Picking the right gift for someone is never easy, especially in a country like ours where we have a grand list of festivals and gifting occasions. One of the most popular gifts is flowers. But flowers wither, fade and die with clearly no lasting value or utility. And it is always painful to dump a gift, isn’t it?
A regular flower bouquet these days on an average costs nothing less than Rs. 500-600. This value-for-money thought crosses a lot of people’s mind while ordering flowers. “We at Con Affetto, try to fill this gap,” says Upasana Mansinghka, co-founder, Con Affetto.
Having faced this problem personally time and again, Alpana decided to create a fresh alternative to replace traditional flowers with something yummier than roses or tulips and with augmented value proposition. “We craft edible bouquets by combining the elegance of flowers and deliciousness of our desserts like cookies, cupcakes, cake truffles, pretzels et al,” she adds.
At present, the company offers around 20 plus bouquet options and also does personalized and themed bespoke boxes/hampers/baskets (such as a pack of logo cookies for corporate). “Our customers can select from our five plus flavor options across all categories (cupcakes, cake truffle and cookies) and get a personalized theme based arrangement crafted,” reveals Alpana.
Con Affetto’s offerings start from Rs. 600 and goes up to Rs. 3000. The arrangements are totally customizable in terms of the size (number of blooms), assortment, flavors and theme. “If you know that the person receiving the arrangement doesn't like certain desserts, flavours etc, we customize it,” says Alpana.
The back story
Stuck in back to back meetings with little time on her hands, Alpana’s younger sister picked a bouquet of her favorite flowers and a dark chocolate cake on her way back from work for Alpana’s 32nd birthday. “I was charmed until I had to trash the flowers. Like every time, it was painful and left me wondering was it worth the trouble? Well, this was no new feeling but this time it made me think,” she says.
A baker by hobby and now profession, Alpana decided to combine the beauty of flowers and deliciousness of desserts to capture the best of both worlds. She discussed the idea with her sister and the duo got onto it. “Well, ideas don’t work alone and it’s difficult to replace nature. It took us umpteen numbers of experiments and trials to create blooming edible gifts. We had our first prototype ready in two months,” adds Alpana.
With a good range of offerings, the duo started meeting corporate and exhibiting at high profile events. With the customary initial highs and lows, the startup now has a strong client base which includes embassies, corporate and retail clients.
In India, festive and social gifting is deeply entrenched culturally, and accounts for a significant part of the household expenditure. “With our e-store we make it convenient for our customers to order customized edible gifts/bouquets with personalized messages,” says Alpana.
Replacing nature is a big challenge
“It’s never an easy ride. One of the major challenges was to replace nature. It’s impossible to replace nature. We take inspiration from natural flowers, and craft our arrangements to capture the same elegance,” says Alpana.
Another challenge was to retain the freshness and taste and hygienically crafting the desserts into arrangements. It compromises neither on the taste and hygiene aspect of the desserts nor on the elegance of the flowers. “With a perfect balance of both, our arrangements can last for five to six days if stored in a cool dry place,” adds Alpana.
Plans for scaling up & road ahead
At present, the startup is operating through its central kitchen in West Delhi and delivers across NCR. With the launch of its e-store, Con Affetto is working towards opening kiosks in South Delhi and Gurgaon.
“Our core product is baked goodies but our potential product is a premium gift with higher value proposition as compared to regular flowers. We would like to be positioned as one of its kind premium edible gifting company, offering a wide range of handpicked choices. With our kiosks across NCR, we look forward to making our services available in other cities of India,” concludes Alpana.
This story is a part of the ‘F&B Entrepreneurs’ series presented in association with ‘Chilli Paneer – A DBS Production'.