Lately we’ve been focusing on entrepreneurs who’ve recognized a need in the marketplace and somehow met that need either as a niche or mainstream solution. However, there are obviously other ways to create, sustain, and ultimately succeed with a startup business.
Yep. Take two concepts and mash them together. I still want to personally thank the individual who thought to dip pretzels in chocolate. That beautiful soul is my hero.
For this week I want to focus on a man named Tariq Farid. A native of Pakistan who immigrated to the United States with his family as a child, Farid’s family eventually bought and operated a floral shop when he was 17 and opened up several more over time.
Eventually, Farid developed a computerized point-of-sale system that worked well enough in his family’s business that he struck out on his own in the 1990’s selling his development to other florists. This became the software distributing company Netsolace. But he wasn’t through.
In 1997 he leveraged his earnings from Netsolace and opened a new business. This business mashed together the concept of fruit baskets with the artistic and creative designs of floral arrangements. Farid and his brothers grew the business and used their software expertise to implement computer systems, training programs, production and profit tracking, along with other operational functions. That isn’t necessarily mashing together the concept of software design with elegantly arranged fruit baskets, but it sure did come in handy.
By 2001 they opened up their businesses to franchises, and in ten years had locations throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In 2014 the company reported more than $500 million in sales from 1200 locations.
Edible Arrangements serves a particular niche market for people who crave things that are cute. In the Western world particularly, we spend money on some of the most ridiculous things – diamond dog collars, for instance – so it’s no surprise that someone offering a product that contains fruit for consumption carefully arranged to resemble a floral display would not only have a viable business model, but a thriving one.
Are you surprised? I’m not. I’m sitting here trying to think of the next big thing that can combine the superfluous with consumables and package it prettier than consumers can expect. I’d make a fortune.