A few minutes with Julep founder, Jules Kennedy

Where did your love for flowers start?

I’ve always loved flowers – having fresh flowers in my home brings me so much happiness! I think the desire to start Julep, however, came more from a love for gifting. Being able to celebrate the big moments and to show support in tough times for the people you love is actually quite a big deal.  

With Julep, we really want to deliver memorable, personal experiences for our customers and recipients. “Making your day” is our mission, and we think flowers are a great way of doing that.

You’ve been trying a few new things with Julep?

Our Julep boxes are probably the first thing people will notice. I still get excited every time I look at our boxes – Greer Egner did an incredible job with the design!

I first saw flowers being delivered in boxes and out of water when I was overseas earlier this year which surprised me. I thought that water was always the number one priority. Protecting the stems and the petals during packing and delivery is actually far more important. You can rehydrate a fresh stem quite quickly, but it’s game over for a damaged one.

That’s what we really try to get right – delivering the best quality flowers, as fresh as possible and in their best condition. Our boxes are a big part of this and, of course, our high-quality flowers, many of which are still in their buds and not yet fully open. It is quite different from a typical bouquet, which is often handled a number of times. While it may look wonderful when you receive it (with all of the blooms fully open), it often does not last that long.

Flowers not arriving in a typical bouquet is something a bit unexpected and means you need to arrange them yourself at home. Recipients are telling us that they love this part of the experience - it gives them some time in their day to be creative and really appreciate the flowers. 

We also know our flowers are being sent to recognise important, personal moments and so we try our best to make the gift cards really special. One of the things we’re testing is including a personal photo alongside the message. Recipients have been so touched by this – it really seems to be adding something unexpected and special to the whole experience.

We’re also tinkering around with build-your-own bouquets based on an intuitive three-step process. We have big ideas for this and love how original and personal this experience can be!

What has been the most surprising thing for you?

I didn't expect to get so much satisfaction from being part of our customers' gifting journey. It's been so wonderful putting the cards together, printing the photos and seeing the amount of love going around. I think it's such a privilege to be the conduit of these important moments of recognition, and it is a big motivator to try to provide the best service possible.

What were you doing before you started Julep?

My professional background is in management consulting, where I worked with a number of large corporates in South Africa and abroad. It was a great experience and I learned so much from the consulting team and clients during those years.  So starting Julep is definitely a big jump from that – but I am loving the creative and personal side of this little business.

Level with us, is the name Julep a cross between Jules and tulip?

Yes and no. My friend Ash suggested the name Julep close to midnight on a wedding weekend in Plett and everyone loved it. The next day we weren’t sure whether she meant Jules + Tulip or the mint julep cocktail. We googled ‘julep’ and learned that the origin is the Spanish word ‘julepe’ which means rosewater, which we thought was a fantastic fit.