One of the most epic urban business tales is how diamond becomes the must-have for marriage and supports an industry of over billions each year. The founder of Roseonly decides that diamond shall not be the one and only proof for a lifelong, faithful relationship. It quite takes some courage for a B2C business to make this rule: there could only be one recipient of their roses in a lifetime.

Roseonly, an ecommerce startup based in Beijing, sells rose bouquets and jewelries in delicately made gift boxes. Their roses are from three rose growing regions, one in Ecuador and two in France, with the option of fresh ones and preserved ones. The latter are specially treated natural roses that can last for three years if they are taken proper care of.

The customer needs to fill in name, e-mail and phone number as well as the unchangeable recipient name before the purchase. The company claims that if the recipient name does not match the original one, they will not mail out their roses which has an average price of $233 (1399 Yuan).

rose2

Photo retrieved from the Tmall store of Roseonly

Three preserved roses packaged in a gift box like this cost approximately $66 (399 Yuan) and this is the cheapest product of Roseonly. The price of the most advertised imported red roses range from $185(1111 Yuan) to $333(1999 Yuan). If you choose the gift set with their constellation necklaces, the price tag will be up to $667(3999 Yuan). The numbers themselves on these price tags often have meanings because of the Chinese pronunciation – 9 as “eternal love”, 1 as “the only lover”, 1314 as “lifelong love”, and 1520 as “I love you”.

It is hard to categorize Roseonly as an ordinary e-commerce company that sells roses. Rather, they are selling the idea that “you are the only recipient of my roses”. Roses might fade away eventually, but this promise won’t. It’s no surprise that the price tag of Roseonly is on the luxury side.

mall1

Screenshots of the Tmall store of Roseonly

The company has no physical stores when it first launched on January 4th, 2013 (hmm it seems the indulgence with meaningful numbers start from this date, “201314”). Their roses first attracted public attention because of its several appearance on Sina Weibo, proudly being the subject in the engagement or propose posts of some of the most popular stars in China. The special deliveries made by European male models in Mini Cooper, Tesla or Ferrari also helped the brand to get both attention and recognition.

As of November, 2014, the sales from its online stores and offline retail outlets (3 at that time and 10 as of May 2015) approach $160,000 daily.

model final

Photo retrieved from the official Sina Weibo account of Roseonly, edited by Shibei Ding

#MrDreamboyDeliversRose activity are held on Valentines Day, Chinese Valentines Day, Christmas and all the other festivals that a couple could celebrate together, including 3.14 (White Valentines Day), 5.20 (“I love you”, also called Internet Valentines Day), 5.21(sounds like “I love you” or “I do”), 6.1 (Children’s Day, a girl could be a child in her lover’s arms forever), and even 11.11(Single’s Day. Yes, that’s when some COUPLES celebrate). Some most known male actors take the responsibility of the mailmen, sending both the gift and the charm to the recipient.

star6

 

Photo retrieved from the official Sina Weibo account of Roseonly, featuring Liang Zhang, a Chinese Star who has over 20 million followers on Sina Weibo

Although the special deliveries by the charming models and the #MrDreamboyDeliversRose activities are beyond our expectation toward a flower company, the experience of ordinary customer seem not to be at the same level. Roseonly did not develop their own cold chain logistics, which very largely put the burden of delivery on their cooperating couriers and caused uncontrollable delivering/communication issues. In the first 30 comments on the most sold product in their Tmall Store, 5 mentioned that the roses were delivered one day early or one day late, which has dampened their shopping experience.

Moreover, the brand story might not be as strict as its precedent Darry Ring, having the same “once in a lifetime” policy. “No one actually checks anything, he can just change a phone number and register with another email if he wants to send Roseonly to someone else,” said Xiaomeng Zhou, a girl who just received a Roseonly bouquet from her boyfriend. He had no idea how this store would work and bought the roses from the physical store in Shenzhen opened on December 9th, 2014.

(I almost feel compelled to post this story on 13:14, 5.20. Roseonly did this to me.)