes it easy to stay on top of spending. “Sometimes catching up with your finance team can feel like you’re visiting the doctor but I trust the people I’ve got and it’s never too painful.”
The key to … always learning
Despite being a stalwart of the floristry industry, Havekes still draws on others for knowledge. “You never know when someone is going to pass down a bit of wisdom, especially some of my older clients who have run large businesses or been C-suite executives, so listen out for it.” With a succession plan in place for her three daughters, Havekes is taking lessons on the digital age. “One of them is teaching me about TikTok and new ways to attract customers. I hope they can continue to grow the Grandiflora brand and heritage.”
*100,000 bonus Qantas Points: Offer only available to new American Express Card Members who apply, are approved and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on their new Card in the first two (2) months from the Card approval date. Eligible purchases do not include Card fees and charges, for example annual fees, interest, late payment, cash advances, balance transfers, traveller’s cheques and foreign currency conversion. Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any other Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18-month period are ineligible for this offer. 100,000 bonus Qantas Points will be awarded to the eligible Card Member's Account 8-10 weeks after the spend criteria has been met. Subject to the American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions. $450 annual fee applies. This advertised offer is not applicable or valid in conjunction with any other advertised or promotional offer. This offer may be withdrawn at any time without notice
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SEE ALSO: How This Business Stays in Top Shape
American Express approval criteria applies. Subject to Terms and Conditions. Fees and charges apply. All information is correct as at 1 September 2023 and is subject to change. This offer is only available to those who reside in Australia. Cards are offered, issued and administered by American Express Australia Limited (ABN 92 108 952 085). ®Registered Trademark of American Express Company.