One of the best things to come out of 2020 was the launch of my new business, and although it has only been a few months since launching, a lot has happened... and boy has it been a fun rollercoaster so far!
I've always wanted to start my own business, but never really felt like I had a good enough 'idea'. It wasn't until I opened a delivery of seeds from a very well-known brand that I realised something in the gardening industry needed to change. The delivery included an advert for a leather reclining chair (the ones you see in old people's houses), elasticated waistband trousers and a holiday brochure with a smiley 80 year old couple on the front- hardly exciting me as a young gardener! I knew the gardening industry couldn't go on like this- it needed to appeal to the younger generation!
I realised there was no brand out there that appealed to me as a young gardener- everything was either aimed at the retired, very young kids (which is brilliant btw!) or was simply dull. Yet, there are so many young adults who want to learn to grow their own flowers, have their first ever garden and need a guiding hand, or have a space they can grow in but don't know where to start. We're all becoming more aware of our environmental impact, and by sowing a packet of seeds we can all do our bit for the pollinators. On top of this, throw in a global pandemic where we're all forced to spend more time in our homes, gardens or balconies, and the idea of creating a modern brand, that shows how easy it is to grow a beautiful flower-filled garden from seed, was born!
In the summer evenings whilst watering my garden, I started thinking about my branding, what products I could launch, and what new gardeners were looking for in a modern gardening brand. I came up with the idea of letterbox seed gifts- I had seen a few other brands out there, some doing it well, some not, but no one was overtly focused on pretti-ness and flowers. Lots of lovely veg companies (Highly recommend www.seed-craft.com for all your veggie needs), but nothing that was all about flowers, cutting gardens and creating pretty borders. So I felt their was a gap in the market. It was also coming up to Christmas, a time where there is notoriously not much to plant during the coldest and wettest months, but I wanted to get started as I felt so passionate about the insight and idea. I started thinking about how Christmas could be an opportunity... and it sprung to me...ADVENT CALENDARS... how fun would it be to open a new packet of seeds every day?!
And the idea was born.... hours each evening and morning around my day job planning, plotting and briefing in my advent calendar. The wonderful Charlotte Munson created the lovely design (@charlottemunsondesign) and I researched countless seeds and typed up the growing instructions. I took the plunge and ordered hundred of pounds worth of flower seed, twine, golden mini pegs, tissue paper, stickers, and ordered lots of A5 letterbox boxes. At this point I had absolutely no clue if they would sell- maybe if I sold 50 that would be good... they sold in their hundreds, and it really took off. I sold out by the middle of November (far surpassing my expectation of 50!) I couldn't have been happier! I was able to make a donation to Greenfingers Charity and also reinvest the money into future products.
I spent literally hours and all my weekends packing up seeds and learnt so much from this. The things I learnt from the advent calendar process will stick with me for life... this is what I wish I'd known at the start...
-Nemesia seeds are TINY and if you sneeze they will disappear!
-Envelopes don't stick by themselves!
-The people who work in the Post Office will be your life savers, potentially saving you hundreds of pounds!
-Your have amazing friends and family who will support you no matter what!
-Your heat sealer will be both the biggest pain and saviour!
and so with advent calendars selling out mid November, I then had a couple of weeks with no products. The new gift products hadn't quite arrived, so it was time to take stock and build the website. I have so enjoyed working on my website, and now writing these blog posts!
I was also overwhelmed to be chosen by Holly Tucker to be part of a new scheme she launched called 'Small Business Inspirators', and she invested a small sum of money into my brand. This was reinvested into fine-tuning my website and paying someone to code for me. (All of which went completely over my head!) This was one of my posts on Instagram at the beginning of November where I had lots of orders that I took them to the Post Office in my wheelbarrow!
Then eventually all the materials and seeds arrived for my launch of my new range of products. I was hoping to launch at the beginning of December, straight after the advent calendar, but I was busy with my day job, and waited a long time for everything to arrive. It felt like momentum was dropping, and I still had to sticker and pack all the products. I roped in my mum to help and we soon got through it, and I was able to launch my new range of products in mid-December.
So far I've had a few sales and can't wait to share more information about them on here and on my Instagram page. I'm looking forward to reaching out to magazines and Press to hopefully feature my products in the run up to Mother's Day and the peak seed sowing season, and I'm excited to start to reach out to Garden Centres, Farm Shops and gift stores to see if they would stock my new range of products.
I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported my new business. Whether it be the positive comments on social media, listening to me ramble on about it face to face, or for buying a product and making my new business turn from an idea to a reality. I can't wait for you all to follow me along on the way and be a part of it, every step of the way.
As we close 2020, and what a weird year it has been, it has been great to reflect on how far I've come, but also to look ahead to 2021. I can't wait to share more soon!