MegaMashups Take Plants To The People

MegaMashups Take Plants To The People

July 2015_GROW Perspective_Katie Ketelson_featured

Katie Ketelsen, Big Bad Flower

It’s no secret I love plants.


It’s probably not much of a secret that I love beer, too.

And in my perfect world, I’d have a permanent beer garden decorated with galvanized containers stuffed full of flowers, high-rising arches of hops and endless rows of hydroponic strawberries for everbearing enjoyment.

But all that costs mega money, so I’ve settled (for now) on orchestrating mega mashups focused on my loves mentioned above, striving to reach an audience that doesn’t even know our industry exists.

I’ve long preached about how we need to go to the people. Meet them on their turf, so-to-speak. We can’t expect Gen X or the Millennials, or heck, even my parents, to walk into our garden centers on a whimsy. And frankly, why would you want to be so passive? Your customer spends their extra dollars at the coffee shop, at the mall and at the bar. Why aren’t we flaunting our prized possessions in the same arena where people are spending their disposable incomes?

So naturally, when the opportunity arose this winter to collaborate with one of my favorite breweries and favorite vintage shops to create a unique Mother’s Day mashup, I jumped up and down like the giddy schoolgirl cheerleader I secretly am. And in this “aha” moment, the “Yo Mama Mashup” was born.

Yo Mama Mashup was a four hour event, where Big Bad Flower brought the plants and Rescued Junk supplied the vintage finds. 515 Brewing Company poured the fresh, homegrown beer at its own hub and brought in a popular food truck to serve food to an already established Saturday afternoon crowd, who probably had a mama or two in dire need of a Mother’s Day gift.

Big Bad Flower is typically a sassy company. We try to stand apart from our competitors not only with unique plants, but with a unique voice. Taking our attitude to the streets at a brewery seemed like the perfect environment to gain exposure and trial finished products. Rescued Junk was equally interested in trying a different, bolder approach to a new market.

The mashup not only included single items from both our companies, but also a combination of elements. Creations were designed within galvanized containers. Raw materials such as burlap and colored, shredded paper were used as fillers in miniature compositions. And consideration was given to ensure purchases were easily transported on a two-wheeler, as many customers were fresh off the bike path.

Neither Big Bad Flower nor Rescued Junk set expectations for the mashup, and I think that’s important. While it’s smart business wanting to break even or, of course, make money at an event, this was a new affair. We did due-diligence however, inquiring about 515 Brewing Company’s typical demographic, traffic and marketing strategies to see how we might complement each other. It helped tremendously that the owners were equally interested in plants and vintage finds, as well as offering a unique experience for their customers.

Elements That Helped Make The Day Successful

  • 515 Brewing Company already had a good fan base that consistently strolled through its doors during peak plant season.
  • It also had experience hosting events, almost every weekend, and enjoyed hosting atypical gatherings (ahem, vintage and plants) combining new collaboratives.
  • 515 Brewing Company’s location was right off a bike path, easily accessible, visible from the road and within a neighborhood that strongly supports
    local businesses.
  • There was beer. Not that I’m advocating for the drunken state, but you know in a world of tension, lack of vacation days used and the stress from not only everyday life but finding a gift Mom will be happy with, a cold beer goes a loooonnnnng way.
  • The mashup was limited to a four-hour period that helped concentrate traffic to make our time more efficient.
  • Big Bad Flower and Rescued Junk had joined forces before, we were already comfortable with each other — more on that later.
  • Our display wasn’t intrusive. While people could easily see there was something different about this Saturday, we weren’t invading their tablespace. They could still go about their comfortable, beer-drinking ways.
  • And finally, it didn’t cost us much more than materials and time put into creating our retail pieces. While time is money, I don’t count it when you’re working toward a larger picture. 515 Brewing Company graciously didn’t charge us booth space. We truly worked together in hopes of creating an enjoyable experience for everyone. Those are the type of people to conspire with. They get it.

My Relationship With Rescued Junk

I met Kasey and Jojo Henke because of my previously proclaimed love for vintage. Over the years, we chit-chatted, actually became friends and they finally confessed their customers’ desire to purchase the plants accompanying their vintage pieces. They were constantly restocking their box-store foliage plants because people loved the combined look of galvanized/wood/tin/reclaimed what-have-yous and greens. Kasey and Jojo wanted a partner that not only shared the same sentiment for reclaimed finds, but was equally interested in creating unique, retail pieces.

I was completely smitten.

My obsession with reusing dented galvanized buckets and actually making money had me spinning. Additionally, the idea of breaking into an untapped market made me salivate at the mouth. Since then, Rescued Junk and Big Bad Flower have joined forces a handful of times for events or workshops, and have managed to keep people coming back. What’s worked well for us is following our passions. We have a really hard time doing something we don’t full-heartedly love. Granted, tearing down a booth is tedious, but the excitement of displaying one-of-a-kind pieces in hopes of igniting someone’s interest in plants gets me giddy every single time.