With sunnier weather on the horizon, consumers are investing in home and garden revamps.
That’s why three-year-old online plant delivery startup Bloomscape is venturing into outdoor gardening. Last month the company debuted its first line of outdoor and patio plants, along with bloom kits and bundles that feature live ready-to-plant containers.
The new category is a natural fit for the DTC brand’s long term goals, founder and CEO Justin Mast told Modern Retail. “We’re growing into further catering to an adult millennial lifestyle,” Mast said. Bloomscape has built a customer base by focusing on selling millennial-friendly indoor plants. However, the company has gradually gone beyond its houseplant offerings over the past year. Last fall the company acquired Vera, a plant care app, as part of its customer care and content strategy.
The outdoor offerings are a way to build on last year’s success, Mast explained. Bloomscape sold over 100,000 plants between March and May in 2020, when Covid lockdowns first went into effect across the country. Between March 2020 and March 2021, year-over-year sales have increased 4X. The growth has led the company to more than double their staff to meet demand, and comes as
The outdoors expansion first began in mid-2020, when the company realized there was an opportunity to “meet the evolving needs of our customers’ full gardening experience,” Mast said. Currently, Bloomscape’s outdoor products include 24 bloom kits, 17 pots and planters, 24 tools and supplies and 10 mixed bundles.
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Mast said that the new kits — which retail between $45 and $70 and include an assortment of three floral varieties — allow for easy planting even for inexperienced gardeners. The idea is to lower the barrier entry for landscaping, especially for new or young homeowners who’ve recently moved into the nesting phase, Mast explained.
Like its other offerings, the outdoor plants will ship straight from Bloomscape’s own greenhouses. The company has built a network of greenhouses to fulfill all its orders. Mast said that owning and operating these facilities has allowed the company to easily add new categories, like outdoor plants.
The company declined to share sales data on the new outdoor category. Mast said marketing has just begun, as the company has started allocating dollars toward improving Google visibility as search for gardening supplies ramps up in the coming weeks.
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Despite global lockdowns, customers flocked to home improvement stores for DIY projects over the last. Retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s saw sales lifes as a result, and home decor became an even more popular retail category. Earlier this year, Lowe’s saw fourth quarter sales related to categories like paint, garden and outdoor living increase by 30% compared to the same period the previous year.
Retailers are trying to cash in on the outdoors trends. Lowe’s recently tweaked its spring campaigns to focus less on hardware and more on home-related projects. Meanwhile, DTC furniture brand Article has been focusing more and more on its outdoor and patio collection.
Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, said that in many ways, Bloomscape’s expansion into outdoor plants is a natural extension of its existing business. “It will find traction with existing customers and may attract some new ones, especially as the pandemic continues to help sales of gardening products,” Saunders said.
Saunders said that, historically, traditional home improvement players — along with local nurseries and garden centers — have dominated the category. “However, not everyone likes visiting these places for plants as the range is huge and it can take a long time to get in and out,” he said. A brand like Bloomscape offers a more convenient solution on a curated selection of products. “It will likely appeal to customers who want to create interesting plant displays and those with smaller gardens, perhaps in urban locations.”
Mast said that the outdoor and patio products — including the spring planting kits — are already gaining traction among existing customers.
Saunders said that while Bloomscape won’t necessarily greatly impact the big gardening retailers, “there is definitely a space for its products in the category.”