The Ruralpreneur #2 - $12 million a year selling plants

Empowering small town entrepreneurs to expand their businesses using digital tools and ecommerce

🛀 Shower thoughts:

🪴Maybe plants are really farming us, giving us oxygen until we eventually expire and turn into mulch which they can consume.

📺 As a kid my parents taught me to not believe everything I see on TV, now I have to teach them to not believe everything they see on Facebook.

🔥 Nothing is on fire, fire is on things.

In today's email:

  • Plants in a Box: Family nursery in a town of 2,500 pivots to selling plants online, now generates $12 million a year.

  • Real Recognize Real: How being authentic is going to boost your sales.

  • You get one shot: With attention spans shorter than ever, you’ve got to get straight to the point.

🎧Listen or watch: The Ruralpreneur Podcast episode 1 launches on Youtube and Spotify


From Monticello to the Masses: How Perfect Plants Nursery Bloomed Online Without Losing Its Roots

In the small town of Monticello, Florida, Alex Kantor made a bold move by transitioning his family's 40-year-old local nursery, Perfect Plants Nursery, to the digital realm. By 2021, this once-traditional nursery recorded an impressive $12 million in annual revenue, demonstrating that even in a small-town setting, digital transformation can lead to significant success. Plants in a box, shipped across the country? Yes, please.

To cater to the online audience, Alex and his sister, Natalie, invested heavily in infrastructure and utilized high-resolution imagery to give online buyers a true sense of their offerings. Despite their online push, the roots of the company remain deeply embedded in their community, showcasing how traditional businesses can innovate while retaining their core values and local charm.

Perfect Plants Nursery utilizes fun and light hearted social media tactics to market their brand, like videos that show new plant parents how not to kill a plant, and what to do in the kitchen with fruits and vegetables.


Why Realness Wins: The Pull of Authenticity in Online Selling

Online shopping is a big world with many choices. But, among all the options, there's a special kind of magic when something feels real and true. For small business owners from small towns, this 'realness' comes from their own stories, traditions, and local know-how.

When you buy something made with care, it's different from getting just another product. It might be a handcrafted design, a special recipe passed down for years, or even a local service offered with a personal touch. These aren't just things you buy; they're experiences with a backstory.

For small-town entrepreneurs wanting to get noticed online, sharing these stories can make a big difference. Instead of just saying what they sell, they can tell a story about why they do it or what it means to their community. Using simple pictures or short videos to show these stories can help too.

People shopping online these days want more than just stuff. They want things that feel genuine. Many people prefer to buy from businesses that are honest and real. This is good news for small businesses that can offer that personal touch. And it's not just about items you can hold. Services, local events, or even digital products can stand out if they come with a real story.

The online shopping world is huge, but there's always room for real stories and genuine offers. Small-town business owners have a chance to shine by showing their true selves and sharing what's special about what they do. Being real can be the key to standing out and making a mark in the big online marketplace.


Clearly Define Your Business, Your Audience, and Your Approach

Who Is This Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

Jumping from a hometown shop to the online world is a big step. But just like in school when we learned about the Who, What, and How, these basics can guide our way in the digital space too. Here's how these simple ideas can help small-town business folks like us make it big online:

Who: We know our town's folks inside out, but online, there's a bigger world waiting. Think about who else might love what you sell. Maybe there are people across the country, or even in other parts of the world, who would love your products just as much as your neighbors do. But remember, even online, treat them with the same friendliness you would back home.

What: Selling online means you've got to be super clear about what you're offering. With so many things to buy on the internet, how is yours special? Maybe it's the way you make it, a special ingredient, or a story from our town. Put that story front and center. Make sure it shines through in pictures and descriptions.

How: Doing business online is a bit different. Think about how you'll get your products to people fast and in good shape. And think about how you can give them that warm, hometown feeling, even from behind a screen. This could be through a thank-you note, a surprise in the package, or even just a friendly chat online.

So in one sentence, can you describe your who, what, and how? I’ll share our who, what, and how from The Ruralentrepreneur:

We empower small town and rural entrepreneurs expand their businesses using digital tools and ecommerce through online educational resources.

Write down some notes and form a one-liner that you can clearly and easily use when describing your business. If someone walks up to you and asks what you do or what your business does, you can always have this ready.


Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

Proverbs 10:9