This week I’m really excited to introduce Anna who founded Plant Pet Club to my weekly Parents in Business series. I am a huge fan of house plants, so this is right up my street, and hopefully yours too!
Anna created the business by just going for it, which is hugely inspiring considering we’ve spent a chunk of this year in lockdown. In fact the UK lockdown has been beneficial for Anna with people staying at home and wanting to add plants to their home to give them a hobby, and to help bring the outside in.
I have loved reading Anna’s story particularly her tips of not comparing yourself to others, but rather instead focusing your time and efforts on your own business and your own goals.
Do have a read of Anna’s story and if you love house plants, take a nose at the subscription service and the jungle bungles, the goal being to make the experience of being a plant parent as wonderful as the plants themselves are.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?
My name is Anna Waterfield. I have been an aspiring entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. The desire to create and build something from scratch was coming and going all the way through my university years and number of full-time jobs in corporate world. But at the end of last year, I finally took a plunge and registered a limited company! No, I did not start with research, business plan and 6-months pre-launch campaign. It was impulsive, messy and absolutely worth it!
Plant Pet Club is a houseplant subscription service and Jungle Bundles. We focus primarily on busy urban dwellers and complete beginners, who might be catching the green bug from vibrant Instagram posts promoting love to plants and their extensive benefits to health. Our goal is to make the experience of being a plant parent as wonderful as plants themselves.
What were your motivations for setting up your business?
“I think I killed Alejandro,” I read a distraught message from my friend. There was a photo of his body, which had turned yellow in death. Luckily, Alejandro wasn’t a person or even an animal. He was her pet cactus. So, inspired by Alejandro’s death, and in attempt to prevent many more the idea of Plant Pet Club was born. I have heard too often from enthusiastic beginners things like ‘I know nothing about plants’, ‘How often do I water it?’, ‘I can never keep a plant alive’. And something had to change…
Plant Pet Club is for absolute beginners, busy people and serial plant killers, who would love to get into planting but are overwhelmed by the volume of information out there or have not time to surf the net to get a straightforward answer to a seemingly simple question like ‘ how often do I water this plant’. Or sometimes quite the opposite, we’ve all picked up a plant in local supermarkets called ‘foliage plant’ or ‘indoor plant’, so one have to rely on friendly little online communities to id the plant.
Interest in houseplants might be blossoming for number of reasons. Fewer millennials and Gen Z are buying homes and more are opting to move to cities to live in rented flats where exposure to nature is often minimal.
Another reason is health, physical and well as mental. The millennial generation is very in-tune with health and making sure that their surroundings are good for them. Indoor greenery is proved to purify the air, decrease stress levels and increase concentration.
And lastly, people tend to get married and have children later in their lives. Hectic schedules and tenancy agreements sometimes make it impossible to get a ‘normal’ pet; more and more people have allergies. So that’s where Plant Pets come in. Plants are super low maintenance and only require sunlight and water, and of course love.
How do you balance the business around your family and childcare?
Well, it is relatively easy for now, as I am on furlough from my full-time job, most likely until October and my 2-year-old is attending nursery part time. However, there will be a point soon enough when I will either have to reduce my corporate hours or plunge into our little new venture full time!
The plan was to keep things simple and it is exactly for this reason I chose subscription business model: predictable revenue, no need for huge stock variety and minimal inventory management.
What do you view as your biggest success since setting up your business?
‘Luck occurs when preparation meets opportunity’, I heard once on one of the podcasts. COVID -19 meant that our business scaled a lot more quickly than it might have typically done, with our revenue increasing 5 fold from March. We, like some other online businesses, are an unusual success story in a time of otherwise sad news for businesses and entrepreneurship. The reason for that is that people are looking to connect with nature and find a hobby that is good for their mental and physical wellbeing, but also good for the environment. The current coronavirus pandemic has been sending shock waves across the globe, so it is nice to have your own little green safe oasis!
What are your top tips for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business?
For those who are thinking about starting out, I can give only one piece of advice – done is better than perfect! Someone will always be bigger and better than you, so concentrate on your product, target market and strategy. Launch, gain feedback and pivot. Building the business is a journey, not a perfect thing once it launches.
Our first order gave me the highest high! And then making it again and again makes you believe that you can do anything. This is what business is all about: you sell one thing once to one person and repeat…
It is hard to start any new venture, juggling all the priorities and becoming master of all trades in order to keep the costs down. It won’t happen overnight, but It is all worth it in the end!
Thank you so much Anna for being part of my series. I have loved featuring you and I wish you the best of luck with Plant Pet Club in the future.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Parents in Business series just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Maeve & Me, In Your Dog House Gifts, and Munchy Play.