When life gives you lemons...
... make an online business out of it!
Well, the name is "Meine Orangerie", but the picture is still right - because sold citrus plants of all kinds are sold here.
Christoph's love of flora was awakened at an early age; at 14, he was already helping out in the garden center across the street and earning a little garden center across the street and earned some extra pocket money. For ten years and well into his studies, he remained true to this side job, learning the basics of the (plant) trade. Even as a graduate in business administration, he soon finds himself drawn back to greenery, but this time in the wholesale business. Flowers & plants, fruit & vegetables - he knows how to sell them. After eight years in employment he got the green thumb itch to set up his own business. And what would make more sense in his career than to use his expertise to sell tender seedlings?
A budding business
In 2014, he began his journey as an entrepreneur, initially in parallel with his main job. An online retailer for Mediterranean plants combines for Christoph his interest in trading with the bushes, trees and flowers for which his heart beats.
When Meine Orangerie began to take root and bear its first fruit, Christoph took the risk of making a radical step and focuses entirely on his entrepreneurial homegrown business.
Imported from Sicily, he offers selected plants - in the truest sense of the word, he regularly travels to Italy to personally inspect his merchandise - in a web shop. Plants are naturally fragile and delicate creatures, which must be handled with care and transported with care. A logistical challenge that requires special solutions. Left to his own devices, Christoph acts as a one-man business in the early days, supplies the various plants in his warehouse, communicates with the customers and if need be, even takes the packaged trees to the post office in his own Fiat Cinquecento.
My orangery is taking off
But as his success grows, so does the company, and he now has five part-time and full-time employees to help him to ensure that hobby gardeners all over the country can get their eagerly awaited bonsai, olive and lime trees. In the office, he also receives help from his wife Dani - soon to be a full-time employee. And the trips to the post office by car have long been a thing of the past!
A climbing aid is needed
Christoph knows from the outset, thanks to his years in the plant trade, that he will not be able to do without an merchandise management system. Initially, he used the online store software Magento, but soon it can no longer meet his needs. He also used Excel, where certain functions are missing, the clarity leaves much to be desired, and there is a constant risk of being sold short because the figures are not up to date.
Stocks are wrong, purchasing is not mapped - the current solution is simply inadequate.
Also Amazon has developed into an important branch for Meine Orangerie. However, for Christoph, selling through his own online store is the ultimate. Because Amazon, always primarily focused on efficiency and automated processes, doesn't have much use for natural products that can neither be stored in the post over the holidays nor exposed to excessively cold and sometimes even have to be ordered from scratch before they can be shipped, because they simply no longer look good.
Customers of the company's own webshop, on the other hand, understand the special conditions and challenges involved in shipping living creatures - and are willing to put up with waiting times in return for the quality and special service offered.
In addition, the website also features an expert blog by Christoph himself, which is filled with lots of tips and information about plant care.
Also accessories from the specially composed soil to the overwintering tent can be purchased in the online store - and make functioning logistics all the more important.
A business is repotted
In 2019, the move will follow from the hall that had become too small to the farm, which will now have the necessary space and the barn now offers the necessary space and resources to continue growing. The neighboring castle also provides a majestic backdrop and continues to attract walk-in customers.
Things are also happening in the area of merchandise management: The phasing out of Magento 1 is for Christoph the initial spark to tackle the topic of ERP. If a new store is needed, the basis should also be right so that all connections work.
Through his previous work, he has a lot of experience with ERP migrations and go-lives and knows what he wants and, above all, what he doesn't want.
His research eventually led him to Xentral because of its modular nature and flexible approach convinced him right away. Regular updates, the video tutorials, possible extensions and also the user-friendliness speak for Xentral as the ERP system of choice.
If even the videos don't answer a question, Christoph uses the Xentral community, because "someone has always asked the question - and gotten an answer.
He finds his way around the system right from the start and uses it intuitively. And even for new Xentral isn't rocket science for new employees, either: "You can simply put any new employee in front of the videos and it's great onboarding!"
By the way, this refers to the video tutorials of the Xentral Academy, which all customers can access for free!
Growing together with Xentral
In case of bugs, the support team is always very quick and committed to finding a timely solution. Christoph especially likes the fact that the system is constantly improved, extended and developed and adapts to new circumstances.
"The master data maintenance is super"
And what else? What does he particularly like about Xentral? "The batches app! It's a mega tool for me. I have a lot of different types of picking and with the Batches app, I can select, filter and pack much more efficiently and quickly. It's an absolute key module if you know how to use it wisely!"
Christoph Lindlar is now focusing on new markets and in the near future would like to conquer Kaufland, and perhaps also Otto and Google Shopping - after all, the possibilities are numerous. And thanks to the Xentral effect, he now has the time and capacity to pursue bigger ideas and make more audacious plans.
To whom would Christoph recommend using Xentral?
"I think for two channels or more that you're servicing, it does make sense. You end up saving yourself hassle. The fact that you don't go out of stock, that you don't sell yourself short without being noticed, is already immensely important and a great advantage.
The whole purchase is made easier in the long run. The more you put in, the more valuable such a system becomes. You create data once cleanly and then you can access it again and again and very quickly. You can evaluate the various costs and also recognize correlations. But you really have to do it correctly once, so that you also profit in the long term. No shortcuts, no bungling."
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