Move over, pet parents. Plant parents are here!
Across the globe, millennials are being credited for breathing new life into the plant business. This growth proliferated during the lockdown, with more than just millennials bringing plants home and #houseplantparent trending on social media. Businesses catering to this segment – especially online nurseries – bloomed, but Vinayak Garg decided to do things differently.
“A lot of the time people end up killing their plants due to overwatering. Many don’t provide proper nutrition to saplings in the earlier days. Just watering is not enough; your plant needs food, which affects growth and health,” Vinayak says.
A former consultant at PwC India and founder of multiple startups, Vinayak decided to tap into the urban gardening trend by solving a problem that all plant parents face: providing nutrition to their green babies. In 2019, he bootstrapped Delhi-based Lazy Gardener, a home gardening platform, with approximately Rs 1.5 crore.
Why Lazy Gardener?
Vinayak was born into a family of avid gardeners, and has childhood memories of khaad and blooming marigold flowers. But over time, he realised that tending to plants in the hustle-bustle of daily life wasn’t easy for most people. Solving for the three variables — light, water, and nutrition — that are mandatory for good plant growth could make gardening a breeze even for a lazy gardener!
Two years of research and brainstorming, supplemented by inputs from various online gardening groups, led to the development and launch of plant food sticks that claim to keep plants nourished for two months. The variants include GreenStix for leafy foliage and BloomStix for flowers and fruits.
“You need to stick one into a pot every two months. The plant food stick dissolves every time you water your plant, providing nutrition and fertilisation,” says Vinayak, Founder, Lazy Gardener.
Vinayak started selling plant food sticks online, through his own website and other marketplaces including Amazon and Flipkart.
The urban gardening startup next rolled out plant propagation stands, gardening mats, and gardening-related décor such as plant stands, hangers, and fridge magnets. New categories, including soils and gardening equipment, will be launched in the next few months.
Vinayak’s aim is one: to makea one-stop solution for all aspiring gardeners.
The market and future
The home and garden products market includes gardening and outdoor living products, home improvement products, and homewares.
According to Market Research, the Indian home and garden product retail market is expected to generate total revenues of $31.8 billion in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.6 percent between 2016 and 2020.
Lazy Gardener currently competes with online players such as Pune-based gardening products seller Nursery Live, Pune-based online garden store Ugaoo, Ahmedabad-based online gardening store MyBageecha, fertiliser seller Feromones Stores, and hundreds of small nurseries across India.
Vinayak refrained from revealing the number of orders the Lazy Gardener records at this stage, he says repeat purchases are “close to 80 percent every five months”.
Selling gardening products online is a very recent phenomenon, which makes habit formation one of the biggest challenges for the startup. It will take a while for people to buy soil, equipment, seeds, plants, and other related equipment online instead of from local nurseries.
But Vinayak says growth has been good, with more than 90 percent sales coming from online channels and 4-5 percent from their collaborations with local nurseries.
“We wanted to expand more into offline channels, but the pandemic slowed down the process,” he says.
The startup had been in business only for eight months when the first wave of the pandemic hit India. But, Vinayak says, it managed to grow 4x during FY21 and is looking at a 100 percent year-on-year growth.
“We cannot share our revenue numbers as we are still very small. But we are definitely on the right track. And once things settle down, we will be able to fast-track our growth even more with offline expansion,” Vinayak says.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai