In 2015, two buddies planted the seeds for what would become a unique startup. Reaping them in 2017, and with an equal passion for nature and creativity they created BUD and the whole plant universe around it with the tagline “Let Love Grow”. Ameerah and Amanah spoke to Salt to give us a glimpse of BUD and how they created a social media storm with their hand painted products and funky branding.
HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT FROM OTHER GIFTING SERVICES AND WHAT MAKES BUD UNIQUE?
BUD uses handmade terracotta pots to generate new waves of creativity along with one of the oldest lines of craftwork in Sri Lanka. The rustic loom, solid texture and touch of Sri Lankan heritage were an ideal mix we wanted our BUDs to have. All our BUDs are hand grown, which not only shows thought and attention but they also brighten up homes ensuring a long-lasting gift which keeps on giving. We also wanted to seed the love for plants and nature by making it customized and personal and hence each plant is a customized creation.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF BUD AND THE #LETLOVEGROW CONCEPT?
Since a very small age, Amanah never believed in the idea of gifting flowers. Yes, the thought is extremely beautiful, but only till they last. It never made sense how a thoughtful gift, could die in less than a week. The thought of gifting plants always seemed the more wise and loving option, but we wanted it to be more than that. How would could it be made more personal? Creating a love for plants among anyone. This was one notion that sparked the idea of creating something that is not only beautiful but also grows with time.
The tag line ‘Let love grow’ aims to inculcate and plant seeds of love and thoughtfulness within ourselves, among each other and more importantly with nature and the surrounding we have been blessed with. If you were to get a BUD for yourself or a loved one, while you take care of it and watch it grow, you’d feel a sense of happiness while also igniting a deeper connection with your plant and the receiver. Plants make people happy!
WAS IT DIFFICULT TO START UP AND SELL THE IDEA OF BUD?
BUD was launched at a time when the going green concept was just setting into trend with corporates looking at their workspaces to be minimalistic and greener. As we did a thorough scan for similar business before we launched, we noticed the presence of vendors who simply bought and resold only the plant. However, we wanted it to be more than that, understanding that not everyone loves plants as much as we do. Due to the absence of another brand with similar goals at that time, this gave us a further opening. Also, working with corporates was a huge avenue to build our business.
What set us apart, is the personal touch and brand promise that energized us and kept us going onwards with this concept. We have to mention that personalising a BUD to the desire of our customer is quite challenging as we go into detail to make sure we give our customers exactly what they want. We try not to restrict ourselves from telling a customer we can’t take up a customised order although the design can get complicated.
DO YOU THINK YOUR BACKGROUND, EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE PRIOR TO STARTING HAS HELPED YOU?
We believe that every experience nurture and helps you grow. Therefore, agreeing that our background, family, education and experience has in fact been a pivotal role in aiding the growth of BUD. The idea of BUD, started way back in 2015 while we were doing our Bachelors in Interior Design together at Raffles. Interior Design gave us a lot of insight on concepts of going green and sustainability. We were taught to think out of the box, opening our minds to think creatively and innovative new ideas.
It’s quite interesting as the initial idea of BUD came up while we had to submit an assignment for a module ‘Business management’ in our second year. Where we were each expected to come up with a business plan we would like to implement. As we waited for our turn to give a good enough excuse to our lecturer as to why we hadn’t done our research, our random conversation on our love for greenery tapped into the seeds of BUD.
HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH ISSUES WHICH BUD BROUGHT UP?
A few of the issues and roadblocks we face are managing all aspects of the business – operations, marketing, purchasing, accounting, dealing with different types of customers, shuffling corporate work life while running BUD, to meet unexpected big orders, complaints about plants dying. It’s natural to get excited about the idea that’s been planted inside of us that we simply can’t wait for it to blossom. However, we keep reminding ourselves that It takes time to show progress.
Many people fail to realise that pursuing your dream is a sure thing if you just don’t give up. So long as you keep watering and fertilizing your dream, it will come to fruition. It may take weeks. It may take months. It may even take years, but eventually, the roots will take hold and your effort will grow. It is never easy, but it is so worth it. Don’t stop believing!
WHO IS IN CHARGE OF YOUR GRID? AND WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THOSE STARTING UP ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Amanah is obsessed with the look of the grid and the pictures we take. BUD has been known for its colourful feed and catchy posts, therefore we really take time and are selective on what we display on our grid.
It is necessary that your grid and other social media platforms depict a true sense of what your brand stands for. Using Instagram, business startups don’t have to be a challenging feat. It’s actually quite simple! Use content to connect and engage with your audiences and give your customers a reason to interact with you.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR BUD AND THE BUDDIES?
When we launched BUD initially, we did not fully comprehend its demand to its full capacity. However, we didn’t simply aim to stick by only gifting products. We had a greater picture in mind that we hope to introduce in the future. Some of the sectors we hope to branch into are interior design and solutions, homeware, event management, cafe, stationery, new giftable products, and organising green events.