Flaberry.com: Send Gifts, Flowers & Cakes with an extra ‘Zing’

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Started in January 2013 and headquartered in New Delhi, Flaberry provides experiential gifting services all across India. Supplementing their primary gifts (Flowers, Cakes, Plants and Chocolates) with highly customized services, you can now create truly memorable gifting experiences for your near and dear ones on any special day for any occasion. Sitting far from family and friends is no more a barrier as you can now send gifts and personalized wishes to them from the comfort of your home.

With “Flaberry Augmented Reality” added to the platform, they have added an exciting new dimension to the concept of gifting.

Techaloo got an opportunity to have a chit chat with Mr. Anurag Srivastava, founder @ Flaberry. Here is what he has to say about his journey and the venture.

Techaloo: What motivated you to start Flaberry?

Having been on the consumer side of this market, I realized that there was a huge gap between what was available in the market and what the customer really wanted. This disconnect led to a seed of an idea which grew into the inception of Flaberry. The idea behind Flaberry was to provide the customers a well curated product portfolio with the option of customizing and personalizing their gifts.

 

Techaloo: What was your vision/mission while starting Flaberry?

Flaberry was an idea which revolved around creating value for the customer with exemplary service. The drive was to build something from the ground up and be able to take complete ownership for it. The vision/mission for Flaberry is to empower the end user by allowing him to have complete control over the gifting process. Since gifting in highly emotional in nature, the customer should have the tools to personalize and customize the gift to suit his needs so that it becomes extra special. Flaberry will just be a facilitator in providing these tools and enabling the tools to work to their optimum best for the customer.

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Techaloo: What hurdles did you face while starting?

The biggest challenge that we faced initially was to build the associate network. I spent about 2 years building the associate network and incorporating them with our SOP’s and best practices. The market is unorganized and when we set out, many of them did not even own a computer to support their business.

Since we realized quite early on that these associates would be the building blocks of the business and were key stakeholders, I invested time and effort to get this right. We travelled extensively in identifying and shortlisting our associates. It was essential that they shared the same synergies of Flaberry, which was to give their best to the customer always. The basic pre-screening of associates took the maximum time and once done, we were able to quickly carry on with the on-boarding process with our practices and SOP’s. Choosing the right associate and helping them build their competencies has been satisfying both professionally and personally, since we believe we have made a difference to their business too. Today, we have an associate network spread across major metros all the way up to tier 3 cities and this is the key building base of Flaberry.

 

Techaloo: Have you got any kind of funding or looking for the same?

Flaberry is currently bootstrapped and has evolved into a profitable business within just 6 months of the inception of its operations. Having broken even so quickly, Flaberry has been a rapidly growing profitable venture for more than a year now .This is primarily attributed to the lean model we follow without a heavy outlay of capital investment. Although we take pride in our high rate of top line growth, we have earmarked huge plans for Flaberry, and for that next phase of exponential growth, we will look for fund infusion in the near future. Since we have a sustainable and scalable model, external funding was not an imperative concern until now. Rather, establishing the right practices and a cohesive and competent team at Flaberry was our foremost priority. We are poised to tread the path of our next stage of growth and external funding will certainly catalyze the expansion.

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Techaloo: Tell us something about your services?

Flaberry.com is a new age experiential gifting solution which enables you from within the comfort of your home to find gifts to suit every occasion and customize them through various technological services.

 

Our product portfolio is spread across 6 categories, which include flowers, plants, cakes, cup-cakes, sweets and chocolates. The product range is intentionally kept small to achieve a high level of personalization and creativity in every one of them. The trade-off is between mass market products and niche customized products and we have chosen the latter. This model allows us to treat every order like it would be managed by an individual account manager.

 

Techaloo: How does complete eco-system work?

Flaberry is a zero inventory, hybrid model which is a mix of marketplace and a product based model. We are straddling the best of both the worlds with this unique setup. While we are aggregators of products of various vendors and associates, we hold a strict control on the product portfolio and the quality. The product is designed in-house and implemented by our associates on the ground, who make the final stage deliveries. This allows us a lean model without a heavy outlay of capital investment.

 

Techaloo: What occasions people are buying for the most?

Being in the gifting industry, occasions like birthdays and anniversaries are the mainstay of the business. There are some Nuevo age occasions like Valentine’s day and Mother’s day which are seeing a lot of traction. Considering the young demographic profile of the country and increasing westernization, there is an increasing acknowledgement of these occasions and customers are looking for newer ways to celebrate and gift. This is where the Flaberry advantage of customization and personalization comes in where customers can entirely customize the gift according to the occasion and the recipient to delight them.

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Techaloo: How are you different from your competitors?

The biggest differentiator of Flaberry is the technological edge that we have in our built-in features such as MyVoice4U and Flaberry Augmented Reality [FAR]. These features enable the users to personalize their gifts by adding audio and video messages to them. We enable consumers to provide their inputs in creating the perfect gifts with our customization features. Right from the product design to customized messages, the customer requirement is the key factor in the whole gifting process at Flaberry. The other aspect which sets us apart from the rest is the intuitive user interface of the website making it easy to use for every demographic segment. Beyond this, the delivery systems of Flaberry such as the same day deliveries, midnight deliveries and fixed date deliveries enable us to meet the very specific requirements of every customer. While deliveries in this business compete on the metric of fastest to the customer, in the gifting space it is of paramount importance for the deliveries to be completed on the day that pertains to the special occasion of the customer.

MyVoice4U

A unique feature which allows the customer to send voice messages along with the gifts.

http://www.flaberry.com/myvoice4u

Augmented Reality

A breakthrough innovation in personalization that allows customers to send video messages along with the gifts.

http://www.flaberry.com/augmented-reality

 

Techaloo: What about support from your family, while starting?

Being a first generation entrepreneur, the plunge into entrepreneurship would have been very difficult without the support of my family. They have been my support system through the highs and the lows and been some of the best critics at times.

 

Techaloo: How is the response till now?

flaberry1The response that Flaberry has achieved till date has been overwhelming. We have been on a fast growth trajectory since launch and have scaled operations every month. We have had an exponential growth phase in our first year operations with a growth of almost 5X. But as an organization we have always based our success and growth on the number of customers who come back to buy from us since they are the real indicators of our success story.

 

 

Techaloo: What are your plans for next 3 years?

Flaberry plans to expand quickly in the next couple of years. Some of the things, which are on the anvil, are opening offline stores in major cities, expansion on a global scale, exploring the franchisee route and developing a core team of concept designers. The B2B channel is a huge growth opportunity for us and that will be one of the key drivers of our growth. Apart from this, we are soon launching a luxury range of customized chocolates, a niche offering catering to a discerning customer base. Flaberry is expanding its product portfolio to extend into the gifting aspect of the wedding segment which we believe has huge potential but is also highly unorganized. Right from wedding invites to return gifts; the category will have a comprehensive solution for wedding gifting.

 

Techaloo: What will be your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

The biggest learning that I have received till date is to have unwavering ‘belief in the idea’ and to have ‘patience’. This would be my advice to any aspiring entrepreneur. The backbone of any business idea is based on the belief and the ability to fight for it. The world is full of naysayers but it is absolutely essential to have that dogged focus towards your goal and have abundant levels of patience to persist with it.

 

Techaloo: What do you think about techaloo.com?

Techaloo is a key platform for startups like us to share our stories and also spread the word. Also it’s a great site for us to follow and keep track of inspiring things happening in the startup ecosystem. Thanks to techaloo for this great initiative.

 

Team Behind The Success

Flaberry Team

The team at Flaberry is 20 member strong. Some of the key profiles are

 

Anurag Srivastava – Anurag is the founder at Flaberry. Graduated from BIT, Mesra, he joined Samsung as a software engineer and worked there for approximately 3 years. After Samsung he added more value to the ValyooTechnologies (Lenskart, watchkart, bagskart).

Rishiraj Shrawat– An ISB and BIT, Mesra alumnus, Rishi is helping drive the technology and operations strategy at Flaberry. He designs and executes long term and short term plans to leverage technology for optimizing operations and streamlining processes. Rishi has a pre-MBA experience of about 4yrs working with Samsung as a firmware (UI) developer for business printers. Music and Food drive Rishi when not working on writing code on his excel sheets.

Anuj Kukreja– Anuj brings to Flaberry a rich experience of over 5years in core marketing and sales. At Flaberry he drives the corporate gifting channel and provides business clients with end to end gifting solutions. When not working on his presentations, he is an ardent biker and he loves taking short trips to the mountains.

Aishwarya Mishra– Aishwarya has an experience of about 3 years in retail branding and marketing. At Flaberry she is driving the overall brand marketing strategy. While away from her marketing mumbo-jumbo, she is constantly keeping track of the latest trends in fashion and lifestyle.

Richa Kaushal– Richa is a techie who found her true calling in the field of Digital marketing. At Flaberry she is instrumental in driving the digital strategy and social media marketing. A foodie by nature, she is on a perennial hunt for the next dessert bar in town.

Megha Jain– An alumnus of NMIMS, Megha handles HR at Flaberry. Right from talent acquisition to employee engagement, she drives all the HR processes at Flaberry. While not devising the next bright plan to engage her fellow colleagues, she is looking for the next best holiday destination.

Yukti Dewan– Yukti has about 2 years experience in content creation and handles the content strategy at Flaberry. She drives the content plan across multiple channels and is the source of the written word at Flaberry. While not writing or thinking of new content, she likes to catch up on her reading.

Gursharan Singh– A BIT, Mesra Alumnus, Gursharan heads the Purchase department and is also spearheading the Wedding Category for Flaberry. One of the first to join the team, he has been an integral part of the organization and a key member of the team. Known internally as the ‘wikipedia’, he is knowledgeable about almost everything under the sun.

Sonu Singh– Sonu handles the creative portfolio, designing for both online and offline media at Flaberry. Right from visualization to execution, all the creative pursuits at Flaberry revolve around him. His major interest in life apart from design lies in the culinary world.

Ravi Mittal– The newest member of the team, Ravi brings to Flaberry an experience of over 4 years. He handles finance and accounts at Flaberry. Apart from the world of numbers, Ravi is also interested in bikes and cars.

Customer experience– A 5 member strong team aimed at achieving a delightful and seamless experience for the customer. Spearheaded by Milind and Sheelendra, they handle the team as well as merchant and associate interaction. They are the champions of customer delight at Flaberry.

 

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Mohit Bansal(23) is B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. He has interest in business and entrepreneurship and has published couple of research articles. He is also associated with various NGOs. He is with Techaloo when it was just in concept stage. The Techaloo site was not existing even then. Currently Mohit is working with Mu Sigma as a Business Analyst Profile.

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