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Indoor plants have made somewhat of a comeback in Australia over the past five years, and Melbourne-based The Plant Runner has created a foothold in the market for products that help aficionados keep their plants alive.
As founders Dominic Hooghuis and Duncan Hilder have discovered, regardless of whether you sell physical products or your time and expertise, sharing knowledge with your customers can have lasting payoffs.
It’s one of the key tenets of using content marketing to build relationships and a sense of community among the people who might be interested in what you sell.
For best mates Hooghuis and Hilder, both qualified horticulturalists, sharing their passion for plant care makes perfect sense and their images of vibrant and luscious plants are well-suited to visual platforms like Instagram.
It’s also allowed them to transform the business they started with a solitary truck filled with indoor plants to one that makes its own sustainably sourced plant care products. The products are now sold by over 350 wholesale stockists across Australia and New Zealand, and are also distributed in Kuwait and India.
The feedback loop The Plant Runner has created with customers has meant a steady increase in sales, while also playing an important role in new product development as the founders constantly learn more about what products would best help customers.
Since launching in 2017, The Plant Runner has sold more than 250,000 bottles of its Indoor Plant Food. The business achieved 130% year-on-year growth in sales between 2019 and the end of 2021, and grew its customer base by 140% between 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Similar growth is projected for 2022, as The Plant Runner’s product range continues to grow — it launched its natural fertiliser product, the Soil & Microbe Booster, last year.
The Plant Runner’s team is growing too, with the business in the process of recruiting for a full-time warehouse manager to join Hooghuis and Hilder and two casual employees when SmartCompany Plus spoke to Hilder at the end of 2021.
The next step? Looking beyond the local region and taking their products to the world, Hilder says.