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Maya Flowers : Sumati Gogna On Changing Online Flower Shopping in India

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 11 September 2017, 13:13 Hrs
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Here we are talking about a startup that is based on the experience and expertise of an offline business of over 10 years! What started as a brick and mortar flower shop, is now a trendsetter in digital space that serves all over the world. We happened to chance upon Mrs. Sumati Gogna, the CEO of Maya Flowers and Easy Flowers and asked her a couple of questions about her vision and the recent expansion to overseas. Join us for a hearty chat with her and know what entails when you are at the helm of affairs for a leading startup, which is responsible to change the way you shop for flowers. (In this interview, we have deliberately avoid discussing the stereotypes and gender roles at the workplace.)

How difficult isit to run a company that doesn’t have any external funding, no debts and is profitable?

Spearheading operations for any company in any vertical has its own challenges, let's not undermine that or the efforts. However, a company that doesn't have investors or offshore funding, the challenges manifold and are multifaceted. Maya Flowers is successful because we have had a very clear vision from the start. We wanted to position flowers and flowers arrangements as a versatile gift that is for everyone and every moment without compromising on the quality and service standards. It is an experience-based learning that we are putting in at Maya Flowers and Easy Flowers to deliver our customers on-time and to make their special days, more special.

It is a risky time for startups. We have seen the giants of marketplace crumble and collapse like a house of cards. The ones we have, aren’t even breaking even barring one or two. So, tell us how an e-com like you, with no funding and debts is registering profit and making it big?

I will take it as a compliment (grins). There is no shortcut or quick-fix formula for success. Working towards a common goal and levelling it up with everybody who chooses to work with you is paramount. We have a vision and we still are working for it. It is an incremental process that doesn’t happen overnight. Steering the team in the right direction and tying each effort to your overall strategy is important. A loose end, no matter how microscopic it appears to be, which doesn’t translate into, resonates or isn’t contextual can wipe out your entire effort. So, consistency is important.

Flowers are still considered to be a luxury or high-end gift. What kind of consumer shift have you noticed or do you think that still, some work needs to be done on this front?

Maya Flowers entered into the domain with one thing in the mind, to change the gifting pattern in India. We wanted the consumers to move and think beyond those gift swaps happening among relatives during the festivals or the trend of gifting things that have little to no value for them. We wanted them to think of flowers as a wholesome gift. And from last 8 years, we have worked towards creating floral concepts, flower bouquet and arrangements that work for everybody and every occasion, as well as fit in their budget. As far as the luxury quotient attached with flowers are concerned, we are seeing a steady yet tremendous growth in people, especially the middle-class segment and college goers buying flowers online with us. Our repeat customers are what make us class apart in the gifting space because they keep coming back to us and trust us even when we aren’t offering them any discounts or promo codes. We have built Maya Flowers on superior customer experience and deliverables and would continue doing so.

As a business, what do you most emphasize on?

Making our business customer -compliant. This may sound cliché but it is what breaks or makes a business. It is the gold standards of any business, be it offline or e-com. Running a business that is debt-free and isn't funded from outside as well as is profitable is only possible when your customers are happy with you.That's why we take pride in setting a service standard that puts quality and timely delivery on topmost priority.

Besides, innovation is also on our mind. Technology is evolving on a daily basis and it would be foolish to not to embrace the advancements to make your business smarter and more user-friendly. Customers are expecting more and more from the service sector. We can’t just be done with mere delivery of flowers, everything has to be specific-from the route we take to how we deliver and what are they getting and what for?

Maya Flowers is expanding to flowers delivery in UAE, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia too. How are you planning to go ahead without any external investment so far?

You can’t expand without investments and we are putting back some of the profits earned in a financial year to serve overseas every time. Knowing that you have global potential and delivering on it are vastly two different things, but we have put infrastructure and delivery channels in place and we are assured that we are capable to handle it in the same way we did for the Indian market.

How do you plan to manage the festive rush?

Ah! Diwali is coming and Christmas is also around the corner. Now when we have expanded our base to other countries as well, we are buzzing with excitement and anticipation. We are ready to handle the online rush and serves are ready to tackle the traffic. There are quite a few surprises that we are rolling down for our customers and we can’t wait to see the results! It is going to be pleasant, we are assured!

How do you define the working culture at Maya Flowers?

A balanced mix of sincerity, fun and frolic. We take work seriously but we don’t want to miss out on the fun while doing so. While we don’t have any beanbag culture at work, we are employee-friendly and focus more on work rather than when has one punched or logged-in 

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