WRITTEN BY Frances Seiters
Every business starts from somewhere. That somewhere can be unexpected and the outcome can be just as surprising.
Jade Adams, the owner of a local plant shop named Oglewood Ave, experienced just this. Her triumphs thus far have been fast-paced and unexpected despite the pandemic.
It all started as a Facebook post selling plants in order to help her move from West Knoxville to North Knoxville. Adams was met with success right off the bat selling out all of her plants. In that moment, she knew that this could go a lot further than she had originally planned.
Eventually, her small, upcoming business moved to Instagram in hopes of expanding her audience, which led to her first pop-up shop to gain more exposure. This success then led to her opening her business on Oglewood Ave. The name comes from the street she lives on as she discovered the building her store is currently in down the street from her home.
This business became successful in the middle of a pandemic, which has led to advantages and disadvantages.
Adams touched on two advantages that kept her business growing, which is her having a lot of time on her hands to make the business the best it can be and the fact that people are staying home so they have a chance to watch these plants grow.
The disadvantages she discussed didn’t affect her business too much, but still created some obstacles in the process.
She brought up COVID-19 guidelines and the obstacle of trying to figure out what worked for her store. Another issue was figuring out her market, which ended up being mainly college students looking for decor in their dorm. Since Adams sells potted plants, this makes it easier for college students to take care of them.
Her connections to UT have remained strong, even after she has graduated. The Student Government Association on campus reached out for her to do a pop-up shop. This could be considered a strategy for reaching her target market of college students.
Later that weekend, following this pop-up shop, Adams opened her business to the public and was overwhelmed by the outcome of people buying her plants.
After the pop-up on campus and her opening weekend, she concluded that college students alone took up about 40% of her market.
Selling plants isn’t the only aspect of her business that makes it successful. Her business also provides at-home visits in order to give homeowners suggestions on what types of plants would go well with the interior design of the home.
She explains the process briefly, saying that she goes into the house using a light meter to determine what types of plants would thrive the most in the lighting the house provides. Then, she asks the homeowner what vibe they want and then pairs plants with their lifestyle.
These at-home visits aren’t the only services she provides, though. Realtors go to her business to find plants to use for staging in the homes they are selling. Not only did this business come from selling plants but she also branched out into helping the Knoxville community learn more about plants.
When starting a business, there are many factors that go into it, such as the mindset you choose to have and how hard you are willing to work for the future.
The mindset that Adams suggests is to not be afraid of taking risks.
Adams took a huge risk putting her life savings into opening this business, and she was determined to make it work. If you are willing to put in your all and to take the necessary risks, you may have what it takes to start your own business.
Adams took the chance of being one of the only local potted plant shops in the city because she knew that her idea was unique. She did not know how people would react, but it ended up working in her favor.
Another piece of advice that she discussed was to be prepared to work nonstop. If you are starting a business by yourself, you have to be ready to do everything yourself. When you know how your business works, you can eventually start disbursing the workload to employees.
When asked if she would be willing to let someone else do the work she does, Adams proudly declined, stating that she loves what she does.
Running Oglewood Ave is not her only ambition, though. She also works as a wedding photographer, meaning she is working all day every day.
Despite her busy life, her goal for the future is opening up a “sister shop.” She plans to either move west or towards New York City.
Adams’ success came from her big dreams, and she is a living example that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. The sky’s the limit.