ost Indians interact with traditional flowers - jasmine, marigold, chrysanthemum, roses etc -every single day. They use it in their morning prayer, to decorate their hair,to hang up in their auto, car, offices. Traditional flower usage is a ubiquitous need, just like the daily newspaper or milk.
And yet this enormous sector of the flower market - making up 1.6 billion kgs of flower production in India - has barely changed in the last 3 decades. The supply chain is still incredibly fragmented, unorganised and the wastage is as high as 40%.
Flowers are passed through multiple levels of handling, and by the time they reach the end customer, it’s been 36-48 hours since their harvest, with no cold chain or proper care.
This is where Rose Bazaar comes in - through our background in the flower industry, streamlined supply chain that brings down the turnaround time from harvest to the customer to 12- 24 hours (against the industry average of 36-48 hours) and a brand that customers can trust - we are changing how the traditional flowers industry currently functions.
What made you to start this journey and how is it going so far?
The story of Rose Bazaar started a long time ago - both us(we’re sisters, if the names didn’t give that away) - grew up on floriculture farms. Our father started his rose farm in 1994, the year Yeshoda was born. He then grew to have farms in India, Ethiopia and Kenya. Along the way we saw how the industry changed dramatically - from unorganised, fragmented markets to the setting up of the International Flower Auction Bangalore and the first exports of cut roses from Bangalore.
We both worked at our family business and while working in the cut flower industry, we saw first hand the enormous scalability in the industry, but what was shocking is that while bouquet flowers are big, most Indians don’t actually interact with flowers in that way.
We saw an enormous opportunity in the traditional flowers industry - with our experience in agriculture, we’re able to partner with farms to reduce the turnaround time to 12-24 hours. Innovation in the packaging helps us extend the flower shelf life by 2x to 5x, something unheard of in the current industry.
The journey so far has been exciting as we learn and grow more everyday.
Tell about your recent funding and how it has helped you?
We have received funding through the Techstars program. I think more than the money, the real value we’ve gotten from the program is the mentorship they provide and the ability to look at our business from a bird’s eye view.
Can you give one top customer success story?
We love speaking to our customers and understanding what Rose Bazaar means to them and what we can consistently do to improve our service.
One of our customers told us about how she grew up offering flowers to God and before Rose Bazaar, she used to feel guilty about not being able to, she said she asked god “I wish someone could be there” to provide this service. She said, “I thought God heard me when I saw your service online.” For her, the flowers our her way of showing gratitude to God, and this is how she was brought up. As she offers the flowers to God, she used to ask God to bless Rose Bazaar for providing this service that means so much to her. This story is something that is so close to our heart, when we started Rose Bazaar, it was to be able to provide an experience that is personal and spiritual to each of our customers, and conversations like this with our customers is what drives us as we build Rose Bazaar.
What do you look from the Government to help startups?
Startup India is a great resource for startups, upon registration there are a lot of benefits that open up to companies, in terms of ease of compliance, access to different kinds of resources etc.
As a startup, what are the top 2 challenges you face now?
As a startup, we are constantly learning and growing everyday, and we always have way more ideas than the time and resources to implement them. A key challenge for most startups and founders is being able to prioritize what we want to build today that will take us to where we want to be tomorrow.
How do you measure success?
Success to us is the role that our flowers play in our customer’s lives. We’re constantly having conversations with our customers to understand how they use the flowers and what Rose Bazaar means to them.
Congratulations to Rose Bazaar team.
Thanks to Yeshoda Karuturi, Co-founder.