In 2019, I retired from my insurance job after 40 years in the industry. My kids told me I had to find someway to keep busy because they thought I would bug them too much with all my new free time. Though my career was in business, I have a degree in horticulture and have been an avid gardener my whole life. As I thought about the perfect way to spend retirement, I knew it would involve plants. While visiting my oldest daughter in Milan Italy, I came across a hanging kokedama in a local flower store. It caught my attention with how unique and eye catching it was, and I brought the concept back to the US and began
exploring if this would be a viable business option. To my
amazement, it was not readily available as a handmade option to
flowers or house plants. I decided to teach myself the craft combining the Japanese method with my knowledge of plants and the hustle was created.
I knew I was going to be able to master the craft; however, I lacked the skills to market the business and gain customers. I asked my youngest daughter, Grace, to join me on
my new journey. With her background in marketing and branding we set off to take the product local and via our website. Using the power of digital marketing and local farmers markets, we tested to concept to see if had legs in 2019. The concept quickly proved it was a hit leading Grace & I to expand the business to the e-commerce world. We directed our attention to both the direct to consumer and wholesale markets. Starting slow, we focused on getting the offering right (plant, packaging, shipping, customer service). Once all the pillars were in place and well tested, we expanded to new domestic markets as well as our plant offerings. We now offer 72 plant varieties from traditional house plants to seasonal flowers. The once “side hustle” took off and it became a full-time job. At this point in 2023, we have made over 4,000 kokedama and shipped over 3,000 of them to states across the country.