Riprap is a landscaping company founded by Gregory Barretto. Gregory’s childhood sounds idyllic- he grew up with the birds and the bees at an alternative learning school in Magadi and where he nurtured his love for nature, hard work, creativity and design.
A student on the journey of life he is a carpenter, mason, metal fabricator, designer, landscapist, outdoor instructor, wildlife rescuer…the list is endless. He runs Riprap with Wendy Kapadia who designs and executes all the garden projects and custom made products that go with it. She loves meeting new clients and understanding their wants and dreams and making them realities. We chat with them about their venture:
An excerpt from the Interview:
• What made you start your venture?
Growing up we were always in love with the outdoors, plants, rocks, wood and working in the garden at home and at school. We never had lots of money to spend on fancy gardens as people do these days, so it gave us an understanding of making the most of what you have. We saw a need for a company that understands that factor while cre
ating a space for people to relax in, to enjoy looking at and desiring to spend time in rather than spending ridiculous amounts of money.
• What has been the key to your business’s success?
&nsbp; Doing the work ourselves. We love making and creating things and using our bodies for productive work. We do a lot of work that even labourers would not. We are really obsessed with our end product and design and doing it ourselves eliminates extra work and bother from dealing with people who don’t see what we see. Sometimes we get so excited about projects we can’t sleep at night because we are so eager to start work on it in the morning! Though most business people would say that’s not the way to make money, we want to love what we do and make sure our clients do as well!
What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
The major challenge in this line is that labour and materials have become very expensive. A lot of clients approach us wanting ‘very simple’ gardens but when they hear how much it costs they cut down on a lot of theirs wants or scrap the idea all together.
We don’t believe in instant gardens! A lot of people like very manicured gardens, our style is very simple, natural and real, we like jungle looks! We would rather people grow fruits and vegetables than have lawns and ornamental plants, that way your garden gives you back.
• Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
We don’t really have a mentor as such, but we get advice from lots of people from various industries related and not related to our line of work.
• Have you benefitted from the use of any specific practice for your regular operations?
A lot of people want ‘low maintenance gardens’, truth is, that does not exist. A beautiful garden takes dedication and hard work to maintain. We try to balance that with using a lot of perennials and plants that don’t need too much f
uss. This works well for us as people can see their plants grow throughout the year and not keep looking at plants withering away.
• What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
At the end of the day we like to see the smiles on our client’s faces, that’s why we mostly do home gardens, they are so much more personal and give more room for creativity. We combine our design ideas with our client’s ideas and make a garden that works for them.
• What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Be tough. Be adaptable. Be smart. Always stay one step ahead of everyone. Like Riprap and see their work on Facebook: RipRap