Boomf CEO Roman Grigoriev Talks Boomf, Entrepreneurship, and Leadership

Boomf greeting cards

MP recently spoke with Roman Grigoriev. Grigoriev has co-founded seven companies, which have attracted global leaders as investors, board members, and advisers. In 2015, he set up Splento, a platform, and marketplace for professional photographers worldwide. It allows users and businesses to hire a photographer, have photos edited, and get them delivered the next day. While working with visual content, Grigoriev experimented with gift cards, photo printing, and formats. He now serves as the new CEO of Boomf, bringing both businesses, Boomf and Splento, to the next stage of growth. He is always searching for new ideas to make the world happier.

Boomf gift set
Photo courtesy of Boomf

Boomf

What is Boomf, and how is it unique?

Boomf is a unique personalized online greetings company. Boomf is unique because of our flagship products, the exploding cards, that you can personalize with your photos and messages. When you open the card, the sender can select a range of exploding items such as a shower of colorful confetti, a fluttering butterfly, or a pop-up comedy character that explodes into the lucky recipient’s face and home, giving them that impactful surprise on their special day. This unique idea helped us grow our social media following to almost 1 million across different channels, and the growth rate continues to accelerate. We hope to get to 5 million social media followers within three years.

How has Boomf differentiated its brand (e.g., look, feel, and, most importantly, experience) from its competitors?

Boomf is well known for its ground-breaking exploding cards, such as the Boomf Bomb, the Boomf Cannon, the Boomf Flutter Card, the Boomf Wild Card, and the Ta-Dah Card – all went viral with a confetti surprise. That has made Boomf the leading and innovative player in the greetings card market by making millions of people worldwide happy.

Attention to detail differentiates Boomf from its competitors by making small changes for the better every day. We are also starting to make small changes for our environment by taking environmental responsibilities seriously and putting action into reforestation. We are only using paper from verified sustainable sources such as FSC and taking one step forward to the future of sustainability. We have joined forces with more: trees to replace every tree used and plant more with an initial planting exercise in Merseyside in April 2022. Boomf’s future green plans include tree gifting per purchase on our website and becoming carbon neutral by 2025. We want to encourage customers to turn their friendly gesture into an eco-friendly one, too, when they can send a card and plant a tree with Boomf.

What is Boomf’s creative direction, and why?

To give our customers gifting superpowers by creating cards and gifts with extra oomph.

What does Boomf stand for as a business, and why?

Deep down, we want to make this world a better place. And we strongly believe that this can be achieved by helping our customers say to their loved ones, “I care about you,” in a million different ways. 

Entrepreneurship

What four questions should would-be entrepreneurs ask themselves before starting a new greeting card business?

  1. Why do I want to do it?
  2. How will I win against the tough competition?
  3. Where do I want to launch?
  4. Is there a niche not covered by my better-funded competitors?

As an executive, what are your three greatest fears, and how do you manage those fears?

As a CEO, you don’t fear anything – you have doubts and reservations, but you don’t fear. If you want to thrive in this disrupted world, you must be incredibly fearless.

What are three obstacles you’ve faced while growing Boomf, and how have you overcome them?

Cultural Change

We bought a business, but we needed to instill a startup culture. Good luck to anyone trying to change minds and habits in a short period. The first thing we addressed was to instill the founder mentality, and the rest of the cultural change flowed from that.

Technical Debt

We bought a business with a seven-year-old tech stack that was no longer working. We got the best R&D team in our industry and re-platformed in 4 months. This took our largest competitors three years to achieve.

Roman Boomf planting trees
Roman Grigoriev plants a tree / Photo courtesy of Boomf

Sustainability

Boomf was very much focused on growth to the detriment of its CSR and ESG. We feel that climate change is a top priority for any company – large or small – and we found a great partner (more: trees) to help us address this issue.

Leadership

What are three pieces of advice you can share with people looking to become influential leaders in their businesses, and why?

The first is reputation. It takes 20 years to build it, and you can lose it in five minutes. S,o always focus on your reputation. That’s how the Boomf opportunity came about because of the reputation I had built for myself. Opportunities come to you when people know you as a reliable business person. So reputation is everything.

The second is that there are many things you can’t plan. You just have to put in hard work, but you can’t connect dots looking forward. You should work towards your goal, but you’ll realize that lots of things come about in strange ways that you couldn’t have prepared for.

The third is if you want to start a business, just start. Do it. It’s that simple. Of course, you should do it very structured way because you have to have a goal. So, the sooner you start, the better. But it has to be a structured approach. You have to keep experimenting. You have to keep failing to learn – it’s not failing. It’s getting experience. Make sure you’re learning non-stop.

Cover photo courtesy of Boomf.