Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Question deadline has been extended



                                       Elusive but worth it

No one has answered my question:  What is the next new ‘hot’ plants?


The problem could be: 1.  No one knows.  2.  No one sees my blog, but if they did, they would suggest 10 plants.  3.  Several people know the answer but want to keep it to themselves to steal the market.


I’ve seen top plant lists in trade magazines.  Many if these plants don’t fit into our small plant category, so don’t help.


Maybe, we are already growing the plant that will run away with the internet influencers.


We will pay attention.


Please comment with your plant selection.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

I have a vision...

                                            'wittle' hanging houseplants in production

            I have a vision (dream was taken) of how ‘wittle’ hanging houseplants can be sold.


            I have watched the eager buyers at Morris Farm Market on the way to the Outerbanks, North Carolina.  They load up wagons with cake, pies, vegetables, honey, candy, nuts, watermelon, and other good things.


            If there were a display of ‘Wittle’ hanging houseplants fully stocked with assorted houseplants, they could fly out of there.


            Many vacationers stop there coming and going, so if they are curious going in, they will buy a basket or two on the way home.


            I’m assuming most sales are made on the weekends, lining up with the weekly schedule of the beach rentals.


            How many could be sold in a weekend?


            At the rate they must restock everything else, it should be a lot.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

What would I do with three million dollars from a venture capitalist?

What would I do with three million dollars from a venture capitalist?


            The venture capitalist system is set up to give big sums of money in exchange for owning a percentage of the new company. 


            For a very small self-employed enterprise, it has intriguing trade-offs.  A stranger is willing to give you a lot on money for X % of the future value of the business { beginning value = almost nothing}.


            It is very enticing.  It’s not a loan, so I don’t have to pay it back.  But if your business is successful, someone else will own part of it and want to tell you what to do.


            In the current plant boom, a retail plant shop could use the money to open multiple plant stores in several cities to dominate a region quickly.


            A wholesale grower could build acres of greenhouses to support the large volume of fresh produce to supply national grocery chains.


            I’m glad this financial mechanism exists.  But it has nothing to do with me.


            My innovation of producing ‘wittle’ hanging houseplants is beyond the ‘minimum viable product’ test.  We already know they sell.



The limiting factor is supply.


Contract growing is available, if pursued. A slow rollout can test the market.  Grow 1,000 hanging baskets per week (50,000/year) and see what happens.  If demand pulls you in, double that.


If the ‘wittle’ brand can dominate the region {60 customers X 40 hanging houseplants/week} = {2400/week = 120,000/year}, then decide if three million dollars would help you?


Right now, I would not know what to do with three million dollars.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Too much choice?

Sinningias -- Infinite variety


Too much choice.


            How can you possibly have too much choice?


            I’m convinced that if you have more variety of plants that you will sell more.


            There is a theory that humans, when confronted with too many variations of an item, will ultimately get confused and buy none of them.




            I tried to buy a toaster once and could not decide how its features were different or better.  I bought the $20 one.


            Too much choice conflicts with the long tail theory.  In music, all the money goes to the top 10 songs. But the least popular still may sell one or two.  Digital products allow this because there is no cost to stocking every song ever made.


            Physical products are more limited because they take up space in the store and may never be sold.


            Are plants like this?  Do plants follow the 80-20 rule, which says that 80% of the sales come from 20% of the plants shown.


            A Mum in the Fall, a Geranium in the Spring, a Poinsettia at Christmas.  You would be foolish to go against this 80-20 rule. But if you grow commodity plants, don’t expect to sell at higher than normal prices.


            However, if you grow a choice of unusual plants, price is irrelevant, and the long tail of variety works.


            More choice is what you want.

Monday, November 23, 2020

How do you maintain a shortage?

                                               Diastema comiferium grown by Ingrid

How do you maintain a shortage?


            Supply and demand.  High demand --- raise the price.  High supply --- lower the price.


            What every business tries to do is raise the price as high as possible to stay in business for the short term and the long term.


            If your product is perceived to be priced too high relative to the competition, sales go down, so you lower the price in the short term to sell your inventory.  If you must lower your price below your cost, then in the long term you go out of business.


            But we want to study the example of very limited supply and no competition. The sales price can be very high to satisfy the select few who are willing to pay the high price. (Hot Plant)


            If somehow the supply can be increased, what to do?


            My previous advice was: “The obvious marketing plan is to have 10 for sale but have a thousand in the back greenhouse.”


            If I have 100 pots per week that can be sold for $10 each, what are 1,000 pots per week worth?


            A plant buyer never knows how much it costs to produce the plant nor how many you have, only what they are willing to pay for it.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Panic --- What's the next 'New Hot' plant?

                                                          Sinningia 'Kaleidoscope'

Panic --- What is the next new ‘hot’ plant?


            Right now, just about any houseplant can be sold.


            What we are searching for is the plant that everyone wants.


            If there was ever a Catch-22, it is this dilemma.  The plant collector wants the plant that nobody has.  Then that means that there aren’t any to have.


            The original Catch-22 was when you could only get in to see the Major when he wasn’t there.  If he was in his office, you could not get in to talk to him.


            Who knows what plant should we be propagating so when it is sought after, we can have more than 10 to sell?  The obvious marketing plan is to have only 10 for sale but have a thousand in the back greenhouse.


            Fortunes have been made with guessing what scarce resource you should buy up and wait for the demand to hit.


            I knew a guy who bought a lot of slide rules anticipating that when nostalgia set in, slide rule jockeys from the 60’s would pay a lot to get one again. --- Don’t know how that worked out?


            You can comment below.  What is the plant?

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Raspberries and Hanging Baskets

'wittle' Hanging Houseplants in Production


What does a raspberry have to do with a hanging basket?


            Since I like red raspberries, I buy them often.  You can get them almost every week of the year.  How can they do that?


            Natural grown raspberries give one-two crops a year.  Eat all you can, then wait till next year.


            All the supermarket red raspberries that I’ve eaten are brought to you by Driscoll’s {all we do is berries}, the apparent dominant brand in berries.


            How does a minor brand exist?  You don’t care about Driscoll unless you care about berries.  Then if you’re going to buy a berry, may as well buy a Driscoll --- they’ve been good in the past.  Besides, you don’t know of any other brands.


            Can houseplant hanging baskets be dominated by ‘wittle’ Hanging Houseplants originated by Gary’s Specialty Plants?


            What are the parallels?  Minor product with no established brand name.  The brand name could be promoted in reverse.  You see the ‘wittle’ hanging houseplant, then notice the brand you never heard of.  The next time you want a small hanging basket you look for ‘wittle’.


            If it works for raspberries, it can work for hanging houseplants.