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With focus on simplicity, entrepreneur launches 'different' online flower shop

A few years back, Trevor Patterson found himself living overseas, and in a phase of life that, for one reason or another, involved sending a lot of flowers.

"I was seeing someone at the time, so it was either congratulating them on something that happened at work, or more often than not apologizing for things," he says.

But, he says, buying flowers online was a disconcerting experience: Florists' websites typically offer an overwhelming variety of choice, and little certainty that what would be delivered would precisely match what was ordered.

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"It felt strange to honour an occasion, but not really know what I was sending," says Mr. Patterson.

So, having returned home to Vancouver, he decided to launch an online flower shop that would appeal to flower-buying novices – and men especially – by taking precisely the opposite approach: Instead of offering a huge varieties of varieties, Landeau Flowers offers just a few offerings, but delivered with a focus on consistency, style, packaging, and an upmarket brand.

A quick visit to FTD's online flower section turns up no fewer than 99 bouquet options, ranging from "Vera Wang Sweet Sophistication" to "The Because You're Special™ Bouquet" – each of which, on top of it all, comes in five sizes, alongside upsells from chocolates to stuffed bars. Landeau, on the other hand, currently sells a total of three packages: A round box of 22 to 25 pink, red, or yellow roses.

The difference in this model isn't just simplicity, but packaging. "I spent a lot of time in Paris – I was so in awe of the packaging they had," says Mr. Patterson. "You could buy a $5 package of macaroons, and it would come in a Louis Vuitton box."

To that end, the entrepreneur has poured energy into custom packaging and high-end stationary, in a bid to offer a product whose French-inspired brand is as prominent as its flowers. One thing Landeau isn't is cheap: A package of roses costs $95, which tracks just above the top-end offerings of online flower sellers. (FTD starts at around $40.)

To get off the ground, Mr. Patterson is working with wholesalers chiefly sourcing his roses from South America. The trick, he says, is to work with enough suppliers to handle seasonal spikes in demand. The company has only just launched – Mr. Patterson only registered the name on New Years, and soft-launched on Mother's Day, with flowers presently only available in Vancouver. But if his minimalist concept takes off, he hopes to hand off the day-to-day work and look at partnering with florists across the country.

"It's simple and aesthetic, so I can say these are 25 red roses that are beautifully packaged – and that's exactly what the person's going to be sending."

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About the Author
Technology Culture Columnist

Ivor Tossell has been writing columns about online culture for The Globe and Mail since 2005. A reformed web programmer, his writing on urban affairs, technology and culture has appeared in Canadian publications ranging from very glossy to downright inky. He lives in Toronto. More

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