A Bloomin’ Good Idea

When floral designer Yuliya Bui moved to Cincinnati from Minsk ten years ago, she was focused on a very different industry: Computer Science. “I worked as a UI designer for three and a half years before starting Gia and the Blooms,” says Bui, noting that she started her floral design business out of necessity.

Gia and the Blooms, named after Bui’s rescue pitbull (she donates a portion of profits to the SPCA), was the culmination of a lifetime appreciation of flowers.

“I always liked to work with flowers, and helped friends and friends of friends make floral arrangements for weddings and events,” notes Bui. She researched the floral industry out of interest and was surprised by its shortcomings.

“Online flower ordering is more complicated than it needs to be,” insists Bui. “There are hidden costs, websites are outdated, and you cannot get anything decent for less than $50.”

This is mostly due to the fact that florists have to cover the costs of the flowers they don’t sell. “About 40% of all flowers go to waste because there is no way for a florist to predict what a customer will want to buy,” Bui points out. “So we decided to choose quality over quantity.”

I’ve been looking for a floral subscription service, so I asked Bui to tell me more about her business, favorite flowers, and future plans.

Yuliya Bui and her business' namesake, Gia.
Yuliya Bui and her shop’s namesake, Gia.

Courtesy Yuliya Bui

I love that you offer free next day delivery. How do you do that and keep prices so low?
We offer a limited variety of styles for delivery and in the shop to provide customers with fresh seasonal flowers that will last a long time, which eliminates waste and cuts costs. We only buy flowers from sustainable growers to lessen our footprint and to offer healthy, organically grown blooms.

Do you have any favorite flowers in bloom right now?
Peonies! Getting peonies in is like winning a floral jackpot. We add peonies to almost every arrangement in April and May, and I wish we could do it all year round.

How would you describe the vibe of your designs?
Someone told me that their bouquet looked like “tamed wilderness” and I think that describes it pretty well. I use lots of different types of greens to create texture, and I like to take advantage of the natural curve of the stems versus creating a tighter, more curated look.

What’s next for you? I know you’re opening a shop in OTR…
Yes, in addition to online orders and deliveries we have a brick and mortar shop! We moved into a cute corner spot across the street from Old St. Mary’s church at 114 E. 13th Street. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 6pm, and offers fresh floral arrangements, plants, candles from Brooklyn Candles & Co. (love them!), and a selection of cool greeting cards from independent illustrators from around the world.

Where can people find you online?
We currently do most of our business through the website, and the ordering process is extremely easy. We offer one daily arrangement in three sizes ($35, $55, and $75) with free next day delivery to Cincinnati metro area. Same day deliveries and certain zip codes are $10. Bouquets come wrapped in burlap with a free handwritten card. You can also purchase a full size card and put your bouquet in a vase.

It’s inspiring to see so many cool small businesses popping up…
Cincinnati has a great startup community that I’m so happy to be a part of. Rodney D’Souza, Zac Strobl from INKUBATOR, Tim Metzner from Differential are a few out of many great names that offer excellent help for new businesses and place our city on the startup map. We’ve been getting a lot of great feedback and we are thankful for the support.

Visit the shop at 114 E. 13th Street, or order flowers online at giablooms.com

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