Providing Handmade Herb Gardens
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Richard Gong and Nick Stratas
Posted on: January 22, 2008

We are two entrepreneurial university students who are interested in the gardening/herb business for the upcoming summer. We were wondering if we could ask you a couple questions about the general business condition in gardening/herbs.

Our product/service is that we provide handmade herb gardens to our customers that are specific to their property and needs. We offer several different designs and also provide herbs to the customer. These gardens are created in a timely and professional fashion.

However, before we complete our business plan we were wondering if you could provide any insight on the demand of these gardens. Is there a substantial demand for these gardens?

Over the past decade we have noticed a big shift in demand. Gardeners today don’t have the time or patience to grow their own from seeds like they used to, or to plant a garden with small transplants that will take a season or two to mature -- they want instant lush gardens now! The less that they have to do the more they are willing to pay. But landscaping services are expensive so they settle on buying larger plants and planting their "instant" gardens themselves. This phenomenon is true in all gardening departments, not just herbs. If you can package a low cost service to put in an "instant" herb garden for busy people then your venture should be a success, certainly in big cities such as Toronto.

One thing you should consider is that these same busy folks also tend to become timid about using herbs once their herbs have reached harvest size. They like the idea of herbs growing in their gardens but when it comes to actually using their herbs they develop the "now-what-do-I-do" fears: they have fears about when to harvest, how to cut, and how to use the herbs. At a minimum you should provide plenty of information on follow up care and use of their herbs, perhaps in the form of an "owner’s manual". If you can provide your customers with a DVD with a collection of short videos on the care and use of their herbs in which you actually show how the herbs are cut, washed, chopped and when and how they are added to food, with usage suggestions, then you will have a real winner, I would think.

We were also wondering if Richters Herbs would be interested in providing herbs wholesale to us if we proceed with our venture.

Absolutely. Please contact our commercial department (commercial@richters.com; 1-800-ONT-HERBS x211) for assistance.

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