Meet Whitney Hawkings
What made you want to start FLOWERBX?
After working for TOM FORD for 19 years and feeling frustrated with the cost and inconsistency of the flowers I was buying and sending, I wanted to create a branded floral offering. Also, as a working Mom, I was buying everything online; from my clothes and beauty to my family’s groceries each week. Flowers were the one thing I couldn't buy, in a simple, chic way, online.
When you were younger what did you want to be?
Growing up I dreamt of working for French Vogue. This ambition was so real, that I moved to Paris upon graduating from university with my graduation money and a strong determination to get a job at French Vogue. Alas, they weren’t hiring (or hiring me, anyway), but that led to my luckiest break getting a job as Tom Ford’s PA during the Gucci heyday, and led to a nearly two decade long career by Tom’s Side.
What has been your favourite FLOWERBX moment to date?
I am constantly pinching myself at the amazing brands we have had the fortune to work with and the amazing opportunities we have had to create magical floral moments. From events and installations with brands such as Jimmy Choo, Dior and Vuitton, we couldn't ask for more inspiring collaborations. That said, it is hard to top the floral façade we did at Annabel’s Club on Berkeley Square for two years in a row for the Chelsea Flower Show, or the Tiffany x FLOWERBX pop-up shop they launched in their NYC flagship in the lead up to Valentine’s Day last year.
What makes FLOWERBX the best of the best?
Our team’s obsession with quality and pursuit of excellence in all that we do makes us the best of the best. Every single detail, from the font on our notecards, to the print on our deep chocolate grosgrain ribbon (not to mention the flowers too, of course) are obsessively considered and constantly perfected. We are tirelessly pursuing excellence, and this is reflected in all that we do.
Who is the favourite person you have worked with?
Tom has to be the person with whom I have been luckiest to work. For almost 20 years, I woke up before my alarm clock every day and never stopped learning from, growing with, and being inspired by him.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Tom Ford used to always say, “never hire anyone you don’t want to have dinner with.” If you are working as hard as we are at FLOWERBX, it is important that you genuinely like the people you are spending so much time with.
Which is your favourite flower?
One of the greatest things about working with flowers is their inherent seasonality. In the Spring, I can’t get enough of peonies, but as I start to tire of peonies (if that’s even possible), dahlia are back with a bang, leading us to late summer when we see the reemergence of hydrangea in bright beautiful hues. So, I don’t have a favourite flower, but I definitely have a seasonal star each season.
Who is your ultimate business inspiration
Chrissie Wheeler (founder of the White Company) is my biggest business inspiration. She is smart, focused, driven, kind and a wonderful mom to her 4 children. She founded the White Company on the most simple premise and has executed it flawlessly.
What are 3 words to describe yourself?
Loyal, kind and honest.
What are 3 words to describe your brand?
Beauty, quality and freshness.
What is the secret to success?
Please let me know!
What advice would you give to future female generations?
Surround yourself with a strong group of women. No one supports women like other women, and having a strong network empowers you to do anything.
What motivates you?
Creating a solution for problem and executing it globally in a consistent way is a constant challenge and motivation for me.
Which 3 people would make up your dream dinner party?
Impossible to name 3! I would say my dream dinner is with husband Peter and our 3 children. Luckily I have had a lot of those recently!
What are you grateful for?
It is impossible to count all of the things for which I am grateful, especially right now when there is so much sadness, sickness and destitution in the world. I am grateful for my family, our health, the roof over our heads, the privilege of running my business and having a business that has been more relevant than ever during the pandemic. I am grateful that we have been able to continue to trade and I am grateful to my team for their tireless hard work to make this a success. I am most especially grateful my husband who has helped me navigate the emotions and the trails of the past year.
What is one thing everyone should do?
Live beauty, with flowers.
What are you reading right now?
Grinding it Out. The Making of McDonalds.
What is your spirit animal?
What are you most unapologetic for?
What is the best aspect of having your own business?
It is so gratifying to create something that didn’t exist before and seeing people respond to it and actually buy it. It is exciting that everything we do in this early stage of growth actually moves the needle and our actions have tangible results.
What is the hardest part of having your own business?
When you have your own business, your work is never over. Success is never achieved. As Michael Jordan said in his documentary, “I haven’t played my best game” and there’s an element in that to constantly driving forward when it’s one’s own business.
What is something you’re currently working on?
We are looking to open a third distribution centre in the US so that we will have full coverage in America, which is our fastest-growing market.
What will FLOWERBX look like in 10 years time?
Hopefully we will become a household name as the only way to buy and send beautiful, chic, fresh and consistent flowers all over the world. Total global floral domination.
Meet Whitney Hawkings