In 2016, in a café in Blois, France, Guillaume shares with Florent his desire to create "dessine-moi-un-jardin.com". The idea was launched, in just a few months, the project became a reality and Draw Me A Garden was born. A digital tool that allows you to design your own landscaped garden online and then have it installed in your garden at a low cost.
We met with Florent, president of the company (left), who explains how he has transformed a desire to reconnect with nature into a real human adventure.
Hello Florent, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
"Of course, I am 47 years old, married and father of 4 children. Six years ago, after having lived in the Paris region for years, we decided to move closer to the Centre region (where my family comes from) and above all to be closer to nature by moving to Blois.
As an engineer by training, in 2015, I had the chance to resume my studies during which I had to write a dissertation”.
How did you come up with the idea of combining gardening and technology?
"That's when my friend, Guillaume, told me about his desire to create "dessine-moi-un-jardin.com". I loved the idea so much that I asked him if I could write my dissertation about it and how the digital world can allow everyone to have a beautiful garden.
We directly surrounded ourselves with specialists. First a landscape architect joined the adventure; then a team of web developers in training at the Wild Code School worked on the very first version of our website (some of them have since joined the company). We also started pitching the idea in Singapore and San Francisco (before France) and that's how dessine-moi-un-jardin became Draw Me A Garden. We wanted to give an international dimension to the project from the very beginning”.
Can you tell us more about the Draw Me A Garden concept and the "connecting back with nature" mindset?
"Draw Me A Garden strives to connect people back with nature. I myself love going for walks in the forest and walking barefoot in the grass! It provides an instant feeling of well-being, which we all have experienced at least once in our lives. The idea is to make this link with nature accessible to everyone on a daily basis.
Nowadays, many people who have houses in the city or in suburban areas have a piece of land around them, most of whom don't know what to do with it or how to go about it. Our desire is to allow everyone to enjoy a beautiful garden and to use the digital tool to guide you from start to finish:
- by inspiring and helping you find the right theme for your garden.
- by allowing you to visualise it and see it in 3D so that you can project yourself
- by delivering a full pack to your home, a package containing everything you need (plants, tools, planting map, explanations, etc...).
- by sending you regular tips for maintenance throughout the seasons.”
How was the project welcomed by professional landscape architects?
"Our aim is to promote the world of gardening to people who art not, at first, interested in it. So we are absolutely not in competition with landscape architects. Those who did not feel concerned about gardening can benefit from our expertise and advice to get started in a simple, affordable way and with guidance".
How did you build the technical part of the project?
"Today the digital backbone of Draw Me A Garden is based on 2 main pillars:
- the back office with the part that is "visible" to customers and the invisible admin part
- 2D and 3D programming algorithms for 3D visualisation
To do this we have a team of in-house developers that we hire every year (depending on the needs of the team) after graduating from the Wild Code School, whose teaching techniques we value very much, based on the agile method; and we also work with a company in Lyon on the algorithms part.
It is through these partnerships that we have built together the technical supports and given life to our ideas. We didn't have precise specifications, we are making progress day after day by integrating customer and partner feedback and by learning from our experiences. It's a great opportunity to be able to work this way and it's mainly because of the strong bonds we have with our partners and investors that Draw Me A Garden has become what it is today and continues to grow as it does. In 2019 we have raised €540,000 to expand the team and improve the user experience”.
What is your greatest pride since the beginning of the adventure?
"We've reached a point where every day we get between 200 and 700 enquiries, which shows how much there is a need.We have on average 20 people who create new accounts every day, but our greatest pride is without a doubt the joy we brought to the people who have set up their garden and who send us photos and videos once they have planted it. You can see how happy and proud they are. That's our motivation!"
What are your challenges for the future, how do you see Draw Me A Garden grow?
"Our first challenge is to work on our conversion rate to help more people get all the way to the end of the process, so we need to understand what are the main UX blockages.
Then to work on scale and industrialisation. For that, we have a new fundraising campaign coming up in June/July 2021.
Another step is the launch of Draw Me A Garden in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany as soon as possible."
What advice could you give to people who, in turn, wish to combine their passion for nature and tech?
"Follow your passion! And talk about it to as many people as possible. The idea alone is worth nothing, what is valuable is the team and the execution."
Thank you very much, Florent!
We wish you a great future for Draw Me A Garden and we also thank you for the trust you have placed in our Wilders!
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