Ones To Watch: Lisa Takao

Ones To Watch: Lisa Takao

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary celebration, we’ll profile industry people over the next 25 weeks who we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Our Ones To Watch series begins this week with Lisa Takao, creative director of Takao Nursery, who energizes her family’s company in Fresno, Calif., with a unique take on marketing.

Age - 27

Her job–As the one responsible for the creative direction and visual identity of Takao Nursery, Lisa sets the overall marketing theme for the company through the company logo, its Web site, annual catalog, newsletters, plant tags and presentations and tradeshow booth displays.

Childhood inspiration–Part of Lisa’s creativity derives from Shepard Fairey, a graphic illustrator best known for his street art.

Back in college–Growing up, graphic design intrigued her enough that she pursued and obtained a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in it at Fresno State in 2004. She served as president of the university’s Graphic Design Club and coordinator of the Senior Portfolio Show.

All in the family–Danny Takao, Lisa’s father, is vice president of OFA and a Master Gardener along with his wife Renu. In their greenhouse operation, family plays a big role. “It allows us to communicate more openly, freely and frequently,” Lisa says. “We’re there to support each other no matter what.”

Best advice received–Don’t be afraid to give something new a try. The worst that can happen is your attempt doesn’t work out, and you can always learn from failures.

On Cloud 9–Hands down, the best part of Lisa’s job is the creative freedom and authority she has to set the marketing direction for Takao Nursery, she says. “It’s great to be able to go with my intuition and see my ideas through.”

Twenty-five years from now–Lisa says more grower/retailers will sprout on the West Coast, and less independent garden centers will exist as owners reach retirement age and their kids opt for different career paths. Coffee and wine bars will, however, be part of the new garden center. “Replacing the independents will be the Armstrong or Al’s model,” she says. “There will be a place for the upper-scale garden center, either owned by a group of investors or families.”

Why she’s one to watch–Takao Nursery specializes in annuals and perennials as liners, but behind Lisa, it has developed innovative marketing programs to appeal to younger consumers and lifestyle interests to encourage grower customers to do the same at retail. “We try to keep our marketing fresh, unique, colorful and alive,” she says. “I want what we do to make a personal connection.”

If there’s somebody who should be on our list of Ones To Watch, let us know. E-mail us at and tell us why your grower candidate should be One To Watch.

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