Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Best Marketing Strategy

'wittle' Hanging Basket


            “The best marketing strategy is to create a great product!”

                                    Josh Spector


            “If you build it, they will come.”

Field of Dreams



Every new product designer expects their creation to be immediately accepted and that it will take over the World.


We already know that our 10 cm ‘wittle’ hanging basket meets a need of indoor gardeners.  It’s cute and can fill small spaces at the window.


Our Independent Garden Center (IGC) customers are finding them easy to sell when displayed in their houseplant sections.


Are they selling themselves?  It’s hard to know.  We’re selling about 1,000 per week, so that’s a good sign.


What’s the next move to sell more?


Increase availability with more and different varieties.  Have them in more stores.


Why does Coke dominate the drink world?  Ubiquity.  Coke is everywhere.


Will ‘wittle’ hanging baskets be everywhere?  Unlikely.


Go to your local IGC and ask for one.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

How could you not?

Primulina 'Xuan's Party Dress'


           This Primulina ‘Xuan’s Party Dress’ is flowering in my West kitchen window.


            It has been there for several years and flowers 2-3 times a year.  I call it a success.


            How could you not want one?

Sunday, March 21, 2021

When is enough, too many?

Baby Bears are cute

When is enough, too many?


            A rare set of events has been happening in the commercial houseplant business.  There are too many buyers and not enough sellers.  This almost never happens.


            Look at other industries.  When the oil price goes up, the wells pump more crude oil.  When the price of gas goes down, the wells stop drilling and wait for the next price change.


            Greenhouse production space can relatively easily convert from Spring plants or flowering plants to houseplants.  However, the demand for all plants is so strong, there is little need for changing crops.


            The demand side for houseplants is running its own exponential run-away demand curve--- straight up.  Homeowners have discovered the decorative value of greenery with houseplants.


            The supply is stretched from both ends.


            Our delightful record sales are near the breaking point.


            I’ve decided to not accept any new customers.  We will start a waiting list of interested buyers until our situation changes.


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.