India's branded and perhaps one of the first organised flower retail chains--Ferns N Petals started out in 1994 with a small outlet in Delhi and has now grown to over 110 stores in the country and abroad (through franchise model) with an annual turnover of Rs 100 crore. Ferns N Petals recently launched a training academy to create a platform for potential and aspiring Indian florists to learn the ways of the business. Pravda Godbole spoke to Vikaas Gutgutia, co-founder and managing director, Ferns N Petals.Edited excerpts.
What is the thought behind finding a florist academy?
The idea behind the foundation of FNP Academy is to promote the art of floral designing for different sets of consumers. They could include an amateur who wants to try it as a hobby or aspiring professionals who want to take this up as a vocation or housewives who would simply be interested on learning the art of flower designing and decoration. Through the academy we would want to spread the culture by training students on premium designing and creativity. One of the most important reasons behind this initiative is to train the manpower according to the FNP standards. FNP Academy would be a platform which would promotes upscale products and train florists with international designs required to create premium products.
Which foreign associations have you tied up with for the same?
We have tied up with Lee Flower Design Academy from Malaysia.
What kind of a skill set will be imparted through these training schools?
The FNP Academy offers three courses: one for aspiring florists, which is an advanced level course for to-be professionals, the next one is for amateurs, that is a hobby course and the last one is for homemakers who are keen on learning the art of flower decoration.
Can you tell us in detail about your product line?
We offer premium flower deliver-ables for daily and occasional gifting. We offer a product line comprising of six different verticals: retail and franchising, weddings and events, wholesale, Tahiliani, gardens and e-commerce. FNP started its online gifting portal in 2002 that offers an exclusive variety of flowers brought in from myriad parts of the country and abroad for delivery at the customers' doorstep across the country and in 99 different countries abroad.
What are your product verticals Tahiliani and gardens all about?
FNP is in association with designer Tarun Tahiliani, who designs the complete range of FNP Tahiliani which is a premium collection of flower decoration and gifting. The garden division of FNP offers a wide array of authorised garden farms (Brij Gardens and Kundan farms) for large gatherings ranging from parties, weddings, fashion shows and corporate events. FNP wholesale manages the excess inventory including imported as well domestic flowers, by selling them in the wholesale market. Each division is interlinked to each other to complement its allied activities.
Are you planning to get into flower cultivation business?
We already have a successful wholesale business going and yes we are planning to turn into growers by the end of this year in order to complement our already existing whole sale business and to meet the requirements of our varied business verticals including retail, weddings etc. We have identified and finalised land near Hosur for flower growing and cultivation.
What will be the production capacity for the flower cultivation vertical?
We are targeting a number of 5 million stems per year with export markets as Holland and Russia.
Will you be supplying anywhere in the country and how will it compliment your current offering of flower gifting?
Our plan is to sell the surplus output in the open market. It will definitely fuel the requirement of flowers in categories like rose and incarnation and it will also reduce our dependence on farms and distributors supplying flowers to FNP. However we would continue to import exotic flowers.