Who would’ve guessed that sitting at my desk and thinking about a way to connect with the plant community would have lead to this: A Plant Club that has 150 members, that has sent over 1000 boxes out to more than 44 cities and towns across South Africa?
I definitely had imposter syndrome when I started the Plant Club and I think starting in the smallest way possible was testament to this. But looking back, I’m glad I started small – no investors, no big goals- just a few people wanting to share in my passion of plants. At first the club grew slowly, and it wasn’t until July when I hit 60 members did I think “Wait a minute. This is a business. This could go somewhere”. And then man oh man did I just throw myself into it.
It definitely took a toll on me dealing with around 90 individuals, managing finances, marketing, product development and the packaging and delivery logistics. At that point I made my first hire – Kay was fantastic, and having someone dedicated to a small part of the company gave me the space to focus on the growth of the Club.
Instrumental to the growth also, was influencer Misha Levin who helped spread the word (just because she believed in the business) and a business coach, Craig Rodney who helped pushed me to have bigger and manageable goals. As someone who has never had a business before, this was a huge wake up call – connections and support means everything to a growing business. Ideas and products don’t sell themselves because they just ‘are’, they have to be repackaged, branded and be shaped to be the best they can be.
Something that I decided early on, was that this would be a box that would overflow in quality. And in fact, because I love gifting so much and didn’t have a natural flair for business, I made some horrible losses to begin with. But in retrospect this was good, it set a high standard for the boxes – only the best would be acceptable. Another thing that was key in shaping the boxes and the business were the Plant Club members themselves. They showed me that support, community, plants and happiness were going to be a large part of our culture and goals.
It’s these things that I have reflected on as we hit our first birthday and I guess my takeaway from this tremendous experience that I never thought would be – is that none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for the Plant Club members, the supportive individuals and the plant community.