Career Advice Successful entrepreneurs’ story

Better gifts are just a few taps away with BYDEAU

Since its creation, BYDEAU has been sharing the joy of traditional gifting with a few simple clicks of a mouse or some taps from mobile phones without the stress and hassle. BYDEAU takes care of all that.

A word in play with the French word ‘cadeau’ meaning gift while omitting the letter ‘u’ from the word ‘buy,’ and together, BYDEAU was created in 2015.

“I remember seeing the first time somebody wrote in their message: ‘I just want to send you something just because’,” says Jennifer Margolin, founder and creative director of BYDEAU. “I literally jumped around in the office. That’s one of our tag lines. We want to help our customers gift better, just because.”

Margolin, originally from Chicago, moved to Arizona to complete her studies and eventually found herself working in California where she remained until her move to Hong Kong with her family in August 2014.

According to Margolin, gift-giving was a big deal in her family growing up so when she moved to San Francisco after her second job, she started her own event planning company. She made sure that the little touches are personalised to the likings of her clients from note cards, ribbons to the desired colour themes for a specific party.

Margolin says that launching BYDEAU had not been difficult. Rather, it was getting her brand out there that was of a challenge at the beginning since she didn’t have the same contact lists and networks the way she once did in California.

She had to start from zero. And in her first year, she was alone in doing everything.

“Starting a business, you don’t know what you don’t know,” says Margolin. “Sometimes, it’s a blessing in disguise.”

Prior to BYDEAU, at that time, she was shocked to see that there weren’t many mobile-based companies that provided flowers with a western flare, for instance, while the idea of gifting had remained a novelty for some in the city.

“I started with flowers because I knew it was an easy way in introducing gifting. People understand flowers as gifting. But I also wanted to have the additional gift boxes because you don’t always want to send flowers. So we’ve incorporated that,” Margolin says.

BYDEAU offers various types of gift items for all special occasions whether it’s a token of appreciation of someone or simply creating memories because the ‘giver’ experiences the same type of joy as the one who receives the gift.

As an expat herself, Margolin first’s targeted the expat community. For one, it’s easier to communicate with them since she doesn’t speak Chinese.

This didn’t stop her from expanding her network. “As long as I put myself out there,” she says. She also found a wonderful community where she has been able to partner with other brands.

“I also made it my mission to not sit in my office either. To be an entrepreneur can also be lonely for sure so it’s important to network and surround yourself with other founders and entrepreneurs,” says Margolin.

Today, BYDEAU has now grown to a team of six full-time staff and hires more temp staff during high peak seasons like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Getting the word out about BYDEAU is easier now. Comments that they’ve received can attest to that such as the look of the eDMs (Electronic Direct Mails), and the design and the execution of their flowers.

“My team is great. We’re not perfect. We’re never going to be perfect. But we do our best to really make our customers happy. For us, that’s really important. We do our best to try to respond to an issue immediately. If there’s anything that we could do, we try to go above and beyond. So customer service is really big for us,” she says.

Recently, Margolin met up with local and foreign florists to further discuss ways to become more environmentally friendly while meeting their own sale targets. They’ve discussed creating a composting system for their flowers rather than just throwing them away.

Usage of plastics has also become a growing matter of importance for some of Margolin’s clients. Some don’t want them around their flowers. And in response, BYDEAU tells them that they’ll be hand tied instead. Clients are also told that quality of their flowers will vary depending on the weather upon delivery.

“We’re focusing on trying to come up with more eco-friendly packaging and offer more products that are plastic-free and/or recyclable. Our customers are requesting these options and we are listening to them,” she says.

Aside from less usage of plastics, according to Margolin, clients also want gifts that last. BYDEAU provides plants as an alternative to flowers because of their longer shelf life. Moreover, gifts are now placed in containers that can be reused for other purposes.

Since launching in 2015, BYDEAU has reached milestones such as reaching their targeted sales goals and expanding their delivery territories. They now deliver in Kowloon and in the New Territories whereas in the past, they’ve only done so on Hong Kong Island.

“I’ve been very fortunate that people have gifted me with their time from their experience when I’ve asked. And I’m really trying to reciprocate that even knowing that the person I’m helping might not be able to reciprocate back to me. I always ask that they could remember this and would do that for somebody else,” she says.