The final talk from day three of Innovation Week came from CEO and Co-Founder of start-up Patch, Freddie Blackett. Patch is an online plant shop focused on cities and more specifically, Millennials; a demographic that your standard B&Q warehouse wouldn’t normally describe as their target audience.
Freddie created Patch after he identified a real gap in the plant market shaped by three key insights; Insight 1 is that Millennials feel the pleasure of owning and growing a plant is out of reach, no.2: few people knew what they wanted, liked or what worked for their space and finally, no.3; both the previous problems contributed to a labour intensive perception of owning plants.
Freddie highlighted the importance of innovation in practice as opposed to in theory, taking us through his favourite tool, the Lean Canvas. This covered everything from the initial problem and target audience right through to which channels to use – which have evolved quite substantially since he first started the business (initially he realised a block of flats in the Olympic Park was receiving no direct marketing, so used to this advantage by sneaking in and posting flyers to all the flats; fast forward to today and they use Facebook and Google search terms to really drive brand awareness).
Overall what really separates Patch from traditional garden centres is the unique identity of their brand. When you shop online each plant has a colloquial nickname – making it much easier for consumers to ask for help about their Susan, rather than their Crassula portulacea.
On a personal level I can attest to the growth and interest of house plants from a younger demographic; notably my girlfriend. We currently have 8 houseplants (YES 8!) in our one-bedroom flat and if she ever found out about Patch, I may as well be called Bill…or Ben.