Indian-American entrepreneur Seema Bansal reveals the success mantra of her floral empire Venus ET Fleur

2 months ago  |  269.3K
   
Seema Bansal: I conceptualized Venus Et Fleur with a mission to transform the floral industry
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Seema Bansal has created a wave in the floral industry with her magnificent roses that are not only gorgeous but also super long-lasting! It is interesting to know that one love affair - that with the roses - took flight from another. Seema reveals that a Valentine's Day gift from her husband was the inspiration behind the whole floral empire that Seema has started, which is taking New York City by storm. Read on to know more of this wonderful tale, filled with the fragrance of hard work, passion, and a whole lot of ROSES. 

How did you get into the floral industry and what made you decide on the name, Venus Et Fleur?

I received a Valentine’s Day floral delivery in 2015 from my then-boyfriend (now husband), Sunny. When I sent him a picture of the arrangement with a thank you note, he was very disappointed because the arrangement that was delivered was not up to par with the quality that was promised on the florist’s website.

Realizing that this was a common issue, we conceptualized VENUS ET FLEUR with a mission to transform and elevate the floral industry—to provide our clients with gorgeous, “what you see is what you get” products.

Why only Roses? How did you come up with the concept behind your business, especially something like Eternity Roses? What inspired those?

With Eternity Roses, you get fresh, gorgeous flowers that last for an entire year with no need to water, change out vases, or deal with withered, wilted petals. You just keep the roses in a dry space, away from direct sunlight, and you will have an exquisite arrangement and beauty in your home all year round!

Over the years we have broadened our arrangement offering to include other florals, including Gardenias, Garden Roses, Hydrangeas, and Hedera Leaves.

Recently we’ve expanded beyond floral arrangements to offer various lifestyle products, such as our signature scents collection, which launched with Candles. We recently released a stunning Signature Home Fragrance line as well! It's inspired by the multi-layered scents of our beloved flowers, and we've been working for years with the top fragrance house in the world, Firmenich, to highlight the magnificent fragrance of roses.

We have lots of exciting projects and new releases in the works, too. We are always looking for ways to innovate and expand our product range in the luxury lifestyle space.

Did you always envision yourself as an entrepreneur? What were some apprehensions you had when starting out and how did you overcome those to get to where you are today?

My dad was a huge inspiration to me. His tenacity really fueled my desire to follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps. He immigrated to Vancouver from India and was working as a plumber for $3.65 an hour. After getting laid off and suffering an injury, he borrowed money from family and friends to start a business that sold household fixtures and plumbing supplies. I learned so much from him about how to face adversity and never give up.

In the beginning, we faced a lot of challenges, especially when it came to shipping our florals since it hadn't been done successfully before. We experienced a ton of sleepless nights and tears during that process. We went through a series of grueling shipping tests—but we didn't give up, and we kept trying to perfect the process. We worked closely with shipping engineers, and many weeks and trials later we found a perfect solution. Now we are one of the few companies to ship flowers worldwide and pride ourselves on ensuring all arrangements arrive in perfect condition.

What has been the highlight of your journey and what has been the toughest part about it?

Seeing the tremendous amount of organic love from our customers and celebrities alike never gets old. We were, of course, always hopeful that we would attract the likes of the biggest celebrities around the world but it’s not something we were prepared for. We are so thankful for everyone that has supported the brand.

In the beginning, we had so many problems with our arrangements being damaged during shipment. However, we worked tirelessly until we got it right. Eternity roses were the answer, as well as creating a very special method to ship our delicate florals to ensure that our arrangements were arriving to customers as what was being marketed to them.

What keeps you going and how do you find inspiration?

To reach and honor my most creative self, I practice meditation, manifestation, and journaling. To find inspiration, you need to be open to taking in your environment and experiences, you have to be true to yourself and be willing to break the status quo.

When the pandemic began, you had a huge volume of orders. How was it like working through the pandemic and how has it affected your business?

Everyone craves connection, and in difficult times even more so. Flowers are a great way to comfort each other, spread love and joy. Because so many people were social distancing and missing their loved ones on special occasions, we actually saw a higher demand and increase in deliveries. We pushed up product launches in order to meet current demand. Due to the CDC rules and recommendations, we’ve expanded our facility policies to include:

  • Stricter cleaning guidelines and a cleaning service attending the facility every single day

  • Provide lunch and transportation for employees to make it easier during these difficult times

  • Sent out over 300 arrangements to healthcare workers dedicating their time and lives on the front lines

You are young, innovative, and successful- to the world outside you look like you have it all together. In a previous interview, however, you spoke about having a burnout. How did you pull yourself out of that space and how do you prioritize your mental health, especially during the pandemic?

I never expected VENUS ET FLEUR to take over the industry as much as it did, but I am so grateful! Burnout is a common phenomenon when trying to balance a successful, growing business, your personal life, mind, and body. I found that I was neglecting the latter two. After deciding to give meditation a try - I would feel a hundred times better — more motivated and less sluggish. Not only did meditation help me to cope and find a balance, but it became my creative outlet. Meditation has become central to my life and something that I practice in my daily routine.

The past year has seen the rise of many small businesses. You have been dubbed as someone who disrupted the game and created ripples in the floral industry. What advice would you give young entrepreneurs, starting out?

Never give up; just learn to pivot and pedal through. Learn to rely on and invest in your teams because they are everything.

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day? How would you curate a Mother’s Day gift for your mom, from Venus Et Fleur?

My mother lives in Canada and because of COVID, I cannot visit her. I sent her a beautiful Venus ET Fleur arrangement to celebrate Mother’s Day early this year. She always has the biggest smile on her face when she opens her package and sees her arrangement. Her excitement is unfading every time. It's the best feeling in the world. Seeing my mom happy means everything to me.

When it comes to thanking mothers, the list is endless. But if you look at yourself today, and your journey, what three things would you say you are most grateful to your mother for?

Her unconditional love, vivacious spirit, and inspirational strength.

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