A century ago, sending the gift of flowers was a challenge - the longer the distance, the greater the problem. Today, Fleurop makes it quick and easy, the world over. The story of how this level of excellence was attained is an interesting one, and the Swiss Fleurop organisation has often played a key role in it.

Fleurop-history at a glance

Two good reasons to organise a

The idea to create an organisation that would deliver flowers in other towns, or even abroad, was the product of two developments. Firstly, the growing demand: more and more people had friends and relatives living quite some distance away. To nevertheless delight them with a floral gift, the flowers had to be carefully packed and entrusted to the postal service. The problem with this procedure is an obvious one: the longer the distance, the more likely the flowers arrive in less-than-perfect condition. The equally obvious solution: find a way to transmit the order to a florist at the recipient's location, who will then prepare and deliver the flowers. Which brings us to the second development - that of the telegraph and telephone.


1908 - a Berlin florist sets up the first flower delivery network

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a number of resourceful individuals in the flower trade decided the time was ripe for a flower delivery network. The originator was Berlin florist Max Hübner, who introduced the so-called "German Flower Gifting Service" in Germany in 1908. He discussed the idea with his colleagues, who swiftly grasped the potential inherent in a service of this kind. A total of 98 flower shops joined up within the first year.


1910 - the FTD is founded in the USA

A short time later, the idea came to the attention of florists in the United States who, in 1910, founded the Florists' Telegraph Delivery (FTD) network. In 1925, the FTD expanded its network to include an international service, the Florists' Transworld Delivery network.


1914 - the world-famous company logo is introduced

A few years after its establishment in the USA, the FTD decided to reinvent Mercury, the Roman messenger god, as the symbol of swift floral deliveries and official corporate logo. Today, the Mercury Man is a global presence and has become one of the most iconic company logos worldwide.


1920 - British florists join the FTD and subsequently lay the foundati

The British flower trade embraced the idea of transmitting flower orders by telegraph in the 1920s. An innovative florist in Glasgow and a tree nursery owner in Essex applied for membership in the American FTD as foreign members. Their request was granted, and by 1923 no fewer than 17 British florists had become FTD partners, enough for the US organisation to decide to set up the British Unit, a branch organisation operating under the umbrella of the FTD. The name was changed  to Interflora British Group in 1953.


1927 - Swiss florists co-found the European Fleurop-Interflora (Association)

In the meantime, Max Hübner - the florist who had launched the first flower gifting service in Berlin in 1908 - was living on Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse. He had met, courted and married a Swiss woman, Klara Krämer, and was running the Krämer flower shop there. The shop is still doing business today. Hübner was determined to expand the flower delivery network further, and by 1927 he had secured the collaboration of 3,064 florists in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium. In the same year, Fleurop (the name is derived from "flores Europae", meaning the flowers of Europe) was founded as an internationally oriented organisation at a gathering in Zurich's Kursaal. Max Hübner was unanimously elected as the first president of the European Fleurop organisation, and Zurich was chosen as the location of its first head office.


1946 - the global Interflora Inc. network is founded

Interflora Inc. was founded in Copenhagen in 1946 to boost business in the wake of the Second World War. This floral delivery network with its global operations was created through the merger of Fleurop (for continental Europe), the Interflora British Group (for Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) and the FTD (for North and South America and Japan). The fleurin was introduced at that time, an in-company currency created to simplify the internal payment system. Initially based on the Swiss franc, the fleurin has been pegged to the euro since November 2003. The founders also decided to establish the Mercury symbol as the company logo; it has become a familiar sight all over the world. Interflora Inc. operates from its headquarters in Southfield (Michigan, USA).


1990 - The Swiss Fleurop organisation becomes Fleurop-Interflora (Schw

In 1990, the Swiss Fleurop association was reorganised into a joint-stock company.


1996 - Fleurop is the first Swiss flower delivery network with an onli

Although webshops were still conspicuous by their rarity towards the end of the last century, the Swiss Fleurop nevertheless decided to take the plunge and thus bolstered its reputation as a forward-looking organisation. In the USA, the long-established flower delivery networks had failed to appreciate the potential of e-commerce, an error of judgement that allowed a number of competitors to gain a foothold on the market. They made the most of the dynamic growth potential offered by e-commerce and eventually achieved a dominant position on the US flower delivery market.

The Swiss Fleurop organisation was determined to prevent similar developments from taking hold on its market, and in 1996 the company became the first and only Swiss flower delivery network with an online shop. It was not a straightforward process, internal obstacles had to be overcome: the first step was to convince the Swiss Fleurop partner shops of the benefits of this new marketing channel, then they had to be equipped with the necessary computers and software. Today, the webshop is Fleurop's fastest-growing sales channel, and more than 80% of Fleurop orders are placed online.


2011 - Fleurop opens the world's first test laboratory, the Fleurop Shop

The Fleurop Shop in Uster has attracted a lot of attention, in Switzerland and abroad. On the one hand, it is a perfectly normal flower shop, but on the other hand, and quite especially, it is a platform for knowledge transfer and exchange. In short, this worldwide first company-owned shop in Uster was designed by Fleurop to test new products, to improve the product range and to experience customer response firsthand, for the benefit of Fleurop and its partner shops. In addition, the Fleurop Shop also explores aspects such as shop design, business development and business processes. In many ways, the Uster outlet hence also performs the functions of a test laboratory; the experience gained is analysed and passed on to the Fleurop partners. Initially launched as an experiment, the Fleurop Shop has developed into a success story, greatly appreciated not only by customers, but also by the florists, to no small extent because the regular workshops in Uster are genuine red-letter days for partner florists.