Bloomscape Founder and CEO Justin Mast joined Yahoo Finance Live to break down how Bloomscape is upending traditional garden centers.
- Demand for home plants, they certainly have exploded since the start of the pandemic. Now Bloomscape, it's one company that's benefited from this. They're expanding as a result of what we've seen over the past year. We want to bring in Justin Mast. He's Bloomscape's founder and CEO. Justin, it's great to have you on the program.
We've talked time and time again, just how COVID has affected consumer behavior, what people are choosing to spend their money on. What kind of impact have you seen on your business over the past year?
JUSTIN MAST: Yeah, well, plants have been a real source of comfort and a really healthy activity for a lot of people this past year. And, you know, we've been really thrilled and honored that we've been able to support this, and meet the demand, and deliver a lot of plants for people.
- So how do you keep it going after we're all vaccinated and some of us go back to the office?
JUSTIN MAST: Yeah, that's a good question, Adam. I mean, these trends are trends that really existed before the pandemic started but got accelerated this past year. So we're seeing that our core customer base, millennials, have getting into plants. It started with succulents then moved to indoor plants. And now, people have really picked up gardening these last couple of years as we've moved into homes, moved out of the city, or into bigger places. So this is something we really expect to continue as we start to move into this next phase of whatever normal is.
- And speaking of expansion there, I know you're launching a new line of outdoor and patio plants. Kind of goes with what you were just speaking about. What do you think the opportunity is there? And I guess, how are you competing against some of those much bigger names in this space?
JUSTIN MAST: Yeah, I mean, this program was really born out of two places. I mean, first, this past year, we've had an amazing amount of requests from our customers to start offering outdoor plants. And so this line of porch and patio plants and flowers is something we're pretty happy to be able to offer. But this really has roots that go back a long way for me. I mean, I grew up in the greenhouse business and had a little plant stand selling porch and patio plants outside my parents' greenhouse growing up.
So, you know, even back as an eight-year-old, seeing how people really light up when they can buy a really high-quality product that's fresh from the greenhouse, you know, talking to people who really understand the product and want to make sure that they're successful, it's something that we're doing now with this program. But it goes back a long way too.
And so to answer your question, I mean, we are taking a different approach with this program. It's young plants. So they're kind of like really big seedlings that are going to come in a box in a kit that our customers will be able to plant themselves. And so we wanted to save a lot of the thrill of seeing, you know, those first few weeks, the plants really take off in your yard. We wanted to make sure our customers could experience that.
- I'm recalling-- I think we spoke to several months ago. And we should point out-- you're still headquarters right outside of-- it's outside of Detroit. So when you talk about green--
JUSTIN MAST: But we're in the city, Detroit.
- Yeah, I mean, that's key. What are the hot sellers for those of us who have green thumbs outdoors but not so well indoors?
JUSTIN MAST: I mean, anything that's pet-friendly and low maintenance is always a hot seller for us. Right now, we've got this fishtail palm on the site that is really beautiful, easy to care for, and safe for your furry friends.
- How have you been able to keep up with the massive growth? I mean, you're obviously growing your company. But you're still relatively small. So what has that process been like?
JUSTIN MAST: I mean, with a lot of support. I mean, we have an amazing group of investors and advisors that have been behind us every step of the way. We had a really strong core team. And, you know, since this time last year, we've more than doubled the team. So we've brought on a lot of new help as well. You know, it's been tricky to scale a business this past year.
But, you know, we've done it. And we're pretty excited.
- And where are you shipping most to? Is there any one particular part of the country?
JUSTIN MAST: All over the country. I mean, we have customers on both coasts, in the middle of a country, city, suburb. I mean, you name it, we're shipping there. You know, we've seen a lot of our customers move from more concentrated downtown areas out to townhomes or even to the suburbs. So that's something we're tracking pretty closely. As our customer matures, so are we?
- Justin Mast, Bloomscape's founder and CEO. Thanks for joining us today.