Interview With Fabiënne Overbeek
Describe your product or service:
We design and sell growingcards, which are greeting cards with tiny seeds incorporated into the paper. Instead of throwing greeting cards away , the card will grow into a lovely memory in the form of a flower. We sell these cards online and in stores. In addition, we help companies create a cool design for their personal growingcard. Besides, we are a social company, and with part of the profit we fulfill special wishes or set up social initiatives through our wish platform.
Describe your company culture in 3 words:
Sustainable, entrepreneurial, social
Describe your company values and mission:
Our mission is to bring people closer together and encourage them in sustainable choices. And to make them aware of the beautiful people and environment around them. We must cherish this, which is why we work with growing paper in South Africa that is recycled by hand. And with our wish platform we stimulate people to do something for each other on a local scale. We do it with and for each other :)
What are you ultimately hoping to achieve with your business?
Currently, our goal is to become a nationwide card brand that is available in every municipality in the Netherlands. In addition, we want to further expand our wish platform, where we can stimulate people even more to be able to do something for each other.
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
Only with private money
How big is your team?
Tell us about your team (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
Currently, we have an enthusiastic team. Because we are a small dynamic organization, a lot happens every week, and we see a lot of progress.
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
I was introduced to entrepreneurship in high school. I found this incredibly cool, to have my own project. I am still an entrepreneur, because I see that I can make an impact, create value and make other people happy.
How did you develop and refine your idea/concept? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
Initially, I started with a very small collection and there was no social concept attached to Grow a Wish yet. I have learned a lot about social entrepreneurship over the past few years, after which I was determined to attach a social cause to Grow a Wish, this became the wish platform. From the reactions of people I can see that I have chosen the right path, it also feels right and gives me a lot of motivation. Besides, I have broadened the number of sales channels in recent years, I have had a webshop since last year.
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
I thought about the name for a long time. Finally I started thinking about the meaning of the cards. you literally grow a wish, if you plant the card. That's when I decided to go for that name.
What makes your company unique?
I think the story of my business is distinctive to my business. The combination of a social and sustainable company is a right fit for the greeting card industry. It's an industry where a lot of paper is used, by using recycled paper you stand out. But overall the story of the wishgrower platform in combination with a sustainable greetingcard is what makes Grow a Wish unique.
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
I think the biggest challenge every week is combining a full-time business administration degree with my own business. Therefore, I make a tight schedule every week. Although I never quite stick to it, it does keep me focused and I get a lot done. In addition, my studies ensure that I am always thinking about possible innovations and it makes me think about how I can apply what I am learning in a practical way within my company.
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
A typical client is a person who wants to give someone an original gift, besides that person cares about sustainability and has a modal income.
What's your marketing strategy?
I mainly use word of mouth advertising, I also encourage this. At the back of each card is an explanation of how to plant the card, I also have a qr code with a reference to the website. This way recipients of the card also get to know the story of Grow a wish. In addition, every order through the website gets an extra card where they can tell a friend about Grow a Wish.
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
We collect a lot of data from the webshop, in which we evaluate the average number of products sold per order and the monthly turnover in order to be able to estimate peak moments in advance. In addition, the turnover growth and profit margin are a good yardstick for evaluating the health of the company.
How has your approach to managing your business changed from when you started to now?
In the beginning, I really saw my business as a temporary project. I didn't necessarily have a long-term vision, and without any experience, I was just trying things out. Now it's a lot more professional, I have a clear vision and goals that I can work towards. I now understand which building blocks within the company must be the foundation for successful growth. This ensures that I can now form a team to grow further.
If you could go back in time and change anything about your entrepreneurial journey, would you?
No, I don't think so. I think every step contributed to the point where I'm standing right now. I see it as a full learning experience.
What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?
In 2019, I participated in the Young Lady Business Academy of Business Women of 2017, Elske Doets. She learned that, if you want something really badly, you just need to try, ask people to help, and be confident of your plan to succeed.
Who is your support system?
My parents and close 2 friends. They help and hear me out, and give some advice when it's needed.
How do you stay motivated?
When I think of the bigger picture of Grow a Wish, the story, the people that we make happy and the goals that I have set out to achieve.
What’s the #1 resource you rely on for success?
Youtube, I learned almost everything about creating a website, a webshop and a lot of marketing tricks.
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
Setting up your own company takes a lot of perseverance. Besides you need to celebrate every small goal that you achieve, it keeps you motivated and makes sure you stay focused on the right path
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
I am most proud that I started Grow a Wish. I made something out of nothing that creates value and that I can make many people happy with.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice, if you have a passion or dream, do something with it. Just start and express your ambition! You will then automatically meet the right people who can help you further.
More on Grow a Wish
While many card companies switched to recycled paper as a way to lessen their environmental impact, Grow a Wish takes sustainable card production a step further.
We were fortunate enough to hear some valuable insights during our interview with Fabiënne Overbeek of Grow a Wish.