Freddie Blackett: Patch
Aimed at those who are a bit green when it comes to gardening, Patch is delivering urban jungles to Britain’s inner-city homes and businesses
Freddie Blackett, 30
“Urban jungles, delivered.” That’s the rather neat slogan of Patch, a company which brings botanical beauty to Britain’s bustling metropolises, delivering the joy of plants to people short on space and time.
Founded by former brand consultant Freddie Blackett, Patch is an online plant shop aimed at those who live and work in the city and are a bit green when it comes to cultivating their home.
The company, founded in December 2015, has already amassed 25,000 customers, half of whom had never bought plants before.
The crux of the company is its e-commerce platform, a giant online plant shop enabling customers to buy plants at the click of a button. Blackett and his team operate on ‘just in time’ principles, placing each order with their network of growers just a day before it is sent to the customer. That way, they say, the plants are as fresh as possible when they are delivered by a member of Patch’s team.
Yet this is only half the story. Blackett was inspired to create Patch when buying plants for his girlfriend’s flat and being dismayed at the lack of advice available. His company is aimed at people in a similar situation, offering an advice and customer support service which includes a free ‘Plant Parenting Course’ for new gardeners and a ‘Plant Rescue Team’ for those whose vegetation needs resuscitation.
Blackett has focused on the London market thus far, and says the core of his client base are young professionals who are new to gardening. In fact, over half of Patch’s customers had never bought plants before. But the company has also lured an enviable roster of corporate clients including Nike, Google and Facebook.
Having recently completed a Series A funding round from Octopus Ventures, Blackett is determined to keep growing. He and his team want to reach out to more UK cities over the next 18 months, and then expand into continental Europe from 2020.
This expansion appears particularly opportune, given that the houseplant market is booming (or should we say blooming) at present. Research shows that Europeans spent €36bn on plants in 2016 alone, and much of the growth is driven by millennials who see plants as a way of improving their health and well-being but don’t have gardens to put them in.
The key to cultivation is timing, and it appears Blackett has got his spot on.