2022 has been a 'year'... I think wonderful, amazing, hard, whacky, full on and brilliant would all cover it! A year of extreme highs, challenges and some big lessons learnt during the 'lows'. I feel like the past year has shaped TRPG more than ever before and I feel extremely proud from a personal level on what has been achieved this year. I am extremely grateful to all my customers who have continued to support TRPG and my dream to run this business.
I'm going to caveat this highlights blog post with a big side note that this year has also been extremely challenging, but I have learnt so much! There have been warehouse issues, logistical nightmares with Royal Mail strikes and don't even get me started on cash flow... (a bit of a challenge for all fast growing businesses, it seems I'm in good company)!
However, whilst the lows have taught me the most, the highlights have given me some of the greatest fulfilment this year! Let's get started:
22 Highlights In 2022
1) I started and finished my garden design course... I learnt SO much about design, materials, perspective and planting combinations. It also taught me that I already knew a lot of the basics already through pure passion and hobby- reading the magazines, watching the TV, have all helped to build a foundation of knowledge that can be applied in the garden. The course gave me the confidence to launch virtual and in person garden design courses.
2) I launched Dahlias, Gladioli and summer bulbs for the first time in March. It seems strange reflecting on the year and realising that this time last year I had never sold a dahlia... now it feels a cemented part of what TRPG stands for and sells! I couldn't imagine TRPG without Dahlias or peonies now! I was blown away with the sell out of the dahlias in March, before we even planted them. Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year with buying items- it really made me so happy to sell out and know that you're all going to grow such wonderful flowers. (Although learning to order more stock next time!)
3) Whilst now I am writing this I am on over 28k followers (and let's face it, Instagram followers means nothing in the grand scheme of things, vs sales), but at the time, earlier this year, hitting 20k followers felt like a huge milestone in credibility and reach. To think 20k people wanted to follow my business blew my mind. It was also a big milestone as I surpassed a lot of traditional horticultural companies amount of followers. It felt like I was really 'onto something' and that feeling has grown throughout the year!
4) Being asked to collaborate with my ultimate homewares brand, The Cotswold Company, was a huge highlight for me this year. A huge institution and basically every piece of furniture in my first ever home has been bought from this wonderful company. Doing a video series on growing your own trees from seed and then running a Spring workshop at their new store opening was a huge accolade and a real 'pinch me' moment.
5) Then I went to Holland for the first time ever to Keukenhof (the world's largest bulb display in the world!) It's safe to say I had my breath taken away... it was heaven on earth. It inspired the idea to create TRPG gardening getaways and I am so proud to have sold out a 44 place trip to Holland in April 2023 in less than 2 hours! I can't wait for the trip to Holland AND the new trip to Marrakesh in September 2023.
6) 2022 was also a year with a huge personal highlight! Ed proposed on a wonderful trip to Yorkshire and it is a day I will always remember. Ed has been so supportive throughout my TRPG journey, so this is my shout out to say 'Thank you Ed' for everything you have done this year, and every year.
7) TRPG word has been spread... TRPG has been featured in countless magazines and articles from BBC Gardeners World Magazine to lots of incredible and inspiring influencers sharing my page on their accounts. Thank you to everyone who has shared my business and brand to their friends and family!
8) I've visited and exhibited at some amazing shows! Hampton Court Palace, RHS Chelsea Flower Show, RHS Malvern and so many more. Whilst I decided this year not to exhibit at the RHS shows and instead focus on growing the subscription content online, it was amazing to attend and gain inspiration on the new trends and new products and brands that were launched! I'm looking forward to attending lots of the shows with you all in 2023!
9) A big highlight was moving to my first ever warehouse. It was an extremely exciting step for TRPG and gave me time to focus on the future of TRPG and some exciting new launches for later in the year. Whilst the fulfilment company relationship didn't work out (very long story), I was so proud of how I held my integrity, how I acted and the whole experience cemented how important my values are. There were a lot of sleepless nights, stress and worry, but it also taught me the most important lessons of all. Thank you to everyone who was so kind and understanding whilst all of that happened in October- I will forever be grateful for the kind messages and emails I received.
10) The 2022 Advent Calendar was as fabulous as ever. This is a bit geeky, but for the first time ever, I had my own printed boxes for the Advent Calendar (rather than a sleeve around a plain box) and also had printed envelopes for the first time too! The elves were very happy not to have to sticker each envelope and the advent calendars looked fantastic. Thank you to Amy Cole Studio for creating such a beautiful Advent Calendar design! I am really looking forward to growing all of the flower seeds together in 2023.
11) Hitting the highest number of new subscribers in one day was a wonderful highlight. I did a discount offer to encourage new people to give it a try and every single order made me so happy because it was another person going on an adventure of starting a garden! The subscription is there to excite, encourage and support new gardeners, so getting over 100 people signed up in one day was a bit of a dream come true!
12) The popularity of the bulbs this year has blown me away and seeing everyone planting their bulbs has been a lovely highlight and wonderful promise of hope for 2023. However, I ordered far too many. After a sell out of the dahlias earlier in the year, I didn't want to sell out too early, so I went big on stock. Bit of a mistake and then throw in the change of warehouse and it meant I was left with a lot of stock to sell. Thankfully TRPG community rallied around and whipped up some bargains in November and really helped to keep TRPG going.
13) The wonderful ladies at the Yarnton Home & Garden team asked if I would run a day of workshops all about bulb planting. This was a huge highlight as I got to meet so many lovely gardeners and we got to spend the whole day chatting about our future spring gardens! There are some more workshops planned for 2023 so keep an eye out!
14) QVC... Did my product seriously sell on QVC??!! It still doesn't feel real! No more words needed!
15) Everyone loves the seeds, bulbs and plants but one thing that was seriously missing from TRPG repertoire was an amazing peat free compost. Launching the compost subscription was a wonderful highlight of the year! I have loved working with Charlotte at Natural Grower!
16) So after all the drama of the previous fulfilment company... I quickly moved to a new short-term warehouse. High vis jacket on,
Shania Twain Mega Mix on repeat and an automated tape dispenser kept me busy and fulfilled. I packed hundreds of your orders and really enjoyed getting stuck in again. I also had a moment of serendipity when on the day I needed to find a new warehouse, an old work colleague who I highly respected, announced they had found a new warehouse. So I am so excited to share that I am moving to a new final warehouse in January. Phil and his team are so experienced and I can't wait to have more time again to focus on the growth of TRPG as there are some very exciting times ahead.
17) I had an email late one Friday afternoon announcing that I had been chosen as The Telegraph and Natwest's Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs to watch! I was absolutely blown away by this... I was invited to a networking day with some of the most inspirational businesswomen including Trinny, founder of Trinny London; Plus the founder of Fitflop, Beauty Pie and so many more incredible female founders. It was wonderful to be recognised in the national newspaper and to get the support from Natwest.
18) A massive highlight towards the end of this year has been launching a brand new website. I really wanted to improve the functionality of the website and make it more 'on brand'. Over time TRPG style and key components have been fine tuned and the beautiful illustrations by Amy are now on the website and photography from the incredibly talented Kathy Ashdown is on there too. The filters on the site make it so much easier to shop- colours, sun/shade and so much more! The new website took a LOT of work but I am really pleased with how it has turned out.
19) Probably one of the biggest highlights of the year was launching a New gardening app and reaching over 1k downloads in just one week! I launched the app to have our community, shop and videos all in one place. I wanted there to be a place for everyone to share pictures of their garden- mess and all! As well as celebrate first seedlings popping up, first flowers blooming and planting combinations that make your heart sing. "You never meet a horrible gardener" and never a truer word has been spoken. The gardening community is amazing, supportive and so encouraging. I'm so looking forward to seeing the app develop in 2023! Thank you to everyone who has already downloaded it and posted.
20) 239 Amazing 5 star Trustpilot reviews... Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write a kind review. It makes such a difference to my business.
21) One of the most fulfilling things for me is our donation to Greenfingers charity, who create magical gardens for children's hospices. Each year I have committed to donating £10k to charity. The money from this years donation will be going to the Nook in Norfolk. I am looking forward to seeing the new hospice garden develop over time.
22) The biggest highlight of all has been the messages I have received, the friends I have made, and seeing your gardens transform has been wonderful.
2022 has been a fantastic year... thanks so much for being a huge part of it! Buckle up... 2023 is calling!