In the vast realm of gardening, the art of nurturing plants is a delicate dance between science and passion.
Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a complete novice, understanding the fundamental principles of plant care can greatly enhance your gardening journey.
To shed light on this captivating topic, we had the privilege of sitting with Arvin Bhudia, the accomplished Sales Director of GetPotted.com. Known for his expertise in all things related to planters, soil mixes, and plant care, Arvin graciously shared his invaluable insights during our enlightening conversation.
In this exclusive interview, Arvin Bhudia imparts his wisdom on various aspects of successful plant growth. So, join us as we delve into the world of plant care and unlock the secrets to nurturing thriving, vibrant plants.
Shudeshnaa: Hi, this is Sudhesna Pandey from Plants Crazes. As always, we are back with another interview session. Today we have a very special guest, Mr. Arvin Bhudia, the sales director of getpotted.com. Let us welcome him on board for a deep conversation about pot planters and their uses.
Mr. Arvin: Hi, everybody. I hope you’re doing well. How are you today?
S: We are great, and I hope our viewers are great too. So let’s begin with your introduction and role in the Getpotted company.
Mr. Arvin: As you have already introduced me, my name is Arvin Bhudia. I am the sales director of getpotted.com, and we also have a few other retail websites with plants and pots as our core products. And I have been with the business for five years now, so time has flown. I reckon that my time here has been a fantastic journey up until now.
S: Oh, that’s great. So let’s go back a bit about how the journey of Getpotted started. How did the name “Getpotted” come about, and what is the main idea behind the company?
Mr. Arvin: The name Getpotted obviously came about because we thought it would be a unique way to engage customers with a different title. So “Getpotting” or “Getpotted” was the initial design concept, and we felt it was very engaging for our consumers in terms of what we wanted them to do with our products: how to use them. Having that concept in our title was a key component of naming the business this way.
In terms of the brand’s functionality, it aims to make plants and pots accessible to consumers who don’t have access to these types of products or are unable to purchase large-sized or fragile items from their local centers, etc. So, yeah, that’s how the name and our ethos came about.
S: Could you please elaborate on the different types of pots that your company sells? I noticed that you have a wide variety of unique and quirky designs, and I’m curious to learn more.
Mr. Arvin: Yeah, of course. So the idea of Getpotted itself was to build a database for every type of material and every type of plant that an end-user would require. We aimed to be the one-stop shop for products made of various materials such as terracotta, fiberglass, fiber stone, ceramics, glazed, and more. We didn’t want to focus on just one material type. Instead, we wanted to offer multiple options to provide every avenue and possible solution to customers, all in one place.
S: Given the wide variety of pots available in the market, how important is it to choose the right pot for your plants to grow well?
Mr. Arvin: It all depends on what the end-user is looking to accomplish. First of all, let’s start with why someone would plant in a planter. Do you have poor soil quality in the ground around you? Do you have limitations on space? Or do you have a hard, concrete area?
Plants fill spaces where accessibility doesn’t exist or if you are looking for a specific design concept, color, or dream board based on particular products and sizes.
Let’s start with the first point, which is soil quality. The soil quality in the UK can vary, ranging from loamy to clay-based, sandy, or even wetland. It depends on your location in the UK and the type of soil available for planting. Plants tend to thrive better in certain soil conditions compared to others.
For instance, if you were to plant a tropical banana or a moss plant in the ground with a clay-based soil structure, the root system may struggle to adapt to this environment.
Using planters provides full control over the growing conditions. You can manage the soil type, aeration, and nutrients by creating a contained space or vessel. This control level allows customers to plant any type of plant in a selected zone tailored to their specific needs. So, addressing soil quality is one of the primary reasons why you would choose to put a plant in a planter.
The second reason would probably be design and contrast. You might have a design or dream board in mind where you want specific colors visible in your garden space or within your own. Whether that’s old-school terracotta oranges or if you want to go totally off the board and opt for vivid pinks or vivid reds. And plants are seasonal and changeable. You can have red plants this year during the summer, and in the winter, you can tone it down and go for a neutral stone kind of grey or a glossy black finish.
And with plants, it’s interchangeable. You can always continue to design and make changes to the space, shape, and size of the vessels that you’re using. That is obviously an important factor for the end user in how they want their gardens to look. Planters obviously provide accessibility to limited spaces. Now, London, for example, is in a phase of development where everything is being built upwards. Apartment blocks with balcony spaces are becoming quite common and the norm here. So, a home user, in this instance, already has limited space. So what options do they have?
In our current projects with large developers in the UK, we have introduced green walls on internal wall structures. Additionally, we have utilized balcony boxes on the external facade of the building. This is undoubtedly an excellent way to incorporate greenery or plants into your home, especially if you have limited space. Another advantage is that you can move boxes or planters easily. For instance, if you have a small 25*25 meter garden space and you want to relocate the planter from point A to point B, it can be done without much effort.
In contrast, if the plant is embedded in the ground, lifting it out would disturb the root structure and potentially damage some roots. Retaining water is another important factor to consider. Planters are designed to retain moisture levels throughout the year, while plants embedded in the ground generally disperse water into the soil bed more rapidly. Some water is naturally lost via evaporation. Overall, these are the main reasons why you would choose to use a planter.
S: Given the wide variety of planters you deal with, how difficult is it to maintain inventory and keep up with upcoming trends?
Mr. Arvin: We generally have our core brands stocked in the UK. Idealist Lite is our number one best-selling brand in the UK, closely followed by Lechuza, which offers self-watering systems. Regarding all of our SKUs, the availability would obviously depend on size and space requirements. In most cases, we keep all of our products in stock in the UK, which significantly reduces lead time for our customers.
Our typical lead time for in-stock large bulky items ranges from one to five working days. However, if we need to ship or transfer goods from our EU warehouse, which serves as a secondary storage space, the delivery time to the site can range from seven to fourteen working days. The exact timeframe depends on seasonality and the performance of those products in the previous year, influencing our decision to bring them into the UK and stock them here.
We primarily rely on our historical sales data to determine which products perform well in terms of size and color variations. Based on this information, we stock those products accordingly. When it comes to design and concept, we always plan a year in advance.
Our new product launches typically occur between April and July. These launch dates are determined based on data provided by interior designers and surveys conducted among our customers. We ask for their input on preferred colors and design structures to implement in the following year.
For example, last year, we incorporated honeycomb print structures on some of our indoor planters, which was a request from interior designers. This particular design was well-received and performed successfully during that period. We are currently brainstorming and developing new designs and concepts for the upcoming year to cater to the UK market.
S: Planters are a definite way to bring liveliness into your home. With the new generation comes new trends, and we use planters to make our homes look beautiful and reflect our personalities. Coming back, you ship all around the UK and the US, right?
Mr. Arvin: We ship nationwide across the UK and collaborate with various distributors. Our parcel deliveries are handled by DPD, while larger and bulkier items are transported by palette carriers who provide door-to-door delivery. The delivery process is straightforward. When a customer places an order, they receive clear instructions regarding the expected delivery date and any relevant information. If possible, the carrier can provide a delivery window for the customer’s convenience.
For large and bulky items, the carrier typically contacts the customer approximately an hour or half an hour before the scheduled arrival at the project location. Deliveries are always made to the front door. This sets us apart, as we can deliver a wide range of products, from small pots to large jumbo pots, directly to the customer’s front door. This eliminates the need for customers to go out and physically shop for these items.
S: Yeah, it’s very interesting to hear how you have gained your customers’ trust by serving them exactly what they want. How do you ensure the safety of fragile products during delivery?
Mr. Arvin: When it comes to large and bulky items, we have two quality assurance touchpoints. Firstly, our pickers and packers in the warehouse inspect the products as they are being placed onto a pallet. Then, there is a second stage inspection once the items are strapped and shrink-wrapped to the pallet. While we maintain high standards in our warehouse, we understand that we cannot control every aspect of the delivery process since we rely on third-party carriers.
Over the years, we have developed a strong relationship with our chosen carriers. We have an agreement that if any damages or issues occur during transit, the customer must report them to us within a specified timeframe. The carrier is then responsible for arranging redelivery to the customer at no additional cost. Although we cannot control every aspect of the delivery phase, we aim to minimize damages. However, it is worth noting that there may still be instances of damage during transit, such as scratches from forklifts, cracks from pallet mishandling, or issues caused by improper stacking. These were some of the initial challenges we faced, but we have improved our processes since then. We currently expect a damage rate of approximately 5% to 7%, and the delivery carrier’s insurance typically covers such damages.
S: Coming back to the delivery process, how do you need to wrap it up? You might need to use lots of plastic and cardboard to keep it safe. How does Getpotted ensure that its delivery process is sustainable and environmentally friendly?
Mr. Arvin: In general, we try to minimize the amount of packaging that goes to our customers. If we ship an order via DPD or in a parcel box, it will be in a recyclable box that can be reused by the customer or recycled by their local authority. The pillow packs that we use have recycling logos on them, so users can recycle them at home. Our tape is also recyclable as long as the customer separates the elements at the delivery point. This means that the parcel or shipping package should be 100% recyclable.
Regarding pallets, we do have a bit more carbon footprint because the straps and shrink wrap are not made of recyclable material. However, everything else that is supplied with the product can be recycled. The pallet itself is also recyclable, so it goes back into the network and is reused until it is damaged or unusable.
We generally try to be as sustainable as possible with our products. Even the brands that we operate within our business have some sort of recyclability behind them. For example, our Lechuza self-watering brand is made from 100% recycled plastics. We want our products to have a long lifespan and to be used and reused as much as possible. If they need to be recycled or thrown away, they can be broken down and reused in some format.
S: That’s quite great and interesting to hear. This is one of the common questions that we get on our website whenever we interact with our readers. Because we are being aware of sustainability and protecting our environment has become the means of concern of everybody now. So, that was a question from our viewers and readers. Moving on, do you have any customization options in the planter that we get from Getpotted?
Mr. Arvin: We offer a range of off-the-shelf products, as well as a bespoke service designed for our commercial and trade customers. This service allows us to create made-to-measure products for specific locations based on the dimensions or architectural drawings provided by the client.
For example, development structures often require bespoke planters or other structures. The client will provide us with a CAD or architectural design, and we will then create a proposition that includes the style, impact, and sustainability requirements. This proposition will then be tendered.
Our bespoke service team typically uses GRP or fiberglass to create these products. These materials are high tensile strength and are therefore very durable. They also have a low damage rate in transit, installation, and post-installation.
We recommend fiberglass to our traders and customers because it is a high-strength material that will last for a long time without showing any signs of degradation or weathering.
S: So, moving on, do you collect customer feedback on your product? If so, how often and how do you use it?
Mr. Arvin: Yes, we accept all feedback from our customers. We are a verified Trustpilot business, and our account is also tied in with Reviews.io. We accept reviews on Google, Facebook, and Instagram, whichever platform the customer prefers.
Currently, we have a 4.7 rating on Trustpilot, which is equivalent to 4.5 stars. I would say that 99% of all top businesses have a 4.5-star rating on Trustpilot. It is very rare to see a 5-star rating. However, we are quite high in terms of our percentage of happy customers.
We do receive negative and neutral reviews, and we accept all of them. As a small business, we need to adapt, grow, and make relevant changes. We also want to show potential customers who are looking to use us for the first time that we are transparent about our shortcomings and that we are working to improve.
All feedback is welcome, even negative feedback. I am not saying that it should happen all the time, but it is something that we can learn from. If 95-93% of your reviews are 5 stars or above, you know that you are doing well in terms of customer care, the products you sell, and the information and education you provide your customers.
I feel that the planters industry does not provide enough information and education to its customers. If you go to a garden center to buy a planter today, the salesperson at the point of sale will likely not know how to use the product.
Technology has grown, and the amount of information that is readily available online can be confusing for even experienced gardeners. That is why we have created guides that are based on the recommendations of our manufacturers. Each manufacturer provides us with some degree of detail on maintaining and achieving optimum results for their products within the specific zone in which they are sold.
For example, we work closely with the manufacturer Idealist Light. They have provided us with a specific planting guide for the UK market. Though we sell the products worldwide, this guide is specific to the UK.
I will quickly run you through the planting guide. The first step is to treat the stone unit as you would treat natural stone. This means using stone sealers or concrete sealers, both pre-installation and annually on the surface. This treatment protects the surface from weathering.
A planter that is outside will change, regardless of whether we like it or not. We cannot control the weather. However, treating the stone unit with a sealer can protect it from the elements and prolong its lifespan.
Unfortunately, in some cases, if planters are not set up correctly or if appliances are left unmaintained, they will begin to change, degrade, and fractures will appear. These are normal processes.
The actual guide for planting into fiber stone is to:
- Use a sealer. This is the most important step that we tell all of our customers.
- Fill one-third of the unit with hydro clay or croc (broken down terracotta).
- Fill the next third volume with good quality, well-draining planting soil. Remember to prepare the soil by mixing perlite, charcoal, pumice, etc.
This allows water to escape quite freely. It does not condense and collapse on itself, making it very compact over time.
The last third of the planter is obviously the plant root ball. The root ball takes up about one-third of the planter’s volume. This one-two-three step is generally the best process to use for any type of plant, regardless of the material. These steps are the best care guide for filling your units.
The main reason for this is the internal pressures that occur when a planter is inside a contained vessel. The temperature inside the unit can change, which can cause the soil to compress and expand.
In hotter months, when the soil is much drier, the unit will start to collapse on itself because the moisture is evaporating. This causes the soil to condense and bring the plant or walls with it.
The repeated flexing of the unit from temperature changes and watering can cause micro-fractures across the unit. These fractures may not be visible immediately but will eventually open up quite large. At this point, the plant is already unusable and needs replacement.
The 123 steps that we have in place for planting increase the water table inside the unit. This reduces the internal and external pressures that occur as the unit flexes. The same process occurs in winter, which is called the thaw-freeze cycle. As the temperature in the UK falls to zero or below zero, the water in the soil freezes. This causes the pressure to push outwards.
When the temperature rises during the day, the water thaws and the unit collapses back on itself. This movement, even if it is only one to five millimeters, can eventually cause the planter to fail.
I hope this information is helpful.
S: Now, that was a really great insight. The steps that you mentioned and explained it in a way it’s easy for us to understand. And I believe the steps accompany your planter whenever customers get it.
Mr. Arvin: Of course.
S: As we are nearing the end of our interview, I would like to ask for your advice for budding garden enthusiasts who are looking to purchase a new planter. What factors should they consider when making their decision?
Mr. Arvin: Firstly, I would say speak to the professionals. By professionals, I mean someone like us who deals with planters day in and day out. We are technical specialists or a niche.
Don’t take advice from any general person, or even gardeners or landscapers. In most cases, the business that is supplying the planter will have the most knowledge about its products. Each landscaper, designer, installation team, or contractor will have their own methods. This is generally where miscommunication occurs.
They may have taken on advice given to them, which could then technically void a warranty for their product. So always speak to the businesses that you are buying the actual planters from. If you feel that they have not satisfied the amount of information that you need for your project or for your home, find another business. Get a second opinion.
In terms of plants, do a lot of research. When it comes to plants, everyone can tell you something that works for them. However, what they have in their home may not replicate in your home. So your temperature, humidity, and watering cycle may differ from what someone else has done. Plants are obviously living perishable items. So always analyze and always check in on them.
If you feel like that plant is deteriorating quickly, or has started to show signs of yellowing leaves or brown tip leaves, take advice immediately rather than later. You can resolve a problem a lot faster at the source of knowing what’s happening than later on when the plant is actually on its way out or to the point where you are going to lose or kill the plant.
So those are my two top pieces of advice for anyone looking to buy plants and pots.
S: So you heard right from the professional that you need to take advice from a professional. And if you need any advice about planting plants’ problems and their care guide, PlantsCraze is always there to help you with tons of articles that we have. And if you are somewhere from the UK and looking for the best quality planter, Getpotted is there for you. This is the end of the interview. We are really thankful that you accepted our invitation and joined us onward in this conversation.
Mr. Arvin: It is always a pleasure to share our insights into the industry with everyone. I hope this information will help people make the right choices for themselves. As I mentioned before, we are here to help anyone in the UK who needs our assistance.
S: Yeah, well, this is the end of the episode. We were in conversation with Mr. Arvin, the sales director of Getpotted, and we will be back with another episode next week. Thank you so much.
In our enlightening discussion with Arvin Bhudia, Sales Director of GetPotted.com, we learned that choosing the right pot is crucial for the well-being of your plants.
Mr. Arvin emphasized the significance of considering factors like size, shape, material, and drainage capabilities when purchasing a planter. These factors directly impact root development, water drainage, and overall plant health.
By making informed decisions, budding garden enthusiasts can provide the optimal conditions for their plants to thrive. So, whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice, remember that selecting the right planter sets the stage for a flourishing and vibrant garden.