Meet Giden Lim and Penny Choo, co-founders of BloomThis, a pioneering floral and gifting e-commerce service in Malaysia. This is the story of how their love planted the seeds for the business and watered its growth to create moments of happiness for all.
On Penny — Dress: Max Mara
On Giden — Blazer and shirt: Hackett London
Penny and Giden first met 10 years ago as colleagues at a pharmaceutical company. Far from your dreamy love-at-first-sight narrative, the two seemed an unlikely couple at the start.

"I was actually quite annoyed," Penny recalls her first impression of Giden, her husband of four years. "He is very chatty and usually gathers a group around him who are also loud and talkative. Being my introverted self, that was annoying to me back then."

Chuckling at her remark, Giden offers a more flattering recollection: "Every year, our company would give out awards and Penny was always winning multiple awards. So, I thought, wow, this girl must be very cekap [competent]."

It was Giden, then, who made the first move to impress her with voice recordings of him singing with his guitar and invitations to hang out over a meal. Although Penny admits that she initially conceded to his pursuit out of obligation, his persistence eventually won her over.

"I can't really remember if there was a moment when a spark lit between us. It was all very progressive," she says.

Not long after they started dating, Giden brought up the prospect of starting a business together. It was an idea he had already attempted twice on his own before, but realised in hindsight that what was missing was a creative eye—something he felt he lacked but saw in Penny.

Marrying her artistic sense with his entrepreneurial spirit, they embarked on this side project while juggling their full-time jobs. Thus, the seeds for BloomThis were sown.
Planting the seeds
Blazer and shirt: Hackett London
"I grew up watching my mother grow her florist business. I saw a lot of potential; I saw a lot of gaps and I really wanted to create a digital experience around it, and that was when digital adoption was not really widespread yet," Giden retraces how the idea for BloomThis came about.

In 2014, he pitched the concept of using flowers to elevate a service, which earned him a ticket to Silicon Valley. From there, he joined the e@Stanford Program and returned better equipped with a framework to develop the business with Penny.

They started BloomThis as a subscription-based service, where flowers would be delivered to customers in a surprise box once a week. Each box comes with loose flowers for recipients to try a hand at making their own arrangement.

"We saw that our strengths complemented each other and the concept actually worked; so, slowly, we quit our jobs and focused on the business. From there, it grew," he divulges.
Sprouting into motion
When asked if there were qualms about how working together might affect their relationship, they candidly concur.

"Everything we do has a cost," Penny acknowledges, "so I said early on that if doing this is going to cost us our relationship, I would drop the business. In reality, of course, it's not that easy to just 'drop a business', so you have to work really hard to make sure things work out."

Giden nods reassuringly, adding: "From the start, we'd already determined that the foundation of BloomThis is born out of our love.

"And really, at the start, it was just the two of us doing everything—cutting the flowers, preparing the arrangements, sending it out for delivery. Sometimes there were days when we didn't even sleep at night because we had to fulfil the orders the next day," he gushes, as Penny interjects half-jokingly, "I still don't sleep at night now."
On Giden — Sweater: BOSS
On Penny — Dress: Kate Spade
BloomThis has grown from strength to strength since then, but not without its fair share of obstacles. From juggling between marriage and day-to-day operations in the early years of their venture, to raising funds to sustain and upscale the business, Penny and Giden faced each challenge with as much resolve as the last. However, the pandemic has been one of the toughest challenges they have had to endure so far.

"I remember in 2019, I went for a Christian retreat where I asked God to tell me what I should do for the business the next year. God gave me three words: faith, believe, and love—have faith in Me, believe in Me, and love your wife!" he quips.

"When 2020 came and the pandemic hit, I realised why God told me those three words because I would never have been able to comprehend what a pandemic is. And that's what we did; we continued to have faith and believe in the work that we do and we stuck to our mission."
Growing pains
On Giden — Shirt: COS; Trousers: BOSS
On Penny — Dress: COS
Instead of pivoting from their brand offering like many others, BloomThis expanded their categories to beyond flowers, but in a way that was very complementary to gifting, such as cakes and ice cream—things that come with flowers. This helped the company to thrive, leveraging on the arising needs of customers in the age of lockdowns.

By the end of 2021, the company had doubled its growth, expanded its team, and moved operations into a 40,000-square feet warehouse in Petaling Jaya. Even so, the couple remains hesitant about calling this significant milestone a 'success'.

"We think progress is more important because so what if you're 'successful' at this point of time? If you don't progress, you will be obsolete and irrelevant in the end," Penny humbly points out. "But if I were to attribute this 'success', it has to be to the people running the show. It's a collective effort of the people who believe in the same vision and mission of the company."
Dress: Max Mara
On how they manage to keep up with their business, relationship, and parenting a toddler (a feat of its own for parents during a pandemic), Penny confesses that Google Calendar is her best friend.

"For me, I make it a point to compartmentalise my time. We don't bring our kid to the office because of productivity reasons, so when we are home, we try to spend more time with her, especially during the weekends," she says.

Time management is especially important with Valentine's Day around the corner, which coincides with Chinese New Year—making it the busiest time of the year for BloomThis. But it's periods like this that remind them of the most rewarding part of running the business together.
Blooming on
"If we just wanted to make money, there are a lot of other ways to make quick bucks. But it's the value of the business that's very important. It makes people's day," Penny says.

Giden chimes in with a warm smile: "I've ventured into other things but I keep coming back to flowers because in a way, yes, it's my mother's legacy, but it's also really about creating moments of happiness for people. That's really fulfilling."
On Penny — Top and skirt: COS
On Giden — Jacket and T-shirt: COS; Trousers and shoes: Giden's own
Looking ahead, they see the company growing beyond Malaysia to become a gifting e-commerce service with a presence around major cities in Southeast Asia. They're already laying the processes, people, and platforms in place, to ensure the growth and sustainability of the business—with or without them in the picture.

Giden adds on a personal note: "We have a three-year-old daughter, Sierra, so now it's important for us to start teaching our daughter, and translate the values that Penny and I share to her, so at the end of the day, she can grow up to be an individual of her own.

"More importantly, we hope she will have the right values to contribute to society and the people around her positively."

Just like their first brainchild.
WATCH: Penny and Giden take on The Telepathy Challenge
Visit to shop designer flowers and gifts for every occasion. Follow @bloomthis on Instagram for more updates.
EDITOR / sarah hani jamil
text, styling & creative direction / Adelina Tan & Natalie Khoo
Styling assistants / Amos Yip & Genie Leong

photography / robin yong
videographY / Felix khu
makeup & hair / ling chong
art direction & layout design / sarah tai
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