There has been a lot of build up in the past couple of months getting ready to open the shop — we’ve been refining the website, rethinking seed lists, chasing up markets and doing lots of research along the way. We’ll be opening the shop mid-September for customers to receive their first box in October. Perfect time to get your tomatoes, cucumbers and other heat loving plants started!
We have a lovely business mentor, Katy, who has given us some of the best advice. The one that has really stuck and we didn’t anticipate was testing. Testing your idea, testing your website, test the product, use the product and experience what the customer experiences. Most importantly acknowledge and learn when your testing demonstrates something isn’t working — your big idea for instances. If you are a fan of Dragon’s Den I’m sure you’ve seen those products that people have put tons of time, energy and money into producing without testing the concept first. They didn’t check to see if it was actually needed. Instead they had a product no one wanted and a business that was no long viable unless it was able to adapt.
The lesson that your idea is just not needed right now can be a hard pill to swallow. We’ve done surveys online, conversations with friends and family and will be further testing the idea at markets and getting people’s feedback. We’re always open to change and to adjust our product so that it fills the need of gardeners in New Zealand.
One idea that I’m excited about is something that we’ve been mulling over on how to do. We want to provide information on hand when customers received their subscriptions. A hardcopy newsletter or a pamphlet or an informational letter we’re all options we went through. In the end we created these postcards:
With each seed you’ll get a postcard that gives information about growing the plant. On the back is room to write dates seeds were planted and observations about the season. Those postcards can then be added to a book ring. Each month, you’ll be adding more and more postcards thus creating your own little gardening resource with your observations. Come next season you can flick back on the season previous to recall your challenges and successes that will inform your growing for the current season. I see these as something that may evolve overtime with feedback from customers and I’m keen to see where it could go.
What we have learned thus far in building our business is the importance of adapting. If something feels not quiet right, take the time to rethink it. The difference between the website when we first created to where it is now is significant. And I think our product will evolve as well and I can’t wait to see Great Cultivations evolution.