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Forbes Interviews and Features EKC PR Client, La Fleur Bouquets

Our lovely client Hagar Elaziz, the founder of La Fleur Bouquets, was recently interviewed for Forbes. 

La Fleur Is In With Hollywood’s Influencers – And They Haven’t Spent A Dime To Do It 

 

Ask any CEO what he or she is most proud of and you’ll get a variety of answers: economic success, creating jobs or being able to make a living in a field they love. Ask La Fleur Bouquets, LLC., CEO Hagar Elaziz, and you’ll get a slightly different answer.

“We’ve never paid for an Instagram endorsement!” says Elaziz, 29. That may not sound exceptionally noteworthy, except that her products have been shared on the social media platform by everyone from Jessica Alba to Chrissy Teigen to Kim Kardashian, who can normally command upwards of $300,000 for one post to her account’s 113 million followers. La Fleur Bouquets produces luxury bouquets made from real roses that last up to one year without any special care.

Elaziz, a former television producer, began La Fleur as a hobby. “It had something to do with desperation,” she jokes. “I was laid off from my job for the first time in my life and had nothing to do while waiting for my next project.” Though she’d always liked to have fresh flowers in her home, it wasn’t until she found herself with an abundance of free time that she started buying and arranging roses in the square boxes La Fleur is now known for. She shared them at first with friends and family, and when she received nothing but positive feedback, decided to start the company – but with modest dreams. “I thought I’d do it to get me by – maybe if I sold one or two arrangements per week, that could be my play money.”

Elaziz started an Instagram channel where she shared photos of her arrangements, still made of fresh flowers at that point. She began to receive local orders in late 2015 from buyers in L.A., but it wasn’t until she started getting messages from distant markets like Miami and New York City that she had the idea of using preserved roses, rather than fresh-cut stems. She knew she didn’t want her product to arrive wilted and damaged to consumers, so she researched the flower-preservation industry and eventually sourced a facility in Ecuador that produced red Amadeus roses, a specific type that can have upwards of 50 petals per bloom, unlike more traditional 30-petal flowers. Ecuador annually produces $15 million worth of preserved roses, so the technology already existed in the country. Elaziz took those concepts and worked with her producers to develop new scents and colors for their roses.

The complicated process involves trimming the roses at the peak of their bloom, then saturating them in a solution to remove their color, scent and moisture, preventing any continued blooming. Finally, the blooms are re-infused with oils and wax to preserve their shape. From there, the roses are shipped to Elaziz’s warehouse in Los Angeles, where a team of seven floral stylists hand paints the metallic roses and arranges each custom bouquet.

The @lafleurbouquet Instagram account was and continues to be Elaziz’s number one source of customers, despite the fact that she only had 1,500 followers when she began selling preserved roses. “I had no idea it would be the main vehicle for success,” she says. “But without Instagram, the company may not have been nearly as successful.” She now has 112,000 followers, is suggested by Instagram next to brands like Tiffany & Co., and still hasn’t ever paid for an endorsement. Elaziz contributes her Instagram popularity to the fact that viewers can’t believe the roses are real, and especially can’t believe they last up to a year without wilting. She estimates that even now that they do ongoing social media and search engine ads, about 65 percent of her traffic still comes from her organic Instagram reach.

Given the popularity of the roses with Instagram’s most-liked influencers, La Fleur bouquets have become a somewhat luxury product for the who’s who of trendy social circles. That’s partially intentional; Elaziz priced the first bouquet she offered at about $100 more than traditional dozen-stem rose bouquets to create an air of exclusivity for the product. That theme is continued with her select retail store partners, including high-end Nordstroms through California and West Hollywood’s trendy Fred Segal. However, Elaziz realized that in order to build a mainstream brand, she needed to have products and price points that could appeal to a broader clientele. As such, La Fleur began introducing more affordable products in late 2017, and now offers “the Mini,” a single rose preserved in the signature wax-sealed La Fleur box for $39. Elaziz compares her brand to Louis Vuitton, citing that consumers will walk into the high-end retailer and buy the most inexpensive item they can afford, just to have an item with the branding. Elaziz hopes her lower-priced items will appeal to men who want to buy a high-end, Hollywood-inspired gift for a loved one, but who can’t afford the $250 price tag for a dozen roses. She also believes that consumers will see more value in flowers that last up to a year, as opposed to a traditional fresh-cut bouquet that will last a week or two at best before wilting.

In the U.S. alone in 2017, consumers purchased approximately 2.13 billion roses, and Elaziz hopes to capture a segment of that market. Her growth in the last year is significant: in 2017, La Fleur fulfilled approximately 2,000 orders. By the end of 2018, they’re predicting 12,000 orders, though they’ve already exceeded 8,000 as of June. Though they’re not Elaziz’s favorite, the metallic roses – all of which are hand painted in La Fleur’s L.A. warehouse – are the best sellers, making up about 45% of her total sales.  

Elaziz has big plans for the future of La Fleur. She’s recently introduced luxury candles in the same scent as the roses, priced at $69, and La Fleur bouquets are available in high-end retailers like Ron Robinson in Santa Monica. La Fleur is also partnered with Chicobon gourmet chocolate to offer high-end passionfruit or café au lait-filled chocolates with each delivery.

Those, of course, can’t be expected to last a year.

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To read the original article on the Forbes website, click here.

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