The Styled Ramblings of Heavy Petal's Bruce Bailey

The New Indie Garden Center Owner

Today was very enlightening. Walking around the trade show floor one just never knows what could catch an eye. She was seen. What I had hoped to find and don’t seem to at trade shows.
This girl is an edgy, goth/alternative type, but right on track. Girl? She just turned twenty-nine and today was her birthday.

Approaching her I asked if I could talk to her for a minute and see how she was enjoying the show and what she was looking at.

The conversation was very relaxed- footing was equal and she appreciated my candid and direct questions as much as enjoyed her esprit decor.
Much was learned quickly–she was here with her mother, a veteran of the garden center trade who had worked for someone else the past 20 years. The mother, with her daughters, had decided it was time to take a risk on something they could call their own. Risky indeed in this economy, but a risk worth taking.

Organics, sustainable, natural were words that came from both these women’s lips. They plan to raise and sell their own eggs- the young woman herself was a bee keeper and planned on having honey as something that was sold at the nursery. Chickens were also part of the package…an odd, but very thought out plan was being related to me and how they would do this in a town with a base population of thirty thousand people.

I feel at times very alternative, very not fitting in with the nursery crowd–too indie. I sell plants to people like this bright young woman when I go to shows and lectures in Spokane, Seattle, and Portland. There is an untapped market of brilliant younger people–couple, singles, families–that are educating themselves online. They are becoming the new plant geeks in the garden sphere.
Nothing like meeting a 22 year old peony collector who is plopping down a hundred dollars on an Itoh peony you have at your show booth. You read that correctly, too sweet to make that kind of stuff up.

Be aware of your customer base–it’s not all ladies 45-60. The base is becoming younger, way hipper, and highly savvy. Just because you have read the cover of a book seldom do you know the story at all.


2 responses

  1. Fern @ Gardner & Bloome

    I recently heard a presentation from ANLA where they basically recommended latching on to Baby Boomers and Gen Y and skip marketing themselves to Gen X. Basically, the thinking is the Baby Boomers have helped them build their nursery business, there’s lots of them, and they are relatively wealthy. Meanwhile, there are 9 million fewer Gen Xers than Baby Boomers, so if nurseries focused on transitioning to Gen X as their primary clientele (typically people spend the most retail dollars when they are in their mid-40s) they will lose about 12% of revenue purely because there are fewer people to sell to. Meanwhile Gen Y’s numbers are closer toBaby Boomers, and the economy may be more stable when Gen Y hits their peak consumer years.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:25 am

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