Since the “Dress for Success” 1980s, there has been a dizzying array of planners and processes to help people become more productive. Consider the Day-Timer system and the more recent bullet journal.
Thanks to their jobs with Student Media Group, bloom’s founders attended trade shows for college bookstore buyers. They knew what was available and what was missing. “We used our contacts with those college stores to get feedback,” says Askin, whose degree is in English, communications and interactive media.
Initially, bloom sold a few designs on eBay. The results were positive. From there, the company jumped on the Amazon juggernaut and launched a website, bloomplanners.com. They’ve regularly added new online sales platforms, including Walmart and Etsy.
No matter the outlet, customer feedback is documented in a system that links the comments with individual products.
“We’re constantly tweaking things based on what our customers are requesting – that’s always been our formula for creating new products,”
Askin says. “It really creates a community aspect within our brand. Our customers feel like they are part of the process because they completely are.”
That community revolves around social media – bloom has almost 17,000 followers on Twitter and 85,000 on Instagram, which is its most effective outlet. The company also is on Pinterest.
“We try to cater to our different audiences on each platform,” says Minix, who earned her degree in marketing and operations management.
The primary target market for bloom is women aged 25 to 35. But the company also offers planners for students in elementary, middle and high schools. And Askin’s 2020 pregnancy led to the addition of planners for expectant and new moms. “We’re creating products for every age and stage of a woman’s life,” she says.
The advent of COVID-19 boosted sales of planners designed for teachers. “Moms were feeling overwhelmed and craving that structure,” Minix notes.
During a stressful time, many customers find it therapeutic to surround to-dos with doodles or the stickers that bloom daily planners sells. So the company has increased the number of its products that focus on self-care. Take, for instance, a sticker of a female yogi with the words “Heavily Meditated.”
“There’s nothing that quite compares to paper and writing your to-dos down and crossing them off,” Minix says. “You get such a feeling of accomplishment.”
Still, the founders understand that “digital is everywhere” and admit to using their phones and computers as well. Consequently, bloom also offers digital products that customers can download, and customers who register online for an account have access to printable sheets.
As bloom blossoms, the Delaware natives have not forgotten their academic roots. They typically have about six UD interns per semester handling graphic design, operations, social media and marketing. Most of bloom’s staff employees were initially interns.
“We’re growing really quickly, and we’re always looking for new talent,” Askin says. “We let them create their own position within the company – what can they see themselves doing? Just like we became ‘intrapreneurs’ within the Student Media Group.”
Some employees commute from nearby Philadelphia, which is an advantage of being based in Delaware: bloom can tap into a large creative talent pool yet reside in a community where “everybody kind of knows everybody,” Askin says.
“It’s a very supportive, family-like atmosphere,” she says of the First State, “and we’re very, very proud to be Delaware girls.”