I remember one night in 2016 Matt and I were standing around in the kitchen, chatting about business, life, gardening and ideas in general when a simple idea came to mind:
Find a bunch of people who all want the type of garden seedlings that can only be grown in bulk and bring those individuals together somehow, through the incredible capabilities of social and digital media to form a buying collective. A stokvel for seedlings.
Using Survey Monkey I conducted an online survey asking all my fellow gardeners if they would be keen to be a part of the collective. Most of them were very keen and offered their invaluable insight. Through the survey we concluded that the most popular tray should:
be seasonal - the beginning of each new season
contain a variety of herbs and veg and flowers
be accompanied by just the right amount of information
to be helpful but not all-consuming of time
It is important for me to mention three people at this point.
Firstly, my husband Matt. We are very different people when it comes to the amount of thought given to any decisions we make. I tend to be spontaneous whereas it could take Matt an entire day to load a single Instagram picture. He thinks things through. Thoroughly. And when I proposed the idea he pulled it apart rigorously before allowing me to put it back together in a way that made more sense. He has been incredibly helpful with taking pictures and being a sounding board for ideas. He is entirely responsible for the beautiful footage in Seedling Stokvel TV and I am really looking forward to creating more episodes with him in the very near future.
Then, my friend Nadia. When Nadia got wind of Seedling Stokvel we met for coffee and she spent at least two hours of her very valuable time offering insights and suggestions and supporting the idea so enthusiastically that, in fact, if it wasn't for her overwhelming support I might not have achieved my vision.
Finally: Jess. She is responsible for all the beautiful design work that has gone into the advertising material and box labelling. She is so talented and I am so incredibly lucky to have this friend who is fine with being paid in seedlings until the business can pay cash-money for her work. She never says "no", which for me is great :) and she is the most talented digital artist I know.
Since day 1 Seedling Stokvel is on my mind every day. Last year was a slow one due to the birth of my youngest, Asha, and a massive building project on our property. But now that 2018 has rolled in I feel an overwhelming thrust to propel this business to the next level.
To date Seedling Stokvel has maintained a growing e-mail database, Facebook and YouTube community, workshop attendants and a seedling run that is sold out every season. I plan to double the order in Summer 2018. So watch this space as we go from sprout to sapling in the coming months.
If you've read the above I can trust that you are in my corner. And even if you don't buy seedling trays because you don't have a garden, or you don't have the money, or you don't live in South Africa, if you could just send your positive thought vibes to me and all the seedlings you will be an ingredient in the recipe that makes a happy gardener.
Your comments, suggestions and support are what keeps me excited!