Like many urban gardeners, Mumbai-based couple Tanvi and Ankur Agarwal did not struggle to procure vegetables from outside their home during the nationwide lockdown. Their terrace garden fulfilled 90 percent of their needs.
Seeing their social media handles flooded with pictures of colourful and freshly harvested vegetables, friends and relatives bombarded them with multiple ‘how to’ questions — like ‘how to grow plants’, ‘how to prevent leaves from decaying’ and ‘how much water to give’.
The couple had their big eureka moment while patiently answering all these questions: Why not make and sell Do-It-Yourself (DIY) gardening kits that could help garden enthusiasts grow their own food in a hassle-free manner?
With a capital investment of Rs 30,000, they launched their venture, ‘Bombay Greens’, in May.
“We realised people wanted home-grown vegetables, especially now, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but didn’t know how to grow them as it can be tricky. Something as simple as not planting the seed correctly can spoil the outcome. Our DIY kit has a detailed step-by-step process that can get you started,” Tanvi tells The Better India.
What Makes The Kit Unique
The kit contains cocopeat, seeds, organic fertiliser and pots.
Each kit has three varieties of veggies. The combination ranges from the exotic (like bell pepper, jalapeno and zucchini) to regular (like tomatoes and spinach).
“We wanted our customers to enjoy growing different types of produce. So our stir fry kit has broccoli, zucchini and purple cabbage. The herbal tea kit offers chamomile, roselle, and butterfly pea. The microgreens kit has basil, mustard, radish, amaranth, chia and so on,” says Tanvi.
The process is simple and even a child can do it.
- Add water in cocopeat and mix it with the fertiliser
- Fill the pot with the mix and make sure it is moist.
- Based on the instructions, sow the seeds and wait for them to germinate
- Water daily and keep the pots in the sunlight.
Sharing her experience of using the kit, Mumbai-based Priyal Mehta says, “I always wanted to grow butterfly pea and roselle tea at home but didn’t know where to start. I came to know about Bombay Greens via Instagram and purchased their herbal tea kit in August. I am expecting a harvest in the next ten days. I have also started growing other vegetables like bitter gourd, celery and spinach.”
Starting A New Business During the Pandemic
The venture now has a customer base spread out across India and within five months had churned out a revenue of Rs 9,00,000.
Tanvi and Ankur did not anticipate such an overwhelming response considering businesses are struggling to stay afloat. In fact, their own business of electronic and mobile accessories suffered.
So, despite sensing the popularity of gardening during the lockdown, they were ready to face losses. Fortunately, social media proved to be an effective means to popularise their kits.
Tanvi believes in-depth research about people’s needs is the key to a successful venture, “We spoke to people from various arenas — homemakers, professionals, students and elderly — to get reviews about what would help their gardening process. Our kits are designed based on the feedback.”
The duo has partnered with vendors from Delhi, Chennai and Maharashtra to source the best quality seeds.
“We prefer compromising on our revenue rather than on quality. We source the finest seeds from certified organic vendors only. Before launching each product, we test the seeds in our garden,” says Tanvi.
From advising friends and family on growing produce to running a full-fledged venture that is not only helping people consume organic food but also proving to be a financially viable business model, the couple has indeed come a long way in a short timeframe.
Please note: You can order the gardening here.
Edited by Nishi Malhotra