When Barbie started an Instagram profile she had no idea it would turn into a thriving community and business.
"The community would send me private messages to continue what I was doing and suggest the next best step. I owe it to them for pushing me to build something the market desperately needed." -Barbie
The #crazyplantpeople represents a very unique community. They are overly proud of all their plants and pay just that little bit more detail to making sure that their plants are given the best care to thrive. They treat and care for plants like their own children, they name them, often talk to them and of course, photograph their milestones - like a new sprout or a leaf. If you happen to be one - welcome home!
Barbie has worked in the government sector for over 12 years but her real passion has always been plants. In late 2018, she decided to share passion with the Instagram community. What she did not realise at the time was that the handle and hashtag '@crazyplantpeople' would take a life of its own and would eventually become the foundation for her business.
Written & Interview by Hunter Valley Media
We just kept providing value
The initial push for me to start the business was that family and friends and visiting guests kept asking to purchase my plants! Surely there are enough nurseries out there? But I noticed that the plant community worked endlessly to find good value and healthy plants, looking for them on Gumtree and other online markets. The more I asked, that more I learned that (sadly) people felt their local nurseries to be too expensive or lacked the quality they are after. While I support my local nursery, it did dawn on me that their overheads and business model meant higher costs for their customers. The model we adopt means that we have minimum overheads and we can then pass on the savings to our customers.
All about the community
Whenever there is a business decision to make, our #crazyplantpeople community gets consulted first. It has been the single most rewarding experience. We not only learn straight from our customers but it also means that they are invested in our venture. It becomes a partnership. We take pride in building long term relationships and fostering a valuable relationship in our community. You can join our Facebook community here and see for yourself how awesome it is.
Our private Facebook group is on offer for anyone who wants to get 'exclusive,' tips on plants and gardening. We are building a great community of people who love plants and want to help each other become better plant parents. There are tons of great information on offer and it is a great way to interact with our crazy plant people on a more personal level. This is where you can ask specific questions about your plants, ideas and experiences! Our community also gets first dibs on offers and give away promotions.
Tried and tested countless delivery and logistic models
Before all this began, I too would scour the internet for interesting, good value plants and pots. My experience was quite average, particularly on how little effort and care was taken with how the plants were wrapped and delivered. Long delivery times, messy packaging, dehydrated, broken plants and the list goes on. For any person that loves plants, there is nothing worse than receiving less than happy or worse - dead ones in the mail. So, together with the community and speaking to the best online nurseries out there we settled on a strategy that would keep our delivery times short and plants healthy.
Only offer unique and creative pots & planters
With all the mass produced pots and planters thats flooding the market, we decided we were only going to stock unique one-off, hand made pots and planters. Some of the designs are inspired by the community but most are inspired by the 'doodles' and cute drawings of our 5 and 12 year old daughters. The personality of the brand certainly shines through and it feels good to know that each one we sell is a one of a kind.
Take time to pick and choose only the best
There are quite a number of online nurseries out there that offer a huge variety of plants. These are typically off-shoots of wholesalers that can afford to mass produce but sometimes at the exchange of plant quality. One of my favourite part of the business is going to the farms and talking to the farmers and growers. We learn what has been happening, which plants are ready at that exact time and what plants they have still growing. And because we don't mass buy, we get to take our time picking every single plant, the best of the best, the healthiest in that batch. So when it is time for you to add that particular plant in your family, you can rest assure that it has been handpicked just for you.
Offer financial assistance through Zip & Afterpay
It's not a big deal for most people but for some it has made big difference. We have had customers thank us for offering Afterpay and zipPay because it meant that their plant arrived on time for a birthday gift and more often a surprise for their significant other.
Here to build relationships & reward customers
One of our biggest financial investment so far is in the ability to reward our customers and build direct 1:1 relationships. Referral programs, loyalty rewards and communication is what keeps our customers coming back. We believe that the secret to our growth is in the quality of the relationships we build.
Supporting our Rural Customers
Some of our strongest supporters are from rural and remote areas. Their location often means that their local nurseries lacked variety or are the last to receive a certain kind of plant. But not with us! We keep them up to date with all our latest stock and trends.
While profit helps our business grow, its not our end goal. We believe plants have the power to bring people together and so we strive to source, grow and supply quality and beautiful plants and craft unique gifts to create those special moments. Our community is heavily invested in our mission and we hope to be a deserving guide to creating a world that loves plants.
Please join us in this worthy mission. You won't regret it!
If you're crazy about plants, you'll find common ground with Barbie's story. Together with #crazyplantpeople you are already making a world of difference and helping our planet thrive.