"For a contemporary feel, people choose imported and Indian cut flowers like chrysanthemums, orchids, cymbidiums, carnations, lilies and anthuriums. They want them to be fashioned into dramatic floral arrangements," Gutgutia told IANS in an interview.
"White lavender crown flowers from Thailand work really well in garlands and car decors," he added.
Gutgutia, founder and managing director of FNP Pvt. Ltd, said there are more exotic-looking flowers that are available and one of them is peonies, considered a great replacement for roses.
"Then there are hydrangeas, vibrant orange-golden torches, yellow brassica and bright red ginger lilies," he added.
People are more into experimentation these days, he said.
"Bollywood as a theme is popular in tier-I and tier-II cities. In metro cities, people however like to experiment with themes like Floral Fantasia, Punjabi Pind, Magical Garden and Fusion Sufi,"said Gutgutia.
No wonder the floral business is booming.
According to a report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), the floriculture industry in India is poised at about Rs.3,700 crore (37 bn rupees). Growing at the rate of 30 percent, it is expected to cross Rs.8,000 crore (80 bn rupees/1.25 bn USD)) by 2015.
"The floral market is growing at 30-40 percent year on year. Today people have bigger wallets and are willing to go for large size purchases to express their emotions. People don't mind paying Rs.1,000 to Rs.2,000 for a bunch of good flowers," said Gutgutia.
The boom has certainly benefited FNP.
Starting with a single store in 1994 here, FNP now boasts of 157 outlets in 65 cities nationwide and delivers across 150 countries worldwide.
It recently opened its first international store in Kathmandu.
"We thought of expanding in the international market to grow further. Since Nepal is our neighbouring country, it's easier in terms of operations and logistics. Moreover, Nepal and India also share a cultural similarity, which is an added advantage in understanding the mindset of our target audience," said Gutgutia.
Flowers are an integral part of the big fat Indian weddings, but a lot of hard work goes behind getting the right look to match the customers' demands these days.
"There is a lot of hard work, sweat and toil that goes into making a grand wedding, whether skilled labour, artists, carpenters or technicians," he said.
And what about the price for the flower arrangements?
"In the usual retail stores, it starts from as low as Rs.350 and can increase according to the type of flowers and packing one wishes to use as there is a lot of options available like paper packing, jute packing, cellophane and net packing.
"In FNP's flagship store, the range starts from Rs.750 onwards as there is a wide variety of exotic flowers to choose from," he said.
(Nivedita can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
--IANS (Posted on 26-09-2013)