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Exclusive: Natura’s Co-founder And COO Abishek Thomas In Conversation With RealtyNXT

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RealtyNXT caught up with Natura’s Co-founder and COO Abishek Thomas exclusively for a detailed chat about his brand and its amazing success story 

Natura’s Co-founder and COO Abishek Thomas 

Natura was kick-started with the core idea of creating top-quality sustainable products that would reunite Mother Nature to cities that had become concrete jungles. It aims to bring an eco-friendly environment to real estate. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about this astonishing brand as Natura’s co-founder and COO Abishek Thomas spoke to us in detail.

1. Natura’s products and services offer architects and designers one stop solutions for all their plantscaping needs. Please tell us more on this. 

Initially when we began the journey with Natura, we were only a Green Wall and a Green Roof Solutions Provider. We had developed our own Green Wall system using coir fibre as a base material and the same water retentive raw material was used for our Green Roof System as well. On this journey of meeting with architects and designers we realised that there were other multiple requirements with respect to indoor and exterior greening. Requirements like planters, Moss Walls, fabricated Green structures, designed based garden etc. We are very proud to say that now Natura provides a one-stop solution with a rich portfolio of multiple solutions that enable architects and designers the freedom to create fresh new spaces knowing that Natura will be able to execute for them. Our Portfolio of Products include: Indoor and Outdoor Green Walls, Moss Walls, Moss Art, Fabricated Green Structures, Designer Planters & Plants all combined with comprehensive maintenance support. 

2. What kind of low maintenance green solutions do you provide to your customers especially for indoor apartments? 

We believe that the solutions provided to our customers be it a corporate or an individual home-owner has to be as maintenance friendly as possible. We automate irrigation systems, use self-watering pots & suggest and select plants after a careful study of spaces. This along with our “Green Promise” maintenance package where a Natura technician will visit your home or workspace once a week provides for a relatively easy to maintain solution. We provide solutions like the Natura Moss Walls and Natura Moss Art which are zero maintenance as natural moss is preserved and then productised. A self-irrigating Green Wall where our customer does not have to worry about watering. Self-irrigation pots which need to be filled up with water only once a week. These systems are packaged with a customised design solution to help give our customers a relatively hassle-free experience.

3. How popular do you think vertical gardens have become in India?

Vertical Garden or Green Walls started off very slowly in India and there were only a few architects who were willing to venture using them in their projects. The solutions were typically provided by local nursery owners and weren’t professional in nature. There was also a lack of basic knowledge and understanding to providing a wholistic Vertical Garden solution. However, over the last 3-4 years the consumption of the product from architects & Designers and the end customer as well has significantly increased. This is due to a number of reasons namely, Evolution of design towards a green and fresh experience, space restrictions mainly in apartments, an increase in awareness of the air purifying benefits of vertical gardens and the availability of professional service providers. As of today, Vertical Gardens and especially design based vertical gardens are quite popular and can been seen in several parts of influential cities in India. 

4. Can you grow vertical gardens indoors? Would it damage wall by water leakage. Would they create humidity in the room? Also do they get moldy?

Vertical gardens can very easily be grown indoors, in-fact almost all corporate office and retail stores who implement vertical gardens have indoor ones. The most important element of having a successful Vertical Garden is right plant selection. This is something that we at Natura have paid close attention to and have a list of tried and species for the Indoor space. Watering is always a concern for indoor spaces, however now with self-watering tanks and automated timers this too not an issue any longer. Removal of excess water from the green wall is a critical element to avoid leakages, this can be done by providing a drain out point or having a catchment tank or tray to collect the excess water. Natura’s Green Wall system is designed such that no damage can be caused to the wall as the modules only take support from the wall and are not directly in contact with the wall. Relative humidity does increase but this is beneficial especially in Indoor A/C controlled environments where the air is drier than the outdoors. Mould is usually caused my excess moisture. Natura Uses timers with regulate the frequency and amount of water and also excess water is allowed to drain out or disposed off regularly. This along with the experience of our maintenance technicians provides for a hassle free experience. 

5. Which cities do you provide your services and how you manage seamless deliveries in other cities. 

Currently Natura Provides services in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai & Mumbai. We have a centralised factory in Hosur where our products are built or assembled and dispatched to the various locations. We have developed our products and systems to be modular and easy to transport via road and easy to assemble at site. Our experienced installation team then takes over at site to provide the client a finished product. However, one of the most important elements is the support of the architects and designers in terms of a design clarity and the interior contractor in terms of site readiness. With a good understanding of the requirement and an open communication channel with the designers and contractors we are able to make the delivery and installation process relatively seamless. 

6. What’s your go to market strategy? How are you driving your sales? 

Natura Typically works with Architects and interior contracting companies. Architects envision the design of a space from the bare shell and plan for addition of green elements. Interior contractors have a good grasp of the challenges of the space and have execution expertise. We try and build a good working relationship with architect and interior companies and generate leads and sales through them. Further, through digital media and emailers we try and keep our influencers and customers updated with Natura’s latest projects and current trends abroad. This helps with creating awareness and driving sales. A good website and SEO is important. We are currently in the process of updating our website to capture and provide relevant information to our customers. But one of the most important things that we have realised is that constant innovation is a must in the Interior Plantscape industry in order to cater to the ever-evolving design demand. Bringing in new products and understanding market and design needs has also made us more relevant and brought our offerings to the fore. 

7. Can you share 5 sets of numbers in terms of statistics that define your growth? 

Our Numbers depicting our growth story: 

a. Natura has completed over 200+ project have end customers like Google, Accenture, Amazon, Xiaomi, Dell Etc to name a few.

b. Already hit 60 completed projects as of Sept 2019 and on a trajectory to achieve 120+ for FY 19-20. Double of what we have managed up-to March 2019 in a single year. 

c. Our Revenues have doubled in the last year and we are headed towards 3x increase in this FY. 

d. Our Staff has grown to 30 plus people as on date with the addition of professional designers and horticulturalists in-house. 

e. We provide services in 4 cities as on date with 2 more on the horizon as compared to just one in 2017. 

ALSO READ: Exclusive Interview with Hitesh Singla for RealtyNXT


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