by Nur Afiqah Azizan |
Two German entrepreneurs started up a flower delivery service in Malaysia and created a blooming business.
The act of sending flowers as a gift has long been a norm in many cultures. Today, with the advancement of technology, we have the privilege of access to so many types of flowers. Even if they are not locally available, they can easily be imported.
The German duo consisting of Maximilian Lotz, 32, and Niklas Frassa, 28, took it a step further by providing a convenient medium for those who are looking to get their hands on a variety of lovely flowers. They combined the traditional deed with a modern approach that is e-commerce. Founded in 2016 and based in Malaysia, their company known as Flower Chimp is now blooming in three other Southeast Asian countries – the Philippines, Indonesia and their latest pursuit, Singapore.
“Despite being a new player in the flower delivery business, Flower Chimp has grown into a household name in this industry. In less than two years, we became the number one choice in the online flower delivery service in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines recording five times growth compared to last year,” said Maximilian who is fondly known as Max.
Before embarking on this flowery journey, both Max and Niklas have worked in the e-commerce line in various industries. They have been residing in Kuala Lumpur, the national capital of Malaysia for a while, too. Niklas stated that they got to know each other through mutual friends. The time each of them had spent in the Netherlands before certainly provided them with a good insight into how significant the power of flowers is. Eventually, they partnered up and founded the online florist company.
Flower Chimp is the epitome of flower shopping made easy. They offer a wide range of floral products – roses, daisies, orchids and the list just goes on! One could also opt for add-on items such as chocolates, teddy bears, and balloons. Gift hampers are also available. The free delivery with no minimum order required, which is applicable to more than 80 districts across Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak, is certainly a plus point for the consumers. Same day delivery is also available for orders made before 1 p.m. All these just a click away!
In terms of managing the company, Max who is from Frankfurt is responsible for the development of the business such as internalisation and making sure they acquire the coverage needed across the countries where their business are set-up. Meanwhile, Niklas, a native of Hamburg, is in charge of the infrastructure of the business, making sure they have what they need to operate smoothly.
According to Niklas, “In general, the flowers that are sold in Malaysia come from various sources. We do have a big share of flowers that are grown here in Malaysia but we also have imported flowers. They are imported from everywhere in the world”. From Taiwan to Kenya to the Netherlands, Flower Chimp has flowers from all over the globe to meet the demands of the consumers. In Malaysia, at the time of the interview, their bestseller is none other than the classic 12 red roses.
With the good potential they put on display, Flower Chimp has managed to secure an investment of MYR6 million from investors which also includes Asia Venture Group (AVG). AVG is a private company that has also been investing in iMoney, Happy Fresh and iPrice.
They intend to use the funds to further strengthen their base throughout the countries they have ventured into and improve the technical infrastructure. Live order tracking is one of the smart features they plan to incorporate as part of their service. “At the same time, we conduct our market research to come up with new products and promotions regularly to entice our customers to return to find what they are looking for,” said Niklas. “We aim to expand our reach to a new market in Vietnam, Thailand and Hong Kong by 2019”, added Max.
Speaking on how the flower industry differs here in Malaysia compared to the European side, Niklas said, “One very big difference is the purpose of the flowers. I didn’t meet too many people ordering flowers for themselves. Actually, the vast majority of our customers; it’s always a gift for somebody else. In Europe, however, the share of people ordering for themselves is very large”.
He also finds that the regulations here in Malaysia make setting up and managing a company a convenience for foreigners like him. “We are very blessed to have the Malaysian Automated Clearance System – a special program that allows us to apply for visas for foreign knowledge workers which we totally depend on if we want to get good talents from other countries. Without that program, it wouldn’t have been possible”, he said.
Besides that, Malaysia as a cultural melting pot is also something he finds delightful. “That’s something that I really do love – that you just have so many kinds of people (here)”. The festivities celebrated throughout the nation are also a benefit for the business. “Here you have Christmas, Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and there are all these small, nice gifting occasions that are super valuable to us”, he added.
For more information about the company and the services offered, kindly visit their website at www.flowerchimp.com.