Review: Bouqs vs Urbanstems
Which is better Bouqs or Urbanstems? Flowers can pricey, and no one wants to send a lackluster bouquet. Both Bouqs and Urbanstems sell generally higher quality and more creative floral arrangements than the old-guard like FTD, but which one is better? I ordered a handful of bouquets from each over the summer to find out which is the best online flower delivery service (hard work, I know!). Here’s what I found out:
Shipping at Bouqs vs Urbanstems
Bouqs and Urbanstems ship their flowers in basically the same way: wrapped in plastic or paper and secured in a large cardboard box. They both include a note for the recipient if you’d like, flower food packets, and instructions for care of the flowers.
Urbanstems signature pink boxes are little more attractive than Bouqs brown cardboard, but they’re both carefully and very similarly packaged.
When I had a delivery hiccup with Urbanstems, the service rep mentioned something about special packaging that was meant to keep the flowers hydrated, but my orders over the summer never included anything beyond the standard plastic cone wrap.
Bouqs tends to ship their flowers in bud form, or at least not quite fully bloomed, so that the recipient gets super fresh flowers that last longer. However, this means that their bouquets can sometimes be less impressive when you first open the box (this does vary though, my tropical Promenade bouquet was stunning from the start!).
Urbanstems, on the other hand, generally shipped their bouquets closer to fully bloomed, so that they were ready to display immediately. This can be nice, but it did also mean that some of my bouquets were less than fresh by the time they arrived…see the Quality section below for more details.
Quality at Bouqs vs Urbanstems
I think part of this issue comes down to the fact that Urbanstems seems to ship flowers that are closer to fully bloomed, as opposed to Bouqs practice of shipping flowers in bud form, or just shy of fully bloomed. Also, all of my orders for this review took place over the course of the summer, so it’s easy to see how the heat could affect delicate flowers in shipping.
What I found was that sometimes Urbanstems roses arrived a little brown around the edges, and even on one occasion, with a couple buds broken off and loose in the box. Probably because they were already slightly “older”, or too damaged from the heat, a couple of those bouquets didn’t perk up much as my Bouqs flowers tended to after being clipped and added to water, so the overall life span of those bouquets was much shorter, and they started dropping petals on my desk within a week. It was a very pretty mess, but I’d have liked the bouquet to last a little longer. I probably should have complained if only to see how they would have addressed it, but it wasn’t like the flowers looked terrible when they arrived, just a little dark around the edges.
Urbanstems also had more small quality control issues, like a gold vase that arrived with an obvious scratch to the gold coating, and my otherwise cute elephant air plant holder with a sloppy cut to the plastic on one side. (to be clear, it was meant to have a cut out to hold the air plant. someone just wasn’t careful when cutting one side).
Though they were packaged identically, I had fewer issues with my Bouqs bouquets. I did have one slightly disappointing incident with a Bouqs order, the Showstopper that features succulents and roses.
Obviously, succulents don’t have long stems, so they came mounted on a plastic pipette filled with water, and attached to a wooden rod to hold the succulents at the same height as the rest of the bouquet. From the moment the bouquet arrived, one succulent was dropping leaves left and right. It eventually stopped dropping leaves, and the second succulent seemed sturdy enough, but it wasn’t something I’d be excited to send to a loved one! Overall, the majority of my Bouqs flowers arrived in great condition (and they did credit me for the bouquet when I complained), so I’m chalking this up as a fluke.
It’s also worth noting that roses are fragile, and you may want to consider arrangements with hardier blooms when ordering flowers in very hot or very cold weather. Bouqs lush, leafy tropical bouquets are much less likely to arrive wilted in extreme weather.
Variety at Bouqs vs Urbanstems
Bouqs is the clear winner when it comes to sheer variety of bouquets and flower types available.
I really love that there’s always something new, beautiful, and seasonal to choose from. Whether you’re sending flowers for a special occasion or displaying them at home, there’s something that will suit your tastes and the season.
There’s so much to choose from at Bouqs that it can actually be a little overwhelming at first, but they do help you to narrow it down by origin of the flowers, occasion, flower type, and delivery window. In addition to flowers, Bouqs offers potted orchids for delivery, and just as I was finishing up this post, they launched a wider variety of petite potted plants.
When it comes to extras, Bouqs allows you to add a “signature vase” (a tall metal farmhouse style vase with an oatmeal finish– pretty, but not for every decor style) to many of their bouquets, and some bouquets come with a different vase, like a large mason jar. However, there’s not much vase variety, and you aren’t given the option to add a vase at all for some bouquets.
Bouqs also doesn’t offer any of the thoughtful add-ons like candy or small gifts that Urbanstems sometimes does.
On the other hand, Urbanstems has a much smaller variety of bouquets available, with some classic standbys that more or less stay the same, and others that rotate, including the Vogue Collection, which I really love, both in concept and execution.
Urbanstems works with Vogue editors to create limited edition floral arrangements with coordinated vases. These bouquets change seasonally, so there’s always something fresh and chic to choose from. I appreciate that they design the vase and bouquet as a whole package, which makes the bouquets feel extra special.
In some markets, you can also order potted orchids, air plants, or even a mini bonsai for delivery! Sadly, plants aren’t available in my market (though I did order an air plant when they briefly popped up, then disappeared again).
Where I think Urbanstems really sets themselves apart– if they could only be more consistent about it–is their selection of neat add-ons like small birthday gifts, chocolate, cards, an additional selection of vases, and other cute trinkets.
The selection of add-ons changes over time, and that I get, but I can’t quite figure out the logic behind what they offer to what markets, or how they’re handling their stock.
Right now if I’m logged into my account, I can only see two add-ons, even though I was able to successfully order a birthday box to go with my mother’s birthday bouquet order just a couple days ago. If I visit Urbanstems when logged out, I see a larger variety of add-ons available, so I’m guessing it’s based on delivery address + available stock for your market, but the inconsistency of what’s available on any given day is a little frustrating. At any rate, it’s worth checking out to see what’s available in your market.
Bouqs vs Urbanstems: Which is Best?
I found something to criticize with both flower delivery services, and honestly, none of the issues were so major that I’d write them off. I’d still happily order from both.
However, if I had to choose a favorite, I’d crown Bouqs as the best online flower delivery service for their dizzying selection and slightly higher overall quality. But I do think Bouqs could learn from some of Urbanstems’ innovative offerings, and Urbanstems can still be a great choice depending on your tastes and needs.