An Established Company Takes a Shot at Being a Start-Up


The nursery industry isn’t well known for embracing advancements in digital technology so when DeVry Greenhouses approached us to help launch a new division that’s never been tried in North America, it was a challenge we couldn’t refuse.

DeVry is a seasoned wholesale nursery and propagation company with multiple locations in the BC market serving major retailers as well as independent nurseries across Canada. The challenge: how does an established company in an established market leverage the web to drive incremental plant sales? The solution: fulfill a niche need in the market and keep the execution simple.

Our research showed us the home garden trend is growing steadily. Baby boomers are finding their inner foodie and the younger generation is gravitating to organic and healthy food choices. But while the trends were definitely established, the implementation of gardening itself presented some issues. Starting a garden on a balcony or in a backyard sounds easy – plant seeds in soil then add water – but it’s dependent on other factors as well. Gardeners can’t control which seeds will grow, how they’ll perform, or what combinations of seed, soil, light, and water work best together.

It’s the perfect place for the starter plant to take root. (Pun fully intended.) Would consumers buy starter plants to increase their chances of having a great vegetable, herb, or flower garden at home? And would they buy these plants online?

The first recommendation we had for DeVry was to change the name of the division to make it more clear and simple for consumers.

Our reco was Garden Starters. 

Now consumers can immediately recognize the benefit and why they should purchase. Even though starter plants can be used for many things, focusing on one niche helps determine the brand direction and where and how to invest promotional budgets.

It was also important to keep the user experience of the new online endeavor as easy and simple as possible. The best way to do that was to reduce the number of product choices and features to focus on only those that were seen to be the most attractive to customers.

DeVry knows this division will not drive scores of revenue but they’re doing something that many mid-sized businesses don’t: they’re taking a risk on an emerging trend. The internet is going to change every single industry and instead of being forced to change in the future, they’re willing to experiment in the present. Well done.

Leveraging technology doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive. They key is to have a good strategy that can be executed quickly to test the market. The learning and growth for the company is worth it in a long term investment.

Check out the site and let me know what you think.

Happy Gardening!