Venus ET Fleur co-founders Seema Bansal Chadha and Sunny Chadha abide by the saying: “If you want a job done right, do it yourself.” After an underwhelming experience with a Valentine’s Day bouquet, the couple decided to take it upon themselves to create a luxury, long-lasting bouquet service that focuses on quality over quantity. Their can-do attitude and passion for quality helped build their brand, Venus ET Fleur, which has taken the floral industry by storm. In this Office Hours episode with host Suneel Gupta, the married duo discusses building a luxury brand that services customers on a global scale. In a bonus Q&A, the co-founders of Venus ET Fleur discuss their time management styles, setting goals, and why they make every effort to separate business tasks from personal ones.
Workspace & Routine
If you’ve spent more time than usual at home this year…
Do you have a workspace or office at home? Tell us about it. Did you have this space before the pandemic?
Seema and Sunny: As entrepreneurs, we often find ourselves working around the clock. For that reason, having a designated workspace at home is a necessity. We've really enjoyed creating a workspace environment that aligns with our brand and boosts efficiency.
To achieve the best results, we've optimized our workstations with dual screen monitors, and we keep Chiji candles and flowers close at our desk. They serve as a motivator and reminder of the special work we get to do. As many remote workers and entrepreneurs know, it's all about the vibe of your workspace, and it's important to feel as comfortable as possible, since comfort is a catalyst for productivity.
Are you someone who needs an organized workspace, or are you comfortable with a little clutter?
Seema and Sunny: Clutter is inevitable sometimes, but we are intentional about creating systems that work for us. Organization is key. There are so many things that we need to keep track of as business owners, and keeping up with everything can be challenging, but it’s certainly doable and rewarding.
What bad work habits (if any) are you guilty of & how have you overcome them?
Seema and Sunny: We both can be guilty of overworking without taking enough time to pause, unplug, and give our creative minds some rest. But we do our best to do so, in order to avoid burnout, and to be sure that we're putting our best foot forward in all our projects. Every new day is an opportunity to overcome those habits, which can mean anything from taking a moment for ourselves to catch some sunlight, to sharing a meal together, or simply designating time away from our screens.
Do you consider yourself more of an introvert or extrovert, and how does that affect the way you work?
Seema: Entrepreneurship requires us to be ambiverts; we shift back-and-forth, depending on the setting. However, I do consider myself to have more introverted tendencies and Sunny as more of an extroverted persona. This translates well when we work together, being introverted helps me home in on the design and creative aspect of my work and Sunny's extroversion helps with his operations. We balance each other out!
Time & Organization
How do you approach time management for a workday? Is it one solid block of time that’s over at 6 p.m.? Or is a workday a few blocks of scheduled tasks with personal time interspersed?
Seema: Ideally, both Sunny and I prefer a few blocks of scheduled tasks with personal time interspersed. We find ourselves to be more productive when we take breaks between completing large tasks or to-do lists.
What are three things you do to gear up for your workday?
Seema and Sunny: We begin every morning with meditation. We have coffee and reset our workspaces, so we are familiar with the work environment and prepared for the day ahead. We also review our schedule and assign tasks based on who we feel is the best fit for the task at hand. Doing this allows us to always be supportive of each other.
What’s one thing that motivates you to get to work?
Seema and Sunny: The past couple of years have sparked a lot of introspection about what people need most, and both of us know that - now more than ever - what people need is connection. During difficult times, flowers are a great way to bring comfort and show up for one another, and to ourselves when we’re feeling low. We know that someone somewhere is going to feel seen, connected, and worthy of something beautiful every time they purchase flowers from us.
Can you name a few ways that you keep yourself organized during the day—an app, a planner, a physical to-do list?
Seema and Sunny: We have it all and do it all. We keep a calendar of events online and notes/reminders on our phones. Every now and again, when things are hectic, we still run to pen and paper. There’s something about crossing things off a written list that’s always fulfilling. Journals, communication, and project management tools, like reminder alarms in our phones, are our go-to's.
How do (or don’t) you separate business tasks from personal ones?
Seema and Sunny: We make every effort to keep business separate from our personal lives, whenever possible. We have strong boundaries around bringing work home, and vice versa. We know that we’re on the same team, so delegating tasks and a lot of communication are key.
Many business entrepreneurs say hard work and luck are the main ingredients for success. Can you tell us about a time when things didn’t go your way, and how you responded?
Seema and Sunny: Early on, when we started Venus ET Fleur, we had numerous requests for our arrangements from people out of our area. However, given our flowers’ delicate nature, we didn’t have a method for shipping our flowers worldwide. We met with experts and pivoted our business model so that we were able to ship worldwide.
We’ve also seen high demand for our arrangements. So much so that we were unable to keep up with the increase in delivery. This was another instance in which we had to persist and find a solution for the supply chain and fulfillment side of the business. We worked together to invest in our supply chain optimization and procurement side of the business. Most importantly, we learned to never give up, to pivot and pedal through, and to invest in our teams, because they are the backbone of all of our projects.
Are you goal-setters, and if so, what are some goals you’ve set for yourself lately?
Seema and Sunny: Of course! It’s important to us to set goals, big or small. Lately, our goals have been to create a better balance between work and life. We are businesspeople and we love to dream big, but we also love traveling and spending time with our loved ones. Making sure we don’t lose sight of those things is another ongoing goal. But tomorrow it might be different. That’s the thing about goals: they change, or we add more every day, depending on what we feel we need. We take it one day at a time, one goal at a time!
Just for Fun: Out of Office
We business professionals devote much of our lives to our careers. But what we do with our time off from work can tell us a lot about who we are as people. Please tell us…
In your spare time, do you prefer winding down – meditation and movie nights – or gearing up, e.g., rock climbing, traveling, etc.?
Seema: We prioritize rest over adventure. Meditation and movie nights are a constant in our home every weekend. Sunny loves to golf, so that’s his getaway, and I love reformer pilates.
What does an ideal vacation look like to you? What activities are you most likely to engage in?
Seema and Sunny: Vacation is an opportunity to rest and unplug for us, so we tend to gravitate toward activities that are more Zen: spas, meditation groups, dining, and beach resorts.
What is one thing you have done in your time off that has stuck with you as a defining moment for you?
Seema and Sunny: Writing in our journals. It’s important to pour into ourselves, by allowing our minds to roam freely and creatively. This allows us to have the energy to focus on others and on our work.
What’s one place – a country, vacation spot, landmark, etc. – that’s high on your bucket list?
Seema and Sunny: We are dying to have a safari experience in Africa!
This interview is part of Office Hours, a series that connects you with entrepreneurs and experts and tips for running and growing a business right now. Find other can’t-miss conversations by visiting our Events page.