EXPAT SUCCESS STORY: EDIBLE BLOOMS
by Alexandra Osváth
Breaking into a market is tough, especially as a foreigner. Facing differences in language, culture, and buying habits can prove challenging to new expat businesses in Geneva, but offer opportunity for innovation.
Yurana Rutteman, a mum of three originally hailing from South Australia, speaks to THINGS TO DO IN GENEVA about how she got started, how her business has grown, challenges she’s faced, and her advice for prospective entrepreneurs in Geneva.
CREATING A WOW MOMENT
Yurana’s family-run business, Edible Blooms, is a fun and unique way of gifting. Offering a selection of carefully curated chocolate bouquets (you can even add a bottle of champagne, wine or craft beers), Yurana loves creating a wow moment for both the gift giver and the receiver.
A friend from school started Edible Blooms 13 years ago in Australia, and upon arriving in Geneva, Yurana was intrigued by the idea of opening a franchise here.
“My friend agreed it would be a great market, and helped me enormously with marketing, website development, and her invaluable experience,” says Yurana.
ADAPTING TO THE SWISS MARKET
The next step was finding the right Swiss chocolates. Not only did the chocolates have to have the right taste, but Yurana and her husband Mark needed to find chocolatiers who were willing to modify their machines to create heart and star shapes that would fit perfectly into the unique holders.
“While most chocolate bouquets on the market pierce the chocolates to assemble them,” Yurana explains, “we use original patented holders that grasp the chocolates with prongs, nestling them onto decorative petals. The chocolates last longer that way, too – up to a year.” If you can wait that long to eat them, that is!
Catering to a Swiss market requires a website and marketing materials in English, French and German. Luckily, they had friends help with the translations.
A STRONG START
Within the first year, Edible Blooms landed a contract with Globus and Migros, two giants in Switzerland.
“Having a presence in both stores is important because it covers two types of clientele,” Yurana says. “Migros customers are everyday shoppers, while those who shop at Globus are usually looking for something special. Plus, we’ve noticed that customers in Switzerland trust a brand more when they see it offered by large retailers.”
Another great success was Edible Blooms’ Christmas pop-up shop.
“We’ve found that shoppers in Geneva still like to buy at a brick-and-mortar shop, whereas in Australia, the UK and the US most customers shop online,” Yurana tells me.
They’re seeing repeat customers order bespoke arrangements for dinner parties, birthdays, and other celebrations.
TIPS FOR OTHER ENTREPRENEURS
The biggest challenge was securing funding.
“Geneva isn’t very start-up friendly because most funding is available only to businesses that have already survived the first two years,” Yurana explains. “With our high start-up costs, we needed funding from the get-go. We were delighted to be accepted by FAE, a foundation that offers funding for businesses in the Geneva area.”
Filling big orders, especially around holidays, is also challenging. Not only does Yurana’s family store all the orders at their home, but balancing work with raising three children isn’t easy!
“It’s crucial to stay organised and split responsibilities with your partner,” Yurana advises. “And you must make time for yourself, such as a weekly yoga class you commit to attending,” she says. “Don’t put it off – work and family obligations can wait.”
It’s all worth it in the end, though. “I get such a warm and fuzzy feeling from giving our clients a unique, fun way of gifting,” Yurana tells me. “We truly believe in the essence of our business, and the positive feedback we receive from clients is so encouraging.”
With Mother’s Day coming up on 12 May, check out Edible Blooms’ latest addition – this year, send a bouquet from your friend’s fur baby to its fur Mum!
Tel: +41 79 126 55 94
Order by 2pm for next day delivery (excluding Sunday) around Switzerland