In its two short years of existence, the Detroit-based online retailer Bloomscape has taken the plant industry by storm, reshaping how people buy their houseplants and learn how to care for them. Bloomscape is the only direct-to-consumer plant company with the ability to deliver ready-to-go potted plants of all sizes to homes across the U.S.
The company announced today that it raised $15 million in its latest round of financing, led by venture capital company General Catalyst, and has added two members to its Board of Directors. With this investment, Bloomscape will focus on hiring a customer experience team called the “Grow-How Team” and build upon its distribution models. The funding was also used to recently launch the company’s Edible Garden Shop after a successful beta.
And, if that wasn’t enough, Bloomscape is also expanding its digital offerings with the release of the Vera by Bloomscape app today. The app — which was acquired from another company and infused with Bloomscape’s expertise — provides tips for caring for plants, troubleshooting, and watering reminders.
Bloomscape’s founder and CEO Justin Mast spoke with Hour Detroit prior to the announcements to talk about the company’s growth, new offerings, and what else customers can expect to come.
Hour Detroit: Why do you think Bloomscape has done so well?
Justin Mast: Lawn and garden — it’s a big retail category. And it’s one that has really come to be dominated by mass retailers. But right now, the fastest growing group in gardening is millennials and young people. We’re not as young anymore, we’re starting to move into our own homes. And I think plants and gardening has become a really important part of our lifestyle. [With how] digital and fast paced life has gotten, we’re still looking for things that are slower, and we can care for something and feel that connection to nature. And so this is a trend that we’ve been seeing for a few years now, but I think with the pandemic, with everyone spending a lot more time at home and spending a lot more time on their screens, people are looking to plants right now to kind of balance that out. So, we’ve been thrilled to be able to provide that for our customers.
Why launch the Vera by Bloomscape app?
When we launched the company back in 2018, we learned something very quickly. As much as we can set people up with the right plan, people have a lot of questions once they get the plants [home]. And so, when we launched, I recruited my mom — who is an actual plant expert — to be like an internal resource for our customers. We called her “Plant Mom,” and it was a huge hit. What we found is that giving that personalized plant support really does make a big difference, but I think the challenge with that is it’s just not very scalable. You know, I only have one mom who’s a plant expert and it’s pretty hard to replicate that. So, what we’ve done is we’ve built up the team of plant experts, but we’ve also been thinking how do we keep all the qualities of that program, but do it in a way where it can build on itself and grow more quickly? And so, when we were doing that research, we found this plant care app, Vera. The team that built it created something that helps people remember when to water and set reminders, whether it’s fertilizing or repotting. It’s a helpful way to keep track of your plants and the care you’ve done. And what we realized is that if we could [put] a lot of our knowledge into that app, and also provide live support through the app, that it could be a huge value for our customers, but really for anyone who has plants in and around their home.
What does the Edible Garden Shop offer?
This is something we launched a week-ish ago. It’s a line of plants that are both vegetables and herbs, many of which are kind of set up to be grown indoors, like over the next few months of this fall and winter, so that people can keep harvesting tomatoes or herbs for their cooking.
What’s next for Bloomscape?
Well, the biggest thing is that this coming spring, we’ll be launching a lot of outdoor plants. So up until this point, the vast majority of our product line has been focused on indoor gardening and indoor plants. But this coming spring, when we launch the outdoor program, we’re going to be focusing on helping people grow — whether it’s wanting to deck out your patio or plant up a bunch of pots or hanging baskets.
Any advice for people who want to begin their plant parent journey?
We like to tell people to get started. I think a lot of people are nervous that they’re going to do something wrong or that they’re going to mess up. People are actually a lot better at caring for plants than they realize. The most important thing is to make sure you’re starting with healthy plants, and they’re in the right pot and the right part of your home. But from there get started, and we’re here to help people.
For more information, visit bloomscape.com