Give flowers to ladies: how to start a flower business during quarantine?
The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a serious blow to the economies of many countries, especially small and medium-sized businesses.
However, quarantine also made it possible to establish new business processes. Alina Akhmetshina, a participant of the 8th acceleration stream of Astana Hub, founder of the Cvetogis project, told about how to start a startup during a pandemic and about the subtleties of running a flower business.
- Tell us about your project? How did the idea to start a startup with flowers come about?
- I worked as a leading specialist in a fintech company, my partner, co-founder of Cvetogis, Dmitry Baskakov, also worked in the company as a trade manager.
We had our own flower shop, and the idea of a startup came at that time. Very often, customers lost a lot of time searching for and ordering the bouquet they needed. The desire to simplify the procedure of searching and ordering flowers and related products was the beginning of our project.
- How has the pandemic affected your business?
- The pandemic gave a direct impetus to the development of the startup. When everything was closed, it was possible to work only online and only for delivery. We realized that it was time to start trying. In addition to the fact that we helped customers by ordering a bouquet to express their attention, love and support at this difficult time, at a distance, we also gave flower shops the opportunity for additional income, the opportunity to increase their sales and survive a lockdown less painlessly, since our service is not one specific store, we are an aggregator of flower shops.
It cannot be said that there were no difficulties: interruptions in supplies, lack of flowers, closure of borders, all this greatly influenced the establishment of processes, but nevertheless we managed to survive.
Now we are at the MVP stage (minimum viable product) to finally configure the functionality.
Our service is as simple as possible, it is a website www.cvetogis.kz, where bouquets and additional related products are presented: indoor flowers, balloons, sweets and the like. You just choose the bouquet you like, add it to the basket, specify the delivery address or pickup and pay in a convenient way for you.
- Tell us about your team?
- Our team consists of me, Dmitry, co-founder of Cvetogis and our developer, who has been working with us since the formation of Cvetogis.
- How does your product differ from competitors? The uniqueness of the service?
-Our uniqueness lies in the fact that we want to create a service that will reduce the amount of time spent searching for the right bouquet or gift to a minimum, a service that will individually adapt to the client and offer suitable options for events in the client's life. Our goal is to make it possible to pay attention, express gratitude and your feelings in the simplest, fastest and most convenient way.
Our service is focused on b2b and b2c segments, on the one hand these are the owners of flower shops, pastry shops and owners of holiday goods, and on the other hand these are ordinary people, because each of us at least once in his life bought a bouquet of flowers, a houseplant or a cake for a holiday or just to please a loved one.
Also, we work with businesses and offer our services for ordering and delivering flowers, cakes and sweets to the office for congratulating colleagues, delivering presents for business partners. By rolling in our service, you always win in the assortment and choice, since we have it presented from several stores.
- Who are your clients?
Now our service works with clients from CIS countries, especially Russia and Uzbekistan, America, Canada. Very often, we are contacted by customers from Germany. There was a case when a client could not come from Germany because of closed borders to honor the memory of his parents, we helped him with this. This is another uniqueness of our service - after all, flowers are a tribute to memory.
- What are your plans for the future?
Now we are already starting to actively connect stores in other cities of Kazakhstan - this is Pavlodar, Kostanay. In the coming year, we plan to expand our service to the CIS countries, in particular, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Although our service can exist wherever there is a tradition to give flowers and a festive mood.
- Why did you decide to take part in the Astana Hub acceleration program?
We came to Astana Hub to advance our knowledge in scaling and developing startups, to find additional ways to solve our startup, to focus on entering the international market and, of course, for communication and communication, because Astana Hub is a place where guys who want to change the world and our country for the better gather. And where, if not in Astana Hub, you can get advice from really necessary and useful people without any obligations and funds, having only an idea. This, I think, is one of the main strengths of Astana Hub.