Technology

How This M’sian Duo Turned A Profit In 8 Months With Just A Simple Green Idea

(Source: vulcanpost.com)

The benefits of living close to nature has been very well documented. Even just having a potted plant around you can reap benefits like helping to remove the carbon dioxide from the air, and reduce stress, while being pleasing to look at.

But one of the downsides of owning a potted plant is clear—can you handle the immense guilt of watching your plant slowly die right before your eyes?

Well, this Malaysian startup begs to differ. In fact, their startup is out to prove that plant care “isn’t rocket science”. And the simplest way to do that is to get your hands dirty from the soil of your very own potted plant.

Sara Dalina and Kerstin McGuire run a startup that delivers potted plants to your doorstep. 

Their products’ price are certainly geared towards the longer term, if you know what I mean. Not shockingly expensive, but only worth it if you have it around long-term.

And their aim is actually a noble one: creating awareness about conservation of the environment, though their platform Daun.com.my.

In an interest to convince their clients, and by extension Malaysians that plant care is a piece of cake, they’re experimenting with the Internet of Things (IoT) to develop apps, sensors and accessories that can help you become a more responsible owner for your plants.

This way, even owners who have minimal time in caring for their plants still get to enjoy the perks of having plants indoors.

“We would like to connect people, systems and plants to communicate and interact with each other in entirely new ways.”

“Eventually, the data collected will help us to come up with intelligent predictive measurement, turning data into actions,” said Kerstin McGuire, co-founder of Daun.com.my.

The core of the business is simply selling potted plants, without even a physical store to showcase what they have to offer.

They also want to modernise the industry, by catering their designs to indoor plants and coming up with plant stands and vertical planters.

The pair sank RM25,000 of their savings for everything from domain setup, marketing, copywriting, photography to even product research prior to launching the site.

And it’s for everyone living in their concrete jungle. 

Aimed towards the residents of the concrete jungles, not only do they provide some aesthetically pleasing plants that should survive in their pretty pots for another year or so, Kerstin and Sara also offer guidelines on the best plants to buy for your space, and how to care for your piece of nature.

No stranger to greenery, Kerstin has been known as the “Estate Girl” for most of her life because her father is an estate manager at Sime Darby Plantations.

This gave her a healthy appreciation for nature, and allowed her to leave her 5-year career in marketing (and only owning 2 marimo moss balls) into a business selling macrame plant hangers.

Kerstin teamed up with Sara, a serial entrepreneur who founded Mesra Alam Sekitar Sdn Bhd and also a corporate training company that specialises in outdoor learning.

Not one to keep to herself, Sara is also active in NGOs and she has collectively planted more than 33,000 native trees into the Malaysian rainforests over the span of 3 years, among other efforts.

In fact, Sara hopes that Daun would help continue the efforts that she’s always been passionate in.

“Daun gives me a different set of audience (homeowners) instead of volunteers and policy makers. I feel that wherever and whatever that I can contribute, means I’m not giving up this battle, albeit in a different setting.”
– Sara Dalina

With all that being said, some things made us wonder. 

If 85% of consumers still prefer to shop in physical stores, doesn’t that especially apply for buying potted plants? After all, there’s a reason that people still prefer to browse around in Ikea for furniture even though online options exist.

That statistic may remain to be true, but Daun.com.my’s offerings still remain profitable. In fact, they’ve already begun profiting since their 8th month of operation.

And not only that, they report that the majority of their customers are expats, the working class and the younger generation in their 20s—exactly who they intended to target.

“We have sold between 1000 to 2000 plants to date and those plants are estimated to translate to 100,000 mg of oxygen every hour,” said the team.

(Thse calculations are based on the calculation of each leaf to produce 5mg of oxygen/hour, with each plant estimated to have 20 leaves. The source of this calculation is taken from NASA Clean Air Study by Dr. B.C Wolverton.)

But the team is also realistic.

“The most significant challenge for us is the postage restriction on plants.”

They would like to cater to the whole of Malaysia, but for now, the restrictions make it very difficult to send the potted plants out.

Thanks to these limitations, they can only serve customers in KL and Selangor, though the team does hope that the development of their plant accessories can open up the doors for a more scalable vertical.

“So in the meantime we are understanding the market behaviour, how much they are willing to spend and what would they spend on,” said the pair.

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Feature Image Credit: daun.com.my

More Info: vulcanpost.com

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