Feedback: Laurie Scullin On Product Development

We received quite a response to Laurie Scullin’s views on turning new product development over to women, our primary customer. Here are some reader reactions:

I always look forward to Laurie’s truthful look at the industry–by gum, he’s usually right on when it comes to what we as an industry need to change. Change–the word that strikes fear into men and excites women! That is why, as a lone wolf female grower with no men to check with before making a business decision, I know what women want because I am one. Sorry guys, some things you just will never get. Don’t be macho or proud, just ask us and watch your numbers soar!!

Jean Lawrence
SunStone Growers/Thyme to Dream Herb Farm
Toccoa, Ga.


This is the best article I have read in years!

When I began working at Pleasant View and Proven Winners–there were very few women involved. My brother-in-law Henry, who I love to pieces, rolls his eyes every time I remind him that this industry has a huge disconnect between the grower and end-consumer. This is an industry of men selling to men, selling to men, selling to men and finally men selling to women.

Years ago, we were one of the first companies to put graphic pots in the industry with Cut & Grow Herbs and Cottage Accents. I can tell you growers and broker sales reps. didn’t come close to embracing the idea. And forget about the idea of sending a tag with every liner! I often received calls with comments ranging from, “Why do you ship large tags for things like Dracaenca?”, “Why are your tags SO big?” and believe it or not “Your tags are so big, I can’t water my pots!” Guys have no clue that women love this kind of stuff.

Look at a tube of lipstick for heaven’s sake! It is a stick of colored wax but yet it is beautifully packaged and labeled. And do you know how much tube of lipstick costs? (Maybe I shouldn’t tell you guys, but believe me, the woman in your life knows what she pays. And, even more shocking she doesn’t care.)

I don’t know much about the lipstick companies’ profits–but I can tell you they make more money per square foot than growers and they continue to make more money every year. Why you might ask? Because they are not afraid to mark up their prices in a huge way compared to their inputs. AND, THE MOST EXCITING THING–THE PRICE IS THE SMALLEST PIECE OF P.O.P IN THE STORE–you can hardly find it–especially if you wear glasses. It is on the bottom of the box, and by that time a women finds out what the price is she “knows she needs it.” Price is the least important part of the purchase!

Carol Huntington
Marketing Manager
Pleasant View Gardens
Loudon, N.H.

Fire The Slow Boys

Great concept… too bad it’s advice a decade or two late.

Our best garden centers understood long ago that when it comes to garden center retailing, the best man for the job is always a woman.

And sorry guys… this ain’t sexist… it’s just the truth.

Now you know why the industry seems so behind the curve compared to other retailers.

Except for Best Buy. They just hired a female to head up a department focused on attracting more female customers.

One word describes this slow boy approach for both industries… DUH!

Robert Hendrickson
Solutions csi

Fire The Boys!

Three cheers to Laurie for calling the boys out on product selection! If any company fails to heed Laurie’s wise words of advice, they should at least insist on having their shopping-phobic males teaming up with their female coworkers, to tag along on a “recreational shopping” expedition. The objective here would be to discover what women really want and what the lifestyle/color trends are really about.

This should be a quarterly event at the least; a bimonthly outing for the real adventurous. A monthly outing may be considered corporal punishment to any male who totally depends on their wives and girlfriends to outfit their wardrobe and home. Newsflash–freebie hats and T-shirts with beer and tractor logos do not mirror what women want to purchase.

If I were to lead my coworkers on such a jaunt, we would spend the day fondling accessories and textiles at the Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Home Goods, The Container Store, Macy’s and Target to name just a few.

The difference between indoor and outdoor decorating is getting smaller everyday and the local hardware and “power” stores, or sports oriented venues are not the places to spot trends. To keep everyone happy, we could end the day with a “cold one” to review color and lifestyle trends, while figuring out how to promote flowers to the folks with the real spending power–Female Shoppers! Women are elevating flowers and plants to a must-have accessory status and this same mind-set needs to be adopted by the men who make color/product decisions.

Jeannine R. Bogard
Market Analyst
Goldsmith Seeds
Gilroy, Calif.

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