23 Jan 2018, 09:11 — 6 min read
Mittesh Gaiwala comes from a long line of entrepreneurs who are gifted with green thumbs. Greenlands, the family enterprise, was established by his grandfather in 1940 and then grown by his father, is now breaking new ground under Mittesh’s leadership. Their repertoire includes landscaping services, high quality plant nurseries situated in prime locations like malls and gardener for hire service called ‘Book my Mali’. Currently a big player in Mumbai, they also have a growing presence in Pune, Goa and Gujarat. Mittesh is driven by a desire to make refined horticulture products and techniques accessible to people who are passionate about gardening or even curious. He dreams of expanding his business to the rest of India and creating a greener nation.
GL: Tell us about your business.
MG: This business was started in 1940, by my grandfather, late Shri P. M. Gaiwala. He worked with the government of Shillong initially and later as a freelancer in horticulture & gardening work. He had a vast collection of books related to agriculture, horticulture & the retail industry. After he passed away, my father Sanjiv Gaiwala started developing gardens for construction companies, institutions, banks, housing societies and film celebrities. Amitabh Bachchan’s Pratiksha bungalow was one of his projects in the seventies.
In his three decades of experience, my father taught me many things through his own example. My first independent project was to develop a small residential flower bed. I completed this to the client’s satisfaction. Our main aim was and still is to satisfy all our clients, no matter how big or small the work is. It took me almost ten years to develop the core of my green business. In 2009, we started our retail venture - The Garden Boutique. This is a one-stop-shop for gardening needs where we sell exotic plants (in soilless media, 90% of our plants are nurtured without soil), chemical free plant food, garden tools and equipments, designer pots and planters, vertical green wall, artificial grass turf and trees.
Currently we have a presence in Pune, Goa and Gujarat. We have company owned and operated stores in the leading malls of Mumbai like Viviana Mall - Thane, Phoenix Market City - Kurla, Star Bazaar - Andheri (W), Growel’s 101 Mall - Kandivali. We have recently opened our fifth Garden Centre in Inorbit Mall - Malad and it is ‘India’s Biggest Garden Centre in a Mall’, spread over 3000 sq ft of area. We have also developed Mumbai’s first ventilated polyhouse in Malad which is our sixth retail nursery. We wish to have a presence in every city of India and create a greener world.
GL: What is the USP of your business?
MG: We ensure there is a value addition to all our products especially our plants. I often tell my staff that presentation is crucial. Secondly, as in any retail business quality of the products is key. If the quality is good, plant lovers will travel a distance to buy them. Our presence in places with high footfall makes us more visible and this translates to more sales.
We have also started a one-of-a-kind plants and garden maintenance service called ‘Book My Mali’. This is a unique service provided by our team of professionally trained gardeners for maintaining plants and gardens at your doorstep.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
MG: I have travelled to various parts of India and visited exhibitions and garden shows. Many people would buy the plants, pots and accessories displayed by exhibitors from across the country. But for their next purchase they have no place nearby to go to. So, we decided to have our business in these places where we would be visible and accessible. We found that the mall owners welcomed us and helped their shoppers become aware about our ‘garden boutiques’.
GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting & assisting SMEs?
MG: GlobalLinker has helped us in networking with other members. The best part is the free online store creator (LINKER.store) for anyone who would like to create an e-commerce store. This is something I was looking for, a hassle free and investment free online website that could help our business grow.
GL: What is your big business dream?
MG: I dream big and work towards ‘making it happen’. So far I have achieved all that I have dreamed. However, my next big business dream is to create a marketplace dedicated to gardening and agriculture related requirements that can cater to the entire world.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
MG: Follow your dreams and passions, they will take you places. Always do your best and work towards your goal. No matter how small or big the goal may be - just believe in yourself, because if you don’t, no one else will.
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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