Nothing like flowers. And if they are freshly picked from the gardens, it is all that needs to make any space come alive. Flowers were until some time ago a special occasion indulgence, except for being used to worship the temple idols and the 'puja space' in Indian homes, offices, shops and even inside Indian taxis. Who can miss the fresh jasmine inside a Chennai cab dashboard adoring a deity's picture?
Fresh Flower subscription is now slowly picking up in India. Mostly started with taking delivery of flowers used for worshipping the gods, the urban floral lovers are slowly indulging into fresh flowers treat. It is a great service especially for workplaces where the atmosphere can be instantly brighten up with fresh set of flower arrangements. But people are now considering fresh flower subscription for home space as well. Fresh slower arrangements not only gives the room or space a thrust of life and energy but it is also the best gift for someone whom you want to give smiles and joy.
Shades of Spring is one such small business initiative, started by a couple, who were both in the e-commerce industry. Shade of Springs is a small business inspiration and through their business they are also helping local farmers from different parts of India to promote and flourish in floriculture. An excerpt of the interview with Nidhi Gupta, Co-Founder, Shades of Springs.
1. Tell us about yourself, and your role with Shade of Springs?
Born and bought up in Alwar, Rajasthan. I am a computer science engineer and MBA post grad, and have 5 years of experience in ecommerce industry. I am a founder at Shades of Spring and started a subscription concept by the end of 2017. Had a successful proof of concept in 2018 for flower subscription and got involved with SoS full time from 2019 onward.
"We also observed how everyone had beautiful vases at home but filled them with artificial flowers"
2. Tell us the story of Shade of Springs, how and when the entire concept first germinated and about this concept of subscribing for flowers?
During my courtship with my husband (Anuj), he use to bring big bunch of flowers. Although I loved the flowers but he always use to complain about the quality and variety of the flowers available. We also observed how everyone had beautiful vases at home but filled them with artificial flowers.
We somehow always had an eye for flowers. Post our marriage one of our must visit places on itinerary was Keukenhof gardens where we bought tulips and lavender and brought them to India. My better half also took me to morning flower markets when I moved to Bangalore. It was in these markets we started to understand the real prices of flowers in wholesale and the inefficiencies in supply chain.
My husband was a Flipkart product manager who had recently launched the grocery business “Flipkart Supermart” and saw a lot of similar inefficiencies in the flower business. I myself worked at Snapdeal in FMCG segment in my career. We studied closely the model from farmers to distributors to retailers and figured out this industry can be disrupted by providing 100+ Variety of flowers, harvested just 24 hours before delivery and priced at as low as 20% of the current retail price.
We decided to start a bulk subscription alongside our jobs to test the idea whether people would love to spend a certain amount weekly for home décor with flowers or was it just the two of us. We started by sending an email in our apartment society and the response was overwhelming.
"We run business with customer first approach and our aim is to spread happiness everyday"
3. Where do these beautiful blooms come from?
We work closely with farmers from different parts of India. Popular places and flowers hub of India is Bangalore and Ooty. Along with that we have tied up with farmers from Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Kolkata.
4. How many people are there in your team and how do you run the business?
We have grown from 6-member team to 15-member team post-COVID. Our team has interns, concierge executives , florist and designers, delivery guys, and marketing/category team, it’s a small version of any big ecommerce company. We run business with customer first approach and our aim is to spread happiness everyday.
"The entire ecosystem in the industry lacks best practices and education"
5. What do you think gives you the biggest challenges in this business?
The entire ecosystem in the industry lacks best practices and education. So while we are known to be a B2C brand we have equally large focus on working closely with farmers, getting them to experiment and adopt new techniques. To this at scale quickly, we will need deep expertise and investments from visionaries. These are the big challenges we are working on right now.
The copyright of all flower arrangement pictures used in this page belongs to @theshadesofspring