Why give flowers when you can give whole trees? That was the question Jerrod Griffith asked himself in 2009 and now Give Plants is blooming.
Business: Give Plants
Based in: Auckland
Open since: 2009
Jerrod Griffith has made it possible to gift not just flowers, but whole trees.
He set up his ecommerce business Give Plants six years ago after experiencing a classic entrepreneurial flash of insight. A family friend had passed away in 2009, and as Griffiths watched the man’s widow deal with the resulting avalanche of cut flowers and bouquets sent by well-wishers, he wished there was a better way to express love with a gift.
“I thought, ‘What a waste! They’ll be gone in a week.’” It was then that Griffith decided he would instead send whole plants from garden centres.
Griffith left a corporate job to start Give Plants. His contacts from that world came in useful – 80 percent of Give Plants’ business is corporate, and the strong base has supported the venture as it grows. There is also a pleasing marketing aspect to corporate gifting, Griffith says, whereby “their clients become our clients”.
The climate of austerity created by the then-current GFC fed into Give Plants’ early growth. Plants are an attractive gift for clients seeking value, Griffith says, as they stick around and jog the receivers’ memory.
“For their clients to pick a lime off the lime tree five years later and think ‘Oh, that’s where I got this from,’ is [valuable].”
Griffith sources the plants for Give Plants from a large-scale nursery. He is a keen gardener, but is practical about the work involved: “For us to grow and hold our plants, that’s not our core competency. I’m better placed in sales and marketing.”
As well as handling the front end of the business, Griffith designed both the sustainable cardboard packaging and the fully integrated model by which orders are sent to suppliers. Trialling the packaging took six months – the key, he says, is locking the pot into place so that the plant can be safely delivered around New Zealand.
Each plant can survive in its package for more than a week without damage, so Griffith isn’t worried about delivery times, which take a maximum of five days.
- This story originally appeared in the June/July edition of NZ Retail.