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Greens Bali, a 1000m2 vertical farm, for sale:

"Grow what the customer wants, not what you want"

"Not listening enough to your customers might probably be the biggest mistake that is made in vertical farming. If you present them with five products and don't give them the option to bring things up themselves, I think you're making a big mistake," says Ivan Valor, Founder of Greens Bali, a vertical farm based on Bali, Indonesia.

Ivan continues, "I wanted to make a bet and only focus on what our customers wanted us to grow to see whether we'd retain our clients." Reducing the sales team to zero and setting up a team of two FTEs fixated on customer service, they are taking care of daily interaction with the customers, which made Greens Bali quit all promotions and advertising.

"It has been a game changer as we're generating sales without pushing people, focusing on service and delivering high quality greens. Because of this investment, we increased our customer service, have seen a higher customer satisfaction and more returning customers."

Helen Hobbs and Ivan Valor

Keeping overstock
Actually growing 20% more than the customer request, Greens Bali stays ahead of sudden demand peaks in products. Then, would you charge more? On the contrary, Ivan emphasizes that if you increase prices when there's a special need, customers won't come back a second time. "Let's not forget that anyone can do what we're doing, growing microgreens anywhere in the world. Rather than looking to earn loads of money, why not give the opportunity to make someone happy instead?"

Quitting promotions, getting clientele in return
In the beginning, Greens Bali experienced a customer loss of around 40, but they also gained another 40. "We were not able to retain the first customers for some reason, but the moment we invested in focusing solely on them, we were able to hold onto a stable number." Making sure the interaction was right, listening to the demand, and offering flexible payment terms and delivery terms proved to be fruitful. With a customer base of around 316 customers, the farming operation currently experiences a loss of around 12 customers per month, which is balanced out with a gain of 20 to 30 new clients per month.

Meaning, that if you provide five products to choose from only, you're not making the most of your vertical farm. "You have the space and (often) the ability to grow numerous varieties, so therefore, you should be able to dedicate the farm to your customer's requests."

As Ivan elaborates, "At Farm One and Two, our team meticulously allocates each square meter to specific crop varieties, which allows us to accurately forecast and charge appropriately for each product. Ivan points out that, contrary to some big vertical farms, they don't just produce to impress potential clients; they focus on selling all that they grow. Unsold products become a burden, increasing inventory costs and operational expenses. Therefore, it's more cost-effective to manage production to meet demand rather than risk running out of stock and disappointing customers. By deliberately overgrowing, we ensure supply always meets demand. This way, even if there's an unexpected surge in demand, we are prepared to fulfill it without delay."

Farm updates
Given their big plans, Ivan and Helen had to pause their expansion plans for a new 7000m2 farm in Jakarta as "back then, the company wasn't profitable yet, so it was not an attractive idea to sell when pitching for one million dollars." Instead, the founders were concentrating on balancing operating expenditures and revenue, which they were able to do.

The newest facility, established in 2022, operates at 70% capacity across two distinct areas, Farm One and Two. Ivan shares insights on expansion potential: "There's ample opportunity to increase production up to 100% by utilizing the full vertical space available.' Last year, Greens Bali successfully raised over $120,000, which was strategically invested in developing Farm Two and concurrently enhancing operations. Ivan's decision to collaborate with local manufacturers resulted in significantly reduced investment costs, delivering savings when compared to mainstream market alternatives."

Farm for sale!
"Greens Bali is at a very good place now having reached profitability, we're looking for potential buyers to take over the business." As Ivan and his fiancé are aspiring to settle down in the English countryside and be closer to their family, they are putting their beloved vertical farm up for sale. "Looking for someone that's passionate about farming, we're not aiming to get rich from this transaction. We just want our farm to be in good hands." Selling 70% of the company, Greens Bali is looking for a new owner who is willing to continue and grow the business. The other 30% is owned by the investor.

Teaching the staff to run the company on their own, Ivan and Helen had withdrawn their involvement in the business since last year, and it has been proven positive. "Normally Bali has a low-season from January until March, however, every month we've achieved profit so far. At this point, the team has achieved 20% on top of its projected March profit. "If we continue to focus on our customer service, and we face no threats in the market, this year will turn out spectacular!"

For more information:
Greens Bali
Ivan Valor, Founder and CEO
Tel.: +628 2145 237 923
[email protected]