Ready to be a CEO? 3 key thoughts to get you started.

Digging in and making it real.

Taking the first, true step in any new direction is daunting. But courage can take many forms.  Once you’ve made the decision to found your company, it’s important is to identify a few things you can do to start making your dream feel tangible. 

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to get started.


Where will you dream, make and do?

The first big commitment I made to building Petalfox was securing a place where I could freely dream, make and do. I felt the importance, the magnitude and the reality of starting my company when I filled out my application to join a coworking space with the credentials - Kelly Nyland, CEO, Petalfox.  This was also the company’s very first financial commitment.

I believe that our physical working space impacts our ability to mentally “do”. In practicing yoga, I arrive at the studio with an intention.  Creating a ritual around your new work is an important part of this process. I needed the ritual of getting up in the morning, wrapping my hands around a cup of coffee on my way to work, and having a destination that was intentionally designed as fertile ground to build my business.   

For Petalfox, we found our place at UNITA - a co-working space exclusively designed for creatives.  Our community [at UNITA] is made up of people pursuing artistic and creative passions.  We were so very fortunate to find a co-working space that allowed us to bring in the materials and equipment we needed for a very DIY start-up.  We can’t thank UNITA enough for helping us find ways to make that happen in their space. You can read more about co-working options on our Flower Blog Post from last week.

When we were looking for our new home, we thought about the different types of situations we needed to work in.  Because we were creating a product, we needed both a physical and digital area to play. If you’re building a lifestyle product, you’ll need to consider facilities that will allow you to bring in supplies, equipment, tools, materials, etc.  It’s also likely you’ll need a place to spread out, get messy and store items while you’re working through your MVP. In addition, we hoped to find a place to gather new team members, meet with partners and investors, and take calls that offered more privacy than our local coffee shop.

What do you know about your industry?

While I believed that my idea for Petalfox was unique, I hoped to carve out a small niche in a very large industry that I could call my own.  This was carefully considered after extensive research. It’s important to take your simple idea and give it a unique position in the marketplace.  Think about going to your local farmer’s market where you’ll be one of 5 apple vendors selling apples. How will you stand out? What will be your unique way of telling your story to potential apple buyers?  This is exactly what you’ll be doing as you begin to craft your brand and product in a very large farmers market - the internet (or very likely just Instagram to start.)

For Petalfox, we discovered that 79% of all flower purchases were made by women and 63% of those purchases were made by women buying for themselves!  The flower industry as a whole is primarily focused on men gifting flowers to women.  The industry is also heavily focused on gifting and events.  That means that there is almost 50% of an entire markets behavior for Petalfox to serve!  Petalfox has built its brand around women getting flowers for themselves. We encourage women to enjoy many of their self-care purchases in the space where we spend most of our time - at work!  It made sense to us, so we thought it might make sense to so many more.

To understand about all the product and service offerings in the floral industry, we spent time and money ordering all of our competitors’ products and interacting with these brands online.  We noted opportunities to think differently about how to get flowers for yourself every day.  As an early-stage company, you have key advantages over larger companies.  Because you don’t have an established brand, you can test and learn quickly and with rapid iterations without harming your brand.  Your speed, flexibility and intimacy with your customers can offer incredible insight if you are keen to listen to your early adopters.

This search for differentiation also helped us navigate a new way of thinking about how to buy flowers.

Who will pay for your product / service first?

If you’re selling a product or service, you should start to think about who will be buying your product.  There are typically two ways to sell your product:

1 - Directly to your customer.  These brands are known as D2C, or direct-to-consumer.  The advantage that these brands have is that they intimately own the entire brand experience.

2 - Partnership. Meaning you sell to a partner, and then your partner sells directly to the customer.  For example, many fashion brands sell to a retail partner (like Urban Outfitters) and then UO sells to the customer. This type of company is known as a B2B company.

3 - A bit of both. If you take an approach to sell to both consumers and to other businesses, this is known as an omni-channel approach.

Petalfox sells directly to customers online. We are also building a text commerce experience where all of our customers will be able to checkout instantly over text message.  This frictionless buying experience is not only a special sales channel but it is also a key service we provide for our product.


😜 Weekly Superpower:

Every week or so I try to switch up something I am obsessed with. This week, it’s MATCHA!

If you dont know what Matcha is, it’s a form of green tea powder that can mixed into water or milk (almond milk for me!) and served hot or cold. I am 5 months into a very long digestive health journey, so I’ve cut coffee and alcohol for the last week or so.

With that being said, Matcha is basically saving my life.



Dear Petalfoxes - Which of these 3 essentials has been the trickiest for you? How have you found your way through it?

— Kelly