Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Johanna Dominguez-Limpach, Owner of Put A Plant On It, INC, located in Buffalo, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is plants, and my customers are those who love plants! I own a full-service plant shop in Buffalo, NY. What is full service in a plant shop? We offer a variety of services such as repotting, houseplant hospital, plant decorating, plant sitting, monstera makeover, and much more! We give people the tools to succeed as plant parents. We pride ourselves in being an eclectic shop, and our customers reflect that completely. We get everything from people buying their very first plant to seasoned plant parents. Being on the street, we are on we do get lots of out-of-town visitors. Our shop is a destination shop not just locally but also nationally.
Tell us about yourself
I was working in social media marketing and photography when I realized I needed to get out and see people face to face. I decided to take a part-time job at a local nursery. While working the job, I realized how much I enjoyed helping people with plant problems. I love to answer all of the people's questions about plants and to demystify plant keeping. There are few things more satisfying than seeing the spark of insight in people's faces as we work to demystify plants. Plants are also therapy - they help us mentally and help make ourselves and our spaces better. People come to us when they are having a bad day or a good day to cheer themselves up. And to be a place where people are looking to celebrate and make themselves happy makes me happy.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I pride myself on making a unique experience. In today's market, it is difficult to stand out from the crowd and be different, but we certainly have accomplished that. Everyone who comes into our shop likes to take photos and share because of how it immediately makes them feel relaxed. We also have been voted the best houseplant shop in our regional publication, which is a great accomplishment. People have also nominated us for great customer service. We take great pride in all of this.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things for my business is competing with big box stores that offer similar things that we do, primarily Home Depot, Walmart, and Lowes. They get their plants on consignment and don't care about plants, so they have no loss when their stock dies. Every plant we lose is money lost for us. They are also able to offer their plants for a cheaper price, and people flock to them instead of supporting a small business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be unique and stand out from the crowd and stay true to yourself.
- Be willing to make sacrifices - of your time and to pay yourself less so you can put everything into your business.
- Manage all your social media yourself. Previously being a social media strategist, I always tell clients the importance of managing their own social media and investing in it. Investment doesn't mean money; it means time. You get out what you put in.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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