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Fed Up With Bad Bouquets, These Friends Created the 'Etsy for Flowers' Business is blooming for three friends who started BloomNation, a marketplace for locally designed, hand-delivered floral arrangements.

By Michelle Goodman

This story appears in the March 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Jeff Clark; shot at la premier flowers in los angeles
Coming up roses: Farbod Shoraka of BloomNation.

Ordering flowers online can be a frustrating experience. You spend a small fortune, only to have the recipient get a bouquet that looks nothing like what you thought you'd ordered.

Onetime investment banker Farbod Shoraka had felt this disappointment. He'd also witnessed a dramatic decline in foot traffic and sales at his aunt's flower shop since the rise of online delivery services. Shoraka believed the floral industry was ripe for change. So in 2011, he tapped friends David Daneshgar, a professional poker player looking to segue into business, and Gregg Weisstein, an MBA student, and began conducting research.

"Every single florist had the same frustrations," Shoraka says. Leading online flower brokers took too big a cut, driving down florists' profits. As a necessity, the florists cut corners, which doesn't thrill customers. Deciding they could do better—and buoyed by $30,000 in poker winnings—the trio of thirtysomethings built a prototype for BloomNation, a marketplace for locally designed, hand-delivered floral arrangements.