By Pete Smith
A Hamilton County Internet startup company is hoping customers forgo the hassle of finding a Valentine’s Day bouquet at their local florist and instead look for a more modern idea – a live, blooming plant that can be ordered online and delivered to their door.
“The goal is to bring the floral industry into the 21st century,” said Robb Greene, founder of epottingshed.com.
Greene’s family has operated a floral company in Noblesville since 1987. Operating out of the green Victorian carriage house next to Noblesville’s City Hall, Greene has just expanded on the family tradition.
Greene started the company a year ago using bare-root plants shipped in weekly from select growers around the country. From there, he pots them in organic soil with decorative pots and bundles them in a unique form of packaging that has never failed to protect the live, blooming plants inside.
“We tell people that we encourage them to ship (the plants) to a business location,” Greene said, so the plant isn’t exposed to temperatures outside the company’s control.
The company’s most popular selections are a unique and fragrant form of lavender and ornamental oregano plants that are popular with craft brewing people because they’re hardy to Indiana and resemble hop plants. The plant’s cost averages about $50 plus shipping.
So far, the company has grown mainly through strong word of mouth, as plant recipients become buying customers. Greene estimates that about 60 percent of his customers are in central Indiana.
With few competitors, Greene also is seeing national growth. He said he attributes his success to superior packing and presentation.
“When you first open an epottingshed.com box, you will be blown away by the experience and attention to detail. Part of the joy of flowers is their packaging,” he said. “It’s just as special as the beautiful plant inside.”
Greene said he expects the business to grow once he undertakes a new social media advertising campaign. He’s also considering utilizing Pinterest and online video to capitalize on his product’s visual appeal before he even considers moving out of the family business location.
“We kind of want to show that we’re doing it better than anyone else before we think about a bricks-and-mortar location,” he said.