Plant Pet Club: Anna Waterfield
Plant Pet Club is a subscription service that delivers plants directly to customers' doors
Names of founders: Anna Waterfield
Location: Based in Northampton, England; distribute nationwide
Date Launched: 01/10/2019
Number of employees: 1
Age of founders: 37
Which university, if any, did you attend? University College Birmingham, MA Hospitality and Tourism Management
Anna Waterfield explains how a passion for plants led to launching a startup that offers plant deliveries. Read on to learn more and discover what the plans are to grow the business!
Tell us what your business does:
Plant Pet Club is a houseplant subscription service, set up to share my love and passion for houseplants. We focus on absolute beginners and busy people, who would love to get into planting but are overwhelmed by the volume of information out there. Or, they don’t have the time to surf the net to get a straightforward answer to a seemingly simple question like ‘how often do I water this plant?’. Plus, more often than ever, the plant you liked and bought in a supermarket is called ‘green foliage', which is not helpful at all.
So we deliver healthy, hardy plants regularly to customers' doors with a foolproof care card and occasional tools and extras to make sure that customers have everything they need for their plants to thrive. And for those seeking instant gratification without too much research, we offer great Jungle Bundles – you name it, we have it: Air-Purifying, Low-Light, Pet-Friendly or an Ultimate Starter Kit!
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I believe plants and nature are an antidote for stress caused by busy, modern lives. We all know how good it feels to walk in the woods or lay in the sun in a park. So wouldn’t it be nice to have such a space at home, or even to make the whole home such a space? Even more, if we could connect to individual plants and look after them like ‘normal’ pets.
I did a lot of market research, but to be honest I was convinced by just seeing how keen millennials are to reconnect and protect nature; more sustainable living and mental well-being.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We think interest in houseplants is blossoming for a number of reasons. Fewer millennials are buying homes and more are opting to move to cities to live in rented flats. Any metropolitan dweller will confirm that with tiny spaces and finicky seasons, exposure to nature is often minimal – which is where houseplants come into play.
Another reason is health: physical as 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 proven to purify the air, decrease stress levels and increase concentration.
And lastly, people tend to get married and have children later in life. 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.
What were you doing before starting up?
I am still working as a national account manager for a food concept company. However, I hope that as my business grows, I will be able to start gradually reducing my corporate hours to concentrate more on my business.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Definitely. I’ve always been thinking about new businesses and ventures and have had a couple of failed attempts – however, I am determined to keep trying.
How did you raise the money?
I am starting out very small, so I have enough savings to soft launch the business and iron out everything.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Plants are a commodity so in theory you should be able to get them at pretty much the same price. So what I would like to build is a plant brand, one that appeals to consumers’ desire for all the wonderful things that plants can bring – health and environmental benefits, plus relief from the modern anxiety afflicting millennials. In essence, to become a wellness brand.
However, day-to-day business is all about the margins of sourcing plants and pots; immaculate packing for deliveries, and keeping in mind that as business grows, margins should improve due to bulk buys.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
We’ve faced a lot, like most startups – tech, tech, tech and SEO (which is still tech). It was actually quite a challenge to find a dedicated brand and web designer for a small job.
What was your first big breakthrough?
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…
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
For those who are thinking about starting out, I can give only one piece of advice – better done than perfect! Someone will always be bigger and better than you, so concentrate on your target market and strategy: launch, gain feedback, pivot, and repeat. Building the business is a journey, not a perfect thing once it launches.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
In five years, I would like to have an established, smoothly running, maybe even still small, business. For me, Plant Pet Club is all about learning to create something from scratch and inspiring people to connect with greenery, not a launch pad to become an overnight millionaire. Although I will not say no to that!
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