As easy as caring for cacti and succulents is supposed to be, I’ve never kept them alive. Probably my biggest mistake was watering them too much and keeping the plants in a room with little exposure to sunlight.
As a novice plant parent, it was also a common mistake CarrieAnne made.
When she came home from her travels, she often found a nice seat on her desk that was given by her landlady. Although she loved the fleshy little plants a lot, she still struggled to keep them alive.
“There were quite a handful of victims and I was really frustrated because I had no idea what I was doing wrong,” she told the Vulcan Post.
Determined to change the fate of her succulents, she confided in her landlady, who gave her a few tips, and did her own research to find out more.
As her collection grew, so did her experience and knowledge. That gave CarrieAnne great confidence to take care of her, enough to eventually start Dóro, an online gift shop that specializes in juicy arrangements.
A virtual plant business since day 1
Dóro started with a capital of approximately RM20K, which was funded between her and her partners from her own savings. The development of the website and the photo shoot for the products were carried out in 2017 during a 4-day Merdeka weekend.
Since then, they have been operating exclusively online and have launched a sister brand, Bloomspace, all with no storefronts except for the occasional attendance at pre-pandemic bazaars. “We have always focused on e-commerce as we firmly believe in the potential of e-commerce,” said CarrieAnne.
While it has been the norm for companies to operate exclusively online since the outbreak of the pandemic, in 2017 it would have been a challenge just to be an e-commerce brand on its own. People would have liked to browse the plants in person before making a purchase, so it’s likely that Dóro’s presence in pre-pandemic bazaars helped build his reputation online as well.
You can find huge succulent arrangements or small individual plants / Image source: Dóro
During the MCO, it has also become common for customers to go online for items they would normally buy in person, such as groceries and skin care products. Dóro similarly saw a surge in sales, particularly among first-time houseplant buyers, as more and more people tried new hobbies like gardening.
While the brand was unable to provide details, Dóro announced that it can sell over a thousand potted plants and succulents each month. They have also delivered their arrangements to clients including multinational corporations, private fashion brands, local businesses and royalty.
Like nature, there were some quick changes
One of the most important changes that CarrieAnne remembers in the four years of service was at the end of 2018 when one of Dóro’s partners decided to pursue other interests.
At that time, Dóro was still at home and CarrieAnne had recently given birth to a son, which made it difficult to run the business while she took care of her newborn. The founders quickly decided to build a team to take over day-to-day business at Dóro and then moved to a larger office.
Each arrangement can contain between 8-15 succulents / Image source: Dóro
In 2020, the team launched Bloomspace to sell ready-made houseplants in pots and ship them all over the Malaysia Peninsula. It seemed like a natural extension for the brand as their goal is gift giving in the form of plants.
[Business] It’s certainly not a smooth process, with growth varying from year to year, especially as we launch new products – in the case of Bloomspace, an entirely new brand. But Bloomspace has grown pretty fast over the past 1 year and now contributes a significant portion of our sales.
CarrieAnne, co-founder of Dóro.
A plant to give away
For CarrieAnne, what makes succulents so special is that there are over ten thousand plant species that come in a wide variety of colors, textures and characters.
“You are breathtaking and unique. Their color intensity changes with the amount of light received, which is a surprise element, ”she said.
A bright environment is necessary when it comes to growing a succulent plant. Since they thrive from neglect, not much maintenance is required if they get enough sunlight. Even watering is only required every couple of weeks, which makes it a great option for busy janitors, according to CarrieAnne.
A lot of care is taken in selecting healthy succulents for the arrangements, and the team of 6 pays attention to the smallest details such as the colors, texture and structure of the succulents as well as to the packaging and presentation.
Details such as the shape, color and texture of the succulents are taken into account in the compilation / Image source: Dóro
Therefore, it can take the team around 30-45 minutes at a time to complete a piece of the brand’s Dóro Life arrangement (RM169). In general, each team member can create 10-20 parts per day.
It’s likely that customers will also appreciate the care that is put into the products, as they often share unboxing videos of the succulents on their social media.
“Just knowing that every gift we send plays an important role in someone’s life gives me a sense of fulfillment and purpose to this day,” said CarrieAnne.
When asked if she ever plans to open a physical nursery for customers to browse and visit, CarrieAnne said they are firm on sticking to the e-commerce model.
What they do plan, however, is to freshen up the Dóro range of products because although Dóro Life is their flagship product, the team wants to keep challenging themselves to create better gifts.
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While the brand faces many competitors in the online plant delivery space, most of them generally sell succulents as stand-alone potted plants.
So you could say that the juicy arrangements that Dóro specializes in are more of a niche and the startup has probably found its own place in the gift market, given its years of operation.
- Find out more about Dóro here.
- You can read other plant related articles that we wrote here.
Also Read: 9 Facts About Loaning In M’sia You Should Know To Be Responsible For Borrowing Responsibly During A Pandemic
Photo credit: CarrieAnne, founder of Dóro