10 Questions to Anuja Joshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Interflora India

Staff
14 Min Read

Anuja Lunkad Joshi is the co-founder and CEO of Interflora India and is keen on changing the way India experiences and engages in floristry, as well as the culture of floral gifting, and décor. An entrepreneur and a former educationist, Anuja was always intrigued by the great variety, size, and shelf life of flowers during her travels abroad. 

She often wondered how she could replicate this flower culture in India. And guess what? The solution came in 2017 with the birth of Interflora India! Here’s her story – as recounted by herself – explaining her journey in flowers, her achievements, and what she is doing to enable the growth of India’s flower industry.

Question 1

For those who don’t know you, who are you and what do you do?

I am Anuja Joshi, the co-founder of Interflora India and a mother of two. My career began as an educationist. However, during my travels abroad, I was always captivated by the vast variety, size, and longevity of flowers, which led me to wonder how I could introduce a similar concept in India. This curiosity ignited my interest in the flower industry, and thus, Interflora India was born. 

At Interflora, we introduce luxury flower arrangements to India, a market niche previously unexplored in this country. Our service transcends mere flower delivery; we offer an experience of receiving flowers – Farms to Finesse.

We import flowers from farms across the globe, ensuring a diverse selection is always available in our cold storage, ready to be crafted into luxurious arrangements and delivered. In India, flowers traditionally symbolize more than a simple adornment; they are integral to auspicious occasions such as weddings and religious festivals. 

Capitalizing on this cultural significance, we expanded our offerings to include wedding and event decor while maintaining our commitment to luxury. Over the years, we have serviced numerous celebrity weddings and broadened our portfolio to engage with the world of fashion, collaborating with illustrious brands like Christian Dior, Paco Rabanne, and Christian Louboutin, among others.

 

Anuja Joshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Interflora India

 

Question 2

What is so special about your job?

The art of curating and delivering floral arrangements that embody personal sentiments is both a challenging and delightful endeavor. We are committed to continuously exploring innovative floral designs, sustainable practices, and technological advancements to elevate our service. This commitment to innovation positions us at the vanguard of the floral industry, making every day both exciting and rewarding.

Moreover, leading Interflora is profoundly special because of the global community we have cultivated – bridging growers, florists, and customers. It’s about nurturing relationships and a collective passion for flowers. This sense of community, coupled with our mission to spread joy and convey emotions through our arrangements, imbues my role with deep significance.

 

Anuja Joshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Interflora India

 

Question 3

Are there any specific challenges or obstacles you’ve faced in your job, and how did you overcome them?

It’s been a rollercoaster since, and I’ve faced many challenges – lack of logistics, and training unskilled labor, once I began my journey into the luxury floral industry, I realized that the entire supply chain was missing in India – we’d have to start from scratch. But that didn’t deter me.

Ensuring the quality of flowers was paramount to our mission. We sourced from both local growers, supporting and empowering them, while also importing the finest blooms to meet international standards. Moreover, our commitment to fair trade practices ran deep. We believed in ensuring that every hand involved in the process, from the grower to the delivery person, was fairly compensated for their labor. 

To achieve this, we implemented the best international practices, constantly learning and evolving to meet the highest standards of quality and sustainability. As for our manpower, we invested heavily in training and developing skilled individuals who shared our passion for floristry. We believe in nurturing talent and providing opportunities for growth within our organization. 

When we got our first order, I jumped with joy. I meticulously checked every flower, bouquet, and packaging before sending it out. After all, I didn’t want to just sell a bunch of flowers—I wanted to deliver experiences.

And to build on that idea, we ventured into weddings and events. Two weddings later, we bagged a huge event – that of India’s biggest business tycoon! It felt unreal. 

 

Anuja Joshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Interflora India

 

Question 4

What are the threats in the industry, and if so, do you have any solutions for them?

Certainly, the floral industry faces challenges including competition from low-cost providers, supply chain volatility, environmental concerns, evolving consumer preferences, the rise of e-commerce, and economic uncertainty. 

At Interflora, we address these through a focus on quality and sustainability, diversifying our supply sources, adopting eco-friendly practices, staying agile with consumer trends, enhancing our online customer experience, and offering a range of products to suit various budgets. 

Each challenge is an opportunity for innovation, allowing us to not just navigate but thrive in the competitive landscape.

 

Anuja Joshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Interflora India

 

Question 5

How has technology like e-commerce platforms or digital marketing affected your industry, which strategies have you employed to stay competitive?

Interflora started as an e-commerce platform for people to place their orders digitally. So we stand as pioneers of flower delivery. We’ve optimized our e-commerce platform, focusing on user experience to ensure that our customers enjoy a seamless journey from browsing to delivery. This includes making our website mobile-friendly and also launching an app, as we recognize the growing trend of mobile shopping. 

In terms of digital marketing, we’ve adopted targeted advertising and social media campaigns, utilizing the power of influencer partnerships to broaden our reach. This allows us to showcase our products and engage with customers more effectively. We also leverage data analytics for personalization, offering our customers recommendations based on their preferences and past purchases. 

This approach not only enhances the shopping experience but also strengthens customer loyalty. Since we have placed ourselves in the luxury segment of the market, building personal relationships with our customers is essential, so we have also created a special call line that promptly replies to customer inquiries.

Moreover, in an era where sustainability is increasingly important, we use our digital platforms to communicate our efforts in ethical and sustainable sourcing, providing transparency and building trust with our customers.

Whether it’s the latest in e-commerce innovations or new digital marketing techniques, we’re committed to staying at the forefront of the industry.

 

Anuja Joshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Interflora India

 

Question 6

Who (in or outside the floral industry) is an inspiring example to you? And Why?

Growing up, my father was my ultimate role model. His tireless work ethic and dedication to building something from scratch left an everlasting impression on me. Witnessing his commitment inspired me to follow suit in my own endeavors.

I knew I wanted to start something of my own, but it was essential to me that it honored my father’s legacy. His hard work and determination were ingrained in me, driving me to pursue my aspirations with the same fervor he displayed. With his encouragement, I embarked on the journey of entrepreneurship, that’s how Interflora came to be. Each step I take in my venture is a tribute to the lessons he taught me about resilience and passion.

In essence, my father’s influence continues to guide me as I navigate the path of building my own legacy, rooted in the principles he imparted to me.

 

Anuja Joshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Interflora India

 

Question 7

How do you handle stress or difficult moments in your life?

I try to employ a strategic approach to maintain both personal well-being and professional effectiveness. Prioritization and organization are key aspects of my strategy. By carefully prioritizing tasks and responsibilities, I ensure a structured approach to managing workloads, reducing the risk of feeling overwhelmed.

Additionally, I incorporate mindfulness and meditation into my routine. These practices allow me to center myself, fostering mental clarity and resilience in the face of stress. Taking short breaks for mindfulness exercises has proven effective in maintaining focus and composure during challenging moments.

Lastly, I acknowledge the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Establishing clear boundaries between professional and personal life helps prevent burnout and ensures sustained resilience in the long run. 

 

Anuja Joshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Interflora India

 

Question 8

What has been the best (floral or non-floral) news for you lately, or of the last year?

My most recent favorite news was given to me by my daughter. Receiving the news from my daughter about her outstanding performance in her art classes was a moment of pure pride and joy. It was incredibly rewarding to see her excel in an area that resonates so deeply with my own passion for design and creativity.

Encouraging my daughters to explore their artistic talents from a young age has always been important to me. So, her success felt like a validation of our efforts to nurture her creativity.

Witnessing her flourish in her art classes not only brought back memories of my own artistic journey but also filled me with immense pride as a parent. It’s a testament to the values we’ve instilled in our daughters and a reminder of the bond we share through our shared passion.

Ultimately, her achievement was a beautiful reminder of the profound joy that comes from seeing our children thrive and pursue their passions wholeheartedly.

 

Anuja Joshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Interflora India
Anuja with her daughters.

 

Question 9

Which is your favorite flower/plant and why is it good for you?

Ah, if I had to play favorites, I’d say roses steal the show. Why? Well, they’re the drama queens of the flower world, effortlessly expressing love, passion, and beauty. Like the diverse range of arrangements, we offer at Interflora, roses come in a spectrum of colors, each whispering a unique sentiment. It’s like having a floral emoji keyboard – say it with a red rose for love, or a yellow one for friendship. 

And let’s not forget the therapeutic benefits – both for the giver and the receiver. The joy of gifting or receiving roses is like a little burst of happiness, turning an ordinary day into something extraordinary. As the founder of Interflora, seeing the magic of roses unfold in people’s lives is my daily dose of floral delight!

 

Anuja Joshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Interflora India
Anuja (holding plaque) with her colleague (second right) after her team clinched gold in their category at the WeddingSutra Awards 2023.

 

Question 10

What are you doing this weekend?

This weekend, I’m planning to spend time with family and friends, maybe catch a movie or enjoy some outdoor time together. But I make it a habit every weekend to take some time out and catch up on reading that ensures professional development and keeps me updated with the industry trends.

I also make sure to dedicate a few hours aside for myself to take some time off and reconnect through meditation or home yoga. So yeah, just looking forward to relaxing and having a good time!

 

All photos courtesy of Anuja Lunkad Joshi (@anujalunkadjoshi) and @interfloraindia.

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