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shop talk

The Sweet Cupid Package comes with a flower bouquet and chocolate.Jill Botting

Tonic Blooms


The owners

Michael Smaye and Raphi Aronowicz

In a nutshell

A quick, easy way to send flowers online.

The story

Our epiphany stemmed from an online order of flowers going wrong. After some research, we realized the current solutions are not transparent. We are planting a new vision for an outdated business. I work in hospitality and my partner Raphi works in finance, so we're a match made in heaven. Before we launched our site, we were taking orders via text message. All flowers are still delivered within two hours of ordering – by bicycle. We're trying to bring the joy back to sending flowers. A lot of customers do it "just because," so we want to make sure it's convenient, easy and a little old school.

The philosophy

It happens far too often that flowers look nothing like the picture. We focus on the "what you see is what you get" promise. And offering a curated selection of flowers – the limited options we make available – allow us to sell at a lower price. Your typical flower shop has 50 different options, and they have to have all those flowers in stock. But really only 25 of them are actually being purchased – so half of the bouquets are wasted.

The stock

There are plenty of flower growers to support along the Niagara peninsula. We have various rose selections from Dunnville and we get our tulips from St. Catharines. These flowers have not travelled halfway across the world and will therefore last more than three days. Each bouquet is denim-wrapped – we are focused on a modern design to satisfy a variety of tastes.

The buy

We partnered with local chef Brandon Olsen and his confectionery company CXBO. The "Sweet Cupid Package," one of our Valentine's Day bouquets, comes with a CXBO chocolate bar/tablet. It's 70-per-cent cacao, hazelnuts, coffee beans, toffee bits and Mexican chili spice. $59.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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