Every grower has a story to tell. Whether it’s the tale of a startup business founded by a young hobbyist trying to make a living or the generations-long history of a family that’s been working in the greenhouse for decades upon decades, each one is unique. And each one is a great tool.

The story behind your operation is a powerful tool that can bring your staff together, brand your product and show your customers why they should choose you. If your staff and customers know how you got where you are today, they’ll be able to connect with your brand. And that’s important to the newer generations of both consumers and employees.

Holtkamp Greenhouses, which you can read about here, is a great example of how to tell your story. Like many growers, the Holtkamp family has a long history in horticulture, going back generations to their roots in Germany. When I visited them in Nashville earlier this year, the first thing I noticed was the pride they take in their heritage. The second was the pride they take in their plants, especially their new varieties.

The company does a great job of telling its story and sharing all that goes into its plant breeding program. If you visit their website at optimara.com, you’ll find that information up front and center. They tell you who they are, what they do and why they do it all on the home page.

But while they’re proud of their past, they’re also proud of their future. The operation is best known as the largest producer of African violets in the world. And while African violets aren’t a new favorite by any means, Optimara has found a way to keep innovating by introducing new options for houseplant-hungry consumers and offering online buying options. That innovative spirit is part of both their past and their future.

Looking to the future, your story can be a great way to capture younger buyers. Who you are and where you grow are becoming more and more important.

And as the newer generation gains more buying power, sourcing is becoming more important as well. People want to know where their plant material is coming from, and if it’s local, that’s definitely a story you want to tell. Consumers are becoming more and more environmentally conscious and making purchases based on their values. They’re looking for ways to lower their carbon footprints and support local businesses, so marketing yourself as one is a good way to capture the demographic.

One of the best marketing tools you have is your story. Don’t be afraid to use it.

Kate Spirgen, Editor | kspirgen@gie.net | 216-393-0277