This Pakistani-born Entrepreneur Built a $600 Million Business from Scratch

The Pakistani startup ecosystem has, despite a lot of hype and excitement among the Pakistani entrepreneurs, still not produced enough successful startups. However, there are a number of Pakistani-born businessmen and entrepreneurs that have been widely successful creating million dollar businesses from scratch outside Pakistan.

Meet Tariq Farid, Founder of Edible Arrangements

Born in Pakistan in 1969, Tariq Farid is the owner and CEO of Edible Arrangements, a US-based franchising business that specializes in fresh fruit arrangements. His company, now worth more than half a billion dollars, has more than 1,200 stores all over the world.

“In 2016 alone, Edible Arrangements is expected to ship 10.8 million orders.”

Tariq’s journey started out with a moderately-sized flower shop in East Haven, a Town in Connecticut, United States, which he bought by borrowing $5,000 from his parents. Unlike many other mega-entrepreneurs, Tariq didn’t start out with a dream of making a million-dollar business.

At that time, he was just a 17-year old trying to make ends meet. That’s when he had an idea of making edible arrangements of fruit-filled bouquets and chocolates. This idea would go on to later transform his whole life.

“Being around flowers, I started thinking about the presentation of food in different displays and, at the time, no one was thinking about scaling or turning it into a big retail business,” said Tariq in an interview with Forbes.

When he first started pitching his idea to people, he was turned down by a lot of people and told it wouldn’t work. He was told that “people aren’t going to pay for this and it hasn’t been done before.” Not giving up, he decided to send an edible arrangement off to floral customers just to see their reaction. The response he got was simply amazing and reinforced his belief in his own idea.

“The customers asked, “when can I buy them?” I was inspired by the customers and when someone told me it’s not going to work.”

He opened the first Edible Arrangements store in 1999. Initially, it was incredibly hard. On their very first holiday, the festival of Easter, they had to make 28 arrangements and it took them 16-18 hours to carry that out. But after the orders had been sent out, more and more people started taking interest in them.

Building a Franchise

Even after orders had started flowing in, Tariq still had a relatively small business. The real break came when a customer reached out to ask if he could build one in the American state of Massachusetts. Tariq, initially doubtful, said he would consult his attorney and send the paperwork if needed.

In truth, he didn’t even have an attorney. So he put together a document and did all the research by himself. In doing this, he learned a lot of things about franchising which he normally wouldn’t have.

“When I spoke with franchisees I knew what every word meant and that was one reason we were very successful,” he elaborates. “When I got on the phone, I knew every aspect of the document we were signing and knew why it was there and the purpose of it.

That’s where it all changed for him and Edible Arrangements. Today, Edible Arrangements is worth over $600 million. In 2013, they hit $500 million in system-wide sales for the first time. Their sales expectations for last year alone were pegged at 10.8 million orders.

It has taken Tariq 17 years to take his company to where it stands today, and still, he keeps on planning to take it even further. He says that they are currently working with a number of big companies that want to use Edible Arrangements’ products for marketing or thanking clients. Moreover, they plan to add 75-100 stores per year.

Tariq has faced many challenges along the way but has successfully managed to deal with every one of them.

“Before, everything was a lot simpler, but now you have to build a web presence and a global presence. Along the way, things have gotten very complicated and very expensive.”

Tariq Farid is a big example of why you don’t need millions in funding to succeed or to be incubated at some big-name incubators or accelerators. It also shows how the only feedback about your idea that you need is from your consumers — the people actually using your products. A lot of people laughed off at his idea in the start, but that didn’t put him off.

The question we need to ask ourselves is that would he had been as successful over here in Pakistan as he is in the United States? The problem, it seems, isn’t in the ideas or the people themselves, but in how the small business or startups over here grow and scale themselves.

Source— Forbes


  • Impressive

  • Waiting for your services & Cash On Delivery in Pakistan !

  • ExPatriot

    Please remember it is united states of America the land of opportunity who gave him opportunity… If was Pakistan he just be selling fresh fruit on rairhee where daily he has to give bribery to muncipal people…!!

    • Aamir

      There is a lot of competition in the USA as compared to Pakistan. In the USA, there are currently about seven million people who are unemployed. It’s just a lame! It’s just a complain! Stop complaining! As we say, I didn’t get a job because I was in the low level university. I am not starting a business because there is so much corruption, so on.

      Have You Ever Tried to Find Out the Solution to the Problem?

      Your super mind can solve if you try! It’s not necessary to be a physical business. All you need an internet connection and a laptop and learning from the core of your heart – stop wasting time on Facebook, Whatsapp etc.

      There are a lot of successful internet business which are being run by Pakistani. You can learn the skills from Udemy, Udacity and Lynda. Your hard work, dedication, and research are the main factors to be successful, and complaining as you’ve done stops you.

      Hint:

      You need an idea to run a business then start implement. It’s not critical the idea must be unique. Facebook wasn’t a new idea. Google wasn’t a new idea. The way they implemented and worked made their business the best among the rest. You can take the same idea of Edible Arrangements, then you can run a similar business in Pakistan either you do online or offline.

    • Khalid Yaldram

      میری انگلش اچھی نہیں ہے آپ نے یہ لکھا ہے ریڑھی والے کو رشوت دینی پڑتی ہے آپ یہ جانتے ہے کراچی کے روڈوں پر تجاوازت ہے جو ٹریفک جام کی ایک وجہ ہے جب کام ہی دوسرں کو پریشان کرنے سے ہو گا تو خود بھی پریشانی اٹھانی پڑے گی۔۔۔۔

    • Khurram Kz Rajput

      lol seriously, bro in pakistan, you can do that much, which you won’t be able to achieve else where, in other places you’ll face competition rather then here in pakistan uncountable opportunities are there, just think of the box.

      Don’t be a copy cat, & even if you copy be smart enough to get the job done in your favor.

  • Graham Goon

    In the good ole US of A, you can scale fast and big. In Pakistan, he’s be the mandi wala delivering sabzi and phal to houses. Not to mention, no one will give you the kind of margins where you can scale

  • KMQ

    Good for him, lekin title samajh nahi aaya. What this story has to do with Pakistan other then just the fact that Mr. Tariq was born here in Pakistan. Baki sab kuch tu outsite of Pakistan hi hua hai :-)

    • Khalid Yaldram

      khya apna janta ha Trump kpk ma paida hova tha aur us par pa video news chal chuki ha tv pa : )

    • Muhammad Saddam

      have you ever heard of broadpeak technologies??
      he own a software house in islamabad have more than 200 employees that fullfill all Edible arrangement IT needs… all 200 of them are pakistani …

      • KMQ

        Nahi bhai sorry mujhe nahi pata tha BroadPeak Technologies ka, infact mujhe tu Tariq Farid sahab ka bhi nahi pata tha isi article se pata chala. Aur is article main BroadPeak Techonogies ka koi tazkara nahi :-) Chalain aachi baat hai humare 200 logon ki rozi tu lagi hui hai is company ki wajah se. Allah Pak taraki dey.

  • Muhammad Sami

    Joined his I.T. Company Netsolace in Islamabad back in 2012 and left after three months because of really in human HR policies, low remuneration and culture. Me might be a millionaire but he really lacks the idea of sharing success with employees. Period.

    • O__O

      Did the same. Stayed there for a week & all I heard was managers shouting at subordinates.
      In fact any software house in which you hear loud voices is an indicator of how unprofessional they are.

  • Haider

    great story!

  • Faheem Ahmed

    if someone willing to do something! then lets do it together contacts me

  • Arslan Nazeer

    Dear Team Please Try to Find Success Stories From Pakistan, According to Pakistani context, and success story should be new. How an MBA start his business from scratch, and be noted most of us not belonged to rich families to buy us a land or lend us huge amount to start a business.

  • Kalim

    Khalid Yaldram. Hats off to you. Very well presented. People forget the basic rule- if you hurt somebody, it will eventually hurt you. The thela walas pays bribe to police to set up a thela on the road. When you start a job with haram, your income will be haram and you will never be in peace. Why is it that there are no thelas on roads in Islamabad and Lahore, whereas you can put a thela anywhere in Karachi by bribing the police – even near Quaid’s mazaar.