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Ferns N Petals: A profitable company without investor funding or raising debts

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 03 August 2017, 12:41 Hrs
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Zero investor money…
Zero Debts…
Growing fast in the digital space…
Profitable …

This is just a dream in the current market scenario. If someone says there is one such company, none of us would believe. But there is one such existing. This company has started with florist shop in Delhi 2 decades ago and is now almost ruling the gifting space in India with more than 240 retail stores across India and is also growing leaps and bounds in the ecommerce space. The company is Ferns N Petals, who is now eyeing international markets, the first being Arab Emirates.

Here is the transcript of a chat we had with the man who leads the organisation for more than 15 years, Mr. Pawan Gadia, CEO of Ferns N Petals.

Q1. We have been hearing stories of Ferns N Petals have just started as a florist shop in Delhi and now we see Ferns N Petals everywhere. How is it going?

A1. Yes, Ferns N Petals was started in the year 1994 and we have come a long way with 245flower stores across the country. We proudly say that we are the largest florist chain in the whole world. We have set up our online store in 2002 and today we are the largest in the online gifting space having served more than 5 million satisfied customers including NRIs, who use our services for their gifting needs in India.Ferns N Petals is the only online gifting portal https://www.fnp.com, which has its own delivery network across the country and thus is able to deliver quality across all the deliveries happening.

While we have introduced a lot of categories beyond flowers, cake category is growing very well for us and we are now expanding this category offline, too by setting up our own cake shops in the name of FNP Cakes N More. We have already opened 12 shops across the country and we plan to open 50 shops in this financial year.

We have started going International 2 years ago with UAE to start with, through our new website www.fnp.ae, catering to UAE. Our current focus is to make it number one gifts portal for Dubai. While this settles down, we are considering other markets in MENA and SE Asia.

Q2. You should then be investing a lot. How are you managing the funds? Who are the investors?

A2. Of course, investment is needed, but we are not relying on any external funding or on money raised through debts. We put back part of the profits again as investment into new initiatives and ventures, including expansions. We are very clearly focussed on bottom line and thus profitable, making us generate money for new investments internally into various projects and initiatives. We have zero investor money and zero debts.

Q3. No Debt, No Investor’s money and a profitable E commerce company- Did you just defy the business rules that are in trend?

A3. We have our vision, our gaols and the ways to achieve them. We are just behind them and have been over-achieving them. That’s all we care for. I don’t want to comment about any trending ways of doing business. It all is based on the business goals each of the businesses set for themselves.

Thinking about the customer in everything that we do – this is the first and foremost thing for us. We believe that if you solve the customer’s problem and maintain quality, customers will keep giving you repeat business and would also become your advocates to get more customers, there-by even decreasing your cost of customer acquisition. We follow this very strictly. We make sure each of our employees understand this and think about the customer in each of the tasks they execute – it could be as simple as my office boy in the way he treats our guest to the office since a lot of these guests would in turn, influence the customer journey either directly or indirectly.

We also believe in the fact that customers’ demands would constantly be increasing and we have to keep changing ourselves and be able to innovate constantly to meet their demands, whether it be the service delivery, product variety as well as the customer experience across all touch points including the website, mobile app, the retail stores, call centre, etc. For example, we give real-time updates to the customers on the status of their orders.

To put it simple, focus on the customer and everything falls in place – money is no exception to that.

Q4. How is it going with the current RakshaBandhan season? It should be hectic for you, right?

A4. Rakhi is definitely is one of the biggest seasons for us at FNP where we see spike in our business. As we speak now, we are doing very well with Rakhi gifts, not just in India, but Rakhi deliveries outside India, including UAE, USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Singapore, etc. Technology also plays a crucial role in handling the huge traffic that is going to hit the servers during this time  as well as managing the orders and we are quite sorted and also efficient use of the delivery networks that we have helps us in managing the festive rush.

Q5. What is your highest business priority at this time?

A5. Customer satisfaction is our bread and butter. My biggest goal at this point in time is to achieve ‘zero complaints’ from our customers. To be able to give a customer a wow experience so that he not only comes back to us but also tells 10 other people about us, is what I want.

In my opinion, it’s not the database size, but the size of the satisfied customers and your brand advocates that matter.

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