We had the opportunity to sit down with Jenn, co-founder of All About The Garden, to learn more about her journey, how she got started, and what she has learned along the way.
All About The Garden is a family-run business that got started by importing the Charles Dowding Module Tray from Europe and selling it in the United States and Canada.
Jenn's passion for gardening and sustainability led her to create an e-commerce home for the Charles Dowding Module Tray - a durable and long-lasting seed tray that can be used on any surface, indoors or outdoors, and allow for better soil drainage for healthier plants.
One of the biggest challenges Jenn faced in growing her business was figuring out how to market her product effectively. She realized that she needed to build a strong online presence and connect with her audience through social media. She started sharing photos of the products in her garden and gardening tips on Instagram and Facebook, and soon, her following grew.
Looking back on her journey, Jenn offered some advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. She recommended taking small steps and not being afraid to make mistakes, as they can often lead to valuable learning experiences. She also advised seeking out mentors and resources, such as business classes or networking events, to help grow your business.
Jenn's passion for sustainability and gardening has not only led her to create a successful business but has also inspired others to embrace a more eco-friendly lifestyle. We thank Jenn for sharing her story with us and are looking forward to seeing her garden continue to grow.
You can find their store at https://allaboutthegarden.com.
Jake: [00:00:00] Hi, Jenn, my name is Jake Ruesink and I am with MarketHaus and we're starting a blog called Vendor Voices. And we're here to talk to you today about, what you're doing at All About The Garden. And learn more about your passions and how you got started. Kick us off. Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Jenn: Okay, well I absolutely love gardening. And I wanted to turn my passion into a business. So I did just that. I basically found a product that I loved and started with that one product and built an e-commerce gardening store around that one product. For me, my business needed to look a little bit different. And so I chose to go down the e-commerce path because I am a busy mother. And I wanted the flexibility of staying at home and also running my own business.
Jake: Great. So this started as a one [00:01:00] product store. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you found this product and why you chose it?
Jenn: Sure. I was watching a YouTube video from the gardener Charles Dowding. He's a master gardener in England and he has spent his whole life gardening. He created a tray that just makes seed starting easier for gardeners. And when I saw it, I really wanted it. And so my husband and I brokered a deal to sell his tray in America. And that's our first product. And then we've expanded since then.
Jake: Great. So sounds like you found a really good niche, bringing over a product that was in Europe and selling it here in America. How were you able to reach out to him? And how did you form that relationship with Charles Dowding?
Jenn: We found the company that manufactures the trays. And we started with [00:02:00] a relationship with him. Which brought us to Charles later on. And they have a partnership together. So Charles wanted to create a certain seed tray but he's not in the manufacturing business. So they went in 50 50 to create this tray. So brokering the deal first with, the company's name is ContainerWise, was like our first step.
Jake: Great. And that sounds like a lot of people have been interested in this product and it's been doing really well.
Jenn: Yeah it changes the way you garden. So if you're a gardener. All you've had to deal with is some. Or crappy trays. From, you know, a big box store. And so you haven't had that option to have a long lasting, durable tray that you'll never have to buy again.
Jake: You mentioned that you were a mother and this started as something that you could do as a flexible business. Can you walk us through your typical day as a vendor and business owner? [00:03:00]
Jenn: Yeah. Okay. At All About The Garden I love to garden. So one of the first things I do is go outside and garden.
And then once I get all of my kids started on school, I start with interacting with customers through email, which I really enjoy because you know, those customers are gardeners. So sometimes they have gardening questions. I get to answer those too. And then I'm going to be packing boxes and then I go to the mailbox every day to send those packages off.
And then a big part of all about the garden is teaching, and informing. And so then I would probably come home and start on a YouTube video or an Instagram reel to talk about what I'm doing in the garden right now and teaching others. Then I would stop for lunch and after lunch in the afternoon, I'm probably doing a lot of computer work, which would be like video editing and blogging which is [00:04:00] another teaching thing. And, just working to improve the website. It's good to go, but I always like to adjust a picture, put a new picture up or a video or something like that. Yeah. So that's my typical day. And then if it's really busy, sometimes at night I'll post, on Instagram or Facebook.
And Shawn, my husband, will help me to pack at night if we have a lot of orders after we've had dinner, we'll pack at night so that in the morning, I can just take it all to the post office. It's flexible. It's great. I absolutely love it. Because I'm with my family and we recently had an illness and I was able to just continue to work. And I was at home and it was great.
Jake: It sounds like you've been able to figure out your process and get things going along the way. As a. E-commerce vendor I'm sure you've met people and had interactions with your customers. Can you share us, a particular interesting or [00:05:00] unique story from your experience running All About The Garden.
Jenn: It's exciting being a small business. And leading the charge of changing gardening. So what I mean by that is, in the past, since we're on a video call. I can show you, like all gardeners have had to deal with, are these one time use trays. Right? And so this is all that they've used, or they've used trash. They use like milk jugs or anything that they found, and that provides inconsistent results. And so it's incredibly exciting. When we have this tray, that's super long lasting. It's made from recycled material is fully recyclable.
And is made with safe plastics and, It's just exciting being on the forefront of that. During COVID a lot of people became gardeners. And that just brought a lot of attention to some of the gardening practices and some of the gardening materials and products out [00:06:00] there.
And people have just said, no, I don't want this anymore. I want something sustainable. I want something that I can buy once and have for the rest of my life, that I'm not throwing away things. We're just more and more concerned with the environment. And, sustainability, so I'm excited to be on the forefront of that. That's what's exciting to me.
Jake: That makes sense. So gardeners are all about the earth and planting and they want to make things sustainable and have good practices for the environment. It's great that you can be a part of that. Yes. Do you have a story about a challenge or something that you've had to overcome building up your business as All About The Garden.
Jenn: Sure. I would say the biggest challenge I've had have, still working with it, is bridging the technology gap. Getting a big part of our business is getting on social media. And, see I started from zero I wasn't on social media. Learning how to create a wonderful [00:07:00] YouTube channel, a beautiful YouTube channel learning how to create concise, funny snippets for Instagram.
It's fun and challenging, but I would say that having a business on social media is different than just posting because you're a person, being professional and, developing relationships with other people.
Jake: Great. For somebody who is interested in getting started, on social media for their business, What would you recommend? Do you have a tip or trick or a win that you have that you'd recommend for somebody just getting started?
Jenn: I would start with getting great tools. And for me, that was Shopify.
It really helps. It helped me to start. A website and it, It basically, I walked in not knowing how to do anything. And so it took me by the hand and asked me question after question, and I was able to answer those questions one by one, broke it down. And that is [00:08:00] extremely helpful.
For social media, I learned a lot online. And I'm still learning because I'm not done learning not just like observing, but actually going to YouTube and saying, okay, how do I do this one thing, like, how do I make a, Thumbnail for my YouTube videos.
Just type it into YouTube and they'll give you instructions.
Jake: For people who are interested in gardening and learning more about what you do, what are ways that you stay up to date with the latest trends and developments in that industry?
Jenn: I'm constantly consuming information probably because I'm passionate about gardening and it doesn't seem like work for me.
But I am just always watching YouTube videos. I'm always looking at Instagram for tips and tricks. I am reading real books on gardening and audio books and podcasts. I have some local connections. I was involved with the [00:09:00] gardening club and I collaborate with, Texas Gardener magazine and local Instagrammers. And lately I've been doing classes just at the library, so it's been a lot of fun. And I learned through preparing for this classes.
Jake: So you are presenting things that you are learning to people at the library?
Jenn: It's fun. I liked helping people, I think some people are scared to start things and, I just want to give them the information and, the encouragement to step into that.
Jake: If somebody is getting started in gardening, what is something that you would first recommend that they start doing. Or where would you recommend they go to to get started?
Jenn: I would say YouTube, and then I would find a good local guide for my area.
When I first got started, I live. In between [00:10:00] Houston and Austin in small town called Brenham. And I had a Houston gardening book. And so I just went straight off that. That Houston gardening book and just made little adjustments for my local area. So finding a good local resource for myself, is important and also knowing your zone. Knowing your zone, then you can start looking up things according to your zone. And that's real easy to find. All you have to do is type in your location and Google, and then they'll tell you your gardening zone.
If you were setting up a garden All you need is, some cardboard, soil and mulch, and that's really all you need to get started. And then of course seeds, but, it's super easy. You can pretty much do it for free. Anyone can have a garden in their backyard.
And they just need sun and rain and you can get started.
Jake: And everyone should have a garden in their backyard. Now. Yeah. Yeah.
Jenn: The food is amazing. Like my kids [00:11:00] eats. they eat veggies out of the garden that they wouldn't eat from the grocery store because they're sweeter. It's like.
Jake: Before we wrap up this interview. Is there anything that you would like to share , that we haven't talked about or about why you're, excited about All About The Garden and maybe some future things that are coming for All About The Garden.
Jenn: Yeah, first I would give, whoever is wanting to start an e-commerce store, a few pieces of advice. I would say. Just jump in and just do it and don't be afraid to fail. I would say you're probably gonna make mistakes. I started an e-commerce store with one product.
And then slowly grew and added things. Just go for it start and just learn everything's at our fingertips.
And the next few days, we're going to have a few influencers, make a videos for our store. And that's just really exciting to see the [00:12:00] products endorsed by. People that truly love it. That you've been watching and learning from. For many, many months. And so it's just, it's exciting. To see that happen. We're expanding our line constantly. We have different sizes coming from. England. That's really exciting for me. And just growing on social media is exciting because I like learning. And I like teaching and telling others what I know.
Jake: People who want to reach out to you, or subscribe and find you online. tell us all about the channels that you have and where can people find you in. And get ahold of you.
Jenn: Sure. Yeah. Okay. We have a YouTube, just all about the garden. And on YouTube, we are walking through month by month and gardening there. And we also have a food forest, which is a lot of fun. And then an Instagram, my handle is.
All about the garden pics. We just [00:13:00] crested a thousand subscribers. We're growing. I enjoy being on Instagram a lot. I try to make it. Exciting and fun. And then we have a blog that I like to write about gardening. So if you're into reading.
It's allaboutthegarden.blog. And, if you ever want to email me, I don't mind it's email@example.com. And so I will take your gardening questions or just questions about starting an e-commerce store anytime. I would love to help people out.
Jake: And I will include all of those links in the blog post. And I'm sure you will, in the YouTube description down below.
Jake: Do you have any parting words you want to share with the world?
Jenn: Nope. Just have fun, gardening. So yeah.
Jake: Thanks Jenn. For your time. This was fun. And
Jenn: yeah, it sure was
Jake: thank you for sharing your knowledge about gardens with us.
Jenn: Okay. Thank you. Bye Jake.