If you’ve seen Saturday morning in Amsterdam you’ve seen how much Amsterdammers love flowers. A weekend out and about in the city presents countless opportunities to spot its inhabitants transporting their enormous, newly acquired blooms under arm, over shoulder, in baskets or in the bucket of a bakfiets. You won’t catch any self-respecting sweetheart or homemaker carrying a small, dreary supermarket bunch of flowers unless the gifter is running seriously low on time or the recipient is a tier three friend or lower.
Mostly, the ones you see out and about (or at least, the ones you notice) are vibrant, abundant, and make whomever holds them around 15 percent more attractive to the flowerless onlooker.
So when you’re taking supermarkets out of the equation and you’re buying from more traditional markets and florists where the quality much much higher, it’s quite difficult to go wrong. This is good news for us, but it also creates a problem in that if everything is good, you could also argue that it all gets a bit ordinary. So how do you go from ordinary to extraordinary?
The answer to that, we say, is A.P Bloem.
Established about four years ago, A.P Bloem operates from its store on Kerkstraat in the heart of the Spiegelqwartier, where it’s surrounded by art galleries, antique shops, design stores and cafes (we urge you to swing by Matter of Material and Bocca coffee whilst you’re in the area). It’s an ideal spot for a creative Dutch business that trades in beauty. But there’s a lot of labour behind that elegance and A.P Bloem is a big-hitting florist obsessed with delivering on everything a florist should. They produce striking, high quality arrangements for all kinds of occasions… but they up the ante in the most meaningful of ways.
Ask flower bosses Alexander and Mel about their business, about floristry and about their customers and you’ll understand that the pair are utterly focused on their craft and delivering exceptional results. They’re perfectionists, yet there’s a kind of wild romance to their work which keeps their product feeling natural and spontaneous. There’s no cookie-cutter approach here, just idiosyncratic style.
They approach a large-scale hotel installation and a birthday bouquet with the same amount of pride and gusto. There’s no ‘bread and butter’ work here. Everything is special, and it shows.
Over the last few years Team Kompas has given, or been gifted with, flowers from these guys on many occasions and a quality that endures is their genuine stopping power. We’ve been halted by colleagues around our HQ, and by total strangers in the street… all asking where they’re from. The admirers politely ask to take the tags, detach the business card or snap a photo of the flowers and the brand, all to remind themselves of what they need to do later – place an order themselves.
This kind of reaction means that A.P Bloem, like many of the best entrepreneurs do, are tapping into an unmet need (an unknown one, maybe) by showing there’s Another Way to do things. The question isn’t clear until the answer is so obvious. So in case you’re somehow still wondering how to get great flowers over just good ones, go back, re-read this whole article, and look no further than A.P Bloem.
Main image: Johan van Walsem