Poor Quality Flower Delivery Led Sehgal & Chawla to Find FlowerAura in 2010
India exports her best roses to Asian countries but the indian customer hardly ever gets to experience their beauty. This is just one of the insights shared by Shrey Sehgal, Co-founder alongside Himanshu Chawla a gifting ecommerce company which will complete 10 years in 2020. From an opening investment of Rs 3lakh, FlowerAura completed seven lakh (approximately) orders in the 2018-19 financial year, with an average order value of Rs 800. N ow, they've included plants as part of their service. ""We are the only website in India where delivery of plants takes place on the same day in almost 100 cities, shared Sehgal.”Delivering plants has been very profitable for us -in less than a year, it has become more than 10% of our top-line."
The startup bug
I grew up in Panipat and I am an engineer by profession - as most startup founders are! My first job was at a startup itself and I knew from the start that I had to find something of my own. My family has been in government jobs, they always said business is not for us. They stressed the importance of studying because the other alternative was repairing cycles. But, the thought that I have to make a mark in my business, that stayed with me. I took it as a challenge, and from my college days onwards, I read books about startups, and attended workshops and events related to startups."
Starting from scratch
"In 2010, when we started FlowerAura, our first start up, we both were in Mumbai, and we realised that most people around us did not have a great flower-de livery experience. I would not like to take names but 10 years back, online delivery meant only wilted flowers. So, using our engineering skills, we developed a web site. Back then, there were no smartphones and flower delivery retailers were not taking the online business seriously. The power of being online was underdeveloped. This was when we realised that technology can make a huge difference. But it was a tough task to convince florists to take risks, changing the flower inventory and putting in a lot of investment."
Before the Blooming
Hiring the first set of employees is usually the biggest challenge because you have to make sure people buy into your vision. And when you start working from a basement office - I remember people who had come in for interviews, they would just walk away looking at our office from outside. We were bootstrapped so we faced challenges with providing good office facilities, but that has now changed."
Contemplating a rosy future
We completely understand the 'last-minute gifting' practice. Currently, our company has its own delivery fulfillment centers in major cities. We are also trying to do some tie-ups so that our customers get access to the best quality flowers, which are usually re served for exporting purposes. For instance, Indian roses are exported to Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and the Middle East, so we are trying to change that. Roses are the most ordered flowers in India because they are a symbol of love; orchids and lilies follow. Bonsais and terrariums are also loved by a lot of clients."