How long has Sunshine's Garden Boutique been in operation?
We launched in July 2009. So, we have been in operation for almost three years now.
What is your background? What were you doing prior to starting Sunshine's Garden Boutique?
Gardening has always been my passion, right from my childhood. As a child, I spent a lot of time in the garden with my mother, admiring her plants and helping her water and tend to them. Once I completed my graduation, I moved to Mumbai, where I was lucky to chance upon the bonsai experts, Jyothi Parekh and Nikunj Parekh. I did a course in the art of bonsai under them in 1984, and ever since, developed a huge interest in the subject. We moved to Bangalore in 1995, and that came as a big relief for me, as my green thumb could now start getting active with ample space and the right weather. Over the next few years, I had collected over 1000 bonsai and won quite a few awards in bonsai competitions. I started conducting bonsai workshops in 1997, and have been doing so till date. There have been more than 1500 students who have been trained under me in these 15 years.
How did you come up with the idea of starting this venture?
After having travelled across the globe quite a bit, one thing I always wanted to do is start a garden boutique in India, which is a one-stop solution for all gardening needs. Gardening in our country has been restricted only to using plants and regular pots. The concept of using a whole range of artefacts, water features, pretty lighting and right furniture in a garden has not yet been given too much of importance in India, I feel. Keeping this in mind, me and my partner Major Robin Wohra decided to start Sunshine’s Garden Boutique in July 2009 in Bangalore.
What are the major products that you offer?
Sunshine’s Garden Boutique is not just a retail set up for all your gardening needs, but also assists you in designing and landscaping your gardens. Sunshine’s Boutique offers you garden accessories from around the world, giving you the ability to conceptualize a picture-perfect garden full of artefacts and accessories. On sale are all kinds of planters, sculptures, garden accessories and equipments, water features, artefacts, lighting, roofing, flooring, furniture, bonsai and bonsai accessories.
Do you have a retail outlet where you stock your products, or do you sell through a website?
We have not yet started selling online. We have a regular retail outlet in Indira Nagar, Bangalore.
Do you also conduct gardening workshops? Please tell us more about them.
Yes, I do conduct bonsai workshops. This is spread over four sessions, of about three hours each. We have them both on weekdays and weekends. The course covers everything about bonsai, and also includes several tips on general gardening as well.
How big is your team, presently?
We have a team of 10, as of now.
Which of your products are the most popular?
I think our Buddhas, garden artefacts and water features are the most popular. What are your expansion plans in the near future? What we have now is just about 40 percent of what I would finally like to offer at Sunshine's. We are looking at opening up a much larger garden centre in the times to come.
How do you get your customers? Do you indulge in advertising of any sort?
We have been advertising off and on. We do take part in exhibitions too, but most of our marketing has been through our page on Facebook.
How do you deal with competition from similar businesses?
Competition is healthy, but not everyone has the knowledge and taste for something like this. So, as of now, we hold a pretty good position.
What are the major challenges that you face?
People are still not very open to spending when it comes to doing up their gardens. It seems to be the last on their list while building a new house too. Secondly, in India, using these many products in a garden is soemthing very new. We are still trying to make people understand the concept of using artefacts in a garden.
What has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
I have had leading landscape consultants and architects from other large cities visit my boutique, who have told me that this is something they have never seen in India. These moments have been proud ones for me.
What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
Go for it with passion in your heart. Nothing is impossible in life.
Corporate Website: Sunshine's Garden Boutique
Address: 3330, 13th Main, 6th Cross,
HAL 2nd Stage, Indira Nagar,
Bangalore 560 008
Phone: 99001 45386, (080) 6583 1100