By Pola Esguerra del Monte, Multimedia Editor
AT THE height of the AlDub love team phenomenon, Diane Yap and Lauren Gavino, who had been running an online flower shop for only a month then, received an order for 49 stems of red Ecuadorian roses to be delivered at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, where some concert with ticket sales reaching P14 million would be filled with 55,000 people.
Their response: “If you want, on top of the cost of the arrangement, pay for our gas and toll.”
On that day, Oct. 24, 2015, that three-hour commercial-free episode registered a TV rating of 50.8%, the channel stated citing data from AGB Nielsen, compared to the 5.4% registered by the competitor. Tweets for the hashtag reached 39.5 million. And amid that number of viewers, actor Alden Richards was walking up the stage carrying that 49-rose boxed arrangement himself— the brand name “Petalier” in clear, full view.
Gavino found herself crying in front of the TV.
“Ang kapal ng mukha namin ’di ba?,” the two now laugh, looking back at what they consider their store’s big break. “Sobrang fail namin. We didn’t know who AlDub was.”
But entrepreneurship isn’t a bed of roses, and getting flowers on screen took more than just luck or serendipity. At 11 p.m. the previous night — only a few hours before the concert — their supplier for the flowers backed out. Yet instead of giving up right then and there, they insisted on delivering.
Yap had a backup plan ready. The day before, she had begun contacting all the flower suppliers she could find on Google—pleading “Please po, magbabayad kami.”—all while going around public markets to do surveys for a senator she was then still working full-time for. After finding one, a certain “Dra. Anna” who remains their main supplier to this day, they finally got the flowers by 2 a.m., arranged all 49 stems, then had their personal driver to deliver it to Bulacan. The rest, as they say, is history.
“That’s the first time people saw pretty roses in a box,” Yap said.
Influencer marketing has since been Petalier’s main avenue to drive sales.
A “calculated gamble,” Yap describes. “Sometimes they’re effective, sometimes they won’t post you. So that’s money out the door.”
Still, it works, and the two have also launched a new baby: a luxury balloonery called Blloons.
“We thrive on Instagram. We’re typical millennial business people. Uber doesn’t own a single car. We thrive online,” she said. “You can go far with just online. We’re the perfect example.”