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Re: Starting a nursery

> So what's your standard amount per plant, and how many customers?

For us, for the most part, that's easy. The min order per plant from the
first company we bought from was 16 - and that included a surcharge for
splitting a 32 flat. So 16 it was. The next year we added another
company. Their min was 25. So instead of choosing how many to order, our
decision was based on whether we thought we could sell 16 or 25 of them.

We also knew our customer base a little bit. We had conducted sales of
our own plants and some donated by 2 local nurseries, so we had a feel
for what they might like (or what we planned to teach them to like). The
number of customers didn't matter that much since our budget was low to
start with - that first year we sold out of almost everything during our
first sale and had to buy more.

But that's a big difference between retail and mailorder. When it's
gone, it is simply not there for someone to see what they missed. In
mailorder, it's there in your catalogue.

Chris, I don't know how much advertising you'll do or how you plan to
get people to know about you. I'm sure there's a model for figuring
estimates, but you have to have some sort of data to input for the model
work on.

One thing I will say though, if possible, don't go with less than 10-12
of anything. You will experience some losses. And you'll have a little
better cushion if the plant draws a lot of attention. Also, go with your
instincts. You know plants. You can tell if you like a plant, you know
why you like it. If you like it because it is because it is weird, order
a small amount. If you like it because of its ethereal beauty, order
more. Remember, too, that if you see it taking off, you can place
another order if your grower still has it. Then if you run out you can
offer fall delivery.


-- "Christopher P. Lindsey" <lindsey@mallorn.com> wrote:
> Oh Chris, there is no real way of telling. We brought in 25
> Schizophragma hydranginoides 'Moonlight' in 2003 and still have half of
> them. We thought they'd sell very well, especially at only $8 (I just
> saw that Gardeners Supply is selling it for $24.) Then there was the
> Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea'. I liked it and brought in 32 of them.
> They looked great, but they just sat there, couldn't seem to get anyone
> interested. I could only stay for about half the sale, had to go back to
> work. When I did inventory the next day, they were all gone.
> Then there's the chicken/egg thing. Who is your market? How will you
> reach them? How many customers will you have? If you knew, you might be
> able to guess better. But you won't be able to that until they see what
> you have to offer.

So what's your standard amount per plant, and how many customers?

I'm guessing that there's a formula that can be devised based on the number
of customers that you expect to have, but I have no clue what it is.  I 
also suspect that it's the kind of thing you just get figure out with
experience.  :)

You should see my Moonlight -- it's about 15' up into the oak tree at
the base of my driveway.  Gorgeous!!!


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