Hi, Tell us your name, what you do, and about your business.
Hey, I am Rama Nayeri and I am the owner of Creations Landscape Designs. Specializing in drought-tolerant, California native landscapes that are designed to reduce your water bill, while increasing your property value.
My primary clients are single-family residential homeowners that are looking to renovate their gardens and create a more earth-friendly alternative that is not only beneficial to this earth but also their health.
What’s your own background. Were you always proficient in this business, or did it just strike your mind one fine day?
After high school I studied 3 years of architecture, thinking that I wanted to become an architect. In my third year, I randomly met a woman that was working on a lawn creations designs project for her class and as she was explaining to me what she was doing, I fell in love. I decided to shift gears and study landscape architecture.
This led to me shifting gears and now I have a bachelor’s of science in landscape architecture from Cal Poly Pomona.
I have 5+ years of experience working for a landscape architect, but I had no clue how to start or market a business. The idea came to me one day when I had nothing else to do. Literally, no day job to go to and nothing to do but sit on the couch.
What went into designing the initial product? Can you take us through the actual process?
I don’t sell a product, but a service. I sell residential landscape design services. Creating this service was easy. Homeowners have gardens that they need to be renovated and I can help them do that. After meeting with the client to go over their needs, I then create a contract for design services.
Then I start by measuring the site (assuming I have a signed contract) and creating a detailed site plan so that I can know exactly what I have to work with. I then create conceptual drawings to give them ideas of what will work for their space. From there I create detailed drawings that any contractor can bid from.
I meet with all contractors bidding the job to make sure that they understand the design. I also am at the job site regularly during installation to ensure that everything is flowing smoothly.
I will also do quarterly follow-ups for the first year after installation to make sure that there are no issues.
Talk us through the process of the launch of your business
It was June of 2007 and I had found myself unemployed. I spent a few weeks trying really hard to find a day job, but there was none to be had. The economy had gone to shit and I found myself lost.
Then one day it hit me I could spend 3 hours a day canvassing different residential neighbors around mine and my mother’s house passing out postcards advertising myself as a designer.
Then I could spend another 3 hours online looking for that day job. Needless to say, I never found a day job.
How is your repeat customer rate like? Can you take us through how you attract and retain customers?
In my line of work 95% of the time, there are no repeat customers. If I design a garden well enough, then there is no need to go back and redo any work.
On the one hand, this is great but on the other hand, this also becomes challenging. Once you are done with a client then you are done. Unless they buy another property which is not often the case.
What is the current situation? How do you see yourself in the next 12 months?
The current situation of my business is growing as it always does. This is exactly where I intend to be in the next 12 months. Growing and flourishing.
As a woman founder, do you see this as only financially uplifting? Otherwise too? If yes, then how?
What I love about my job is that I not only get to own a business and create my own financial freedom. Create an environment where I don’t have to be chained to a cubicle but also create eco-conscious environments that better this earth. I have the power through my business to better this earth and I fully take advantage of that power.
What tools or services did you use?
In my day to day of running the business, I use the following programs that have drastically improved the efficiency of my business. AutoCAD, which is a digital drafting software, Photoshop, which is a graphics software and Microsoft OneNote that is a task writing tool. I created my business such that I could be mobile. I can work from anywhere. Sometimes the truck of my car.
What are your key challenges today? How are you planning to tackle those?
My biggest challenge is listening to stories from prospective clients telling me that they cannot have a drought-tolerant native garden. Then I have lots of success stories to share with then, to show then that they can.
Which are some resources, books, articles or podcasts that have been useful to you, and would share with your readers
This could turn into a really long list. There are so many books out there that have worked well in inspiring me. I will list then not in any particular order.
Many a times, women feel that businesses are for only for men. What’s your take?
I disagree. Often times we may feel like we are not good enough or can’t something for one reason or another but I would challenge that by pointing out that some of the most successful humans are women.
Looking to kick start your own venture?
Hi ! This is Misha.
I interview women founders in building profitable businesses??
My idea is for other women to get inspired by these actionable tell all stories and start their own profitable enterprises.
I am hugely inspired by inspirational interview series starters like IndieHackers, StarterStory by Pat Walls, Failory, SpaceBandits and have put significant efforts in reaching out to women founders in order to get started.