Research on the industry

During her initial research into the landscaping industry Cheral found that there were 3 prominent opportunities that she could use to position her company with a competitive advantage in a saturated industry.

Industry Problem:

In her initial research Cheral found that the landscaping industry had reputable large landscaping companies already in operation. The market was saturated with garden service companies offering quick "landscaping", and landscapers that ranged from small to large garden implementations. Cheral felt that she did not want to become just another "landscaper" cutting in on someone else's turf.

The official landscapers were efficient in their implementations, but were not creative in their designs. Their gardens were tried and tested, and thus profitable for implementation. Custom designing was minimal.

Solution:

Using the building and interior decorating industries as examples, she identified that the landscaping industry had not and would still not be classified as creative until the structure in which the industry ran, transformed i.e. the design of the landscape should be conceived by a creative person (like an architect or interior decorator or designer), and the actual implementation done by the technical suppliers (like a builder, paver, painter or landscaper).

Industry Problem:

Additionally, she found that the landscapers tended to only work with the softscaping materials they knew (trees, plants, lawn, soil, bark chips) and a minimal range of hardscaping materials (pavers, chipstone, pots, benches, sleepers). Thus leaving no room for creative thinking and flexibility in the output. New variations of those products in the market place were snatched up immediately and implemented time and time again as "creative" just because they were new. The market was just begging for creativity and customisation of landscapes.

Solution:

Cheral believed that outdoors was an extension of the home, an external space and not necessarily just a garden. She felt that landscapes should incorporate new materials, new design elements, new thoughts, new functions and ultimately new aesthetics. This brought in a requirement to include hardscaping, (building, decking) ambience (water effects, lighting, sound), functionality (canopies, kitchens, showers) etc, as well as softscaping plants into her design scope.

Industry Problem:

Capetonians in comparison to Gauteng residents spend more time outdoors and their interest in nature, outdoors, and gardens is more of a lifestyle requirement rather than a stress release requirement.

But further to that, Cheral found that most home owners found transforming a space stressful and complicated, with the requirement of finding reputable companies, dealing with different contractors for specific items, finding task dependencies, and budgeting very difficult.

On the other end of the stick, as the clients were more cautious of who they appointed as contractors, reins are tightened, communication lacking and as a result the suppliers were finding it difficult to meet clients expectations.

Solution:

Cheral identified that if her company took the position of primary contact for both the client and the supplier from the start, conceptualising the design and then briefing the contractors, the project would be completed with minimal stress for both sides of the project fence.

In true testimony of her creativity, Cheral decided she would not slot into the existing market as a landscaper, but would rather augment the landscaping industry, by fulfilling the niche market for creative landscape designs and would pioneer the transformation of the way in which landscaping business will be conducted.

She decided that Living Matter would be positioned as a landscape design company that consults to residential clients, corporate clients, architects, landscapers, decking companies, pool companies, builders and so forth. Working collaboratively with each person or company to provide them with the best creative and unique solution for the clients' landscape.


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