Jan 12, 2021

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Callia Flowers

Story by Jordyn Wegner Photo by Gabrielle Touchette

Callia is a home-grown Manitoba business that’s been growing quickly across the country. We started in 2016 and have been fortunate to win a local following of customers who love sending Callia moments: ordering online in five clicks, choosing one of our three seasonal bouquets, and having them delivered in our signature box for as little as $49. We’re proudly female-founded and 100% Canadian, and are such proud Winnipeggers!

COVID-19 has been quite a ride! Everything turned on its head for us. From a production perspective, we were fortunate that much of our business had already been online, so we were well prepared to interact with customers and do deliveries. For our team, a number of us went to work from home, and we had to manage the delivery piece a little differently than typical.

Our supply chain got significantly disrupted, so where we typically got flowers began to go all over the map. We had some odd changes in terms of what kind of flowers we were able to get, we needed to pivot in terms of the types of bouquets we were making and the kinds of flowers we were using and where we were getting them from.  

COVID-19 also forced us to adapt in terms of effectively delivering flowers in classic Winnipeg winters. Although we’ve had a fairly mild winter, we have had some extremely cold days, Christmas Eve was -29. Typically we follow a neighbour process, so when flowers are being delivered, and the person isn’t home, it’s no big deal, we find a neighbour down the street, and the flowers sit there nice and cozy until they’re home. But that isn’t possible during COVID-19; you can’t knock on ten different neighbours and ask them to hold flowers for someone. We had to invest and pivot pretty quickly in terms of building out technology that would support perishable product delivery to an unexpected recipient, which is something unique. We have a 100% happiness guarantee, so if I deliver flowers and they die on the front step from the cold, I’m replacing that bouquet, and as a small business owner, that’s devastating. We had to think outside the box in terms of how we can leverage the text technology, notifications, and different ways of communicating with customers to ensure that we can guarantee the quality of flowers. We built technology around expected ETA’s and notifications to recipients down to an hour and a half window that they can expect their flowers, which has been really cool.

As time went on and the lockdown continued, we noticed that people started to look to alternative ways of celebrating with each other. When they weren’t able to go for dinner or go to the spa or celebrate in person, they were looking for something else to do. Flowers became a really neat mechanism for people to connect and make some of those special moments. Because of that, our business started to see blips in growth. 

We’re fortunate to help Manitobans celebrate here in Manitoba and celebrate across the country with your aunt in Abbotsford and your cousin in Calgary, your best friend in Halifax. We’re in 55 cities across the country, but this is a Manitoba business, so supporting us is a great way to keep dollars in Manitoba while also supporting the people you care about across the country. 

We partner with local makers to sell their products and get them national distribution, so that’s something that we’re proud of. We have Utoffeea, some of the most delicious toffee in the world, Charleston & Harlow candles; we’ve worked with Hillary Druxman in the past. We find Manitoba makers we can partner with and provide our customers with access to some of those products in addition to a bouquet.”

-Catherine Metrycki, Callia Flowers

Valentine’s Day is coming up! If you want to surprise your special someone while supporting local, visit Callia.com

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