The Florium grows its community with help from Digital Main Street
For Jessie Yun, florist and owner of The Florium in Toronto, flowers are a part of her identity.
Growing up in the small South Korean village of Sol-Ti, Yun was surrounded by flowers in the hills and forests around her. “Every spring, summer, and fall we had different flowers and they were so beautiful,” says the florist. “My mom knew all the names of the flowers and plants around us.”
It was a piece of home she brought with her when she immigrated to Canada. In her first year in her new home, she worked at a busy flower shop. Over the next decade, she built experience arranging, drying and caring for plants and flowers working with florists and enrolled in the floral design program at Seneca College. Right before COVID, she started an online business using social media to sell preserved flowers, predominantly to the Korean community in Toronto.
“I used Futurepreneur to put together a business plan,” says Yun. The plan was to open a brick-and-mortar business but COVID hit.
It proved a mixed blessing, allowing her to fine-tune the vision before signing a lease and opening up The Florium.
Opening the brick-and-mortar location of The Florium in October 2022 proved a steep learning curve. “My first year, every day was a challenge,” says Yun. It was all new to her – managing part-time staff, placing orders, and tracking inventory.
A few months before her one-year anniversary, Yun learned about Digital Main Street, a program combining grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future. She saw the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant and training as an opportunity to invest in her website and skills surrounding marketing.
Yun says the Digital Service Squad has been a valuable sounding board for her. “I asked a lot of questions,” she says, adding that there’s so much to think about as a first-time business owner. The grant allowed her to redesign her website to showcase her products including plants, floral arrangements and dried designs. She also works with local artisans to sell their products. Customers can buy online or in-store, an experience she’s tried to make consistent through high-quality photography on the website.
She’s also using her training and advice from the Digital Service Squad to navigate social media marketing. “It’s something that’s always changing… they’re always introducing new features,” she says. “So I have to focus on always keeping up.”
She’s started to see a return on her investment in digital presence. “Slowly the online sales are growing.”
Yun plans to continue to increase her offerings. She already has workshops and she’s brought in gifts and greeting cards. The website gives her shop a wider reach and allows her to showcase the products being created in the community to a greater customer base. “That's something that I want to keep going,” she says. “I want us to grow together.”
To enjoy Florium's beautiful flowers and plants you can visit them in person, or on their website and social media. (Facebook, Instagram).
To learn more about Digital Main Street's programs and how we can help your business visit here.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.
Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.