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Meet Sabine Schmitt of OnlyRoses in Beverly Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sabine Schmitt.

Sabine, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
OnlyRoses was founded in London 12 years ago, by my husband Anian, and myself. Both of our parents were entrepreneurs so from a young age, the idea of running our own business was the only thing we knew.
While visiting my mom in Switzerland one weekend, we were brainstorming business ideas with her. After dismissing all of them, she suddenly pointed to a bouquet of red roses that she had just bought herself that day, and said, ‘why don’t you specialize in roses?’ Not long after that, Anian and I were on a plane to Quito, Ecuador – home of the World’s finest roses. We spent time learning about breeding and growing roses, and the logistics of shipping roses from Ecuador all over the world.

We were fascinated and inspired by Ecuador, Ecuadorian roses and the people who grew them, and we figured that alone the 15 million people living in London would drive enough demand for these beautiful roses, in the form of a specialty concept. When we got back home, we found a location in London’s Chelsea neighborhood and opened the first OnlyRoses store in September 2007, on a shoestring budget of less than $100,000. It was a minimal and contemporary store design, with dark wood sideboards and counters, and black brick walls. And a mirror along the entire wall from floor to ceiling, on one side of the store. The spotlight was on the roses.

When Anian and I decided to specialize in roses in 2007, we knew we wanted to create something different from a traditional florist. We set out to elevate a rose from a flower to a luxury gift, while simultaneously modernizing the consumer experience. As the originators of the Infinite Roses® – real roses that last for years – and with our unique and simplistic design, product range, and retail concept, we’ve disrupted the global floral industry and created an entirely new retail category. OnlyRoses is not a florist. It’s more like a high-end jewelry or fashion boutique, offering a luxury brand experience with consistent design and quality for both Classic Roses (fresh-cut roses) and Infinite Roses® (real, preserved roses that last more than a year without water). Our stores are located in high-end shopping destinations and are designed by Roberto Baciocchi, of famed Baciocchi Associati, who is known for the iconic retail store design for brands like Prada, Miu Miu, and La Perla.

We import our roses directly from ‘farm to store’, by flying them into all cities with an OnlyRoses store. We thereby cut out the middle man, and ensure the highest and freshest quality flowers, so we pass that longevity on to our clients. This farm-to-store concept was unique to OnlyRoses when we began 12 years ago.

Preserved roses and other preserved flowers have been around for hundreds of years, but we were the first to turn these roses into a product and retail concept. We work closely with our farms in Ecuador, who has been perfecting the process of preserving Ecuadorian roses from scratch for over 15 years. The main difference to other companies who preserve roses is that each single Infinite Rose® is created by hand, meaning they are first hand-selected to meet the highest criteria, and after the preservation, the petals are re-arranged or removed, so each bud has a perfect, consistent look. Our exclusive, extra-large Infinite Roses® (in products such as the ‘The Infinite Rose’, ‘Infinite Rose Luna’, or ‘Infinite Rose Blanc’, or ‘Infinite Rose Ebony’), are hand-assembled and it takes three normal-sized Infinite Roses® to create one extra-large Infinite Rose®. This process is essential to obtain the look of a rose in full bloom and it takes about 30 minutes per bloom, and almost 90 rose petals (compared to the usual 40).

We carry 250 different varieties and colors of our fresh-cut Classic Roses. Our preserved Infinite Roses® come in 30 different colors, ranging from all the natural colors to unusual colors like fluorescent green, royal blue, and black.

After our launch in London in 2007, we received requests to open OnlyRoses stores in the Middle East. Once we were ready to expand into new markets, we decided that franchising the brand with local partners in the Middle East would be our best option as it allowed us to open new brand stores without having to raise capital. We now operate 8 locations in 6 countries.

In 2017, we decided to expand OnlyRoses further geographically by opening our first location in the United States. After looking at different cities, we decided LA would be the perfect place for our first American flagship store, which can be found in the heart of the triangle, on Brighton Way, in Beverly Hills. The opening of the luxurious OnlyRoses boutique in Beverly Hills in 2017 not only marked our expansion into the US market but the entertainment business in particular, making OnlyRoses a favorite among Hollywood’s elite. Our unique roses and exceptional service have not gone unnoticed by The Academy, who has solicited our assistance for an unforgettable edition of the Oscars this year: OnlyRoses supplied and installed 40,000 Scarlet red Infinite Roses® for the 91st Academy Awards stage.

OnlyRoses boasts an impressive roster of celebrity clients such as Madonna, Simon Cowell, Molly Sims, and Toni Braxton alike, and is the go-to floral gift solution for brands like Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and Van Cleef and Arpels. OnlyRoses’ exceptional collection of opulent gifts is the ultimate gesture of appreciation and lasting impressions.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It is challenging being a small, but very global brand, operating in 6 different countries and working across different continents and time zones. On the flip side, it’s also very interesting working with many different cultures, within our head office business, as well as with our franchisees.

In terms of challenges, there are always many things about the concept that need to be adapted when launching in different countries, according to local laws and cultural preferences in each country. For example, in Qatar every retailer must have a price displayed next to each product that is displayed in-store, therefore we had to find a solution for this from a visual merchandising point of view on very short notice to be able to launch in time. These also had to be displayed in Arabic language. One of our stores in Qatar has a private area within the store, for customers to shop in privacy, which is common in the Middle East.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about OnlyRoses – what should we know?
We are the first and only global luxury brand specialized in roses. Our vision is to elevate a rose from a flower to a luxury gift and provide a new level of brand experience within the floral industry, with inspiring, memorable gifts and interior décor items, using only the World’s finest roses, within our own unique and recognizable style. Our mission is to become the global leader in premium and artisanal fresh-cut and preserved roses.

This year, OnlyRoses was selected by The Academy to supply and install 40,000 of our exclusive Infinite Roses – real roses that have been preserved to last without water – in the color Scarlet, for the Oscars stage. Under the direction of The Academy’s chosen Designer David Korins, the stage at the 91st Academy Awards featured a monumental floral installation made exclusively of Infinite Roses.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The essence of our brand and what differentiates OnlyRoses from competitors is our unique, simplistic and recognizable design of products and brand experience, both instore and online.

OnlyRoses offers a luxury brand experience with consistent design and quality, for both Classic Roses (fresh-cut roses) and Infinite Roses® (real roses that have been preserved to last more than a year without water).

I think what is essential to success is offering consistency and high quality, combined with great customer service, as this is what people who shop will remember.

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