“We want to break the 9-to-5 mentality within the flower world with a vending machine for flowers,” says Carlo van Noortwijk, co-owner of Daily Flowers. The start-up has an office at the incubator of Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Amsterdam. The incubator supports students and alumni who want to develop their business ideas into future-proof and impactful companies. “Here you can learn the basic do’s and don’ts from experts and from each other. This allows us to continuously develop and evolve.”
Van Noortwijk started his Business Administration degree at Nyenrode Business University in 2017. “This program focuses on entrepreneurship, so I already knew about the Nyenrode Incubator. It comprises several companies that help each other and that receive support and guidance from Nyenrode. From the beginning, I wanted to be a part of that. As a start-up, you are faced with challenges, and you can learn a lot from others.”
Quality and availability
The idea was born in Aalsmeer: “I saw a machine with ready-made bouquets of roses. However, the machine itself was very old-fashioned. While spending a semester in London at Westminster University, I came into contact with a machine designer. The idea of creating a durable, chic and trendy vending machine was born. I immediately got two friends involved – Kevin van Hilst and Yvar Achterberg – and suddenly we were in the flower business. On Tuesday 10 August, our first vending machine was installed at Hoog Catharijne.”
Daily Flowers is all about quality and availability: “People are mostly in need of a nice bouquet for a special occasion or holiday, or in the evening when they are on their way to a party, for example. However, most stores are closed. We solve that problem with the flower vending machine: always fresh, high-quality flowers at any time of day.” Because of COVID-19, the service has expanded even further: “When the traffic at our vending place drops, which happened during the lockdown, you are suddenly faced with a challenge. That is why we also started offering subscriptions and opened up a web shop.”
Never done testing
Van Noortwijk had no prior experience as an entrepreneur. However, his parents do each have their own business: “They taught me to persevere and not stop until you are satisfied. By the way, that also means that you are never done testing; you have to keep learning by doing. The Nyenrode Incubator taught me to also do a lot of market research and to continuously ask for feedback from your customers. This made us decide to do the whole process ourselves, for example. We no longer wanted to depend on the florist as an intermediary, and we wanted be able to monitor the quality ourselves and offer extras such as luxury vases.”
The mentors at the Nyenrode Incubator help start-ups like Daily Flowers make these kinds of choices: “We regularly discuss how things are going, what challenges we are faced with, what obstacles we have overcome. In addition, there are events like workshops or trainings, which as super educational. We can make our own suggestions for these meet-ups, and as a result we are all really involved and feel heard. For example, we recently invited a number of professionals in sales and marketing to share their experience and knowledge with us.
A rosy future
Currently, Daily Flowers is mainly focused on proving and improving the concept: “We’re still figuring out what works, but things are looking rosy.” While Van Noortwijk focuses on the financial side of the business, Achterberg deals with the processes and contracts and Van Hilst mainly with the website. “But, we do as much as we can together. This allows you to come up with better ideas than if you acted alone. I think that’s also a big advantage of the Nyenrode Incubator: you don’t have to invent the wheel yourself and you reinforce each other.”
As a florist, Daily Flowers has a lot of operational tasks, which means the team is not at the office at the Nyenrode Incubator very often. When the time comes to set up their own office, they will very likely leave the location in Amsterdam: “We do want to stay involved with the Incubator. To be able to keep sparring and also to be able to give knowledge back.” His advice to start-ups: “Do you have a good idea? Just go for it, and don’t stop until you have achieved what you want to achieve.”
Located in the heart of Amsterdam the Nyenrode Incubator breaths the university’s core value of Entrepreneurship by supporting students and alumni that are looking for ways to grow their business ideas into future-proof and impactful companies. From their own workspace, supported by coaching and with access to faculty members and the Nyenrode alumni, our entrepreneurs are ready to expand their business and bring meaningful product and services to their customers. Find out more.